October 3, 2012 by Gina
Last week during Getty’s early child and family education (ECFE) class, we discussed the topic of balance in our lives. The 45 minute discussion wasn’t enough and probably could have gone on for days between any group of parents or anyone really. Don’t we all struggle with finding balance in our lives? Especially when you have children – any age of children present joys and challenges and there never seems to be a good way to achieve balance.
We specifically discussed the Greek definitions of time – chronos and kairos. According to Wikipedia and Mark Freier, “the former refers to chronological or sequential time, the latter signifies a time in between, a moment of indeterminate time in which something special happens. What the special something is depends on who is using the word. While chronos is quantitative, kairos has a qualitative nature.” Basically, chronos is the time-clock and kairos is time spent doing something passionate, absorbing, losing yourself in time and not realizing that time is passing.
So, this got me thinking. What is my kairos time and when is the last time I had some? Am I totally out of whack because I haven’t had much kairos time in the last few years? Why am I not scheduling time for kairos activities? How can I spend more time in kairos and less time in chronos? What did I do before having children that was part of my kairos?
These are some of the things I used to do that were or still are a part of my kairos time:
- spending time with friends and family (dinners, movies, parties, get togethers)
- writing (in journals, letters to friends, etc)
- yoga or other exercise classes
- cooking (for fun, not out of necessity)
I still run and do exercise classes. Now that I’ve joined the YMCA (sing it people!), I have consciously made more time for that in my life and will do more once I’m not feeling enormously pregnant with baby #3. I really don’t do much scrapbooking or sewing – those creative activities that take alot of energy and chronos time. I read more than I’ve ever read in my life. It’s so much easier for me to pick up a book and get lost in the characters, story and plot with little effort on my part. Of course, I spend time with family and friends but it almost always involves the kids and there are few times to enjoy them without children. And, lastly, I do write – this blog has been an outlet for writing. While I enjoy most of these activities now as I did before having children, they still often feel like they are part of chronos and not kairos time. When it becomes a chore or part of a schedule it is hard to get lost in the moment.
But…I have two scheduled weekends where I’ll be away from my children and completely able to do what I want to do this month. This weekend, I’m meeting one of my dearest and oldest friends (as in, we’ve known each other a long time – she’s not old) for a girls’ weekend. We have pedicures scheduled and we’re going to some nice dinners and just enjoying being together. I can’t wait to spend time with her and re-connect without our husbands and kids! The last weekend of the month, I’m actually going on a scrapbook retreat with some friends and intend on just bringing my laptop to digitally scrapbook all my pictures from the last 15 months (since Getty arrived). I’m not planning to do any traditional scrapbooking, although I love to do it. I just want to get those pictures organized and in beautiful digital books that we can enjoy. I’ll take some time for reading, relaxing in a bath and connecting with friends and my parents who live nearby.
I’ve also decided I need to make better use of my crockpot and meal-planning so I can really be present with my family and kids during the day. This will free up time to do more activities in the afternoon and still have a meal prepared. I’ll be working on some good crockpot meals in the coming weeks so stay tuned for those during “Friday Food”.
I think acheiving balance and learning to revel in kairos will always be a struggle but I also know that the rewards for doing so are great. I’m always happier and feel healthier when I take care of myself and I’m gentler with everyone around me. My kids sense more calm and are calmer themselves. The chronos will never stop – there’s always something that HAS to be done, but I can find moments everyday to enjoy some kairos, with or without my family.