Mom, Interrupted: Reframing Life’s Little Disruptions

November 20, 2019 Updated: January 31, 2020
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I’ve been reading a fantastic book,“Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace.” If you’re a homeschooler, this one needs to be on your bedside table.

In the book, author Sarah Mackenzie shares this quote by C.S. Lewis: “The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day; what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination.”

This one stopped me cold.

I began to think about how often I felt like my children were interrupting me—an uncomfortable thought. I mean, here I am—a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. They are not interruptions, they are the life in front of me that I should be present for and focused on.

So, what are they disrupting me from doing? Sometimes it’s actual work or tasks around our home that need to be done, but too often it’s planning activities for a life to come instead of participating in the life that is. In the worst moments, if I’m being honest, I’ve even felt twinges of annoyance when being “interrupted” while looking at unimportant things on my phone.

C.S. Lewis’s words ring so true. The interruptions are the “real life,” and the plans are just a fantasy.

Sometimes a simple quote from a book is all you need to spark a change for the better. Since reading this one, I’ve made the slightest tweak to my mindset around interruptions. Now, when I’m doing one thing and I’m “interrupted” by something else, I see it as the life that is being put before me. From this standpoint, I can take a moment and determine how to best handle it.

Sometimes interruptions should be ignored. If I’m working on math with my 11-year-old and my phone rings, I’m simply not going to answer it. However, if I’m checking my email and my 13-year-old says he’d like to go to the library to find resources for a project he’s working on, off we go.

Moms, especially, are pulled in a thousand different directions all day long and can easily feel drained by the end of the day. I think this reframe can be a powerful one, to allow ourselves to let go of trying to plan everything out and control what is to come—and instead have a little faith and show up for the life that is in front of you.

It’s a bit of a relief, actually, to let go of the reins a little. Next time you feel interrupted, give it a try.

Follow Barbara on Twitter: @barbaradanza