What was it about childhood that made time feel so slow? I don’t know for sure, but I think for me, it was the simple fact that I didn’t have to think about it. As a child, I didn’t have to make arrangements for Thanksgiving, or plan for next week’s meals, or even consider when I’d need to leave the house to arrive at an appointment on time. Everything as a child is very much lived in the moment, and you don’t always know what’s coming next. This combination of factors makes the passage of time seem slow, even sluggish.
As adults, and especially as moms, we don’t always have the luxury of being fully present. There’s always more to do, another list to write, a drawer to organize, a birthday party to plan, food to buy, and big items to start saving for.
But as the holidays fast approach (my very favorite time of year!), and we all seemingly become busier, I want very much to slow down time; To enjoy the peace of the season, to relish in Baby Bean’s first Christmas where he’s truly aware of what’s happening, and to savor every moment of my second pregnancy as it comes to an end.
So, this month I’m starting a program to think and act more like a child in the best way possible. Here are five things I’m going to do over the next month (and hopefully beyond), to be more present and allow time to sluggishly crawl along like it did many years ago when our two-week winter break truly felt like an eternity.
Let it go.
LET IT GOOOOOOOO! Yep, it’s stuck in my head too. But, in this instance, that’s a good thing! My kitchen floor is a little bit sticky, my laundry isn’t done, none of the baby stuff is ready to go, and goodness gracious could my closet use a clean-out. Do kids notice these things? Nope, they absolutely do not. So, over the next month I’m not going to notice them either (within reason, of course!) I have a long to-do list, but something’s got to give, and I’ve got to be okay with giving myself permission to overlook some of the less-than-perfect aspects of my home.
Do what I want.
Kids play when they want to play, they read when they want to read, they hop like a bunny screaming “boing, boing, boing” (oh…that’s just my kid…?) when they want to act ridiculous. Starting this season, I’m going to use nap time to read more, watch a stupid reality show, or just lay down and stare at the ceiling. Perhaps I’ll even expand this to other parts of my day or week. If it’s Thursday and I don’t feel like doing laundry, I’ll put it off until Friday (or maybe even Saturday).
Focus on one thing at a time.
Ever notice how your child won’t respond to you when he’s watching a movie, or playing with his blocks, or jumping in piles of leaves? It’s because he is so focused on the one thing he’s doing at that moment, that he’s somehow able to block out most other distractions. As moms, we pride ourselves on our ability to multi-task, but doing so not only makes our lives more hectic, it pushes our time schedules around because it takes more time to do two things at once than it does to focus on one thing. This month I’m going to focus on the task at hand, whether it be putting down the phone when I’m playing with Baby Bean or setting aside chores that require my full attention for moments when Bean is sleeping or otherwise engaged.
Say no, and do less.
Unless you were majorly into sports or a music prodigy, I think kids in the 90s just did less. Nowadays, it seems that there is a movement towards the glorification of busy, for kiddos and families alike. My family has been gone the past three weekends, and the weekends we are home are spent with visitors or running around to various “fun” activities. I’m stopping this now. I’m allowing myself to say no when I know it is in the best interest of myself and/or my family and to realize that days at home with my husband and Baby Bean (especially before the arrival of baby boy #2), are massively important.
Stop and savor.
The best advice I got before my wedding was to take a moment here and there to simply stop, look around, and take it all in. I think that children are naturally adept at doing this, mainly because they don’t have the distraction of schedules and obligations like adults do. Starting this month, I’m going to make a concerted effort to stop in the middle of the baking, and the wrapping, and the rushing to observe my beautiful decorations, my happy-go-lucky child, and my amazing husband. I’ll put down the pen and paper, stop calculating the days until Christmas, and enjoy the smells, the sounds, and the peace of the season.
Hopefully, these efforts will allow me to slow down over the holidays and produce memories that will stand on their own, rather than blur together with other years. But more importantly, I’m hoping that these efforts will become habits that will ultimately help me banish the phrase “time is flying!” from my vocabulary. We teach our children every day, but they also have a lot to teach us, especially when it comes to being present, in the moment, and enjoying each morsel of life.