Friday, 16 September 2011

The lost art of doing nothing

So this week has been my first full week of being an unemployed Stay At Home Mum. I actually kicked off this new occupation last week but only had three days of it before weekend. And I spent all of that time in work mode.

I'd get up with the kids, rush around trying to fit all the chores in before they left for school so that I could spend the hours that they were at school DISCOVERING WHAT TO DO NEXT. This is a hard job. It's stressful. I spent hours looking at various courses to study, franchises to buy, browsing small business websites hoping for a nugget of inspiration, checking out job sites and generally searching frantically for inspiration.

I realised that I really wasn't achieving anything. I am none the wiser about what to do next. I am torn between wanting to earn money, wanting to spend time with my kids and wanting to do something I enjoy - the three are not mutually compatible.

When I wasn't searching for my future nirvana, I was doing random chores - like buying birthday presents for son 2, picking up windfalls from our numerous apple trees and listlessly doing ironing. I felt I ought to be doing something. All this free time on my hands, it felt like sacrilege not to be filling in every hour. It literally felt like I was wasting time, as though life is a huge egg timer, and every minute I wasn't doing something, was another grain of sand trickling away never to be gotten again.

This week I made a conscious decision to let the grains of sand pass on by without worrying about it. I'd like to say I was successful at doing nothing. I wasn't. But I did get better. I signed up a for a digital photography course so that I can learn to use my camera better. I started to teach myself web design (I gave up quite fast too). I spent some time mooching around the shops, letting myself get accosted by the sales lady at the Benefit counter because really I wasn't in a rush to go anywhere else. I got my eyebrows threaded (the lady who insisted on calling me sweetheart every five seconds also suggested I might want to get my top lip done - apparently I have a moustache). I got my hair cut and coloured. I had tea with a friend. I did lots of exercise. I arranged a birthday tea for my ickle boy. I joined a friend for a dog walk. Simple little things that I'd normally have foregone or crammed into one of my free minutes.

I am unused to having so much time. I feel drowned in the freedom of it. And I still can't get the niggly creature sitting on my shoulders whispering into my ear - find out what to do next - to shut up.

Perhaps my next step should be a visit to a Buddhist retreat where I can practice just being.

3 comments:

hausfrau said...

I'm afraid I have now been a stay at home mum for longer than I was a working woman. As Eldest approaches the end of her school days I am wondering whether I can continue to get away with it, but, since I have too many ideas of what I might do, I seem to go on doing 'nothing' - well, nothing paid!

Metropolitan Mum said...

"I am torn between wanting to earn money, wanting to spend time with my kids and wanting to do something I enjoy"
Me too. I hope you'll find the all-solving answer soon and let us all participate.
PS: Word verification is hazily. How very fitting.

TheMadHouse said...

I wish there was an answer, I want the perfect part time, term time only job. But there doesn't seem to be one out there!