Okay, so totally inspired after watching (for the gazillionth time) my favourite self help movie by Wayne Dyer - The Shift - Standard Version DVD">Ambition to Meaning, I was feeling very enlightened and spiritually moved. To paint the picture, all was quiet, the kids were in bed, the hubby was on the computer and it was just me in a dark room with the TV, no interruptions and this thought-provoking movie, so it was easy to slip into an awesomely inspired state.
As always these kinds of movies make me contemplate my life (as they are supposed to) and hence, the following facebook comment was posted:
"Mums are always doing, planning, controlling, managing. When are we ever just Be-ing. It's not because we HAVE to live like this, it is because we THINK we have to live like this. What would happen if we just started to allow things to unfold, observe our life, not react, and accept our lives as they unfold without ...interference? This is going to be my mission tomorrow. I'll let you know how I go."
By saying this I didn't mean to imply that we should stop being responsible and start neglecting our children, but instead, begin to become aware of just how much we were trying to control the outcome of our lives (and our child's) and just how much of this causes motherhood stress. I was interested to know that if I set myself the mission of just allowing my life to unfold without unnecessary interference, and with observation and awareness, just how this would make me feel.
Here's how it all went down:
Within minutes of making the pledge to just 'be' a mum and reduce the unnecessary planning, controlling and 'managing' in my life, I found myself in the shower concocting my plan for how the next day was going to unfold.
It was going to be raining, so I needed to get the kids ups and ready.
I would allow them to play their DS for an hour while I cleaned up.
Then I would take them to the shop and buy some ingredients for we were going to do some cooking to occupy their time. (If the truth be told, the agenda was not to have fun with my kids, but to 'occupy their time'.)
Then that would take us to lunch, where after that, I would clean up and they would play. I would get them a video and play a game with them. By then it would be dinner time where we would be getting ready for bed and that would be the end of my day.
Suddenly my whole next day was mapped out and I had become a walking to do list. All this within minutes of my pledge!! Wasn't I supposed to be going with the flow? Obviously this was going to be harder than I thought.
Okay, so the next day, I started off really well. I went with the flow, stopping myself from reacting to the millions of kisses that my five year old gives me up and down my arm as an excuse to smell my skin (yes people this is sweet, but incredibly annoying). Instead I decided to appreciate his affection albeit for a hidden agenda, and gently stop him and give him a big hug instead, which he also loves.
I became aware of how much my kids annoy me when I'm on the computer so that they can have my attention and I started to really look at them when they were speaking. I mean really see them and I felt filled with love for who they were and for them being my kids. (I literally felt that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you are looking at a sleeping newborn baby).
So as the morning progressed and I had the kids ready to go to the shops, we were walking out the door when my four year old spotted a snail on the front patio. He points it out to me and says, 'Can I touch it?' Without even thinking, my answer was No. I hadn't event considered the question before the response came charging out of my mouth.
'Why?' He said. I thought, 'Gee I don't know why Ryan. Why can't he touch the snail Jackie [that's me]? Hmm I don't really know', I answered myself, 'Perhaps because maybe it's been 5 minutes since you barked an order at him and you felt bored, lol? I don't really know why he can't touch the bloody snail.
So I let him touch the bloody snail. What is the harm in it? Why did I say no so instantaneously without even thinking? This is obviously something that I do quite often.
Throughout the weekend I found that time after time where I would interfere with arguments that the kids were quite capable of solving themselves. I made detailed plans for how they would spend their day or how I would fit in this bit of housework or that bit of housework while they were doing something, so that I wasn't interrupted. I regularly stopped myself from finishing their sentences to hurry them up and continually had to bring my awareness back to the present moment and engage in what was happening now, reeling my attention back from being consumed with my intricate plans for my future.
Purely by holding the intention of becoming aware, not attaching to outcome and allowing as much of my life to unfold naturally as possible, I learnt just how much of my life (and my experience as a mum) was spent not appreciating the time with my kids and getting caught up with what I had to do next. Furthermore, I also realised just how much expectation I give to life unfolding the way I want it to and can easily see why I have to stop my thoughts from barreling down the path towards anger.
Now all I needed to do, in order to stop the battle of anger of stress, was to scale back, chill out, stop the unnecessary planning that I keep doing and stay aware of what is going on right now. Otherwise, I'm going to end up missing out on enjoying a lot of my life!
It was a pretty insightful exercise to do and one that will change how I go about my day to day activities....
I would be interested to hear from anyone who has tried something similar or who is willing to trial this on themselves.