Just me, and my cup

12:21 PM

Summer holidays! The dread of all Mumbai moms. Two long months of trying to keep your little ones busy in a steaming heat without loosing your own sanity in the process. This is the time of the year during which parents try to find the best Summer camps, enroll their kiddos in multiple activities, just to avoid having to deal with a serious case of "cabin fever". Most playschool offers various craft and no fire cooking classes for the kids, those with a sports ground offer more physical activities. Then, you have all the innovative parents offering classes in their home, organizing playgroups...and the instant the sun shows signs of going down for the day, people flock to the gardens.

I signed Ishita up for Gymnastics this year. Because the usual arts and craft and "cooking" did not cut it. She has far too much energy for it. The drawback is that sports classes usually last about one hour, and I'm out the door at 8.30am to make it to the 9am practice, only to pick her up around 10. No time to go home, not much open in the vicinity of the Gym class. Those of my friends who enrolled their kids for that class all warned me about the fact it is a pain to kill time. Parents aren't allowed to sit in the school during that time, for obvious reasons I perfectly understand: it distract the kids. But, I refused to let that get to me, and 2 weeks into it, I don't find it as much a pain as people told me it would be.

First, there are a few nice and green parks around. And, while it is too hot to excersise, it is perfectly fine to sit on a bench in the shade to read a book or a magazine. Then, there is the local supermarket. One of the few things that are open at that time of the day. Perfect to get a few groceries, and a snack before heading to the park to chill for a little while. And last but not least, some of the coffee shops start opening around that time. Starbucks being the one I favour.

In this one hour I have to myself, that place offers me low volume music that will not grate my nerves (my introverted self prefers quiet over noisy). Free wifi, good beverage and indulgent snacks on a day I feel to actually eat something. This is however not a cheap place, which is why I am not hanging there daily. What I discovered though...or rather rediscovered, is the pleasure of having a cup of tea without being disturbed, and without feeling tempted to do anything beside enjoying the moment. You see, when you are a mom, you are switched on in all business mode from the instant the kids wake up, and only really switch off after you yourself go to bed. An experience I have made and which compare to the ones of all my friends. SAHM are on duty full time. It changes us in many ways.

One of these ways being to be unable to really sit still in our own home, even when the kids are in school. For me, and all of my friend it usually goes like this on a "break" at home: fix a cup of tea, sit down only to step on a toy, which result into tidying up the kids room, remembering a batch of laundry, writing a shopping list, and possibly answering the door a couple of times...cup of tea goes half cold, and the break that was supposed to be relaxing end up not being. Office goers have a canteen, or a tea stall near their premises to go to. For a SAHM, the home is her workplace, which means drinking a cup of tea home is as relaxing as doing it at your desk in office. When we usually go out for coffee, it often include the kids, and the outting becomes a business trip, with the mom making sure the kids eat without making a mess or disturbing the other coffee drinkers in the place. If you go with friends along with the kids it means having to interrupt your grown up discussion every two words.

The one hour break I get is short, but this is the only one hour I get a day, and unlike the 2.5 I was getting during the academic year, I can't cram it with last minute clean up, laundry, cooking, speedy email checking, meal planning and on a good day some blogging. Nope, being out of the house, I just can't even be tempted to just spend a "few minutes" clearing these dishes and dusting the bookshelves. This is a one hour break during which I actually have no other options but do something I actually like doing without feeling any guilt. It's me, my cup and maybe my tablet or a notebook. It is a time I don't even have to do small talk, or have people in my face. It is one hour I can spend just sitting there looking in my cup enjoying the moment without distraction.

One evening last week, I was even talking with some of my friends about it in the park, SAHM as well as one working from home dad (yes a father working from home to be able to take care of the kids as well). We all related, we all experienced that bliss of finally having that moment you can disconnect. One of my friend even confessed of heading down the street from our place to the tiny cafe coffee days while her daughters were at school, just to not be tempted to tackle household chores and get a real timeout. The first time she did it felt like an epiphany, the very same I made in the past 15 days.

So while I wished Ishita's Summer camp was longer than one hour, I realised that the fact it is that short is more of a blessing than the curse it was made out to be by those who attempted before me. Even if Starbucks on a daily basis isn't a reasonable option. sitting on a park bench while off duty and not having to keep an eye on the kids while they play is equally blissful.

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  1. Susan1:46 AM

    Nice post, Cynthia! I agree that it's very hard to disconnect and just "be" when at home. I, too, am always thinking of what I should be doing and end up with a cold cup of coffee in the end. I also find that as soon as I wake up in the morning, I bombard myself with what I have to do that day, so I don't even wake up peacefully. I guess it's the curse of working full-time plus doing all of the chores/life things that go with having a family. I'm a teacher and my vacation is coming in about 5 weeks, and my experience reminds me that I will need at least a week to unwind and get out of "work" mode. Happy vacation!

  2. Yes I wake up pretty much that way too. Most days it is Ishita waking me up at 6-6.30. And I am switching from fast asleep to all business in a matter of seconds never really taking time to transition at all. During this Summer break that means I am running around the apartment until 8.30 and then bam we are out the door to make it on time to the Gym class. And there are days I try hard to remember if I actually are something before leaving. In my frenzy to get it all done and make sure Ishita ate something I often forget to do so myself, these days grabbing a bite at Starbucks become essential.

  3. I think it's really good that you have that one hour, free from all of your normal routines. While having time to clean successfully is good, sometimes you just need that time out alone with nothing to do but enjoy yourself.

    Maybe you could engage Ishita in some of the household chores to help use up that energy. Even if she makes a mess of it all, it could be a valuable bonding experience and teach her something new she might like.

  4. I already have her do household chores :-) and if she makes a mess she can sure clean it up too. She is back to earning stars for these, her request to earn them because after I said no 10 times for pink glittery ballet flat shoes, she figured out I would not say no to her actually earning them LOL makes me glad my little trick with asking her to earn the doll pram last January sank in :-)

  5. apple5:11 PM

    Here is something which will pep you up. They don't make such outstanding songs these days. Pure classical beauties. I actually had goose bumps hearing the first song. I have seen the movie many years ago. These songs 62 years old and still fresh. What singers, what music composers, what actors amazing.





  6. Lol. I am glad it sank in too. Now we just need to find some other ways to soak up some of that energy she has. :)


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