Sorry that it’s been a while between posts. I have been on a family holiday. And I use that word advisedly. I mean, I do appreciate a change of scene and all, but ‘holiday with children’… more like shifting the whole shebang to somewhere with fewer distractions and less support.
At one point, I even found myself fantasising about having myself thrown in gaol for a couple of weeks (months?). I was thinking new exercise regime, learning a new language, perhaps even one of those creative writing courses they teach in prisons nowadays…
Sorry, I exaggerate (a little). The holidays were mostly fun. And how good to have a couple of weeks without the crazy school/kinder/work/drop-off/pick-up/make someone’s lunch/dinner routine. But, oh, how I miss a lazy morning in bed reading a book...
So back to reality. Or perhaps the reality we create.
In the post today, I received a review copy of the latest Buddhism for Mothers book, the somewhat awkwardly but straightforwardly titled Buddhism for Mothers of Schoolchildren by Sarah Napthali.
I have to admit I have not properly read the original book, though other mothers mention it in conversation all the time. But I took a quick peek at this new one, read the first line of the first chapter (titled ‘Stress’ — ha ha, why would that be?!) and think I have to read this book.
“Mothers of schoolchildren can have a tense relationship with time and, in some cases, an obsessive attachment to using it efficiently,” writes Napthali.
Isn’t this the wonderful thing about writing — someone else always manages to describe some emotion or thought or idea you believed was just your own particular neuroses, and suddenly you realise it’s a common, explainable feeling?
Tense would be putting it mildly, for me. I have a perverse relationship with time — almost as perverse as my relationship with housework (and very much related).
I now find myself regularly writing time as ‘TIME’. Sorry, I’m not yelling, exactly, but time has come to be one of those hugely loaded terms for me. One of those big words, like LOVE or MONEY.
As I wrote in The Divided Heart, I don’t think I even had a relationship with time before I had children. Now that every moment alone has to be bought, borrowed, begged or stolen, I feel like I’ve gone to the other extreme — unhealthily attached to making every minute count.
Which of course only becomes it’s own burden — because even when you’ve “decided just to relax” (how’s that for an oxymoron), you’ve still got the clock ticking in the back of your head.
Multi-tasking has become such a habit for me now that I find myself doing it obsessively at times when it is just not useful. For example, when trying to write — which would actually benefit from a bit of single-minded focus.
It can become a tad ridiculous when you find yourself trying to brush your teeth, make a phone call and do the dishes at the same time. And, no, unfortunately I am not making that up! It wasn't until the other person answered their phone that I realised it just wasn’t going to work.