I was looking forward to a week on my own with the kids, no breaks, no babysitters, no problem.
I had planned evenings at the movies, dining at their favorite hamburger joints, even a day of hookie from school. I thought the distractions would help me through this arduous time, but instead, they made it worse. I spent the entire week breaking up fights, quelling tantrums and shielding sass talk from my sensitive ears. I was overpowered, my expectations were shattered and by the end of the week, I was exhausted.
Henry David Thoreau once called silence, “The universal refuge,” and refuge is what many of us mothers need. We get so wrapped up in the chaos: the schedules, the sports, the school activities, that we temporarily loose our sense of self.
Have you ever thought about what might happen if we just left behind a cluttered house, an empty fridge, a stack load of bills and took a few hours for ourselves to just do nothing? Many of us have the sensibility that if we leave things undone, our worlds will fall apart. But they won’t. Find a quiet place; a beach, a park, even a garden where you can be amongst nature. Don’t bring a book or an iPod, but instead, try sitting alone in the silence as your own sort of private meditation session.
The first time I tried this, it was hard. I’m so used to a swirl of constant activity encompassing my day that I found the silence to be unsettling. The chatter in my head was incessant, but eventually it quieted down. Now, I love these special moments when I can recapture my sense of self. When I return from these temporary retreats, I know my world will be just as I left it, and everything will be okay.
When is the last time you actually listened to the song of a bird or spied a butterfly landing on the petal of a flower? This is how a child experiences life, but somehow, we tend to loose our appreciation for the simplest things, especially for ourselves. This is why small children are so happy all the time; they are free from constant worry. While you may never actually be free from it, taking temporary refuge will leave you refreshed and reacquaint you with the one person you sometimes forget to give love to, the person who sometimes needs it the most.