There are a lot of boxes to tick, as a mother, aren't there? Apart from long-term goals for women held by society, such as Return to Pre-pregnancy Figure and Have Glorious High-flying Career, I wonder what your To Do List looks like, if you have time to actually write it down?
This is my current To Do List
- Put lots more stuff on Ebay
- Put washing away
Do recycling Change M's sheets Put the bins out
- Vacuum everywhere
- Mop bathroom floor
- Clean kitchen floor
- Clean mirrors and doors
Sort out car insurance Clean bathroom
- Sort out switching gas and electric
- Sort out switching phone and broadband
Write card for Prima's School Buddy
Anyway, note, on the above To Do list, that none of the activities listed are exactly what you'd call Fun. Or Pampering. Re-shape eyebrows is not listed. Neither is Do Nails. And certainly, if easy little things like that don't get a look-in during my day, then what about more challenging or uplifting tasks, like self-development and spirituality? When do I take time for my soul?
I can see the attraction of leaving it all til Sunday and going to church to fulfill your spiritual quota, and, if that meets your needs, that's fine. But I want my spiritual life and my normal, everyday peeling-potatoes life to combine, not be separate. From an emotional point of view, I attend a counselling session once a week, which goes a long to helping me heal and become more self-aware, and I've always got a self-help book on the go, but finding time for deeper thought and practice has been difficult.
What I've decided is that I need to be able to meditate wherever I am, not wait for the perfect moment of stillness in my (non-existent) shrine. I am beginning this at home, as that's where I spend a lot of time. Today I played a mid-morning meditation track from Guided Meditations Gold, while washing up, followed by one to increase motivation and inspiration from the same CD. It worked well, and was worth doing.
I have often tried to do Zen Housework as I call it, when you try to be in the moment and mindful during mundane tasks, but emptying my mind sufficiently is challenging. Guided meditations give you something to focus on so you don't start mentally recalling what you need to buy at Sainsburys half-way through, and this double album has tracks to play at different times of the day, as well as for specific sitatuations, like preparing for a job interview or healing a migraine.
It's crucial for me to begin incorporating different approaches to spiritual work into my daily life, as I'm such an All or Nothing person that if I don't settle for a compromise to my Zen Master attitude to meditation, I'll never do any at all. I just need to remind myself that with mindfulness, like so many things, only practice makes perfect. It's also worth noting that music can help me reduce my stress levels so it's a good idea to play relaxing pieces at potentially tempestuous times, and to use music to create the kind of ambiance you want in your home. Recently I've been playing the ethereal Natural Woman and the stress-busting Music for Beauty to try and calm myself and the household down. Music makes sorting out washing, making beds, etc, a whole lot more pleasant, too.
I expect I'm not alone in putting my own needs last on the To Do List, but I have really noticed that if I'm happy, the kids are usually pretty happy too. So I'm going to take more time for my soul.