“Hurry up, get in your car seat.” “Come on, we’re going to be late.” “Why do you have to take so long to eat your dinner?” “Stop dawdling!” Hurry Hurry Hurry! Rush Rush Rush!
Every day I’m rushing. Everything seems to take so loooonng. I just want to pop quickly to the shop to grab some milk, but I’ve got two little time bandits eating up my minutes, taking their sweet time, not buying into my desperate pleas to “just hurry up and get in the car”. Every other phrase that comes barreling out of my mouth seems to contain the words “quickly” or “hurry”. I hate myself as I’m doing it, but what choice do I have? I’m a working mum…I’m busy…I don’t have time to stop and smell the roses.
How sad is that!
It really is a modern day plight. We’ve always got somewhere we are supposed to be, or something we’re supposed to be doing. If I’m not at work, I’m working from home. If I’m not working, I’m trying to do the shopping, the cleaning, the laundry. If I’m not doing chores, I’m trying to catch up with family (who all happen to live quite far away – travel eats up more of our precious time). And then there’s friends, and couple time, and alone time. I haven’t even mentioned the ever present social pressure to have your children enrolled in some form of learning activity or hobby. How do we squeeze it all in? Truth is - we don’t. Something’s gotta give.
For me, the first thing to give is my patience. The reoccurring thoughts that mock me only serve to reduce my patience further… “don’t they understand that if they just let me finish this work document I can spend more time playing with them?” … “don’t the understand that if they just got straight in the car seat when I asked we could have been back from the shops by now and making that cake together?” … “don’t they understand that spending 45 minutes eating that quarter piece of dried up cold toast is time we could have spent building a cubby?”. They don’t understand...and why should they?
Whilst they’re busy enjoying the way the leaves look on the trees, or the feeling of the wet sand between their toes, I’m busy trying to hurry them along so fast that they wouldn’t even see the flowers, let alone smell them.
I could go on now to say we should all slow down a little. Take the time to let them discover things along the way. Be patient as they painstakingly attempt to put on their own seatbeat. Swallow the ever present urge to take over, or to bark “hurry up”, “get moving”, “why do you have to do everything so sloowwwly?”. But let’s get real…in a perfect world we’d be perfect parents. However most of us are not fortunate enough to be able to leisurely stroll through our days, without a care in the world, without the pressures of a mortgage, a job, social obligations and general housekeeping. Unless we completely flip our world on its head and adopt a more alternative lifestyle that sits outside of the realms of modern society, we are still going to be relatively time poor.
So I guess it’s about balance and perspective. Trying to remind ourselves that taking five more minutes to actually get into the car isn’t really that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. If we get a spare moment, spending half of it washing dishes and the other half mucking around with the kids is probably doable. If we added up the amount of time we spent ranting at them to get moving, it would probably almost equate to the amount of time they would have taken to get it done independently…almost!
I’m trying really hard to stifle the urge to rush…at least once in every five times that it bubbles up inside me! I’m trying to remind myself that they grow so quickly, and when all is said and done, it doesn’t matter that much if I’m a little late, or if it takes me a little longer to finish a job. These are my kids…this is their childhood…I don’t want to rush them through it.
I guess what I’m getting at is that the thing that’s got to give doesn’t always have to be my patience (and consequently their childhood discovery time). It could be one of the other obligations in my life. All within reason of course, and all as balanced as possible. Sometimes that means saying “no” to signing them up for dance classes or swimming lessons. Sometimes it’s deferring catching up with people. Sometimes it means ignoring the over achiever aspect of my personality and just taking a little longer to achieve a work goal.
But sometimes, despite all good intentions, it will still be my patience that gives. I will still blurt out “hurry up, get moving, come onnnn!”…and that’s ok. I’m doing the best I can…and that’s all we can be expected to do.