Thursday, February 11, 2010


Maybe it is because we watched 3 hours worth of Lost the other night, but I feel somewhat unmoored in time right now.  There is something about stepping out of my life, and living not quite on vacation, but not quite normally either, that is making my mind jump to the most bizarre places.  Life with a baby and life as a working mom in particular relies heavily on dogmatic routine.  Your success in the day to day hinges on your mastery of anticipating the next hour's needs and meeting them expediently: when/how will you shower, what will you wear, does everyone have food for the day, do you know what you are going to say in that 10am meeting, did you pack everything you need to run-shower-go back to work, what's for dinner, what needs attention in the house, etc., etc.  If you think too much beyond the needs of the next hour, you are doomed (or at least that is the most effective way I have found to balance this juggling act), so you focus manically on the here and now, in a way that 100 meditation retreats could never convince you to do as effectively. 

Now, all that routine has been thrown out the window.  Week to week, things will be different until we are settled again.  We'll be in Maine, Boston, back in Vermont.  Routine will be a thing that evolves and retreats instead of a daily constant.  This is exhilirating, refreshing, freeing, exciting; but it is also somewhat unhinging to a mind that has been so focused on the hour to hour for the last 10 months.  So, I find my thoughts leaping all over the place.  On a walk to get coffee, in the middle of the night, as I make block castles for the baby to topple, I feel like one of those time travelers on Lost.  A bright light, a bit of a boom and suddenly people, places and things I haven't thought about in years or decades come to the forefront of my mind, without rhyme or reason.   Social missteps from years ago appear and make me cringe as though they happened yesterday.  The annoying British guy we met traveling in Thailand who I haven't thought of in years... his full name pops into my head as I wait for the light to change.  A great suede jacket that I misplaced...where did it go, where is it now, is someone wearing it?  I want it back!   A grove of wild irises I camped in once on the California cost (the LOST Coast, actually...coincidence?) is suddenly at the top of my mind.  Why?
I think all of this rampant daydreaming is simply a result of being able to let go for the first time in a long time.  I've had such a white-knuckled grip on reality of late, that I just haven't made the time or space to let my mind wander.  What was at first unsettling now feels like a strange and beautiful gift.  To be the best mom, to be the best wife, to be, in fact, my old self, I have to be able to daydream; to dwell in that corner of my mind that isn't tethered to much of anything other than freedom and adventure.  But why does it feel so strangely terrifying to go there?  Am I worried that if I allow myself to ricochet between memories of the past and dreams of the future, that I'll somehow lose control of that hour by hour mantra that has held me together through the ridiculous rollercoaster ride of being a new mom?  Somewhere, there must be a balance.  How have you found yours?
On a much lighter and non-transcendental note, want some Kombucha?  It's yummy.
If so, leave a comment on yesterday's post, then go ponder the great unknown.


  1. When you figure it out - please let me know.
    Beautifully written. So honest.

  2. Wow. Do us all a favor and please write a book. I could use roughly 300+ more pages of that. So could about 36 of my friends. You are a gifted writer and a wise soul. Thank you for your authenticity.

  3. Ditto what Abby said. I'm suddenly feeling daydreamy and unable to get back to work. :)

  4. best post ever smj! thanks for sharing...

    i think the secret to maintaining dream time for oneself is to let go of a few of the tasks on the list. let the laundry wait. vacuum tomorrow. run errands next week. allow the clutter to gather for one more day. instead of multitaskmastering (i just invented that word) revel in your day, your babe, in you. take yourself out of your home and away from the nagging chores if need be. take a blanket to the beach. walk in the woods. visit the library. go to your favorite bakery. and while the babe naps, take time for yourself, or even better, NAP WITH HIM. letting go is the foundation of mothering i think, because truly, no one can do it all.

    i find multitasking extremely addictive. the satisfaction we gain from our accomplishments fuels us for the next task at hand, and so on. it's kind of like winning points in a video game, and somehow during this game of uber-efficiency we morph into robots and lose track of ourselves and our relationships because we are so focused on achieving chore completion. multitasking = tunnel vision.

    somehow we as mothers need to remember to balance work with idle play and prioritize the play over the chores- and who better to teach (or reteach) this lesson to us than our very own children!

    i can hear tilly now in my mind, "mama, you play cars now?" and next time if i'm smart, i will force myself to walk away from the dirty dishes and sudsy sink to play cars. but i know this is so much easier said than done! i guess i need more practice.

    here are the moments when i find time for remembering me:

    1. in the bath- my most creative thoughts are born here
    2. on the trail (with or without till)
    3. evenings home alone post bedtime
    4. during naptime (for example, right now)
    5. gardening (with or without till)

    enjoy your transition and the reflection that comes with it jane... and please continue to share your thoughts with us!

  5. Awesome post SMJ! I would also love to read a book of yours! You are so gifted at describing an intangible experience that we all know very well in a way that puts us right there with you! LOVE IT! ~Kt Miller

  6. ditto to Abby and Kelly too... I need this book to bring me back to life and what is truly important. Your way with words is amazing and I just want to read more. Love you tons and need to call you this weekend instead of vacuming!

  7. Thanks for all of these comments, ladies. I so appreciate all of your encouragement re: my writing. It means a lot. And I am glad this was such a relatable experience for so many. Haley, I think you said it so well re: the drive to accomplish things both small and large in our lives (but mostly small) being so much like that addictive need to score points on a video game. It is definitely necessary to just let it all go sometimes. So why is it so hard!