I feel that old familiar feeling creeping back in, beginning in my chest and making its way into each and every cell of my body via my boiling blood. I want to scream, jump outside of my skin, thrash, kick, swing my arms wildly. A voice yells out from deep inside, “But what about me?! When is it my time?”
While the rest of my new online writing group puts pen to paper, I stand in the kitchen doing dishes while discreetly shushing and ushering my kids to their beds and giving my husband a heartless hug and cool peck on the cheek. Goodnight, he says, with no warmth in return. This is my punishment for taking time for myself...for prioritizing something for me that means something to me. This is the story I am telling myself, the one I keep repeating like a broken record.
It is harder to admit that the real source of my angst lays in the fact that I don’t plan so well. I was invited to and signed up for the bonus class last minute knowing that I was on deck to put my youngest to bed while he chauffeured our oldest to her evening activity. I didn’t have the heart to draw a line in the sand earlier on in my evening and pushed the limits of time to the very end so that all activities collided at once. I was stuck in the middle feeling crunched by everyone else’s demands on me.
Setting clear boundaries and expectations early on would have opened up space, given me room to breathe, allowed my heart to beat with ease and allowed me to go about my evening tasks with serenity on my face and kindness in my voice. I could have hugged more wholeheartedly, each member of my tribe of three, and felt the satisfaction of their heart-felt hug in return.
Why do I resist changing a pattern, a behavior, a way of being when its consequences cut so deep and leave me feeling bereft of the very things I want...warmth, closeness, connection, and most of all, the feeling of being supported by those I love most?
Second exercise commences and on cue I hear the beckoning familiar call “moooooooommmmmmmmmmmm!” “moooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmm!!!” Those three letters put together can create the sweetest sound in the world, but when I yearn to attend to something I deeply value, that word feels like a trap, a prison, like heavy metal shackles!
He has uninterrupted creative time during the day, so I tell myself. When do I get that time? How is this fair? Why do I always wind up feeling like I get the short end of the stick. Again, the voice of reason kicks in to chastise me…he was feeding animals, making and cleaning up from breakfast, shuttling kids to and from the bus stop, grocery shopping, caulking holes in basement walls, preparing and cooking dinner (a delicious one I might add!). “Yes, I know all that! But surely he had some ‘me time’ somewhere in between doing those daily chores!”, echoes that voice inside my head.
Somehow I have this story in me that in a perfect world, if all things were created equal, time would magically stop and space would open up for me to explore, create, write, pursue what makes my heart sing. But to be honest, I don’t think that this has happened for anyone, anywhere, ever! I have never witnessed such a phenomena. There is a well known saying about productivity that instructs, “if you need it done timely, give it to someone who is already busy as they will know how to get it done!"
Wrestling with time is teaching me something vital about time itself. I have to stake my claim on it. I have to get clear, bold, assertive and organized about it. It is not going to magically open up. Nature abhors a vacuum and if I don’t identify and voice what I want to fill the vacuum of my daily schedule, something or someone else surely will and I would only have my own self to blame for that.
Time will never slow down for my perfect life to happen. Time has never slowed down for anyone. Time just is. The clock just keeps on ticking. Sixty seconds will always be in a single minute and that is never going to change. What can change though is how I use time and who I see as being in the driver’s seat of my schedule. I can also decide how I communicate that stuff to the ones around me. Thankfully I am a work in progress and I am becoming better everyday at accepting that simple fact!
Did you know there are 1,440 minutes in a day and 525,600 minutes in a year. I am all in on shifting my relationship to time to make every single one of those babies count in 2020. Are you in too?
I'm Kelly Isabelle.
Full-time workin' mama & spouse aspiring to live a slowly paced, sustainably minded, creatively expressed, clutter-free life shared with kindred folk.