It's three days after Christmas, it's cold outside, there's snow on the ground, and we don't have to be anywhere. Why, then, do I feel like I am supposed to be somewhere? During the weeks of running around trying to finish up with final exams and papers, attending all of the kids' holiday and pre-vacation concerts and activities, and decorating ,baking, shopping, cooking, entertaining and gifting, I kept thinking that I couldn't wait for a day when I could just relax. I craved a day when I had absolutely nothing to do. So here's that day. School is out. I have no chapters to read, no papers to write. The kids don't have any homework or extracurricular activities. I have no shopping to do, no decorating to finish.

The kids have been in their pajamas all day playing with their new Christmas gifts. They have been (wait for it) getting along. It's what I dream about. So why, then, am I pacing through the house, asking them where they want to go and what they want to do. They both look at me like I'm crazy. Ummm, what do you think we want to do, crazy lady? We want to play here happily like we are right now, I imagine them thinking. They say, "Nothing!"

Yikes! Nothing? "Nothing" makes me twitchy. So twitchy. But I can do it. So I sit and try to read a book. For five minutes. I move my legs. I sigh. I take deep breaths, and then I get up and start cleaning out the craft closet. Right. Craft closet: dried up markers, broken shells, old glue, and scraps of construction paper. I decide we must organize it right then. "Anybody want to go to The Container Store?" (Really, now.)


Of course not.

I realize I'm acting like a crazy person, so I decide to research myself. Am I really type A? I don't yell at the airlines when the plane is delayed, I don't flip people off in traffic (well, hardly ever), and I don't get all aggressive in the checkout line. I must be a laid-back Type B.

I take an online test. Absolutely Type A. but that doesn't make it final. Like a woman who doesn't like the results of her pregnancy test, I decide to take another. Absolutely Type A. Yikes. I decide to take one more just to be certain. Type A all the way. The tests come complete with sidebars and popups telling me that I am at risk for heart disease for my Type A ways. I know that it's so much better for your body and soul to be in the moment and to relax rather than to rush through life. I have taken numerous courses, both personally and professionally, to learn about the mind-body connection and the ways in which relaxation benefits us. I purposefully schedule the kids for minimal activities and tell them how important it is to have quiet time. I know that I should relax, and I want to savor the moments, so why the heck am I trying to go to The Container Store during vacation week? Why, then, can't I stop twitching? I am proud of myself for not verbally instilling my twitchiness in my children. I know that I'm the one with the wacky viewpoint, so I commend them on theirs.  Today, I come to my senses and say, "Wow, it must feel good to hang out in your pajamas when you're usually so busy!"

"Yessss!" they both say. I try to encourage them to relax, even if I do not. "Do as I say, not as I do."

I cannot watch a TV show longer than half hour without having to do something else at the same time. I love this show, but shouldn't I be folding laundry, answering email, or reading a book? From my one semester as a student in a counseling program, I can now try to analyze myself.

Any therapist would ask, "What are you afraid of happening if you just sit still?"

Eeek, I don't know.

She might follow up with, "What's the worst thing that could happen if you just watched a TV show without multitasking?"

Hmmm, I don't know that either.

Am I afraid of missing something? Am I afraid of not being a productive member of my family? My society? Am I afraid I'll lose some sort of edge and turn 100% sloth? Do I think I'm being lazy? Do I think that I shouldn't relax? I think I'm getting warmer.

I'm going to try to figure out why I act like this, but in the meantime, I'm going to work on changing my behavior. We have three days left of vacation. It's 10:00 a.m. We are all still in our pajamas. I'm not going to ask anyone to do anything or go anywhere. Until 11:00.

Baby steps. But I'm going to work on it.

My mantra for the New Year is going to be "Just be, not do."

Will you join me?

About the Author

Amy Cooper Rodriguez

Amy Cooper Rodriguez is a parenting writer, physical therapist, and mother of two. Her work has appeared on Babble and in numerous parenting magazines.

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