One of the things that I struggle with the most in motherhood and parenting is taking things slow.
You see, I have a type A personality. When I see free time in my schedule, my first thought is, “Yes, free time! What to do, what to do?” Multi-tasking is almost second nature to me.
This, as most moms know, is both a bane and boon when you have kids. And while we want to accomplish a whole lot with the now-little time that we have after having kids, we soon realize that these little ones have a mind – and schedule – of their own! (What? They are not robots who follow our every command?!)
The toddler is nursing contentedly so the sink filled with unwashed dishes will have to wait for yet another hour. The four-year-old is practicing buttoning her clothes by herself so dressing up takes more time. The six-year-old just learned to read and cannot put down his book and so you cannot eat dinner just yet. The three-year-old fashionista just has to change her clothes for the nth time before leaving. The five-year-old knight is lost in his own pretend castle so bath time will have to wait for a few more minutes. You get the drift, right?
I know because I experienced most of those things with my daughter. While I still admittedly struggle stopping myself from saying, “Hurry up!”, I now appreciate how she makes me see the world with brand-new slow-paced eyes.
Here are 5 things I learned to about how to take things slow in parenting.
1. I learned to say “no”
… to activities, tasks, and projects that will take up more of my time. I slowly learned to accept that this for this season in my life, I am primarily a wife and a mother. Knowing this mission and this priority gave my life perspective and direction.
2. I learned to unplug and shut down
The unplugged evenings challenge that we took a few months back certainly helped me realize that the world won’t stop spinning if I am not online 24/7.
While this is also still a work-in-progress for a multi-job mom like me, the key that unlocked this habit is being intentional. It also helps that I have friends and business partners (Hi Mariel!) who do not get offended when I shut down and stop working because my other boss wants me to play. Work-life balance, I tell you.
3. I learned to stop and smell the proverbial flowers
Again, this I have to be intentional about because of my Type-A, want-to-be-in-control personality. Having a relaxed husband and a daughter tugging me to water the plants in our garden even as we are running late for an appointment certainly helps me to let go of this need to be on top of everything all the time.
Being on-time and respecting others’ time is an important lesson to teach our children, of course, but I have since learned to relax and let some things slide to make memories with my family.
4. I learned to manage my time
What works for me is setting chunks of time each day for all the different aspects in my life (family, work, The Learning Basket). Evernote and my modified Bullet Journal to-do list (came highly recommended by Mariel!) has become an indispensable part of my life.
5. I learned that not every moment in life should be Pinterest-worthy
I have come to peace that real life happens – the house gets messy, my preschooler throws a tantrum, tasks and chores do not get done. And I deal with it – every single moment that comes with raising children and being with family, post-worthy or not. Knowing that these heartfelt moments are “pinned” to my child’s memory is more than enough.
After almost five years of battling it, I’m finally starting to embrace life with an unhurried child who is seeing the world for the first time with wonder and awe. In a way, I am too.
How do you take things slow as a parent?