NB:  This post is being written whilst my body is full of hormones a couple of steroids and some coffee ( why? ).  It may not make as much sense to you as it does to me… I’m writing it

This was the theme from this week’s MOPS.  All mothers understand how hard the idea of rest can seem when juggling family life.  To be honest though, I think I had a problem with rest long before I became a mother and a wife.

My career has been a massive part of my life for so long.  At one point, if I’m honest, it was pretty much WAS my life.  Teaching does that to you. It seeps into everything you say, do and are.  I’ve always had to get better at saying the all important two letter word “NO” to things.  Interestingly, I first learnt that lesson when I came here, to Australia, on my sabbatical.  Before then my head of department would kick me under the table when i volunteered, yet again…  But… when i came here and stepped outside of my usual routine I realised how my much teaching had become me and I had become teaching.  When i returned to my classroom in England (all be it temporarily) I had learnt a valuable lesson about myself.

I wonder if I am mindful of motherhood in this respect?

I am trying to make time to read.  I love reading and so I’ve been attempting to make time for my books again.  What was great about last Friday’s MOPS was that it tied so beautifully with a passage that I had just read from my current novel of choice “Instructions for a Heatwave“: IMG_6868


Click to zoom in if you need to…. but here’s the main idea…

Her mother was a asleep. At four o’clock in the afternoon.  The paper was folded next to her….

…”Is she Dead?” Michael Francis whispered.

“Course not!” Monica snapped in fear. “She’s breathing look.”

When I read that passage I actually did Laugh Out Loud.  Why? Because I don’t think Tristan has ever seen his mum resting on the sofa either.  Not unless i’m ill.  The fact that these children are so concerned they feel they need to tell the neighbours made me both laugh and squirm a little.    It made me wonder what I was teaching him as a result.  What message am I sending about the importance of rest?

When we started to discuss it at MOPS, as usual, I was challenged to define and consider what rest really was.   Is it sleep?  Do i need rest or sleep more? What is rest? What does it look like?

We watched a video in which a mum talked about the weekend she decided she needed some rest.  She talked about how, after much consideration, trial and error, she realised that her ‘rest’ was painting her living room.  That she’s constantly re-painting it, changing the curtains etc.   That, although that takes work, it is rest for her because she gets the satisfaction of completing it and enjoying what she has done.

That makes sense to me.  What I’m doing now, writing this blog.. that’s rest for me.  Why? Because I am allowing my brain to switch off mummy mode and into a different zone where I can be thinking about sentence structure, communication, visuals etc.  I’m not letting anything to do with visits to the toilet, toys, problem solving, lunch making, housework (I’m sat in the garden actually… totally avoiding the inside of the house) entertaining a mini man… no Twisty stuff enter my brain.  I’m zoning out.

A change is as good as a rest?

That realisation also helps me to understand where I can find more time for rest.  That rest doesn’t have to be sleep… that’s so obvious now I’ve written that down.  But… honestly, it wasn’t before!!  I have moments where I get so tense and frustrated by what feels like a mountain of things (housework, family work, work work) that I use my meditation app to calm myself down.  I’ve been doing that for a while.  Taking those 20 mins out to just calm my mind is so valuable for me.  I had never connected the dots though.  The dots that point out that the rest is coming from focusing on something ‘other’ than the pressures and routines of daily life. Is change…. change of routine.. a break from the norm… actually rest? Or do I need to make rest more normal?

One thing is for sure I am going to try to make “rest” a more important part of my life.  I’m even going to try to show Twisty how mummy rests so he can learn to do the same thing and learn about how rest is an important part of being well.

Here are some ways I pledge to “relax” more:

  1. Play my piano (with my headphones on) until I am in “the zone” — and, if i do this when twisty is asleep… then try not to accidentally start singing and wake twisty up.
  2. Go out to MOPS nights out every time they’re on. Even if I don’t feel like it.  Having time out like that is rare and precious and SO important.
  3. Keep writing this.  I’ve slowed again haven’t I… oops
  4. Keep reading my book at night and allowing myself to float of to other worlds – i learn things from those places
  5. Go to places with Twisty where we can hang out rather than “do” stuff.
  6. use steps 1-3 more so I don’t get to the point where I NEED to do some meditation just to save everyone’s happiness and well-being.

So… how about you.  What does Rest mean to you? How do you fit rest into your lives?  I would love some more ideas about how to show a two-year old what ‘rest’ is.


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