It’s summer and in my household this means the kids are home more either telling me they’re having the best time of their lives or so bored not even tickets to a World Cup soccer game could satisfy them (well, maybe my nine-year-old). I’m in the middle of reading Book Five of the Percy Jackson series to my 11-year-old and Book Two of the same series to my 9-year-old, mixing up Gods and demi-gods left and right. And I’m behind on every summer work and personal commitment I’ve made to myself. Sound familiar?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot, wondering how motherhood and balance can ever coexist, and then it dawned on me that every day there are kernels of balance right in front of us if we open our eyes. Yesterday my “kernel” was my car. Silence and solitude are not something I get a lot of in the summer, but yesterday I had a chunk of 5 hours without my kids and decided on a whim to have a spa day in my car. I had two weeks of work to accomplish in five hours which doesn’t appear to be “spa” worthy baggage. Who cares, I thought. My car was the quietest place I had.
After dropping my boys I parked in a wooded area, got out of the drivers seat and clicked open the back passengers seat of my Honda Odessey with a michevous thrill only a mother can understand. I’m all alone and in the back of my van, I thought to myself with a grin. The epicenter of family chaos: sibling bashing, ice cream spills, crumbs…so many gravel-like crumbs. I lay back in the seat and let out a sigh I’m sure could be heard in Uzbekistan. Instantly I began doing kundalini breathing: sharp in and out breaths from my nose, my belly pulsing with each breath. Then came the yawn. Three, I think. I poured myself a glass of water. And another. My feet crossed in Indian-style as I opened my computer and like mana found an internet connection. Type, type. Drink. Type. Drink. My body relaxed so quickly you’d think I was having a swedish massage.
I hadn’t planned this car jaunt and by noon my belly wanted to be fed. Eat out? In a crowded café? No way, my she-belly whispered. Back to the car. Eating mindfully in the backseat, chewing like a monk, my body weightless, I found myself intimate with my 11-year-old minivan for the first time ever. More, more, I groaned.
And then the time came to pick up the kids. To my surprise when they jumped in the car I welcomed their presence (and noise). There’s nothing like a few hours at the spa to appreciate every laugh, whine and cry coming from our children’s mouths. If it can’t be a real spa why not the car? (Or or if you don’t have 5 hours then maybe a 5-minute bathroom spa moment?) When we do anything with intention we can create a spa wherever we are . And when we give to ourselves we are instantly filled with a higher capacity to give; a useful tool for empowered mothering.
Bring on Percy Jackson!
About Karen Brody