If you’re a mother, no doubt you are also an alarm clock. Many mothers are. I used to wonder how my father would ever have gotten up for work, or my siblings and I would have gotten to school without my mom to wake us up. Yes, we had real alarm clocks, but we didn’t rely on them. My mother calling “Abram!” (my dad’s name) or “Kathy!” was the only thing that really got us moving.
As much as I vowed never to be an alarm clock myself, like many mothers I fell into that role once I had kids. “It’s time to take a bath!” “It’s time for a nap!” “It’s time to do your homework!” The role doesn’t end when kids get older, either. “It’s time to get those college applications in!” “It’s time to go to work!” And, of course, “It’s time to get up!” though it may well be past three pm in the afternoon.
I suppose there’s nothing inherently wrong with this (though it does keep kids and young adults not to mention husbands from learning to manage their own schedules). But the question I really find intriguing is: if you are an alarm clock, what kind are you?
Are you a calm, peaceful Zen alarm clock that melodically chimes (like the one I finally bought myself?)? Or are you a screaming, screeching, panic-stricken alarm clock that threatens, cajoles, and terrifies? Are you a patient, gentle clock that gives your kids (or husband) plenty of time to get up, or are you one who bellows, “GET up now or ELSE!” as if the world is about to end?
I fear that in the past I may have been the former variety. But lately, I liken myself to the other kind. With the passing of years I’ve realized that it’s better to begin slowly, warm up, and then take a steady pace than it is to shoot out of bed and rush like a maniac to wherever you’re going. And I’ve found that the Zen approach sets a different tone in a family: no more hysteria, no more threats, just a gentle reminder that a new day has begun.
Sometimes, I fantasize that the whole world will be on “Zen” time. We are all going to get to where we’re going eventually, anyway. Why not take our time?