Do you ever feel like you are sleep walking through your life and your parenting journey? When is the last time you heard someone say ‘they grow up slowly’… never right? We spend so much of our lives in the fast lane. Our children are being dragged along – there behind us – and we are MISSING the important parts. Failing to be present with them.
I have so many examples of times I was sleep walking. The most embarrassing was when I sent panic through the Outside-School-Hours-Care program (OSHC) because we couldn’t find my son. After everyone searching for 20 minutes, one of the educators sheepishly sidled up to me and asked, “is it possible he is with your husband at home?”. I sternly asked “what day is it?” she said “Tuesday”. Oh right, um… yes, he will be home with my husband because he doesn’t come to OSHC on Tuesdays. Insert eye-roll emoji here.
Autopilot, sleep walking or
sprinting in the fast lane,
whatever you want to call it,
I had a serious case of it!
I was BUSY!
But now… I am living, working and parenting on Hourglass Time and it has changed my life! It’s changed the lives of my two children and of my husband.
I used to work in the corporate world, leading and managing 88 childcare centres across two states. Our support office was in a different state from the centres and travel was a MUST! I was typically jetting off ever fortnight. People often commented, “I don’t know how you do it with such a young family”. I remember back now that I didn’t even think twice, it was just second nature to us as a family. My youngest son was still breastfeeding when I started that role, he was now about to turn five and had started school. Was there another way? If there was, we hadn’t thought of it. My Husband works full time, including Saturdays. So, when it came to family time, we had Sunday and that was it! We Just kept going, we were a great team, but why? Why did we work our family life like this? We often had to answer questions like “Whose role was more important when the kids were sick?”. I’m sure you’ve had the same discussion on occasion – tossing up who had more meetings that day or whose deadlines were more pressing.
The turning point… I remember the turning point so clearly – you know that fork in the road people talk about? Well mine was when I was literally falling asleep at the wheel! I drove to work hoping for traffic lights because I could close my eyes for a moment. One day I was facilitating a webinar to 150 people at my stand-up desk and suddenly, mid-sentence… I woke up! What? Woke up! Had I been asleep? Yes, I had. I was so TIRED! You know that feeling when you fall asleep and then wake up and it’s like you are being pulled from sleep? That happened. I didn’t know if I’d been asleep for long or not, but I knew it wasn’t good.
I must have swerved down the right
fork in the road, because I am now
'Wide Awake and Parenting'. There
certainly was a journey to get here,
but I am here now and loving it!
A few weeks later, in 2017, I was diagnosed with Narcolepsy – you know, the sleep disorder where at any moment I might fall asleep? It’s not quite as dramatic as that. However it certainly did mean that some weekends when I was supposed to be enjoying time with my children (who were 4 and 6) I was sleeping. On the couch, on the floor as they played or just half asleep and distracted with my work or trying to unwind but not knowing how.
As you can imagine, the role I was in and our lifestyle didn’t leave much energy in what I now call my “energy bank”. So when the Doctors diagnosed me with Narcolepsy, secretly I was relieved. I now had a solid excuse to use when I felt overwhelming guilt about sleeping while my children played. Do you feel that guilt? I’m certain we all do.
I am an Early Childhood Teacher by profession, so my heart yearned for me to have the energy to “teach” my children. To be creative with them, go on exciting adventures and expose them to the world around them… but I was just “too tired” and “too busy” (there’s that excuse again – with another one added in for good luck). Do you make excuses for how busy you are?
I only took the medication for a few months before I started asking myself, “If I have had narcolepsy for my whole life, why do I suddenly need medication?”. And “Why were my symptoms so much worse now?”. These questions led me to meditation and an acupuncturist. One day, she took me through a guided meditation. I saw an hourglass and a moving van… I’m still working on what the moving van means but something about the Hourglass clicked for me and it has changed my life!
I now live on Hourglass Time.
What is Hourglass Time?
Imagine if every moment of our lives felt like we were on Hourglass Time. Each grain of sand dropping slowly through the hourglass to join the rest of the sand as a representation of time passed and moments experienced.
Time is the most amazing thing! After seeing the hourglass in my guided meditation, hourglasses have shown up everywhere – in places you wouldn’t imagine. I started unpacking what hourglasses represent for me. It was about taking time, slowing time down and living in the here and now… but I hadn’t done that for years!
Less than a week later, we were shopping, and my eldest son said to me “Look, Mummy” and held up an hourglass, “Can we have it?”. The moment slowed down and I thought about how this was a moment – something that means something, or nothing but none the less, a moment in time – Hourglass Time.
There it was – something to live by, something to share with others and something to remind me to be present with my boys. Little did I know that it would change who I was as a wife, friend, leader and colleague. It even changed the way I engaged with the general public.
We took our hourglass home from the shop and displayed it on a shelf. It catches my eye and reminds me that time is actually slow. It’s not fast. It’s not disappearing. We are experiencing it, but our minds are not always acknowledging the experiences. Sometimes when I am beginning to feel “stressed” I simply turn over this hourglass and slow time down… drop, drop, drop. I then go about what I was doing in my usual speed but glance to the hourglass to track my progress, to acknowledge my moments. These are my moments, and I have decided to be an active participant in them (whole body and mind). You will be surprised how slowly time goes when you are on Hourglass Time. Since living on Hourglass Time, I have begun noticing people and things around me more because I have a different lens now. I wanted to share this with you so you can claim back your moments and slow time down and start noticing your moments.
“You run the risk of getting to the of
your life and saying 'I was busy being
busy - playing on my phone - but I never
really honoured my gifts and my talents”
- ROBIN SHARMA
Living on Hourglass Time is easy and FREE. It’s a mindset, an approach to living and a daily reminder that we are alive! Welcome to the community of people who want to slow-down, get off that merry-go-round and take charge of their time.
So now I am officially wide awake & parenting on Hourglass Time!
Won’t you join me?