Over the past couple of weeks, I have been trying to become more meditative. It was part of a new-year resolution, having found myself drifting away from the reflective nature of my faith, focusing more on the actions than the message. Mass had become less about being spiritually connected; more about making sure that my kids were paying attention.
So I signed up for a one-hour, once-a-week class on meditation at a local retreat center. It was a nice escape for an hour for this full-time working wife, mom, and caregiver. That hour each week became my blocked-off time to decompress, pray, reflect, and shut out everything else.
In fact, I came to enjoy it so much that a few weeks ago I thought maybe I would try to incorporate it more into my everyday life. Thanks to kids’ schedules and family obligations, I was finding myself missing more and more classes, so I decided to re-create my spiritual escape at home.
That was my first mistake.
I retreated to the basement, grabbed a CD of meditative music I had gotten for Christmas, laid out a blanket, and hit Play. I had barely saty down when our dog began to tug at the blanket. I corrected her and continued on with my practice.
A few seconds in, I opened my eyes to see my 8-year-old daughter, Riley, standing over me.
“Whatever it is you’re doing, can I do it with you?”
I grumbled a bit, but said, “Sure.”
“By the way, what are you doing?”
Two minutes later, another kid had joined us. I repeated the previous conversation. And then another came along. Didn’t these kids have anything else to do? Suddenly I had four kids and a dog all attempting to meditate with me. It quickly became obvious to me that if the whole point of doing this was to relax, it was not going to work.
Not wanting to discourage my children’s interest, and quite frankly hoping it might keep them calm—and quiet—for a while, I excused myself, went upstairs to the kitchen, and got a bowl of ice cream. It seemed the next-best means of relaxation and peace.
After I finished my ice cream, I decided to try again, this time in a new location. I retreated to my bedroom, closed the door, lay on my bed, and closed my eyes.
In the spirit of Psalm 46:11 (“Be still and know that I am God”), I chose a word on which to focus and reflect. I locked in on the word “calm,” and tried to shut out the world around me.
It didn’t take long for me to realize once again that my home was definitely not conducive to a quiet, meditative atmosphere.
Before I could even utter “calm” for the first time, I was greeted with the screams of “Mom!” Apparently they had grown tired of lying on the basement floor and being quiet. Each time someone yelled “Mom,” I replaced it with “calm” and tried to maintain my “calm.”
I settled back into my restful pose and worked to relax my muscles and focus on my breathing. As I deeply inhaled, I was suddenly overcome by the smell of my daughter’s new perfume—which she obviously did not realize needed only one spray. On the exhale, I puffed out my cheeks in exasperation as I listened to my son and daughter bicker. Inhale—dirty diaper. Exhale—well, more of a sigh than an exhale. I heard the door creak open.
"Mom,” said a voice that was trying to whisper, but was actually louder than a normal speaking voice.
I lay still, hoping Kacey, my youngest daughter, would go away.
“Mom,” she said again. I could feel her breath on my cheek, so I knew she was close by.
“Dad, I think something’s wrong with Mom,” she yelled downstairs. “She’s not moving.”
I opened one eye and glared at her.
“Never mind,” she screamed. “She’s alive.”
I rolled onto my side and asked what she wanted.
“Can I have a snack?”
“Go ask your dad,” I said, rolling onto my back.
“He already said no.”
“Then why are you asking me? Can’t you see I’m busy?”
“Looks like you’re just lying there doing nothing.”
“I’m trying to meditate. Now go downstairs.”
“Obviously something I’m not going to get to do,” I responded.
“Are you done now?”
“Sure looks that way.”
And that, my friends, is why moms—at least this one—don’t meditate.