On the doing of Parenting

Balance Parenting

I wonder if my children will remember me as constant motion. Not a specific task, like cleaning their rooms while we talk about their day, or how I make dinner when we discuss their homework, or the laundry that I’m constantly walking up and down with from room to laundry and back. No, more like a blur of my historic self, a gusian filter placed over the presence of me in their memories.

Like my own mother is to me in my childhood; Always moving: a presence, a tickle monster, a card player, a disciplinarian. She is a blur of the eighties, a wisp of the nineties.

I wonder if my children will remember how they helped me make dinner, or bake treats for our Christmas with friends. I wonder if they’ll remember the countless card games and board games and wrestle games. I wonder if they’ll focus on how we worked so many hours or how we made time for them in spite of deadlines.

I think of my days in this rocking motion, always moving, even when still, shifting, doing, thinking. Laundry for down times, dishes for noisy times. Lunches made during dinner prep and beds re-made and stuffed animals put away during bedtime routine.

If I’m not doing two things, I am not being effective.

Or am I?

Mindfulness is the constant repeating word in my days. Almost in the way you buy a white toyota van and see everyone has a white Toyota van. How did you not see that before? Everyone, everywhere, from a coffee shop to a co-worker casually saying, “Mindful,” “Be mindful,” “You’ll find mindfulness.” I actually pay someone to tell me that every other week in therapy to “Practice mindfulness.” Here’s my co-pay.

The question is, and it’s not an outside question really, more an inside one, but can I not be “mindful” while I simultaneously do the dishes and math homework? While I pack lunches and serve dinner? While I shove stuffed animals in their bin and wait for a kid to brush their teeth? Perhaps this is my own mindfulness. Maybe this is my moving meditation. I am present because I can not be anywhere else, than here, with these animals, and teeth, and dishes, and laundry. I am at work because I have only so much time to have meetings, and code, and plan and re-capture and lead. I can do those things together because it keeps me there, in the moment, mindful.

Perfecting life’s chores while being with the people I love and doing the job I adore? That to me seems pretty mindful. Even if there’s no soothing music or Ommm sounds from anyone around.

Posted: 12/1/2013