You will agree with me that today’s world is a little bit crazy. We are bombarded with information all the time, and our overall concentration is suffering from it. It’s often that I will catch myself picking my phone while I am waiting for something to load on my computer. It feels like I’m multitasking efficiently but really, I’m only wasting time.
I always try not to use my computer or phone when I am with my daughter because it always ends in tears. She can sense that my attention has entirely been absorbed by whatever is on the screen, and I can’t blame her, I’ve felt it too when other people start using their phones while we’re chatting or having a meal. It kind of feel like we enter a different dimension doesn’t it?
Anyway, this article isn’t about the effects of technology (good or bad). There are plenty of articles out there on the subject. I just wanted to share some personal thoughts on sleep deprivation, being in the moment and capturing that feeling.
Last weekend, I was on my own with my daughter for 4 days. Two years ago, the prospect of spending so much time with her alone would have freaked me out. Sleep deprivation does this to you. I have always been a relaxed person but at that point, anxiety would literally take over my body every morning, just thinking of going through the day ahead. (I wrote about it last year: ten tips on how to cope with sleep deprivation)
Apart from this article, I don’t talk about it much because the feeling of not being able to cope is still imprinted in my brain. I kept repeating myself every day that I wasn’t cut to be a mother, at the prospect of peeling one carrot or emptying the bin (really).
Thankfully it only lasted a few months, and once she started sleeping a little better at night, I also started to be a little more like my old self during the day.
Fast forward two years later, I can cope fine, and she has actually started sleeping through the night for the last month or so (night weaning helped!!). I can feel the difference already in how my brain works and how I feel.
Still, at the prospect of spending 4 days together, I started to think of all the things we could do to fill our days and make them pass quicker. I was contacting friends to arrange play dates and meet-ups etc. You see, when you are feeling anxious about the day, it really helps to keep DOING things. Time goes a lot quicker and it’s a lot easier when you are surrounded by other people (obviously depends on the people, but that’s another subject!). So even though the hard times were behind us, I was still in the same mind frame.
In the end, I got a bad cold on the first day of our time together and I didn’t even want to leave the house. Apart from Thursday morning and Sunday morning, we didn’t set a foot outside. And you know what, it was great! I really enjoyed our time together and it felt as if I was discovering new sides of her. I spent more time playing, reading, listening, watching, drawing that I usually would. The time passed a lot slower, for sure, but it was a good thing.
I could see she was enjoying having me to herself too, doing simple things.
It was amazing not to put myself under pressure to DO something. We could just BE. It felt so good!
Not only this weekend helped me realise that I was able to cope, it reminded me that when we keep running, we don’t take in anything. It’s not about what we do, it’s about how much we are present.
I didn’t take any photographs of this weekend apart from the one above and I don’t feel the slightest bit guilty about it because to be truly happy, we also need to be truly there and having a camera (or a phone) in our hands put a distance between us and the moment.
I guess the reason I’m sharing this story with you is to remind you about the importance of slowing down. Sometimes, the spiral of anxiety comes from overly tight schedules. Some things we can’t remove, some we can.
And those more quiet times as a family, doing simpler things are just perfect as they are. Perfect to remember. Worth preserving.
And to preserve those moments while staying in the present, consider a “day in the life” session with me :)
Thanks for reading till the end. I’d love to hear your thoughts if something resonated with you or if you would like to add anything.