Leaving Full-Time Mothering

Often being a full-time mother means having to make do on very little financially. And although this is not something that you would necessarily choose, with hindsight you will be able to see what a wonderful time it was.


After all, this lack of material well-being is not meant to last - you are not meant to suffer, but a period of lack often brings with it a wonderful opportunity to slow down the pace and quieten down the wants and to notice that there is more to our lives that the physical realm.


These times of scarcity can often herald a spiritual awakening. You may begin to hear your inner voice whispering to you from within about your Life's purpose.


Kairos and Chronos


If you're the sort of mum who likes to follow her child's lead and go with their flow throughout the day then you've got used to living Kairos time probably for the first time since childhood and that's a hard thing to give up and go back to Chronos and his fast-ticking second hand.

"Chronos is clocks, deadlines, watches, calendars, agendas, planners, schedules, beepers. Chronos is time at her worst. Chronos keeps track. ...Chronos is the world's time. Kairos is transcendence, infinity, reverence, joy, passion, love, the Sacred. Kairos is intimacy with the Real. Kairos is time at her best. ...Kairos is Spirit's time. We exist in chronos. We long for kairos. That's our duality. Chronos requires speed so that it won't be wasted. Kairos requires space so that it might be savored. We do in chronos. In kairos we're allowed to be ... It takes only a moment to cross over from chronos into kairos, but it does take a moment. All that kairos asks is our willingness to stop running long enough to hear the music of the spheres."
- Sarah Ban Breathnach


I am not willing to give up this newfound sense of peace, time with kids at start and end of day, time to myself, having the time to eat well and time to exercise.


Coming Back Down to Earth


So what happens when the children have grown and the time comes eventually to go back out into the world and participate in the financial abundance of the physical realm once more?


Last night I dreamed that I was wandering around a magical 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' type of sweet shop. I had made my way through meandering, maze-like corridors in search of a particular old-fashioned type of fudge that I love and isn't always easy to find in the shops. I eventually found it in the last room at the end of the corridor where one of the sales clerks was telling me that I needed to hurry up as it was beginning to get dark and they were about to close. I paid for the fudge, happy with my purchase and immediately began to be chased by a man with a gun so I ran out of the shop and managed to get away. But then I realised, once safely outside, that I didn't have the fudge with me. I had left it in the shop. I had forgotten all about it.


The meaning of the dream suddenly hit me as I was recalling it to my children later that morning. After a period of ten years of full-time mothering, my youngest had started in the local pre-school and I had had a year of being at home working on my website and my children's writing and illustrating and it had been the most fulfilling and meaningful time. I had had the time to be able to flow with the inclinations of my heart. But now there was a good, interesting job on the horizon that meant that I would be financially comfortable for the first time in years and would enable me to afford all the after-school activities for my children that I so longed to enrich their lives with. I was worried that I would have to give up on what I had found and (yet again) give up on myself and my dream. This dilemma was playing itself out in my subconscious through my dream.


Holding Onto the Fudge


So here was the challenge that I was being faced with. How could I continue to hold spirit at the centre of my life whilst moving from a place of material lack but spiritual richness to a place of physical abundance? How could I continue to hold onto the fudge and not allow my fear to chase me away from the dream and the sweetness of life that I had found.


Dreams of this type deal with universal issues. Jung believed that all the characters in our dreams are aspects of ourselves. So while you and I are the customer on a quest for an elusive piece of satisfaction and pleasure, we are also the impatient sales clerk worried that time will run out, as we constantly put limits on ourselves and our perception of the world, and we are also the man with the gun who embodies our fear which we allow to separate us from that which brings happiness and sustenance, sabotaging our happiness by allowing fear to create distance between us and our joy when we should be holding it close to our hearts. But even more important, we are the sweet shop and we too are the fudge.


The Sweetness Within


All the goodness, the sweetness of life is within us. We have within us a whole sweet shop of goodies and what we are searching for is there inside if we are only willing to get still and look within. And if you hadn't worked it out already, the fudge, that little golden nugget, is your spirit. It is what you seek when you look for meaning and fulfillment in your life. It is what you reach out for when you search for enjoyment through the physical (food, shopping, drink, pills...),not knowing that it is not something 'out there' but in here. And you can get in touch with it daily by nurturing your creativity, by doing that activity that makes time fly and your soul soar, whether it is writing, singing, reading inspiring books, painting or gardening.


And when you have reached the end of your seeking, there at the end of the corridor is You.


This is what spiritual awakening is; the realisation that You are what you are searching for.


The fudge is always there, you just have to look for it.


The Journey Continues


And once you find it through the sacred task of mothering, the next challenge is how to keep hold of it as you move on from full-time mothering into the relative financial abundance of paid work and continue learning through life.


I have found my piece of fudge and I'm intent on not letting it go.


How to Continue to Hold Spirit Close


The way we can continue to hold spirit close is to prioritise and to give spirit a central position in our lives. We can do this in a number of ways, but they all involve getting still and quiet and allowing the inner voice to speak to us, it is continuing to be aware of the messages Life is trying to draw your attention to, whether it is through
  • an inspiring email
  • the words of a song that you can't get off your mind
  • a passage of a book that jumps out at you
  • a dream that you remember.
If we make our lives too complicated we drown out the voice.

Simplicity frees us up to remain connected.

Our creativity inspires us to be authentic and vital.


'There are voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world'
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

'It's impossible to experience solitude regularly for any extended length of time without personal passions and authentic longings surging to the surface of your awareness'
- Sarah Ban Breathnach

A woman who 'would not exchange her solitude for anything. Never again to be forced to move to the rhythm of others.'
- Tillie Olsen, "Tell me a riddle".
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1 comment:

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