Putting the "MO" in MOFO since 2004

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Thursday, August 25, 2005


a guide to mindless parenting

I am reading a book that was suggested to me by an instructor in our "getting ready to have a baby" class. I really liked the woman. A diminuitive former hippie with two grown children. She had been an OBGYN Nurse for a long time and had coached many women through their pregnancies. She recommended a book called "A guide to mindful parenting".

I like the book. It reads well, and the theories make sense. The authors talk about living in the moment. It seems like a Utopian version of parenting though. It sounds like a good idea, but I wonder if it's possible. Its theories calls for Zen-like training. The authors earnestly try to get the reader to consider meditation.

I have tried meditation, but it's never really worked. My brain just won't be quiet. Which is ironic, because I am having a hard time coming up with anything of interest or substance to write about.

What does that mean? I think it means my mind is filled with junk food. Twinkies and hohos and work stuff and paperwork and meetings and passwords and e mails to insurance companies. Junk that doesn't matter much to my quest for self-actualization. Herein lies my conundrum.

Is it possible to lead a thoughtful life... a mindful life... in the midst of all the day to day bullshit we muddle though to pay the fucking bills? The fuckety muckety muck that pollutes the mind? Do I have to work HARDER so that I can hire a personal assistant so they can take care of the crap while I seek out my own little peice of the self actualization? Do I have to wait for retirement to find the time for self-actualization? What if I get hit by a bus when I am 35 and working three jobs to save money for my personal assistant which was supposed to be my first step in the quest for self actualization? What a waste that would be! Why wasn't I born a trust fund baby? That would have REALLY helped me in my oddyssy for a mindful mind.

Maybe I will just have to lock myself in the bathroom once a day to meditate while my child screams outside the door and my husband bellows my name over and over because he needs me to hold a piece of drywall for him, and our relatives stop by unannounced.

Not now guys! Mommy's meditating!


Blogger JB said...

This is a good, serious question, Megan, maybe even one of The Questions we must all ask ourselves at one time or another, and I love that you ask it a bit sarcastically because I, too, get frustrated that I don’t have enough time for self-development. I also find that I often start resenting running chores and mindless appointments and house cleaning, all of those soul-crushing, annoying activities that suck the life out of the things that really matter.

I don’t know what the solution to this problem is, but maybe it’s just enough to grab the little bits of meaning and quiet time that we can. Maybe we don’t need time for formal mediation, but just the time in the car to and from work, or a ten-minute walk at night before bed.

But I’m guessing even that is difficult when one is raising a small child.

Great post!

7:40 AM  
Anonymous Tiffany said...

Some feminist writer I read a long time ago and whose name I don't remember lambasted the whole meditation thing as a way to get women to sit down and shut up: Don't get angry and demand change. Just let it all go and breathe.

While I don't entirely agree with her (disclosure: at yoga last night I "Ommmed" along with everyone else), I think that it is an interesting idea to contemplate, especially today--the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment. What if all those suffragists had spent more time meditating and less time agitating?

9:21 AM  
Blogger Lin said...

Sometimes you just have to let it all go and have a good bellow yourself, because I think you can almost guarantee that with small children in the home, your needs will always come last. When you understand that, it becomes easier. You're not getting baby's naptime as your down time, except at the weekends, when you probably have so much to do that you can't think straight. Working mothers have it tough, no doubt about it. I'm thinking you need to be super creative about your lunch break at work. Think how you could use that time as personal time.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Mom said...

Welcome to my world!

10:33 AM  
Blogger mothergoosemouse said...

All that fuckety muckety muck is part of the reason I agreed to leave NY. I knew if we stayed there, we'd both be working our asses off and spending hours in traffic while our kids languished in child care, and we'd be so exhausted when we got home that we couldn't even enjoy each other (or have any time to do so, even if we weren't tired). Nor would we have the time or energy to enjoy the benefits of NY, since we'd spend all fucking weekend vacuuming.

Not that I sit around meditating here in my suburban McMansion, but at least I have a moment to catch my breath now and then. And I make lists of all the fuckety muckety muck that I have "accomplished", if only to remind myself what I did all fucking day (or week...or month...).

As for substance, did you read my latest post? I can't figure out what to write about either. All I know is that I don't feel well, and I can't figure out how to fix it. Meditation is not the answer, but I'm not sure what is.

I'm a real downer, aren't I? And a potty mouth.

2:53 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

Meditation is really something you have to learn to do - you can't just quiet your mind without practice and focus - two things that are incredibly hard to come by when you are working, married and raising a child.

I do find that I absolutely require some solitude and quiet a few times a week, or I start to go apeshit. If I can't just 'be' for a while, I can't get any perspective on all the brain junk food and it seems insurmountable.

3:23 PM  
Blogger Prego said...

Sounds like somebody needs to pick up a hobby. About six or seven years ago, before I had kids, one of my soccer teammates mentioned after a game that "This is the only time we get to feel like little kids." I have since lived by that credo. You need that to keep sane.

I play hockey 2-3 times a week, either shuffling off at 10pm or setting the alarm for 4:30 am on a Sunday. The only "fucketies" are when I make a shitty play and some asshole scores off of it. I sit on the bench, sweating and humming the theme from Thomas the Tank Engine at times, but overall, the only thing on my mind is what's happening at that moment.

Figure out what would make you feel like a kid and wrestle some "me" time from your husband before you turn into a salad.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Mary Tsao said...

I realized that I was watching TV at night in hopes that it would quiet the voices in my head. I was wrong. Now I write in my blog or read a book.

Being a working mom is hard work, there's no doubt about it. Hope you find some minutes to yourself in (what I'm sure is) your crazy long day.

5:23 PM  
Anonymous wendy said...

Please refer to your quite side-splitting post re: Paris Hilton - The Trust Fund Baby...

do we really aspire to be like HER?! Please! Stop the madness! I don't see her as the meditation type and I'm CONFIDENT she has the time to stop and find inner calm! LOL.

I don't think money is the answer... (although it is a lovely addition to ANY inner peace we all find! no doubt about that!)

8:44 PM  
Blogger cmhl said...

I agree, it is hard to meditate and be quiet, when there is a little guy clinging to you let. ha! if you figure it out, let me know!

6:36 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

As the old ex-hippies said when they were young, "different strokes for different folks." We are all different, our kids are all different, and different things are going to work for different people. It's great to read what some of the options are; you get to decide which ones work for you. If it's appealing and you think it's worth a try, go for it. But if it sounds like so much bullshit for your own life and lifestyle, file the information away and keep looking. You'll hit upon your own style of childrearing and/or coping with everything.

And then, everything will change again. :)

7:08 AM  

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