Sunday, 22 November 2015

The Journey to the center of Me... - Part 5

I do realize that Part 4 of "The Journey to the center of Me" might have been a tad too long, so I will try and make this one shorter. A blog post ought to be short but still have something worthwhile to share, which leads me to start with the following question...

What could I possibly learn from a golfer that is worthwhile knowing as a mother?

My PPL was easier to qualify for than the dummy!
My current posts are based on a book titled "Seven Days in UTOPIA" by David L. Cook, in which a professional golfer learns that he has not been properly prepared for tournament play. By reading this book, I have realized, neither have I. Not for the tournaments that follow year after year when you have two or more kids. So, on Day 5 in Utopia, in a chapter titled "Pilot's Checklist", the golfer learns about the benefit of being prepared for an emergency during a bumpy flight in a small airplane. Several years ago I actually obtained a Pilot's license myself but I stopped flying when I became pregnant with my first child. To find a chapter in this book relating to that part of my life, was rather exciting for me! But I believe it will hold exciting pointers for you too, whether or not you have learnt to fly. Preparing for an emergency is what every mother can relate to!

Have you ever taken a trip in a little 2-seater airplane? I have and let me tell you, it can be downright scary at times! Especially when the instructor decides to secretly cut off your fuel supply and stall your engine, just to test whether or not you would be prepared for such an emergency. So, I know all too well what it means to prepare for an emergency when it comes to flying, but I didn't really know how to prepare for emergencies when I became a mom. I was ill prepared and the result was a ton of (partly subconscious) fears. What if I fail? What if my baby gets ill? What if I won't be able to cope with it? What if I am a bad mother? What if everyone else is a better one? So many fears and anxieties and I desperately needed some answers. This book finally guided me towards several.

Fact is, when it comes to flying, the only solution to the threat of an emergency, is a well rehearsed emergency checklist. In this book, the farmer, a very seasoned pilot, appeared to be very much in control. Mostly because handling emergencies has become second nature to him. He had practiced them hundreds of times and now he was teaching the golfer that in an environment ripe with emergencies he'd do well to prepare for emergencies also. Would you agree with me, that motherhood is definitely an environment ripe for emergencies? Just take the simple example of a toddler on a playground without his mother's constant supervision. An emergency waiting to happen! Agree? Mom constantly needs to be in control and if she's not, it might end up in some sort of a "crash landing" for the toddler. But all this required focused attention can become very stressful for a mother. By the time my first born reached the age of seven, I was already nearing what I call a "mommy's burnout". I was stressed out from being a mom. Sadly, and I confess, feeling out of control often had the potential to turn me into an angry mom. Even though I usually managed to stay calm on the outside, on the inside, I often panicked in the face of an emergency. I felt overwhelmed if my tonsillitis child would suddenly be sick or I stressed over fevers that would get too high. I piled up a lot of stress on the inside, because I wasn't well prepared.

The golfer learns that his pre-shot checklist would become the most valuable asset in tournament play and be his foundation. I have now learnt that the same applies to me. A great "pre-shot" checklist can be compiled in just a very short early morning quiet-time and it has become a very stable foundation for me. Take-off is an art and the conditions are never the same, whether you are taking off on a flight or into a day as a mother. As a pilot and as a mother I can tell you, that developing a checklist every morning and focusing on it throughout your day will help make your day a whole lot easier! Confidence comes from being prepared for an emergency and I believe that most days in motherhood are about preparation too. It might be a different kind of preparation, but the principle remains the same. I dare-say that motherhood is probably one of the jobs we get least prepared for and many of us desperately need help. But with granny often thousands of miles away, we have to figure it out (or we Google it) as we go along. 

Another thing I remember very clearly from learning to fly is that every time when a pilot wants to take off he has to contact the tower. Without the tower, there will be no safe flight! On some days, during my flying adventures, there seemed to be static interference in the transmission between the tower and my little plane, but I would have to make the call nonetheless and I always waited until I heard the words "cleared for take off". I am sure you might be able to guess where I am going with this...I prefer to fly in the safety of knowing that God is watching over my day and He has cleared it for take off!! So, in the last few years, I have developed a new habit of early morning quiet times and I have seen the blessings that come from them to the point that I can now honestly say that without His clearance, I would not dare to fly. By the way, in very remote areas, there are landing strips where you are out of reach from the nearest tower and then the rule is - make a "blind" radio call. Inform everyone else that might be up in the air, that you are about to take off too. I have practiced this several times  during my early flying days and what a wonderful analogy of my first quiet times! I used to sit down, not sure if God is hearing me, but I was determined to try. So, if you think that your transmission is not being received by the tower, the best advice I can give you for now is - make the call anyway! When the static around you settles, you will hear his reply!

I hope that you are, were or will be better prepared for emergencies in motherhood than me. But when you get ready to take off tomorrow morning, please don't forget to make that radio call! Take a breather...have a little quiet time...and go through your pre-flight checklist and you will see that it will give you the confidence you need throughout your day!

HAVE A GREAT WEEK and many happy landings!



(Images are my own or courtesy of morguefile.com)

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