22 September, 2008

Finding Time

When you are the parent of a toddler and a teen ager going through many challenges and trying to do everything you can to help while working 40 hours a week, time is something in short supply.  The only thing that is more scarce is energy.  There isn't the energy to do all that needs to be done nor is there the time to do it. 
And forget about taking care of yourself.  There is absolutely no time and no energy for that.  Five minutes of a bubble bath, a walk, a book, a bit of writing, even meditation... there just isn't the time.  If you give that five minutes to yourself, then someone else doesn't get that time.  They need that time and energy more than do you.  
So you suck it up and deal. You give your heart, your time, and all your energy to everyone around you.  And for some, this might be fine, but for you, the one who lives and thinks and feels fully from your heart - for you who needs to write and process all that is happening; for you, this is a challenge.  How to find the time for you without the guilt?  How to find the time to read the books that will  help to point you in a direction of peace?  How to nurture yourself when you are so busy nurturing everyone else?
This is not me; this is not my story.  Although I relate a little to all that my friend is facing, I don't pretend to have ever experienced all that she is.  I am not sure how to help though it is what I want to do.  I want to tell her about wonderful things that she can learn from other parents who have experienced similar if not the same challenges.  I want to remind her that she is an amazing parent and is doing all she can for everyone; that she needs to stop for five minutes, just five minutes, and give some of that love and energy to herself.  I want to gently take her hands off the wheel allowing someone else to take care of things for a while.  
And yet I can only be there.  I can do research, I can listen, I can find networks... but I can't take the responsibility off her shoulders.  She is not ready to take her hands off the wheel; to give up control of the situation.  He is not ready to take five minutes or to remember that sometimes quieting the voice and giving control to another brings about change; often solutions.  
We hear what we want to hear and see what we want to see until the time is right - until we are ready to hear and see something different.  There is that point when we realize that this is not working.  We realize that we need help, we need people, and we need to let go and trust.  No one can take us to that point; it is one we must reach on our own. 
I don't understand the situation in which my friend finds herself.  I am thousands of miles away, unable to sit with her and talk.  In some ways, we have each experienced her challenges in varying degrees.  Sometimes I need to remind myself to take time for me and sometimes I feel guilty about doing it.  Sometimes I need to remind myself to say no and respect my desires and work rather than letting others have that  time.  I am learning though.  Slowly but surely, I am learning.      


T said...

I love this. Especially when you said, "There is that point when we realize that this is not working.". That is how A Course in Miracles was written. When Helen reached a point when she declared, "There has to be another way."

I suppose all that we can do is listen and encourage. However all that we sound like is Charlie Brown's teacher until the other person chooses to experience our words completely. And even still, they have to learn it on their own. I suppose the same can be said for our children too, right?

When we see this in our lives, it does point out that we do it also. I too feel guilty for my time and accomplishing tasks instead of being present with my children. But I also know that it helps me to be a better (and calmer) mother to them. In the long run, I'd like to think it benefits all of us.

dadshouse said...

The guilt question is a good one. I used to feel SUPER guilty if I took time for myself.

Over the years, though, and after taking in all sorts of pop spiritual/psychological teachings, I realized that the guilt is all in your mind. It's from rules that you made up (or inherited from your upbringing). It's usually not your heart speaking. Your heart wants you happy.

Mike said...

Finding time is like finding money. It's a pipe dream. Just like they tell couples to schedule sex, people need to schedule all things that are important to them. If they don't they get pushed to the side and are quickly forgotten.

mama llama said...

T hit it right on with the idea of it hitting us that this is just not working...it IS just what CIM examines.

The guilt is hard. I have let gift certificates for massages and pedicures and etc. expire...saying that I can't find a babysitter so why bother--but really feeling too guilty to ever do something like that for myself. Back in January I wrote on my lack of physical contact, and how a pedicure brought me to my knees in tears--it had been so long since I had been touched--an adult (not sexual, just adult) touch...and how much I'm starved for that.

But yet too guilty to follow through.

Trying to get better about that. Great post today--can't wait to see the other one you were purportedly drafting! :)

Be well, TE.

The Exception said...

T - It really is that moment when you throw up your hands and let go... that is when the ideas and solutions have the chance to pur in; no more road blocks! Yet reaching that point can take years or simply doesn't happen at all!

DH - It is training, learning, and something in us that says we need to be right, solve everything, do it all on our own, and be busy all the time. Fortunately, I had a dad that taught me to sit and be sometimes and who has a spirituality that is something to behold! Hopefully we can teach our kids to be still and let go.

Mike - Exactly!! We have to schedule the things that are important sometimes or they just don't happen. But when you are doing something like, working to help your kid, it is hard to think to make a few minutes just for you.

Llama - okay, you now have a place to drop your kids when the next Llama pampering moment comes!!

Those posts - I actually forgot the topic of one and the other turned into a few lines of an e-mail. You would be amazed how many posts I write in my head or in the shower that never end up on paper for whatever reason! I woke up in the writing process of one of those though... which was odd.

Mike said...

True, but if you don't you're only teaching your child to do the same. Kids learn more effectively from watching than listening.