On top of all the things you need to do as parent, I’d like to add one more. I’d like to add:
Be a Philosopher.
You may think, “I don’t have time to grow a beard, don a toga and talk crap all day. I’ve got better things to do like tackle the washing pile, cook for 5 and raise the next generation. Piss off.”
And you’d have a point if, that is, I was on about the toga-y, beard-y, waffle-y notion of philosophy. But that’s not what I’m on about. What I’m on about is finding a bit of me-time for your mind.
Sure bath salts, box sets and retail therapy all have their place. I’m a fan of all of the above. But in a world where parents are constantly judged, told they could be doing ‘it’ better, made to feel that their choices are inadequate, sometimes that sort of chill out time doesn’t help. It can, if you are like me, make it worse – giving your thoughts time to spiral out of control into insurmountable worries.
A mental work-out can give you the resolve to fight those inner doubts, and the doubters that like to share their views on all that you are doing wrong.
A bit of philosophising here and there can stretch your thoughts, like yoga might stretch your hamstrings. It can strengthen your core beliefs and values, like pilates might strengthen your core muscles. Like any healthy eating regime, it helps you identify and weed out the crap.It can make you more resilient to the white noise of others’ opinions and your own internal critic.
Give it a little time and before you know it, you’ll be able to think yourself into all sorts of flexible thoughts. You’ll be able to consider views you never thought possible. As you become more confident with how you think, you’ll become more confident in what you think and ultimately what you are doing.
And the real plus side of this type of work-out is you can do it in the bath, while stuffing your face with chocolate and drinking wine. What’s not to love?
Still not convinced it’s for you? I reckon it is you already…..
- ….those famous philosophers who have tried to convey how complicated the notion of ‘truth‘ is, need have looked no further than our kitchens over breakfast, “It wasn’t me, it was him”, “HE’S LYING MUMMYYYYYYYY”.
- ….those great thinkers who have pondered the nature of beauty can never really understand the nuances of this subject like a Mum. A Mum, with the wobbly Mum body she is led to believe is vile, greeted by her toddler who says, full of truth, and knowledge, and naïve wisdom (if there can be such a thing), “You are beautiful Mummy”.
- …those wise, ancient Greeks could never grapple with what it is to be ‘good‘ like a parent does. Is the Mum who lets her toddler see her wobbly body in its full, naked, glory a bad parent? Is that same toddler who hit his sibling being ‘bad’ or just non compliant? And does that difference matter, anyway?
As you consider the infinite nature of the washing pile, the need to feed your family both ethically and on a budget, the sort of education to give them, how to discipline, whether they should hit back, whether it’s wrong to lie about Father Christmas, whether to bin or Pin the latest picture they brought back from school, how to help them flourish whilst also making sure you don’t disappear – these sum up the great philosophical conundrums that those famous thinkers have made their names from.
Really, when asking you to add ‘be a philosopher’ to the list, I’m not asking much at all.
You are one already, when you think about it!
Want to give being a philosopher some more thought? Here is an idea of how to spend 5 minutes of me-time-for-your-mind:
Make yourself a cuppa/pour a glass of wine
Think about what you think of this post.
While you are thinking, “that’s a great/awful/waste of my life/utterly uplifting post, I must share it.” think about how these thoughts are coming to you.
Are you thinking in pictures, in words, in sounds, in smells, in black and white, in colour, in patterns, in twitter friendly snippets? I, for the record, think as if a film is running in my head with me as the main character. Says it all really that doesn’t it? But does that sound odd to you? If so, how do you do it?