At some stage most people will come to a point when they have to decide whether they can take on more. More work, more tasks, more kids.
Everyone has their own set of personal circumstances and the question of whether to have a child or more children can be a never-ending internal conversation, especially if you’re unsure of the answer.
I’m unsure and it’s been driving me absolutely crazy. It feels as though every conversation I have lately either starts or ends with somebody questioning when baby #3 is coming along. It’s natural and I see that they are genuinely happy for our growing family. What happens post conversation though is an internal dialogue that doesn’t seem to end. Should we? Shouldn’t we? If we do, when? And so it goes…
This has been happening for several months and the endless stream of the same conversation got me thinking. What am I projecting that is encouraging the question?
A friend pointed out that I appear to be more free with my time lately and that I seem “different”. She is right. My eldest started day care for the first time last month and I’ve felt that I’ve been on some sort of holiday ever since. I’m able to manage my days and weeks a lot better as well as my moods and energy. He may only be going for 2 days and I still have my littlest man at home full-time but those 2 days offer the greatest break I’ve had in the last 4 years.
I love having my eldest at home with me and I miss him when he’s gone but the days that he’s at day care provide much-needed one-on-one time with my littlest and providing him with undivided attention feeds my soul. I had been unconsciously feeling guilty about not being able to give the littlest man all of me in the same way I had given my eldest and this guilt had unknowingly weighed on me.
Christian comes home and I know from his energy and the little moments he shares that his day has been filled with play-time, arts and crafts and everything else a boy his age wants and needs. His bouts with boredom are less frequent and I have a sense of calm that everyone in the family is getting what they need.
So, although I find the question to be all-consuming when it’s asked, people are merely feeding off the fact that for the first time in a long time I actually have space in my life to consider a third child. And the reality is that it has been playing on my mind. A lot.
Part of the issue with the question being raised is that I didn’t have an answer. I didn’t know what I wanted or what was right for our family and I just couldn’t come to a conclusion. That is until I was reminded of a technique that has brought me great peace and guidance in the past.
It’s a mix of awareness and stillness but not the kind that has you sitting on the floor in a quiet room. It’s a concept that can be useful at any minute of any day during whatever it is you may be doing at the time.
Liz Gilbert of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ fame covered the concept when she gave a TED Talk on the idea of ‘genius’ (see link below). In her talk Liz discusses the origins of the word ‘genius’ which was originally defined as the ability to tap into something outside of yourself – a higher power – and let that higher power guide you. A person wasn’t credited with actually ‘being a genius’ as today’s definition would have us do. Instead, they were credited with being able to connect and listen to that higher power. Liz was speaking specifically about genius relative to the creative process but I believe this concept is useful to us in all avenues of life.
The modern-day definition of ‘genius’ gives sole credit to the person but doesn’t take into account the fact that we can and should be guided if we allow ourselves to be which may be where some of our problems with indecision, anxiety and stress lay.
I’ve used this technique for several years. Granted, I’m no genius by any definition but nonetheless I use this process for big things and little things. So, instead of using the technique only for creative pursuits I use it for any question or decision I’m having trouble with. Handing ‘it’ (whatever it may be) over to a higher being takes away the angst and the pressure of making the right decision. It creates an internal dialogue of a different kind. I find that when I give myself a second to be still and listen, opposed to talking incessantly in my own head, I’m always happier and much more at peace with what I’ve decided to do.
The problem is that it takes presence and in my world I find it easy to forget the simple things. Stillness gets put to the wayside as a thousand tasks fill my mind but taking a moment and remembering to listen has finally given me the clarity to realise the answer to this question for the first time.
So, if anyone is still interested…. My genius tells me that not right now but one day, when the time is right we will scream from the mountaintops that we’ve been blessed thrice 😉
Here is the link to Liz’s talk: