A couple days ago I shared with you two little words in my post 5 Ways to Be More Present Today that I have to tell myself all the time – don’t rush. I was surprised by how many of you resonated with that phrase – that rushing, hurrying through life phrase that even though we don’t want to be racing through our day that we still rush phrase. It’s no wonder. Culture is simply not set up to sit still – it’s a racing, rushing, speeding society where we’re taught if you don’t constantly push you’ll be immediately behind.
It’s pressure. It’s expectations to do, to be, to purchase, to perform, to maintain – it’s a blur of needs and wants and must haves lumped into the everyday.
Yet, there is this balance that needs to be found – a balance of moving with knowing how to breathe and simply sit and embrace today.
Motherhood is in a way a counterpoint to the rushing – it is full of moments, life moments, joy, learning, laughter, that in essence requires not rushing, not racing, not hurrying to get through.
I am a racer.
I wake up in the morning feeling behind and move frenetically throughout the day constantly trying to just break even. It’s like treading water sometimes. I’ll tell myself I’ll get to those real important moments – the book reading, car driving, painting, sitting on the couch, baking cookies, working mom things – in just a minute, in a second, after I quick finish everything that is staring at me constantly in the face. Then I’ll go to bed, and think about how the next day I want to be intentional, and concrete, and stop rushing through every single moments that I’m blessed with each day.
And yet, I do it again.
Running. Rushing. Racing.
Slowing down is not simple for me.
Slowing down is a discipline. It takes work to focus my mind and actually play with the Tow Mater car that Samuel hands to me and interact with him and the 29 other cars that he’s dragged into the living room to play with. It is work. It often means that my living room looks lived in by the time 4 pm rolls around. And that is okay – I’ll clean it at 5pm. But, if I don’t let the freedom of a box of cars dumped out over my floor at times and me, the busy mom, on the floor with them, then I’m losing out on moments that matter.
Honestly? Sometimes I want to rush through or avoid the mess and just keep it looking perfect all the time. But then I sacrifice that sweet laughing moment with my little boy who won’t stay little for long. And I really don’t want to lose that.
So what to do? How do you, how do I, learn to balance the to-do list without rushing within the race of motherhood? We do, after all, have to keep up with a very real, and very large to-do list. We have to work and mother and do all those things and expectations and can’t simply stop all the time. Stuff simply needs to get done. Yet, there needs to be this balance between the racing and the embracing of the day.
One thing I’ve learned, and I’ve shared before, is to begin to write down on my to-do list some non rushing through the day items. Play cards. Read for 15 minutes. Take the girls for coffee. Watch the sunrise while sitting on the front porch. Build with legos. Help them write a story. Get the dress up box out. Play catch in the backyard. If they’re not in front of my face then often I won’t do them.
I want to live an intentional relationship focused life — just like many of you so sweetly write to me about in the emails, comments, and facebook notes. We’re in this together, this journey to find balance in motherhood. And it is balance. I want a clean laundry caught up dinner done by 6pm home just as much as you do – but I also, just like many of you write, don’t want to be so stuck on this ideal that I become discontent, grumbling, and racing to keep everything looking a certain way that I push the moments with my kids aside till the rarely coming time when I slow down and stop.
So my challenge to you? Take two minutes, reflect on motherhood and joy and what truly matters, and figure out what the you are going to wish that you had just put down your agenda of stuff and instead embraced their agenda moments actually are.
Maybe it’s rocking just a bit longer in the morning with the toddler. Maybe it’s making chocolate chip cookies with the four year old and letting them help even though it’s a mess. Maybe it’s a walk around the block. Maybe you read the same book over and over and stop to answer every single question that pops up after ever 18 words. Maybe you take your tween shopping and just enjoy it. Maybe you make homemade pizzas and don’t care as much that the mozzarella got over the floor and that there is pizza sauce on shirts.
Slow down, just for a moment, and plan.
Otherwise today will simply race past and tomorrow will come and another and again and again.
And then they’re gone.
The rushing mom meets real life today.
I’m in this with you.