I have noticed how easy it is to constantly rush my children. I’ve also realized how unfair, and probably unhealthy, it is to expect my children to live life at my pace. Children move at a different speed. A speed that I should probably try!
Recently, I have made a conscious effort to slow down with my children. Not only do I feel it is better for their well-being, but I also find I enjoy parenting so much more.
I have to believe that on some level being rushed all the time must wear on children’s self-esteem. How good can you feel when someone is always implying you’re too slow? I imagine that when children are rushed they probably feel that they can’t keep up—that their way of doing whatever it is we’re doing is not enough, and therefore somehow they are not enough.
When my children see me rushing, multi- tasking, frenetic and busy I think, what is this teaching them? We wonder why so many children are diagnosed with attention deficit disorders, but how can we expect our children to slow down, listen, and focus if we are not modeling this behavior? How often are we giving them, or anyone else, our undivided attention? When do children get to see us do one thing at a time with focus and clarity?
The benefit of slowing down for me is that I enjoy being with my children so much more. When I’m not enjoying parenting, it’s usually because I am not in the moment—I am rushing to get somewhere or I am thinking about all the things I should be doing or need to get done. When I slow down and let go of all the other things I feel I should be doing and just allow myself to be with my children and relax and enjoy them, and I have so much more fun. I get to silently witness and cherish this miracle in front of me.
Now I must admit that when I am in a rush, I still sometimes cringe when I hear those three words from my two-year-old “me do it” because I know it will tack an extra 15 minutes on to the simplest task—like getting in the car seat. I may have to clench my teeth and take a breath as my son tries one foot- then the other- stops to watch the truck go by, examines each crumb on the floor of the car, plays with the buckle, and then slowly climbs in—but you know what? Most of the time, it’s worth it! Maybe I can learn from him— really, what is more important than this moment? Is there anything more meaningful than what is in front of me? This is where the gems of life with children can be discovered—the precious moments where you truly feel… this is all that matters.