As a working mom, my guess is you live by the clock.
You are booked from the moment you get up to the moment your head hits the pillow at the end of the day. Your day is a list of appointments for work, school and the house. Sometimes you even have to book an appointment to spend time with your kids, so you ensure they get the quality time they deserve.
Additionally, life is feeling sorta meaningless as you move from one appointment to the next. You lack purpose, fulfillment and clarity as you watch the minutes tick by.
It is a rinse and repeat sort of life and you never imagined it would happen to you.
I can relate to this. When I went back to work after my daughter was born, I was stuck in a rinse and repeat routine. Up in the morning, get the kiddo ready for daycare, get myself ready for work, commute, work, commute home, make dinner, get the kiddo down for bed, spend a few minutes with my husband, go to bed and do it again. I constantly asked myself, "Is this really it? Is this what being a parent is all about?".
But I was determined to not settle for this type of life. There are five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes in a year and I wanted to experience each and every one of them.
The reason many working moms fall into this life is because they are living by chronos time. Chronos is a greek word that refers to minutes and seconds. It is a measureable resource. Our world operates on chronos time. We think of having 24 hours in a day. We define our workweeks by the number of hours that we work. We have a list of things to do and only so much time to get everything done.
Though the clock, as we know it today, was invented in the 14th century, humans have been measuring time based on the sun for basically their entire existence. But there is a form of time that is much more important than the minutes between sunrise and sunset. The greek word is kairos and it implies an opportune moment or an appointed time.
We only have such a brief opportunity to shepherd our kids when they’re still young children. When a friend is experiencing pain, we have a brief window of time in which to reach out to them. These are kairos opportunities. It is time that is measured in moments instead of minutes.
The best way to differentiate between chronos and kairos is to see time as either a flowing river which carries us away (chronos), or a quiet lake which we swim in (kairos). We all experience time as both, all the time, in whatever we do. We experience chronos when we are impatiently waiting for something to be over and done with. We experience kairos when we are so deeply engrossed in an activity that time seems to stand still. In chronos, we are stressed—in kairos, we are refreshed.
Learning to live by kairos time is one of the most important shifts you can make as a working mom. Learning to embrace the moment, live in the present and see every experience as a memory is absolutely possible.
Here are some simple ways I have been able to make this shift:
- Keep a gratitude journal. Simply getting into a regular practice of thinking about the things you are grateful for will help foster positive memories.
- Remove distractions when you are working on something. This might mean silencing your phone, turning off pandora or shutting your door. When you allow your brain to actually get engrossed in something you will start living in kairos time.
- Do something creative, like water color or poetry, then destroy it. The point is to enjoy the activity of being creative instead of the final product.
I’d love to hear from you! What do you do to try and live in kairos time? Send me a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know!