I wrote a post a while back about the busy boycott, about allowing ourselves to slow down and enjoy some space in our days and in our lives. Some might think that being a stay at home mom with “only” one kid would leave me plenty of free time, but with the terrible twos in full swing, I assure you that is not the case! I have, however, been trying to follow my own advice and leave some time in my day that is just for me. Time that is not spent cooking, cleaning, planning, packing, or even socializing. When I first started scheduling down time, I didn’t really know what to do with myself. Normally, if I have a few spare minutes, I can find something to clean or some way to get ahead for tomorrow, like laying out clothes or packing snacks and lunches ahead of time. But, when you let yourself totally off the hook for a couple of hours, what do you do?
Sometimes I watch too much TV. I think that’s one of the reasons that I like to stay busy. When I’m not busy, I feel like I waste my free time zoned out in front of some mindless show. Like Vikings. I loved Vikings. I want to be a Viking warrior like Lagertha. If you haven’t seen the show, you probably shouldn’t start because there are five seasons of it and you will waste months of free time glued to your TV. Plus you’ll start wandering around your house using various objects as weapons and fantasizing about charging into battle with your sword and shield. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with TV for those of you have self restraint, but moderation is not in my vocabulary, so when I get into a show, it takes over my life. I become Lagertha!
Anyway, watching TV is fun in the moment but it does nothing to improve my overall quality of life. In fact, I think it has a negative effect on me. For one, it’s not really relaxing. I don’t feel rested after watching TV. But it’s not stimulating either. I don’t feel fulfilled or challenged or satisfied after watching TV. It’s just a way to pass time. And time has become such a precious commodity that I don’t want it to pass any faster than it already is. So then, what to do with my free time?
I’ve found that I have been spending a lot more time reflecting on myself and my life. I like to think about, and sometimes even write down, my beliefs and ideas about who I am and how I should live my life. Surprisingly, I really like doing it. It’s like getting to know yourself. What a strange concept! I think sometimes we get so busy doing things that we don’t take the time to figure out who we are. And that’s an important thing to know. There’s an old country song by Aaron Tippin that goes, “You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.” What do you stand for? Who are you? Do you really like yourself? Do you even know yourself? These are the types of questions that I ask myself. I don’t know, maybe I should just watch Vikings, but it seems like a worthwhile way to spend a few minutes a day.
Sometimes I think we’ve lost the ability to truly relax and do nothing. Think about it. When you have a free moment in the evening or on the train or in the airport, do you ever just sit and think? Or do you immediately grab your phone, open up your computer, or turn on the TV? Maybe all three at once? I find myself doing this all the time. I will have five free minutes while my son is playing on the playground and instead of relaxing and enjoying the breeze, I automatically grab my phone and check my email, Facebook, and Instagram. When did I become that girl?
So, in the interest of being less busy and slowing down my day, my goal is to use my phone only as a phone, texter, and camera. I will sit down once or twice a day and send emails from my computer, but I’m not going to worry about them while I’m at the park with my son. I can check out Facebook and Instagram for a few minutes in the evening after my son is asleep. My days as a stay at home mom are numbered so I’m going to enjoy every minute we spend playing outside. And when I have a moment to relax, I’m going to do just that.