I wipe my baby's chin with my college diploma and wonder, 'How did I ever get here?'"
-- Joy Rose from the band "Housewives on Prozac"
I'm sure any mom on the planet can relate to that quote and the sense of exhaustion and bewilderment that it implies. Let's face it, ladies, after cooking, cleaning, caring, chauffeuring, and "career-ing" we're pretty frazzled - physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually. We dream of lives we don't believe we will ever be able to live, long to go away on a luxury vacation we will probably never be able to afford, or struggle to just put life on "pause" long enough to refuel before we have to tackle that next mountain of laundry. Unfortunately, those dreams look pretty hopeless, this side of the stack of dirty dishes in the sink.
The Graceful Art of Defrazzling means learning to live our lives in moments and seasons. Living in moments means that we must learn to take small amounts of time each day to refresh our souls, laugh, breathe deeply, express gratitude, and rejoice over our children and husbands - especially on the bad days! We need to look for natural pauses in our days: waiting at a stop light or in a grocery store line; while we wait for the pot to boil; right after the kids go down for their naps - and other little breaks in our day - to take a brief vacation from drudgery.
We need to use these moments to stop and look for small, present things to cherish: the golden curls on our toddler's head; the warm sunshine outside; the sound of children's laughter; the feel of a baby's soft skin; the taste of a perfectly brewed cup of quality tea.
We need to use little pauses in our day to take baby steps toward our bigger goals like tucking five dollars away for future dreams, skimming great books for deeper inspiration, or glancing at pictures of our ideal life and dreaming a little.
We may not be able to get away for a month long vacation, but if we take little five-minute vacations every day, we will find ourselves more relaxed and available for our families. We may not have time or money to become a world class professional pastry chef right now, but we can get a book out of the library on gourmet desserts and throw a surprise together for tonight's supper. A week on a beach may be an impossible dream, but we can drop the kids off at friend's house and go sit on a park bench in the sunshine for an hour.
We need to look for moments, but we must also live in seasons. Living in seasons means we need to remember that what we are experiencing now is not what we will experience forever. When the kids are really young and we're not getting any sleep, knowing that this is temporary is helpful. We may not have time for anything right now except for survival - but if we're using our moments to prepare for the next season while we learn to get through this one, things will be different.
Seasons enable us to cope with today, but also look to the future. They enable us to see past the spilled supper on the floor ,and the terrible two's, to a time when things will be calmer. Living in seasons also enables us to take the time we need to create and cherish special moments with our family. Instead of rushing from feeding the baby to cleaning out the basement, or brushing off our child's request to "come and see!" so that we can get dinner started, we'll realize that this season is but a brief drop in the bucket of time and that it will soon be over. Dinner and cleaning can usually wait while we connect in a special way with our family members. We need to recognize the season we're in, and learn to deal with each season in a way that creates a solid foundation for the next one.
So the next time you're wearily folding laundry, give thanks for the person each item belongs to, say a prayer for them, cherish a special memory you have of them - or plan to create a new one, and remember that "this too, shall pass".
This is the graceful art of De-frazzling - for mothers.
Darlene is the creator of the free “Mom-Defrazzler tool” - 52 Tips for Moms to get from Chaos to Calm in One Year and the “Merry Moms” newsletter, a weekly humour e-zine to help moms defrazzle with laughter. You can download this tool and newsletter on her website at: www.mom-defrazzler.com .