I'm sitting nursing Carys, my leg extends before me. My eyes travel downward, taking pride in the shape of my calf, a shape hard earned by years of hiking and running. My eyes land on the third toe on my right foot, the nail polish has been chipped away leaving an island of sparkly peach in the middle of the nail. I stretch each foot out, spreading my toes for examination, an archipelago of poorly cared for toes.
I usually do my toes while Emma bathes, she plays with plastic dolphins and cups while I file and clip. This is the time that I have found most convenient to do it.
Our pastor spoke on rest a few Sundays ago. He knew that our congregation of parents of young children was breathing,
He spoke about the re-framing of rest for your stage of life. That setting aside work and playing with your children can be a form of rest.
But what if you're always with the kids?
I sat there thinking about how I spend my time? I thought I had really good time management skills. I learned those in college, right? Play here, study here, work here, finish what's due sooner first, right? I feel a bit as if those skills have been smashed to bits.
When I was first married to Scott and we lived with his parents every Sunday would roll around, and Scott would turn on a game, his mother would plunk down and knit or read, and I would spin. Just spin. I have all these rules that I follow for productivity, and no TV or reading until 7pm is one of them. At the time I was working as an artist, so do I do art? It's not like my job was drudgery at the time. I finally landed on drawing, I would hone my craft, but not necessarily work on anything that would eventually be for pay.
I sat there thinking guiltily of all the hours that I spent watching TV. What have I gained from all those hours of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives? Not much. So when Scott finally assented to canceling our cable I was eager. Scott claims that watching TV is not rest but just inactivity.
So what is rest?
Apparently I don't want to spend those precious moments that I have for rest on my toenails. So I don't. I used to, but, wow, I just had so much extra time. Sometimes I think about those days and I shudder. I should have accomplished so much. Written books, painted masterpieces. How much did I fritter away on toes and TV.
Rest is whatever renews your strength. That changes based on how tired I am. Book? Sometimes. Prayer? Usually. Painting? If I'm not too tired. I'm learning how to work on paintings when I'm tired, maybe just a watercolor wash in the background, nothing too hard or I might make a mistake.
Can you imagine if they sold time on Wall St.? How many of us would be crowding in, shouting, yelling, trying to purchase a few more moments. How many of us spend our days trying to wring the very last bit of meaning out of each minute?
Then there are the kids. Like trying to take a nap in the middle of a hurricane.
I guess I just wish I was more organized about it. When I first dove off the high dive into stay at home momhood I had dreams of organizing the days. Monday is wash day, Tuesday is baking day, Wednesday is cleaning day, and so goes it. I haven't though.
Once upon a time I wondered how much I exercised. Is it three times a week? Once? So I started to keep track. Now when I run, I get to write on 'R' on my calendar, when I do yoga, a 'Y.' Should I keep a time diary? I've balked at the suggestion, afraid I would be depressed at the minutes spent wallowing on Facebook, or staring at CouponMom.com.
Maybe I shall, call it 'The Great Time Experiment.'
One of my friends used to hand grind her own flour, yep, you read that correctly. I was asking her about the grinder clamped to her counter, and she said that she had stopped and pointed to a picture taped to her cabinet door that said, 'How you spend your days is how you spend your life.' That seared.
What do you think? Should I do it? Should I write down what I do each day, hour by hour? Would that be scary, depressing, or maybe a happy surprise?