Source: Indys Child Parenting Magazine

Mommy Magic
Unplugging yourself from reality

by Mary Susan Buhner

August 01, 2011

I recently returned home for my oldest daughter’s class trip to Williamsburg, Va. As I was packing for our trip, I realized that I had never been away with my oldest daughter by herself for five days. I was excited for that opportunity to enjoy her, her friends, and to get to know the other moms and dads on the trip. It was a 14 hour bus ride there and back to Virginia. We all met at the school parking lot at 5:30 a.m. ready to pull out on the open road. The kids were excited, the parents exhausted already, but nonetheless, we were on our way.

After the excitement simmered down on the bus, I realized that I felt weird. I was doing nothing. Just sitting there on a bus staring out the window. Nothing to do, but sit. As a mom, you know how rare it is to sit in silence and do nothing. I felt weird doing it. There was an unspoken courtesy that the adults did not talk on their cell phones (after all, we could hear everything someone was saying) and we had all literally “unplugged” for the road trip.

I was surprised how fast time passed doing nothing. I also started to admit to myself that I liked it. For the first several hours I had an internal struggle with myself. I should be reading, I should be working, I should be doing something, but the subtle hum of the bus seemed to keep me in a relaxed catatonic state. It was peaceful, it was quiet, it was wonderful. Ahhhh, the art of doing nothing. I think I was starting to like it. By mid morning, parents started to chat and kids started to wiggle. We played games, talked, and I had the time to really be interested in those around me. I discovered I was not only more relaxed, but more curious about others. For several years I had passed these parents in the school hallways saying, “Hi” or “Nice to see you.” Now I was getting to actually know them, their families, their lives.

By the afternoon, I felt liberated to be “unplugged” and was truly enjoying the opportunity to connect with others. Granted, being away from home and sitting on a bus gave me the chance to actually do nothing, but it also made me realize how important it is to embrace it in my daily life as well.

As I am writing my column, I am back to reality. My dogs are barking at the mailman pulling up, my youngest wants a popsicle and my older two are bickering over a hairbrush. As I sit here in the midst of the chaos, I recall the feeling of sitting on that bus looking out the window just doing nothing.

As a mom, there are always 100 things to do and the list never gets shorter. There will always be laundry to do, errands to run, rooms to clean up, dinner to make. It is an important job we do to keep our families moving forward and on track. It can however, run you down. Consider taking some time each week to “unplug” and make a deliberate attempt to connect with your neighbors, friends, and family. Sit and chat, have an ice cold lemonade and actually taste it when you drink it. Enjoy a few moments of doing nothing. It is a foreign art for most moms, but I do believe it is an important one for us to sustain ourselves in today’s busy world.