Even with all of the changes that are going on in my house some times I find the days start to feel a bit like Groundhog Day. Day in and day out, things feel basically the same. How do you find the spark or the interest when things get boring?
Our day basically looks like this. Wake up 6:45. Take quick shower and dress done by 7:00. Kids breakfast, waffles, cereal, toast, bagel and cream cheese.. that type of thing done by 7:20. The kids have about 10 minutes to get dressed. A few extra minutes to fill back pack, ice in the water bottles, help the little one put on shoes and coat, quick brush of the teeth, grab leash and dog to be out for the bus by 7:35. The panic morning that is ours each morning. Bus arrives 7:40-7:45. Walk dog and be home by 8:00am for the child that I look after to arrive. I sometimes stuff my face with some kind of food before he gets in.
After 8:00am things start to calm down... I think? Usually some kind of craft needs be organized. Or Holly dressed in appropriate clothes for nursery school - OK half the time she puts on a really heavy sweater when it's +35 and humid. She also likes to wear a sundress when it's -10 outside. I don't want her to have heat stroke in the summer and frostbite in the winter - nobody likes that!! A light snack is usually asked for. All into the stroller by 8:35 am. Grab the dog again, we're all going out! Drop Holly off at nursery school for 8:45. Nice walk home, usually quick but enjoyable just the same. Home to my house by 9:00am.
Then it all begins, whatever project I can do that includes the little boy I care for. We bake muffins and he is thrilled to watch my mixer go. Sweep floors and he get's to do it too. Tidy whatever room I can get my hands on and he gets to play with new toys. We sings songs, kind of like whistling while you work. This happens until the other child I care for also arrives. Often around 9:30. Some of the activities for us change. Here maybe a snack for both of them. Then we get a craft together, often play dough or drawing. Then out the door at 11:00am to pick up Holly from school. She's done by 11:15 so I add a longer walk sometimes. Our walk home is always fun, the buttons to push and rules of the road to learn. Holly really likes to push the stroller and that takes a bit of direction. It's like teaching her how to drive I guess. She likes to ride on top of the stroller, and sometimes in the trunk. All of the in and out make our walk longer. We sometimes stop at a friends house on the way home to say hi.
Home for lunch by 11:30. The kids play and lunch is served by 11:50 - 12:00pm. Finish up, as most are slow eaters. One little boy to bed for a nap and quiet time for the girls. Well more like reduced play. I dim the lights and they usually get to watch a show, read books. While I clean the lunch dishes and breakfast, sweep floors and do any other tidying. 1:30 the girls often get bored so we head outside and they ride bikes or colour on the sidewalk. This is often when I am chasing my runaway child! Holly loves to go way too far for my comfort and if I try to catch her she keeps going, man she is getting FAST! Oh the boys have to get off the bus, make sure we're around for that. Then it's all about more snacks, waking the napping child. For 2 hours we play outside more, maybe another walk. Squeezing in help with home work and managing the big boys time with suggestions other than "no you can't watch TV". You'd think after weeks of this they'd stop asking! "Can we play the WII or DS"? Again the same answer, which they condescendingly say along with me "we're not allowed to play during the week"! "So why do you keep asking?" I ask this daily! This line of questioning is exhausting day after day. I hold hard and fast! Then day care kids get picked up, long conversation with each of their parents about our day. It's now 5:00pm and I'm getting a little tired.
This is where our family time begins. This is where I think I am making small improvements for our lapses in time. Dinner gets made, it's sometimes healthy and if we're lucky is also taste great. But it is done by 5:30. I removed a small breakfast table a couple of weeks ago so we could start eating together again. It's important to me that we eat together. When I grew up you sat at the table to eat. TV was off, phone wasn't answered and you talked! We laughed and enjoyed our meal together. I am finding that the kids are more engaged in their food. With my eldest Liam he is starting to talk more about what is happening in his life and we find out his newest obsession. He's been holding to Star Wars for months. Reilly is still the joker and mostly cracks us up while he is trying to avoid eating whatever's been put in front of him. Even though if he doesn't eat it now he'll have to eat it later, always the dodger! In all this midst we have to tidy the dinner table and re-assemble our tiny kitchen somehow, I have to get ready to go to work. Yes I said it, my other job.
The job that I love to do. It's something I do love my classes all start around 7 or 7:30. They are my break from reality. I do this three times a week and I love it! Keeps my heart beating and it feels good. I am still in a caregiver role or archetype. But I love it. I get to teach people about yoga and some about birth and they are things I love. I love talking about yoga and it interests me so much. I also love talking about birth and parenting and all that goes with that. It interests me too. I get to meet so many interesting people in my classes and I love this. People from all walks of life and even cultures. I've met pregnant methadone addicts who were in the same class as Pediatricians and waitresses. Ministers and lawyers, teachers and accountants. All together doing the same thing. I once met an 82 year old women who was training for her last Boston Marathon in my yoga class, mother's and daughters, 52 year old veterans, teachers, parents, so many interesting people. These classes end around 8:00 or 9:00pm and I clean up and head home.
I wish I could say I was one of those people who is able to go to bed right away but I can't. I need a couple of hours to wind down and catch up. It's often the only part of the day where I get to be alone. I can check my email and do whatever I have to do for my business and personal. I can make a delicious snack, sit down, eat it and enjoy each yummy bite. I can have a quiet sit and draw beautiful and not so beautiful pictures. I can sit in silence and pet my dog. I get to be quiet and alone. I love that. This is my spark. This and my work. My day at home is repetitive but I find pockets in there that give me joy. Watching my children grow up and being with them every day. Enjoying the many walks I have to take, even if they are out of necessity. Doing something that I love at night and talking about things that give me energy and that I love. I guess when it all comes down to it. To maintain a joyful life you need to acknowledge all those periods of the day that give you joy and then the icky ones won't matter. OR find
Things are happening and change is good! I have restructured the home day care situation and that was such a great thing. I have also decided to convert my living room into a studio space. I am so excited.
I had two one year old boys plus my daughter as of last spring. I had found that the two really little ones was just too hard on my body. The constant picking up and putting down. The carrying around of heavy toddlers was way to much for my back and hips to take. I felt a little trapped in caring for both of these children. It is always so hard to say good bye. I had decided to keep the child that lives in my neighborhood and who I had taken on first. The family that I had to let go was not very happy but I expected that. Change is so hard to accept when it is happening but it usually works out in the long run. I found out they found a lovely day care in their own neighborhood and that the little guy is very happy. Financially one baby was not enough to sustain my family. I still needed a second child. So I put the energy out there! I wanted a three year old girl to play with my daughter. An older child does not require the same amount of physical lifting as a one year old toddler does. Sure enough in a very short period of time I had found my three year old girl. Change is never easy but she is adjusting well. My back is not bothering me nearly as much depending on what our daily activities are. Life is looking up!
The studio was a monster that kept growing and growing. I have this great living room. Big window and a lovely fireplace. The problem with it is that it never gets used. No one goes in there but me. Even at that it has become a bit of a dumping ground for my teaching supplies and yoga stuff. I've been wanting to teach more classes and to offer classes to people in my neighborhood so I thought why not? I will be a slow process but I am hoping that by January all the work will be done. I need to paint, install a door, rip up the carpet and get rid of more stuff. The getting rid of stuff is something I am thrilled with and love to do. I am so excited to paint and make the room look fresh. I can't wait to rip up the carpet and expose the wood floor underneath (I hope it looks nice). I am so excited about this project I can hardly sleep at night. In a slow process I will start by teaching week-end classes after all I still have day care children and my own child at home. Once everyone is in school I will then open the studio up for day time classes. Then who knows maybe one day rent out my own space and have a real studio. Teaching yoga and pre and post natal classes.
More changes to come as I learn more about the business of yoga and the business of pre and post natal. Perhaps some re-branding for the business and perhaps some even bigger changes with me and the person that I am always becoming. Either way
All of these changes were unsettling at first. Getting rid of furniture, ending relationships and starting new ones. But change is good. You learn so much from change. Life gets boring when it's all the same. I'm learning about construction, choosing paint colours, setting up a business plan and of course I am always educating myself on more prenatal and more yoga. This is the essence of what I love. The rest is just nice stuff to learn.
Where is the yoga lesson in here? Hum... perhaps learning from change. That change is not always bad and can often be good. That the universe provides us with lessons... Be present with the change... Pick one.
I notice that when I am away I take everything slow. I stop and smell the flowers (literally). I often pull out my camera, which I always carry, and I take pictures of interesting things. I take my time to prepare food and to enjoy conversations. Even a glass of wine, takes a little longer. I think I'd like to try to take it slow more often. The question is how?
I loved that when I was at the cottage and visiting an old friend, I took time to prepare food. I made beautiful fruit salads in the morning. Granola and yogurt a drizzle of honey. Nothing complicated just comfort in a cup. I like to prepare this at home served in my grandmother's old tea cups. The one's she used when we came for Sunday dinners. The breakfasts at the cottage being the full gammet of what these meals are supposed to be. Bacon (veggie for me), eggs over easy, toast, home fries and maybe something left over from last nights dinner.
We take time for ourselves. One of my favorite things is to find a quiet moment and sneak off for a yoga practice or a paddle in my kayak. The peace that is offered in each stroke of my paddle. Being close to nature. One day I even floated past a blue heron. I was maybe 10 feet away and was in awe of the size of this prehistoric looking bird. Quiet moments on the dock, in love with the scene around me in various yoga postures, or just sitting.
These are the things I look forward to on vacation. These are the things I love.
How can I take these moments of peace, of enjoyment and bring them to the real world. The hustle and bustle of our life. Three children, a day care, one child still at home, two part time jobs and maintaining relationships... how can I take time to slow down. I would love to say that I will take time preparing all my meals. That I will not rush through my yoga practice but I can't guarantee it. I can say that I will try. If we truly learn from what we live, then I must remember how good it feels and how good I feel when I take my time.
There must be a yoga teaching in there somewhere? Maybe it's an investigation into swadyaya? Or perhaps I've reached a bit of santosha (contentment), and maybe there's even a little bit of saucha (purity) in my moments, and tapas (enthusiasm) if I keep doing it. The niyamas, the observances... For now I am happy here and maybe it can become more a part of my practice to do just that, and observe.
Jennifer is an RMT, long time yoga practitioner and teacher. Follow her musings as an RMT, yoga teacher, prenatal educator and mother of three.