We joke that we're raising our second family. These days it doesn't feel like much of a joke. Sometime over the summer, between numbers 5 and 6, I congratulated myself on surviving those only-pre-K kid years. Having bigs around during the summer, and prior to the gladiator fully blossoming into his gladiatorial self - not to mention the birth of number 6 - life seemed manageable. I even took them all swimming, by myself! But then the bigs went back to school and left me alone to again mother a brood of pre-K and under: A brood that requires my constant supervision, buckling and unbuckling, who can't play outside on their own, thinks all objects are meant for consumption, for whom faucets are a near occasion of disaster, and, blessedly, still nap for hours at a time. Thank you Jesus! No, really, ALL my thanks!
Sometimes all three of the pre-Ks are napping at the same time. This is a miraculous event, and one that is celebrated with a cup of coffee and a stare off into the silence of the middle-distance, or, let's be honest, social media. When I come back to reality, I return again to the ever-loving kitchen. As if on cue, with the last lunch dish stowed in the dishwasher, the wake-ups begin followed by the return of the bigs and the insanity of the after-school-dinner-evening-clean-up-bedtime rush.
It's that middle-distance time. This is the only time in my hours of consciousness I have for restorative leisure, and I don't want to waste it on just anything - certainly not on chores that need doing. It also has to be something that is easily begun and set aside. But what?
(Note: Let's assume that I have already had a decent prayer time, and that this pursuit of leisure is a way to restore my soul in a non-purely-spiritual manner - esp. since it can't be counted on. If I spent this as my regular prayer time, it would often be overthrown by the demands of the brood.)
I really enjoyed photography, and that would be a great time to edit photos, but unfortunately, the gladiator bathed my Macbook in coffee and its photo editing software I'd finally wrapped my brain around. With that, my photography came to an abrupt halt. I don't have space in my Amish brain for the learning curve of new editing software on this chromebook, if anything decent exists. I suppose I could take the time to learn how to take amazing photos that don't require editing. Come to think of it, that's a learning curve I might be able to get behind. Speaking of which, I hope you're loving these crappy phone pics of our deck progression that have nothing to do with this post. You're welcome.
I picked up my anatomy and physiology book the other day, and loved reading that. Yes, I'm a dyed in the wool nurse nerd. Then my eyes went on the blink (hah, hah). With them improving, I might go back to that. If I ever do want to get my license back up and running, 5 years of snippets of nerdy reading could come in handy.
On a similar note, I love to read. Reading also presents a challenge: I don't have the time or energy to find good books, so I often don't have anything on hand to read. When I do find something good, I become a glutinous reader. I suspect it might not be the healthiest way to spend my time. It's easily picked up but not easily set aside.
There are umpteen house projects which alternate between feeling like the best idea and a millstone around my neck. Unfortunately (fortunately?) I can't think of any that are easily picked up and put aside at the whim of the pre-K brood. So, that nixes those. Phew.
Also, it can't cost money. No crafting, unless it's something I already have on hand. Now there's another idea: what can I craft using only what I already have? Hmmmm.
I love people, and I crave more adult social interaction in my life, but I'm not much of a phone person. On top of that, what are the chances another mom's kids are going to allow her a good heart-to-heart? I know mine wouldn't; they become incomprehensibly needy and loud the moment the phone touches my ear. Trying to have a conversation while running from room to room with screaming children trailing behind me, or banging on the door of the room I've just locked myself into, or listening to hers do the same, puts me over the edge. Over. The. Edge. Sorry people. I love you, but mostly in person.
I'm just thinking out loud. But gosh, I need an outlet. Something beyond the demands of life. I'm curious - what do you do with whatever leisure time you can eek out?