I love my kids. I love homeschooling them. I love not rushing from one place to another.
So why, then, when I wake up and we have nothing planned, why do I feel afraid?
Now let’s be clear: I’m aware that being at home all day with two kids can be trying. I’m an introvert, and though I love our lifestyle, by the end of the day, I am ready for quiet.
So that’s one reason to feel fear: because it’s a crapload of work.
But that’s not all that’s going on here. Because late last summer, we had almost nothing scheduled most days. We hung around the house, lazy. I read to the girls while we watched the sunset, we walked to the library. We called friends for play dates, but when they were busy, it was okay. We had a rhythm.
And then fall came, and activities, and now when I’m more than a few days in a row with nothing scheduled, I start to panic.
Here’s the difference. Being present. When we’re going from one place to another, I just have to concentrate on collecting the right equipment and children, looking at the clock and driving safely.
When we’re home, I have to think.
I have a cookbook co-written by the wellness guru Dr. Andrew Weil featured, and I still think about one of the essays he included in it. It was called “Eating Mindfully.”
In it he suggested, “Put a raisin in your mouth and see how long you can keep it there while paying attention to its taste and texture.”
I’m not great at being mindful. I’m a multitasking, dreamy, forgetful girl who is often reading while I am walking up the stairs.
And I can parent on autopilot too. Except for those long hours, those empty hours. If I’m absent then, everyone notices.
I’m trying to get back in the habit of presence. Of parenting thoughtfully. Of saying yes to being awake.