Monday, March 18, 2013

Kairos Time

Sometimes I'm just so tired because parenting is so exhausting. How many times in one day can you take it when your three-year-old keeps taking off his shoes while asking "why?" over and over and over again in an increasingly louder voice? Or when both your kids insist on wrestling each other on the hardwood floor, and then scream when they inevitably bash their heads into it? Or when you have to scrounge up food for nutritious meals to serve to your kids three times a day but they whine that they don't want to eat more vegetables? Did I mention the never-ending stream of requests for snacks? Don't get me started on the whole production that is making William do his homework. 

Sometimes I just have to say, "Oh well." For example, on Sunday after church, a woman stood in the doorway with a disapproving look at on her face while my children raced noisily through the door. But I was so tired of keeping up with them and with everything that I have to do that I just let them be rowdy. (Don't worry, I didn't let them knock anyone over. Other than themselves, that is.) I just didn't have any more energy to police them for something that, by that point, didn't seem like a very big deal. 

I've also had those days when I've been so freaking busy, with deadlines raining down on top of me, that I have just pushed my kids away from me constantly, with increasing frustration...only to hear the strains of "Cat's in the Cradle" echoing in the back of my brain. Argh. Argh. Argh. I've thought, while I flipped through journal articles and double-checked academic credentials of expert sources, "My kids are going to grow up and only remember the woman frantically trying to write six articles at once and batting them away from her while she typed furiously. They're going to remember the woman who yelled at them to be quiet all the time." 

I want us all to be able to find those special, magic, sacred moments in our lives that make it okay to still live with the rest of the craziness that we kind of have to live with. I want some kairos time sprinkled in among my chronos time.

The Peevish Mama has written about the precarious balance of kairos and chronos, and so has Glennon at the Momastery. Glennon wrote one particular paragraph in her blog post about kairos vs. chronos that leaped out at me:

"I used to worry that not only was I failing to do a good enough job at parenting, but that I wasn’t enjoying it enough. Double failure.  I felt guilty because I wasn’t in parental ecstasy every hour of every day and I wasn’t MAKING THE MOST OF EVERY MOMENT like the mamas in the parenting magazines seemed to be doing. I felt guilty because honestly, I was tired and cranky and ready for the day to be over quite often. And because I knew that one day, I’d wake up and the kids would be gone, and I’d be the old lady in the grocery store with my hand over my heart. Would I be able to say I enjoyed every moment? No."

Oh boy, that hits me where I sometimes live. I love my children. I love them deeply. But sometimes, the daily wear-and-tear of parenting is just...well, I'd be lying if I said that I loved every  minute of it. 

But Glennon pointed out something else that pierced my heart and gave me hope. You can't live in kairos time all the time, obviously. You have to go to Target. You have to clean the bathroom. You have to do all those chores of daily living and parenting. But you can look for those kairos moments folded into the chronos time. And you can savor them. She wrote,

"These kairos moments leave as fast as they come- but I mark them. I say the word kairos in my head each time I leave chronos. And at the end of the day, I don’t remember exactly what my kairos moments were, but I remember I had them. And that makes the pain of the daily parenting climb worth it. ....If I had a couple Kairos moments during the day, I call it a success."

I'm going to work on that. I'm going to work on being more deliberate about looking for the kairos in my life. In the meantime, here's a picture of some kairos time with my family yesterday afternoon...

We just went out in the yard for a little while and kicked the soccer ball around. We weren't out there a really long time, and yes, there were other things that we probably "should" have been doing. I say "should" because David and I both had work to do that we ended up working on that evening. I probably should have been making dinner and washing clothes. But we put it aside for a little while just to get outside and play with the kids. 

Because these kinds of moments, the ones with the soccer ball in the backyard on a windy Sunday afternoon,

are the ones that I hope that we all remember.