The Physics of Motherhood: Inertia

Newton’s first law says that objects at rest or those in motion stay that way, unless an outside force acts on it. As I settle into my new job as Stay at Home Mom, I realize that the physics concepts I loved to teach my high school students apply to me in my daily life on the urban homestead.

It’s been a nice little groove for Naomi and I lately, following the same “Eat, Activity, Sleep” pattern we have followed since the very beginning, except now with thankfully more predictability and blessedly, more sleep in the form of 45 minute naps. I usually leave Naomi in her crib for at least an hour, while she winds down practicing her vocalizations and rolls, and then after she wakes up for a few minutes while she happily sings and stretches. This leaves me with a window of about an hour to get things done, three times a day. Pretty great having three hours a day all to myself if it weren’t for the giant to do list of productive “me time” activities including cleaning, showering, eating a hot meal, preparing dinner and so on.

I’ve noticed Newton’s law all through my days at home. Besides, the “Eat, Activity, Sleep” inertia that guides my day, there are other ways of movement and activity in my day as well as rest.

The inertia of looking presentable: In order to have a day I feel good about, in which I shower, clean the house, and feel like I’ve done something worthwhile, I need to start the day as an object in motion. When I start out in pajamas, all “Oh, how about I watch all 4 hours of the Today show before I change out of my milk stained pajamas”, my day is significantly less satisfying and productive. Bonus points for make up, flat ironing, and wearing jeans (rather than yoga pants).

The inertia of streaming television: Oh what a glorious invention! I can watch hours and hours of shows, back to back! No need to wait a week to see what happens to the characters, on Hulu the next episode will start right up after a 30 second Geico commercial! I am the victim of this type of inertia during naps. I really hate to have the TV on in the background while Naomi is playing, so I just stick to 25-30 minute stints while nursing. Unless, in need of a zone out and procrastinating with chores, I casually turn on the tv and am pulled into the delicious drama of Real Housewives of any City for the entire nap productivity hour. Along with the television inertia comes snacking inertia. Just one more small handful of cheezits to crunch, chocolate to balance the savory, and repeat.

The inertia of a clean house: It’s always so much easier to keep the house clean than to require a full weekend day of scrubbing, vacuuming, and laundry. Each week I think about my week and attempt a plan in which I will clean each day, focusing on different rooms/areas. One week I was busier and I didn’t have as much nap time to complete my little cleaning projects. This started the inertia of rest with chores, where I would just ignore the dirty dishes and scattered toys until right before Daniel got home, participating in the sacred mom ritual of frantically tidying up the house so I can feel I have something to show for my day at home.

The inertia of _____: Exercise, eating healthy, cooking meals, completing a sewing project, blogging…the list goes on and on. Physics is all around us!

The inertia of Thankfulness: I strive to maintain a daily attitude of thankfulness and gratitude for my days spent at home with my sweet baby, thanks to my hardworking Mr. Wonderful.
What a beautiful life.

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