Here I sit on a night flight home from a quick trip for my freelance work, nearly 32 weeks pregnant, feeling as though I haven’t seen my husband in well over a month due to his demanding work + travel schedule, not quite able to remember what this previous time in our life was like. Trust me, even when we were in that time and phase, it was still FULL — It’s just that we’ve turned a corner in our slow living this fall: Maven started school; both Maven and Sylvie are in multiple activities; work has picked up; we are preparing for our baby’s arrival; and, well, we just have a few more commitments and engagements on our plates.
How I managed to keep things off of our plates for a while this past winter is quite a feat that I look back on. The reality is, motherhood has been anything but slow for me. The continuous piles of laundry, cleaning, errands, cooking, dishes to do. The constant role of driver to school, activities and appointments. Commitments to work, volunteering or dedication to passion projects. The inability to shut off a mind that dreams bigger and bigger. The desire to spend time with friends. The desire to get “caught up on things”. The to-do lists. The time to play with, read to and spend with my children.
Perhaps you can relate to this:
Wake up. Workout (?) Shower. Dress. Kids up. Breakfast. Get kids ready. Throw a load of laundry in. Empty dishwasher. Take care of dog duties. Pack backpacks and bags for the day. Shuttle oldest to school. Take youngest to gymnastics. Run to bank, Target and grocery store. Answer a few emails on phone. Call to schedule doctor appointments. Drop groceries at home. Pick up oldest from school. Go through car wash. Get home. Make Lunch. Play with kids. Settle kids down. Put youngest down for nap. Arrange quiet time for oldest. Switch laundry. Squeeze an hour of freelance work in. Nap/quiet time ends. Go for walk. Play 10,000 activities with kids because: attention spans. Try to scroll social media and answer text messages. Prep dinner. *Maybe* eat said dinner when spouse gets home. Clean up kitchen. Load dishwasher. Switch more laundry. Living room dance party. Bath time. Peppa Pig. Reading time. Bedtime routine. Spend time with husband. Work while watching TV. Go to bed (late).
Or maybe you better relate to this one:
After shuttling kids to school or childcare, get to work. Execute a full day of meetings and to-dos. Run errands over lunch break. Take PTO to leave early and get child to doctor appointment. Make it home in time to catch other child coming off of bus. Make quick dinner. No time to clean up. Take children to piano lessons and soccer practice. Get home for homework, baths and bed. Fold some laundry. Move dishes from table to sink. Answer some emails. Catch up on text messages. Prep for next day. Watch TV show with husband while scrolling social media. Set alarm for 5a to do it all over the next day.
Whichever alternative better fits your description, I think we can all agree that slow would not be the descriptor. What striving to live slow looks like as a mom is anything but slow in actual pace. I’m not here to be a downer and say well, we are out of luck, so much for slow living. Actually, I’m asking myself in the midst of motherhood: what do I want my slow within this – dare-I-call-it busy – to look like?
I’ll tell you my reality. The execution of my striving to live slow looks something like doing blog posts and emails at 10:00p after everyone else is asleep and catching up with with a friend via text at 5:00a + trying my best to harness every ounce of patience I have while my kids interrupt my workouts that I somehow in someway squeeze into my day.
I can’t change my reality. And I don’t want to, so it’s within that reality that I need to find (or design) my slow.
This is what I want my slow to look like:
- Being present and in the moment to actually enjoy, savor and experience all that life throws our way – even if it’s just in the five minutes that my children are engaged in a puzzle we are doing together or the few minutes of one-on-one snuggle time before bed.
- Shifting from a “check off all these things off of my list today –or else” mentality to a “let’s live our best busy day today –regardless of the checklist accomplishments”.
- Putting people and feelings and family first, always.
I am confident that kind of slow is possible. I haven’t mastered it. I’m not an expert and you surely won’t hear me say I have it all figured out. I’m just a normal mom with normal mom demands trying to do the best she can. We’re all striving, right?
Because of that striving, I’ve outlined some ways I can improve in this slow living area, despite the not-so-slow pace of my life.
Examples of ways I can improve in striving to live slow:
- Putting my phone away more during the day
- Trying harder to designate work + creative times rather that feel like I’m squeezing it in while my kids are around
- Planning our family activities allowing for a day of rest during the week
- Planning specific times to get together with friends AND specific date nights for just Mark and I
- Accepting help from those who offer
- Reinstating dinnertime conversations – best and worst parts of day
- Getting back into reading the Word, regularly
- Ensuring I have my own time to refresh myself
I’m well aware that each of us has a different experience in motherhood – especially given work situations, number of children, family or support systems, etc.. I’m also aware that my version of what living slow looks like + my areas of improvement may be different than yours. My hope in sharing this personal reflection is that it will encourage you, mama, to reflect on what you want your slow to look like and to take action to make it happen.
From my mama heart to yours –
Other posts that may interest you:
- 10 Truths About Raising Toddlers with a Working + Traveling Spouse
- Becoming A Stay At Home Mom
- 5 Books Good For My Mama Heart