One of the hardest aspects about *trying* to live a slower paced life is one that is often out of our control as parents.
Our child’s endless amount of energy.
And by endless I mean truly never-ending.
Until the kids crash and burn as teenagers when they stay up all night and sleep all day, there’s a decade or more of running, skipping, wrestling, dancing, screaming, laughing, tickling, playing, creating, making, destroying, bouncing, spinning, moving, dreaming, questioning, exploring, wondering, writing, drawing, scribbling and much, much more.
Each day our children, as they seem to be graced with more and more energy, seem to be shouting “look at me, watch me, help me. let’s go, keep up.”
So it’s not too surprising that I get emails from a lot of moms who say I have nothing left to change in order to stop feeling so busy.
Of course, not. Motherhood is busy. It’s endlessly busy.
Unless we make some pretty substantial changes in our mindset about what being busy is all about and what a slower life means for us — and until we spread that same message to our family members — we’re going to feel busy and overwhelmed.
Until everyone in your family at least agrees that slowing down is a good thing, it’s going to be hard to embrace a Savoring Slow mentality.
Getting Your Family on Board
In my book, Savoring Slow, I made a point to begin by offering a chapter dedicated to preparing your whole family on slowing down.
Children live in the moment. They are the ultimate Zen masters, in fact, by always following their heart, but that leads to chaos and craziness for a family schedule and family down time.
If you want your children to slow down and embrace boredom a little bit more, you need to get them ready. You need to prime them for a slower pace rather than just following their lead and going, going, going.
Sometimes I find myself chasing after my energy-filled daughters muttering to myself that all we really should be doing is spending the afternoon in the house, cleaning up and reading some books.
But when I am following their lead too much I stop listening to myself and I stop trusting myself as a mother.
I am a big believer in child-led fun, but I’m also a big believer in doing what is best for the family.
Can You Just Be the Mom?
Years ago, a good friend and my favorite Zen teacher, gave me this mantra: Be the Mom.
Now, I repeat it as often as humanly possible and share it because while we do need to trust our kids, we need to trust ourselves more. And I use it more and more when I sense that the kids want to go, go, go and I know we need to rest, rest, rest.
Sometimes what we need is to just stop and breathe and let go of the running around and the chasing and melt into being content with where we are and what we’re doing and who we’re with.
To do that, though, we have to Be the Mom and say no to a few things, even if it means tears and disappointment.
Be the Mom.
Be the Mom.
Be the Mom.
How to Savor a Slow Day
Last month, while riding in the car talking about their upcoming summer break from school, I gave my girls a great big pep talk about one of my favorite topics.
I explained to them that we were going to do a ton of fun things. We were going to dance, spin, jump, run, explore, wander, swim, etc.
But I also had to admit to them that not only were they going to be bored, but I wanted them to be bored. I told them I know they are more creative and more adventurous and more happy when they are embracing a slow afternoon or morning by creating their own crazy, messy fun.
Turns out, they are also more proud of their creations.
Since we had that talk, they’ve embraced boredom and creativity much more. One taught herself to finger knit. The other is perfecting her handwriting.
And just today we spent a half hour laying on my bed together, reading, with the fan blowing on us.
And we were happy, too.
The Secret Tip to Encouraging Children to Slow Down
It’s so easy for busy parents to complain about how busy we are that we forget that it’s really quite simple to get our children to slow down and relax.
Encouraging children to slow down begins with this one very important and secret tip: Make a priority to slow down and enjoy life ourselves.
If we’re running around busy and frantic all the time, our children will likely see that as how life is supposed to be.
But when we choose to sit and read a book on the bed for a half hour in the middle of a day we are saying a totally different story.
By choosing to model a slower pace in the middle of a busy day, or a weekend, or a holiday or a vacation we’re telling our children that we appreciate the slower paced moments when we find beauty and abundance.
When we can say simply … let’s go and read a book together or let’s see if we can take a really slow walk, we’re opening our kids up to a new world of intentional living — a life where they are able to stop and smell the roses rather than rush past them quickly.
Introducing the Savoring a Slow Day Book Tour
Today, I’m kicking off a 20-day+ book tour for my book, Savoring Slow. A beautiful team of 20+ bloggers who I adore and appreciate — some old friends, some new friends and some past clients in The Abundant Mama Project — are going to share their own take on Savoring a Slow Day.
Because here’s the thing: Getting your family on board is as creative as you want it and need it to be so that it works for you.
Slow is big word that means a lot to many and we all define it differently. I recently wrote about our slow first day of summer break. It was a great example of how to create space in your day, while also understanding that life is messy with kids.