Image from treehuggingfamily.com
It’s been wonderfully slow here in Kingston during the last couple of weeks. Kids are out of school, enjoying action-packed day camps, coming home completely exhausted (instead of wired and grumpy which is how they are when they come home from school, which makes you wonder about school but that’s for a whole other blog that I’m sure already exists).
We have had time and energy (or rather I have, they always have the energy) to make homemade ice cream, popsicles, bread, and butter, just for fun. The kids were laughing at this burst of homemaking inspiration I showed and said “what’s next mom? candles? soap? our own wool?” I told an academic friend of ours (who self declares himself to be a real A-type personality) about making butter and he almost fell off his chair laughing. He simply could not imagine ever making butter in his whole life. It just seemed like a complete waste of time to him.
When things slow down, I am always struck by the energy that is available to do the extras in life. If I walk in the door at 530pm after a long day at work and the kids greet me with “mommy, can we paint?” I sometimes feel like running away back into my car (or bursting into tears perhaps) and sometimes I feel completely relaxed and would happily paint/build a lego robot/call a friend and chat about their problem or any other extra activity like that.
So, what determines if it’s going be a “let’s paint” kind of day, or a “leave me alone” kind of day? The kids are the same kids on both occasion. The difference lies, of course, in the adult and how depleted/tired/overextended that adult is… the kids are rarely any different from the last time they suggested something spontaneous and active.
The comedian/positive psychologist Loretta Laroche says on the topic of dinner and good food: “What do you smell when you come home from work? The microwave?”
Is this totally obvious to you? Do you have the self awareness to be able to gauge your level of depletion on your way home from work? Have you identified what activities are more or less depleting for you? Is it direct client work? Teaching? admin and meetings? Is some type of client work more depleting than other kinds of client work? Have you made anything from scratch lately? Or maybe you are someone who needs to get out of the kitchen and stop making everything from scratch. I had a client who used to feel she had to bake something for every special event at her son’s school, and bring in a craft project and some other cool and creative activity. All until one day, the teacher asked her to stop as she was making all the other parents feel bad and it was overwhelming the teacher! This client had a full time job and two young kids and was running like a hamster in a wheel. So her homework was in fact to stop making everything from scratch…
Have a great Slow week, if you can.