Random Thoughts Preceding a Zen Moment

First Random Thought:  Little Miss is currently begging for her Daddy.  She is doing so, because I, Mommy, am being mean by insisting that she get in bed and stay in bed.  I am trying to sit here calmly and simply remind her of where she needs to be, as the 20 or so trips I’ve already made back to her room seem to be doing nothing more than prolonging this particular episode.

Is it a power play?  A plea for sympathy?  A two-year old’s brilliant manipulation of her mother’s feelings?  Probably.

Still, with husband not coming home until tomorrow, it sucks in a rip-my-heart out kind of way.  The cries, of “I need Daddy” when he just can’t be here are something that I don’t think my heart will ever be immune to.  And indeed, I suspect a part of some of LM’s more difficult behaviours lately DO have to do with her missing her Daddy and not liking his coming and going schedule any  more than the rest of us.  And that makes me sad.

Second Random Thought:  I do love to look and see how folks cruise into my blog.  It’s a particularly delightful feature of WordPress.  However comma it can be something of an ego deflator to see one’s post being held up as a matter of ridicule in a discussion which has absolutely nothing to do with anything one has written on her blog.  So here’s to you Mr. Mean Northeastern Surfer Guy.  And, by the way, I do suspect you missed the whole point of the post that you felt was so laughably erroneous.  Watch out for those sharks, dude.

Now on with the post that I had hoped to write to begin with, which may or may not be karmically weakened due to my vengeful remarks to Mr. MNSG above.

I had a light-bulb go off this morning.  You could even call it a “Zen moment.”  Or a “Momma Zen” moment, as it came about because of that particularly delightful book.

My mother used to shake her head in exasperation at me and say things like, “You always have to do things the hard way don’t you, Val?” 

And, as mothers often are, she was right.  I do always have to do things the hard way.  I can take any simple mundane task and make it tedious.  Sometimes I approach it creatively.  Sometimes I add a little personal pizazz or finesse, but a lot of times, I just make it more work.

My “work” as a mother has simply overwhelmed me in these last months.  This week, the house nearly swallowed me whole.  I was afraid I would never dig out from under the Cheerios which seemed to be perpetually overflowing out of Baboo’s High Chair and taking over our house.  The laundry just keeps building.  The dishes, which I am usually on top of, are piling up. 

And I just simply couldn’t force myself to do anything about it.  I would try.  I would set my timer and attempt a 10 minute tidy, only to get distracted or daunted. 

When it comes to motherhood, I so relate to the words of Karen Maezen Miller, “Nearly everyday I feel overwhelmed and out of time.  Often I feel the work is beneath me.  Often I feel the work is beyond me.”  I love the paradox there…

My “Momma Zen” moment of the morning though, helped me to realize something very important, that I can only hope that I can hang onto:  It doesn’t have to be work. 

Those tasks that I do day after day after day…  Laundry and dishes and shining my sink (thank you FlyLady)….  Changing diaper after diaper after diaper.  The ones that wear me down to a nub because of the mere fact that they are NEVER finished…….

The beauty of those tasks is that they ARE mindless.  They are tasks I can do and get myself out of the way.  They are tasks that allow me to “Live the life in front of you,” or as Brother Lawrence puts it, to “Practice the Presence of God.”

So I reminded myself all day today, “It doesn’t have to be work.”  And suddenly, it wasn’t.  It was a blessing.  It was playing games with Little Miss as we loaded the dishwasher together, dipping my giggling Baboo upside down while we picked up toy after toy after toy, and, my favorite of all, it was Little Miss and I ‘playing chase’ while I vacuumed.  Who says you have to vacuum in straight lines?

It doesn’t have to be work.  It can be play.  It can be time with my daughters (which is quite the ‘aha’ as well….  You mean housework or time with my kids doesn’t have to be an either/or thing?).  Even more, it ALL can be worship.  It can ALL be my way of tuning my mind, my spirit, and my body to the presence of God and offering myself and my little tasks of mundanity to Him as a sacrifice of praise (the things you can learn from Buddhism, eh?).

Now, I  know it will be easier to slip out of this ‘aha’ moment.  The lustre will wear off and the tedium will again beat down my brain.  But I hope that I can be mindful as I go through my days that It Really Doesn’t Have To Be Work.


4 thoughts on “Random Thoughts Preceding a Zen Moment

  1. Thanks for the reminder that it really doesn’t have to be work. It’s so easy to let the stresses of the day make other things feel like work when they’re really not.

    Although on a baking equals fun work note, I’m hosting a pie recipe contest for my step daughter’s FFA fundraiser. If you’ve got a favorite recipe stop by and add it to what I hope will be a large list to choose from.


  2. It sure is amazing how quickly the children pick up on the comings & goings of Daddy. Specifically, how it upsets us Mamas. It breaks my heart as well hearing your daughter is having a tough time. My prayers will be for Little Miss tonight.

    My mom has always told me to include the kids with the housework. It won’t get done perfectly (like I even have time to do it perfect) but it WILL get done. Something that is not happening now. Maybe I should try as well.

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