Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Breathe In, Finding Center, Exhale...

Ever have one of those weeks where you just feel like you can barely catch your breath? Where your life feels like it's on hyperspeed? I feel like I've just hit that wall and am trying to figure out how to s l o w it all down. I'm just craving some calm and quiet. As much as I love our life here in the Bay Area sometimes (um, like about right now) it's all just too much and I fantasize about an alternate reality where we're living in someplace simpler, rural and woodsy.

A place where the kids have space and room to run around in the trees... maybe even a creek to look for tadpoles.
At the creek that runs through the UC Berkeley campus nearby

For me, I'd suddenly sprout a green thumb and could plant a garden that could actually feed us.
From my dad's garden

In the evenings, by the light of the fireplace, cuddled up in quilts that I'd have time to make, we'd all read stories together.
Matteo with the last full size quilt I made circa 1993

My brainy husband could do his work from home and join us for lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup (from aforementioned fantasy garden).

I realize that we've been able to replicate a lot of the elements of my alternalife into our everyday world... maybe it's just up to me to stop the overscheduling and the rush from one place to another. I know I put a lot of pressure on myself to make sure the boys are engaged and active. I worry that I'm a slacker mom by not signing them up for swim lessons, soccer camp and music classes, but I know that doing all those activities wouldn't be coming from their own desires, but rather my own insecurities that I should be doing what other Bay Area families do. Still, even without all those activities, I'm feeling burned out from everyday life.

OK, I'm meandering a bit in my thoughts... thank you for allowing me to use this space for contemplation. I'd love to hear how others live... do you feel the pressure? How do you slow yourself (and family) down?



Anonymous said...

So love these pictures and your thoughts here, Mama. The pressure to keep moving comes from within, here. DS is always asking, "where are we going next? what are we going to DO today?" He just does not care for quiet days at home (of which you and I dream). And yet, if we go to a place where there are lots of new people, he shuts down and begins quietly playing off by himself like he's never done at home (Mama throws up hands in frustration). But, one thing that I have seen is how much he responds to how relaxed we all are here. So, hopefully that will help bring quieter days for us all. May you find them too - if not there, HERE!!! ;-)

cat said...

oh gosh my dear....we don't have rigid schedules either and i'm exhausted 90% of the time. i'm right where you are right now to be honest. i don't have any time to craft unless it's late at night, feeding my soul - um...what is that again? i do value that i get to be home with my little ones and watch them grow and change. i do value that we have our mini farm that they learn from...i'm frustrated because heat pretty much destroyed my veggie garden and there is still an amazing amount of work to do to get things the way we want them here...i do understand. i don't believe in over scheduling kids, so we don't do all the millions of classes every week. they take gymnastics and in the fall lola will do soccer again. but taking a moment to breath seems like another major endeavor. maybe you need to move here where you can get a little of the farming you want, and then we can lean on each other those days we need help standing up..;)

i wish i had a better answer for you love...i'm finding my way in it all too...it will get better..:) love you!

Jenna aka Town&Country Mouse, formerly Citygirl said...

LOL! I am right smack in the middle of rual, woodsy, with a lazy river to boot. We have the garden (waaay too huge for me to manage myself) and the food (waaay too much for me to put up myself) and I too feel pressured to put the kids in activites. We are swimming now (a fabulously low key summer swim team) but that drives our whole rhythm and I sometimes resent the outside distraction. My mantra of late has been, "slow down."
Laugh if you must, but sometimes (especially when I am sick of living in the sticks and driving 20-30 minutes to get anywhere) I fantasize about living in the Northwest in a lovely bike community...no car...cooler weather...
Inhale..."slow down"...exhale..."make do."

nicola said...

i am right here with you, marina. quite literally. my alternalife (love that "word!") sounds almost identical to yours and i am also making due here, too. and yes, have had MANY days/weeks such as you describe. (were we twins?)
you know, i find that scheduling actually works in my favorite. the more scheduled we are the better. what matters is WHAT we schedule. the kids and i all function best with a routine, so i just schedule everything in, even the relaxing "nothing" activities. hang in there and get a little craft time in there for you if you can schedule it in. ;)

Marina said...

Thank you so much everyone for your encouragement and empathy! It's such a relief to know that I'm not the only one who struggles with finding the right balance between home and enrichment activities.

So many very good insights...

Miri said...

oh this is just too lovely, i really like the pictures.
we don't have any schedules, or even routines, though one part in our daily life is a constant. A nice family dinner that we all cook & eat together. That is when we all come together, learn to breathe again & slow down.
I could not imagine life without that quiet moment in our busy days.

nicola said...

ummmm...my post was supposed to read "in my favor" not "favorite." oops.

TheSingingBird said...

every time i feel this way i head for the coast as soon as possible...after just a few moments there everything falls gently back into perspective for me...i wish the same for you

The Magic Onions said...

I LOVE this post... I feel like this so often, lamenting that we don't live right IN nature... but then I remember that it is all around me, I just have to work harder for it.
I'd love you to share this with us on my post 'Friday's Nature Table' today. I'd be honored if you'd post it there as I'm sure there are so many 'in the same boat'.
Blessings and magic.