Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Cure for Monkey Brain

I started a new part-time job that consumes the majority of my free time.  It's only twelve hours a week, but that doesn't cease to fill me with guilt that El, my 13 month-old daughter's routine is disrupted and my brain occasionally hijacked.  Three days a week I am onsite.  On those three days, she doesn't nap in her bed and has to eat breakfast in the car when she would normally be home playing in her pajamas.   

And because I do some work from home,  it's not uncommon for my mind to stray from the present and jump from task to task. I constantly pull myself out of the trenches of LaLa Work Land as soon as I realize that's where I've set up camp. 

I openly admit, I compromised her comfort for my own personal reasons for taking on a job.   

And the reality is, on those three days, it is more about me than it is about her.  

I'm pretty sure that's the definition of Mommy Guilt

However, despite the additional influx of chaos and distraction I have welcomed into our lives, if there is one thing we can count on, it's bath time.

Not my bath time, but El's bath time.  Every evening, after dinner, I slip her into her tub, add some bubbles, hand her a bath tub book and turn on some music.  She smiles, I smile back as we both indulge in the comfort of our bath time ritual.   For at least 20minutes, we have nowhere to go and nowhere to be.  

As she physically cleanses, I mentally cleanse.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner rinses off her skin.  The dirt on her knees and on the tops of her feet wash away.  Tear stains from bumping her head, now gone. When my mind drifts, her splashes bring me back to her. 

I make sure I play too.  Hands immersed in water, putting caps (our tried and true toy) on our heads, and planting bubbles on our noses. The ending of one song prompts her to dance until the next one begins.  Sometimes I sing, and sometimes she sings too.  

After bath, I wrap her in a towel and I hold her cheek to cheek. When she sees her reflection in the bathroom mirror she always yells with her mouth opened-wide, two front teeth exposed and grinning in delight. 


The power of simple care routines and rituals cannot be underestimated. They are reliable anchors in any chaotic day and are a cure for even the worst monkey brain. Whether it is a diaper change, bath, nursing, or lunch time, they draw me out of my cave, and refocus my attention on providing care for my daughter, the most meaningful work of all.  

More on mindful care routines here: