Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Slowing It Down

I have this awful habit of rushing.  I speak fast, I eat fast, I walk fast, I multitask almost constantly.  I'm aware that some of the sensation of "rushing" is part of adult life and responsibilities, yet some rushing is self-imposed.  I'm either creating too many things to do, or procrastinating so the things pile up into a landslide, or being unorganized so that things don't run efficiently and feel burdensome.  I'm not the type of Stay At Home Mom that stays at home.  We are out and about as much as possible.  In fact, I tend to jam pack too many things into my day, weighing every moment by how productive I've been or how much I've enriched the kids' lives in that moment.  

Some of my chaos is unavoidable like buses, school, therapies and appointments.  Some of my bouncing around is optional but beneficial for the kids, like play dates and tot soccer and story time at the library.  Some things are necessary for the household to run, like grocery shopping and other errands.  Some things I do are for me, such as "extracurricular shopping," going to the gym, or meeting a friend for coffee.

Whatever the reason, everything feels scheduled and looming and hectic... rushing from Point A to Point B or racing to fit all the domestic activities into the short, dwindling hours of a day.  Each thing to do has a clear "start" and "end" time and you gotta be there.  You can't be late.  Some things are squeezed in between the "gotta dos" so they have that "time crunch" feeling as well.  I'm always racing the mid-day Kindergarten bus in the morning and then the afternoon buses post-lunchtime.  Even when I'm home, I "gotta" do the laundry, pick up the family room, return an email, organize the paper piles.  I always feel as if there is a looming agenda... running running running... constantly under a fictitious gun.  

Does it really need to be like this?  I've been trying to remind myself that I am in charge of my life, not vice versa.  I've been trying to take pause and spend more time just "being" with my girls.  I have to say, some find it difficult to speed it up but I find it difficult to slow it down.  I guess I'm an overachiever who feels guilt at sitting still but I'm beginning to see that sometimes creating an air of extreme "busy" isn't always the best way to live.  By plowing through life full throttle, one can forget to breathe, sit back, and appreciate the actual living.  

I can carve out more time to paint Rella's tiny fingernails instead of saying "No, honey, I have to switch the laundry over then make a call." The call can wait.  The laundry can wait.  This day, this moment, this time right now can't wait.  It is here and gone in a blink.  

I don't think my girls care about tot soccer or story time or swim lessons a fraction as much as they care about spending undivided time with me just being.  Just strolling without feeling the rush to the next thing.  Without me saying "Hurry up" or "We don't have time right now" or "Maybe tomorrow."  Maybe today we can stroll through the Pet Store even though we don't have a pet so Rella can look at the birds and hamsters and fish.  We can do it without it feeling like it's a "waste of time" because time is never wasted when it's with the people I love.

Maybe this evening we can all make cupcakes together for the class parties even though I have a thousand things to do.  We'll take our time and lick the bowls and eat the jellybeans.  There is no rush when you start early and don't try to squeeze everything in.  The other crap can wait.

These are just regular cupcakes with little birds nests on top.  The nests are made with broken pretzel sticks coated with melted butter, white chocolate and marshmallows then shaped in a mini muffin tin.  When cooled and firm, fill with colored coconut and jelly beans.  I set mine on top of green-frosted cupcakes. 

There is not enough time in the day to do everything, so I need to prioritize what I'll spend my time doing.   I just can't let myself get so swept up in everything life bombards me with that I forget what my priorities are.  It's not about going through the motions; it's about experiencing the moments with deep appreciation and abandon.  To slow it all down, because life goes fast enough on its own.

"The ordinary arts we practice every day at home 
are of more importance to the soul 
than their simplicity might suggest."
- Thomas Moore


Elizabeth said...

I agree with all of it -- it's just such a challenge, no?

Thanks for the reminder, though --

kario said...

Amen! When I finally asked my kids what they preferred, they both gave me the resounding answer that they wanted to hang at home and shoot baskets or play board games or bake cookies. I've shifted to ordering groceries to be delivered at least once a week and asking Bubba to stop on his way home to get the dry cleaning and letting each girl only have one activity going at a time so that we can do more of that. As soon as I changed my perspective, I realized that so much of my running around was contrived. Unfortunately, I also realized that part of the reason I did all of that running around was to avoid being alone and quiet. Then I had to reflect and scary things come up when I do that ;-)

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