More on the theme of Mindfulness, I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to call Slow Thinking. It takes a holiday, like the Easter break, or one beautiful Sunday sunning yourself in the back garden to make you realise the frenzy in which we conduct the rest of our lives. As mothers we are busy anyway with day to day chores, with the hands on care of children, applying ourselves to their physical needs, their emotional and mental development, their health and wellbeing, their happiness. (If you like you can read my poem under Pages – Poetry – Now). We can also get caught up in the whirl of social norms and pressures, we make decisions without always fully thinking them through. Does my child really have to do all those after school activities? Does my two and a half year old really have to get up and get out five days a week for two full years of preschool so that they don’t fall behind with their social development? As a full time mother I am not qualified to comment on the pressures of mothers who combine outside employment with caring for their children. But the heart rending choices about childcare, work-life balance, financial security versus quality time must have them in a spin.
This recession has come with a jolt and its making us take stock. Already there are new TV programmes about home making and interior design on a budget and the associated joys of crafts and other home made accomplishments. Those familiar with the craft group my sister Sharon O’ Kelly organises have experienced the satisfaction of taking home a personal handmade object (and have discovered the joy of Mindfullness in the process of make and do!). Cottage industries, cottage gardens and allotments are in vogue and charity shop chic has never been so in fashion. (Finally the town of Bray, Co. Wicklow has found its true calling! It is the capital of second hand shops in Ireland, boasting at least nine at last count.)
The catch phrase of today is no longer ‘I must have’ but ‘do I really need?’ Houses and apartments are no longer being thrown up at a frenetic rate. Excesses are being reined in. There is a general slowing down in the economy and in society and we can match that in our personal lives, taking the time to make decisions, waiting for the right moment where the way forward isn’t obvious instead of blundering along in a panic. Our parents and our grandparents knew that things would come in time, that anticipation was some of the fun. We need to re-educate ourselves to feel the truth of this and help our children enjoy what they’ve got, a precious little at a time.