Every day I have a choice. In every given day I have the opportunity to make a choice not just once but over and over and over again regarding how I react to the stresses, demands, highs and lows of parenting. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a choice and many times I make the wrong choice but I am learning new ways, discovering different directions, trying new tactics.
There is so much going on for everyone right now with the end of the school year. Spring sports, celebrations of endings and beginnings, school projects and activities, this and that and that and this. The endless spinning of our lives as parents keeps us moving and often in too many directions.
A shortage on school activities, things to respond to, house chores, errands to run, items to check off the list doesn’t seem to be around the corner so it is up to me choose to stop the wheel every now and then. It is not only necessary it is vital to my well being. Sometimes I need to stop the wheel and just coast and only be for the moment. It’s quite revolutionary to discover, no one will fall off the spinning wheel of life if I stop and attend to my cup, my cup which sits at the center of the wheel. Actually if I do, the wheel won’t spin out of control knocking myself and those around me flat on our asses.
One morning last week I had a choice and I had to make it quickly. Walk my daughter to school or drive? We live two blocks away and usually walk but this morning my son was already at a play date for the morning and I was going somewhere by car after taking my daughter to school. I had felt pulled in a hundred directions, unanswered emails were piled up in my inbox, my ‘to do’ list was growing and I was going away for the weekend the next day.
We walked. After kissing my daughter goodbye in front of her school, I moved at a much slower pace than I would in the car. I still had to be at the next place and attend to all the stuff but I was giving myself permission to slow down. I even stopped on the sidewalk and bent down to pet my dog before walking with him again. I was unconsciously filling my cup, a brief refueling. Breathing in the fresh air, noticing store front windows, smiling at strangers, greeting acquaintances, all bringing me to the present, slowing down the spinning wheel.
One clue to slow down for me is when I am given an opportunity and I hear the “should” voice. That damn, cursed “should”. If I am thinking I “should” this and I “should” that but an opportunity has appeared that nurtures and fulfills me, like a walk, a rest, a sitting down to a meal, a reading a book, a call from a friend…then that is the choice I SHOULD make. Refill first so I can give again. And give with love not bitterness.
Bringing my wheel to a stop prevents it from spinning out of control, that’s when I get a cold, get run down and frustrated, sometimes depressed. Bringing my wheel to a stop has never caused me to “get more behind”, whatever that means, instead it has brought me the gift of the moment and helped make my wheel spin more smoothly.
What would happen if you stopped your wheel and did something just for you right in the middle of a time when you felt like there was no way in hell you “should” stop?