Sunday, May 08, 2005

The Perfect Day

How many hours would you need to create your perfect day?

I went to bed last night wondering how I really wanted to spend my Mother's Day, and woke up still not sure. For me, that's not a great place to start. I wish I were more comfortable being open to spontaneity, but the truth is, if I don't set a goal and a timeline, I'm not going to get much done. And then I'm going to feel like I wasted a lot of time.

That's not true every day. Otherwise, it'd be nearly impossible to unschool. But it is true for certain times. Like those rare days when Scott is off work and doesn't plan to head straight to the shooting range, or holidays that don't have every minute already scheduled by extended family members. That goes for Mother's Day in particular because it's supposed to be a day moms spend doing what we want, instead of just taking care of everyone and everything around us. At least, that's the expectation I've grown to know. Turns out, Mother's Day was originally a day for peace activism and parades, not pampering.

I've been out of balance this week. My wood element has been neglected. The new shoots of spring want to be born, and they need a creative outlet. This afternoon I called my sister (practitioner and teacher of Shiatsu, artist and poet), and that was her diagnosis. She asked if I'd been eating a lot of dairy or sugar. Uh, well, only if you count ice cream. No, I haven't been eating leafy greens. The ones I bought last Monday are now rotting in the refrigerator.

My sister says mothers are often low on the wood element. We spend all our time doing for others and our creative energy gets blocked. We need more exercise, more time for soulful expression, less sugar. It's easy to drive through Starbucks with the kids in the car, it's not so easy to make time for yoga classes. Doing Pilates at home isn't much better, since the video has fallen unseen to the back of the tv armoire, the floor is covered with Lego pieces and peanut butter sandwich crusts, and as soon as you lie down the baby is crawling on your face so you can't see what move comes next.

But we need to do it anyway. Somehow, we must ignore the laundry piled on the couch and the fact that the children are playing naked in the front yard. We must take twenty minutes to ourselves, to breathe and practice good posture, to finish that scrapbooking page or blog entry, to sip an entire mug of tea without having to reheat it in the microwave. We shouldn't wait until Mother's Day to take a moment for ourselves. If we do, we'll wake up in a bad mood because the pressure of a perfect day is just too much.

I've decided that next year, instead of trying to come up with a plan for the perfect amount of time with my family and to myself, I'm going to organize a Mother's Day parade for my city.

Nothing like setting the bar even higher when you couldn't reach it the first time.


Crankenpants said...

Hope you had a good day. I was thinking too how days that are supposed to be "perfect" never are and how just relaxing about the days plans helps it to go smoother. Especially if family is involved.

Jasper said...

Ah, I almost cried. Thank you. I'm trying to do that. A parade sounds wonderful!

Sarah said...

This is a beautiful post, thank you. I have a lot of anxieties about motherhood- mostly because I am an artist. I even make a living as an artist. I need a tremendous amount of reflection time as well as creative outlet. Slowly sipping tea is religious for me. PLUS, I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and don't have a ton of energy. My darling fiance' can hardly wait to be a father. We are planning to practice NFP, but I am pretty lazy about charting, which is ok because we want children. He doesn't have any anxieties, though, except paying for college. Financial experts say- let the kid pay for college. HA HA!

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