Dear working full-time, thirty-something, mom of little children,
I see you, curled up on your couch trying to decide if you have the energy to do anything else productive today. I watch your eyes as they gaze upon the room noticing all of the tasks that are undone and incomplete. You look around to see if there is another adult who you can either blame, use, or insult with your words. Words that are fueled by tension and fatigue. If you share what is on your heart, surely it will dissipate and you will be able to engage in productive conversation the rest of the night.
You have your computer on the couch next to you and your phone charging 3 feet away. You must want to stay connected to someone, or something. You search for vacation rental homes and fun family friendly activities in your area. You browse online catalogs, curious if there is a great deal on any item that would potentially make your life easier, more organized, and less stressful. Your phone keeps you up to date with text messages, calls, email notifications, facebook, pinterest, and instagram. You only briefly check each of those apps though because you hold an awareness that you don’t want to be too disconnected from the “world” you are actually living in.
You replay the activities of your day, recalling the moments with co-workers and patients as you try to connect with your spouse about the life you lived when you were away from the house the past 8-10 hours. Then you sit there replaying the past few hours at home. You wonder about the stories that were shared over dinner and during play time.
Your body slowly releases the tension that was experienced as you walked through teeth-brushing, getting into bed, and staying in bed for the little people in your house. You think about all the books that you have bought over the years to address these difficult issues and you find that you must be “less-than” because you never made it through an entire book and the ones that you mostly finished, clearly seem to have no impact on your current parenting skills.
As if beating yourself up about your parenting isn’t enough for tonight, you are now onto new areas of self-contempt. Areas where you are not exercising enough and although you ate healthy all day, you allowed yourself a few stress bites of food at dinner time. Not to mention, what kind of friend are you right now? You have some pretty big things going on in your life and you can’t even pull yourself together enough to talk to the people who actually care about you and are asking about you. Who are you? Where did that twenty-something year old woman go who was able to both engage and be engaged in meaningful friendships?
After a while, it all begins to feel like too much. An escape is needed. You have a choice. You can choose to continue the disconnect that takes you further from your heart as you are entertained by electronic devices and the blogs, shows, stories, and messages that they contain.
Or, you can choose to be mindful. Mindful of what your body is feeling and choosing breath and rhythm that provides relaxation of the body and clearing of the mind. You can choose to smile when you remember your child’s prayer when he said that he liked and loved Jesus. You can choose gratitude, knowing that it doesn’t take away the here and now but that it invites you to see where your Jesus is wild about you and loves you in ways that are unique only to you.
Bethany Cabell is a Texas transplant, residing in Michigan with her husband and their two young boys. A lover of beauty, she lives life chasing after wide-open spaces: sharing her heart with others, in relationship with Jesus, and through music and photography. She tells her story here. &n