The Mindful Working Mom

Each weekday has a set of challenges.

First, the busy mornings of rushing out the door requires that my kids and I are both dressed to face the world. Our bodies need to be fed with nutrient rich food (one of my continued commitments through this new year!) and our bags packed with appropriate tools. For mine: laptop, cellphone, good handcream, sunglasses. For the boys: books for in-class reading, pencils with lead and notebooks. The husband is lucky because he logs in, and instant work, voila…Like making a cup ‘o noodles–add hot water, eat up!

Second, after we have all gone our separate ways, emails are checked, social media is read for up-to-date national news and news of friends, of course. The mental checklist and to do’s are drafted either on paper (if I have a good pen and paper and a hot mug of tea beside me) or in my head. The day charges on–classes, student meetings, emails sent, pages written, laughter with colleagues, a meal…the afternoon comes on suddenly like that car that zooms past your blindspot when attempting a left turn.

In the afternoon I evaluate the day so far. What needs to be done before children need to be picked-up? Breathe in, connect with God and self to determine priorities here. I ask, “what are the last tasks, tweaks to the next week’s curriculum, ideas for the next day?” What are the corrections needed, plans that hold meaning ahead?” Mind clear, focus attuned, discernment hopefully reached…charge on, charge on, charge on.

Lastly, children are picked up, they are active on the playground burning off the energy that will allow them to focus on the homework ahead and the discipline needed for karate practice. Dinner is on, hubby is helping, eating together then soon the bedtimes and alone time with my life partner.

 

This is an ideal day, of course. But it’s also typical.  It’s hectic and busy, yes, but, it doesn’t have to feel this way. May I suggest…Breathe in. Ask for wisdom, read a meaningful passage, breathe out the worries of the day. Charge on…but WHY the charging on? For obvious reasons: the gift of life, the gratitude for another day together as a family, the health while I am still capable to accomplish these tasks, the opportunity for influence on younger folks who want to do good work for the kingdom.

 

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For more reasons: the deep value of lifelong partnership, the smiles on the faces of those still-chubby faces, priorities that go beyond myself (I hope!) the limits of time. Breathe in, settle into quiet and rest.  Receive the feelings and experiences of being nourished and nurtured in mind-body-spirit. THEN, can I charge on, charge on charge on.

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Making sense of living in the moment

Yesterday my boys started the school year again. It is the last first day of school at this particular one for my oldest. I get misty eyed when I think about how quickly he and his brother have grown up.

So, today I live in the moment. I feel sentimental about the days I gave birth to them; curious about what life will be like when they are all grown up and independent.

I re-read Rob Lowe’s excerpt from his book about his son leaving for college and it made me tear up quite a bit. He writes poignantly and straight from the heart.   I know those days are coming–my sons will leave the nest and venture into their lives. Though I have years until this happens, it is a reminder for me to savor the moments in our family’s day-to-day lives.

Choosing to live today’s moments mean I will stay mindful of the right now, right away, with right motives.

What I mean by this is that all we have is right now, and that’s a lot. They will come home and we will talk about the kids’ first week of school, we will move through the day preparing meals and spending time around the dinner table. These tiny moments of connection bind us together and I take snapshots in my mind so I can remember them–how little they are still in their seats, how they express themselves. Right now is the moment that I can breathe in.

Right away means that I don’t put off what is important to me and us as a family. Even though school has started we want to still check things off our summer bucket list. The list is a commitment to the kiddos that my hubby and I made to increase their life experiences and learning. Ensuring we make these plans right away holds us accountable when plans are so easily put off by competing responsibilities in life. So, we need to make room in our lives right away so we can expel our energies in the right direction.

Lastly, right motives are important in living in the moment. Childhood is fleeting, sure, but I know God has entrusted me with these two boys’ lives and I want their lives to be glorifying to Him, by the way they love and serve others. Aligning our moment-to-moment lives with right motives is an exercise of faith and the hope that we hold onto for our futures. Right motives allows us to regulate our family’s breath to the rhythms of life.