I was sitting here in the quiet, my mind blank, doing absolutely nothing, just enjoying the silence. Never content with being idle, my mind flashed with insight into just why I’m so content:
After almost a week of night-time disruptions, my toddler’s hacking cough has finally stopped. Ah, that’s it…
The child rests.
So does, it seems, my hyper-active parental worry. The typical worry-noise in my head has gone from a fire-engine alert (Is she okay? What if she doesn’t get enough sleep? What if she’s sick-sick? Should I take her to the doctor? Should I throw her in the car seat and take her to the emergency room? Should I charter a helicopter and get her there even faster??) to a dull drum-beat (Is she okay? Better take a peek…).
Now that the holidays are over, I hope to discover a few more of these moments, these “everyone’s fine, you can relax” sort of moments.
In order to do that, I need to make sure that the meals for the week are prepped, that the clean laundry pile is slightly bigger than the dirty one, and that there are no unexpected science experiments on my kitchen floor.
…or do I?
While I’m not an advocate for petri-dish kitchen floors, I do feel it’s worth taking a few minutes at the end of the day to ignore all the mess, all the responsibilities and to just… be. So I’m taking a few minutes for me to mindfully reflect on another day gone by, to think about all the things I’ve done right (because there’s always something I’ve done right) and all the things I can improve upon tomorrow (because there’s always some of that too).
Taking a breather
Here’s how I exercise mindful reflection:
I find a quiet space. I hear the kids don’t go in the linen closet. That’ll work in a pinch.
Allot five minutes…
…but don’t set a timer. The last thing I need when trying to relax is a blaring alarm telling me I’m relaxed. Kind of defeats the purpose.
Lastly, I actively think about the day. Depending on my day, I’ll ask leading questions: “Have I given my daughter enough active attention today? Have I engaged her enough? Have I accomplished something meaningful with my time?” If the answer is “No”, I think about “What can I do to improve that?”. Sometimes there are no answers, only questions, and that’s okay. But usually I’ll have a flash of insight a “The Child Rests” moment, and I’ll be invigorated by the experience. Empowered by insight, I can charge ahead with a better plan for the rest of the day and into tomorrow.
Back to reality
Now that I’ve had my five minutes, those precious five minutes, I feel recharged. Better than a cup of joe, and better than powering through to exhaustion. Now I’m ready to tackle those daily tasks that have to be done, or else bellies won’t get filled and socks won’t match.
Thanks five-minute-break, you’ve done a good job today. Just like me. I’ll see you tomorrow.