Thursday, March 11, 2010

a lightbulb.

Just a few minutes ago, a lightbulb went off in my head. This might seem a little ridiculous, but I'm going to share my brilliant thought because, for me, this is ground-breaking stuff. Here goes:

I don't have to be doing something all the time.

It's a tough pill to take...swallowing the idea that I don't always have to be in motion. Realizing that every second doesn't have to be productive is like realizing that I have three eyes. But I realized it just the same. I generally think that all my waking moments should be filled with something constructive. Those constructive things are quite often things that I want to be doing, like gardening or baking bread or painting or something, which is great, but here's the downside: I never stop. A few minutes ago, after I'd swept the floors, dusted the furniture, folded and put away a load of laundry, and cleaned the kitchen, I immediately reached for The Bread Bible wondering what to do next. Then I realized that just because I had the time to make a loaf of bread didn't mean that I had to make it or even that I should. I don't know what I'll do with this new found wisdom, but it is allowing me a little wiggle room in my general outlook on my days. We'll have to see how it goes from here...

For now I'm just thinking about it and realizing how completely un-American this seems. The idea that we can relax...WHAT?!?!?! We don't always have to work. Sometimes we can just enjoy life. Maybe I should just move to France after all. I'm sure I'd pick up the language after a few years of complete immersion, right?


Strongmama said...

But isn't this how we stay skinny?

I mentioned this to Scarlet Lily in reference to her post about life at home and I think the same may be true here. I know it is for me. When you stay at home, even if it is your choice, you still need to measure what you're doing. You need to feel accountable for your productivity even though motherhood does not measure productivity in a linear way. So, if we took a break or put wiggle room into our day, it might not lead to a productive day as measured in the work world of others. I know I have B's voice in my head saying, "What did you do all day?" even though he rarely says it. Sometimes it's the impetus to get dinner started. Sometimes it's just annoying. In any case, we should have wiggle room because it makes us happier (even if the things we are already doing are choices) and allows us to relax if just for a moment before the next meltdown begins.

Scarlet Lily said...

I'm so proud of you for realizing this! It was thinking back to those two days of total nothingness on my couch that spurred on the realization, wasn't it? ;)

And let me know if you up and move to France because DUDE, I will buy the villa next door!

Leslie said...

Ok, so I don't stay home with adorable children, but I know that's WORK. When I'm home, even I have every intention of relaxing I am also always doing SOMETHING. Or I feel guilty. Objectively I know that this isn't compulsory, but still... I'm happy you'll be putting relaxing to the test. Good luck:)

Wonderland said...

I had a similar profound realization lately. Like you, and everyone else who has commented, I am always doing SOMETHING. I'm exhausted and take on too much. So, I finally made a commitment to myself. I have set a time limit on my day. I will be absolutely productive until a certain point in the day (usually about an hour before I go to bed). At that point, I lay all my responsibilities down. and I commit to myself to simply being serene during that time.
At first, it was sort of funny, since I had to demand myself to be serene (Serenity NOW!), but now I can ease myself into a less restless/agitated state easier. I still shower or read during my "serenity time", but I am calmer, more leisurly, doing it because I enjoy it, not because I have to.

So, all I'm saying is, yes. I agree with you. "down-time" is critically important to maintaining sanity.