Making time to notice small things.
Focusing with intent.
All these lovely terms are thrown around all the time, and are so important. We all need to take that time in the day to breathe, to think, to be ourselves, to ask ourselves what's important, to calm down, to connect to G-d, to clarify priorities. Yet, how is one supposed to go about achieving any of these?
In Judaism, women are not obligated in time-bound commandments, such as structured prayer three times a day. Women are not obligated to wear tefillin, which is a time-bound mitzvah. Some consider this to be sexist, and I have known feminist-leaning friends who, while considering themselves orthodox, do put on tefillin. But they tend to be younger, unmarried, and without kids. They are agents of their own day, of their own time. If they sleep in and miss the proper time, it is due to their own negligence.
Yesterday I managed to wake up before anyone else in my household. I crept out in darkness, turned on laptop and browsed for prenatal yoga videos. I have two DVDs with prenatanl yoga, but each runs closer to 45 minutes, which I knew I did not have. I found a free, streaming 20 minute video, turned the volume down, laid out my mat, and prepared to breathe and stretch, to calm my mind, to focus. Exactly four minutes in, just as I closed my eyes and centered my breath, 1 yo woke up. If you think it is possible to do yoga from a laptop with a 1 yo, I invite you to try. He will either bang on the keyboard, or sit on me. More likely, he will try to pull the yoga mat from under me. I hastily disassembled and picked him up.
I tried saying brachot (morning blessings), which I do say every day, but usually somebody decides that it is a perfect time to talk to me, or grab my back, or stand on the couch and moan along.
Even bentching is not safe. I try to say it slower, with intent of thankfulness for the meal and connection to G-d, but yesterday, as 1 yo heard me bentching, first he ran over, excited, with a bentcher and then he proceeded to declare: "Poopy! Change diaper!" while itching his backside and tugging at my skirt. Dear offspring, don't you see that mommy is in need of her moment of mindfulness here? Don't you appreciate the kind of halachic problem you are creating?
But the offspring is oblivious. The offspring is little and needy and self-centered. The offspring needs hugs and attention, the offspring clamors for connection. And the offspring takes precedence over mommy's mindfulness.
How do you find time to focus and center yourself?