“There is no time to hurry.” I heard this sentence somewhere recently and it reminded me of a situation.
One morning, I was getting my kids ready for preschool. It was a lot like most of our mornings. I was running around, playing the various checklists in my head on repeat, yelling at my kids, trying to get them fed, cleaned, dressed, fix their hair, brush their teeth, pack lunch, clean the kitchen, feed the cat, and get myself ready for work…
I got them in their car seats and buckled, when I realized that I had forgotten my glasses, so I ran back to the house to get them. When I came back, I realized that I had forgotten my coffee, so I ran back again to get that. Then, I realized, I forgot my kids’ folders… you get the picture. I did that maybe five times without taking the time to consciously take a breath.
When I finally sat behind the wheel and started the engine, my daughter said:
Mama, maybe next time we should get everything ready the night before…
This made me stop the crazy for a moment. Gosh, I thought, this whole morning, I did not take a second to as much as NOTICE my kids.
What am I teaching them by being in this constant frenzy of hurry?
Being a working mom, I don’t really have the luxury of taking my time with most of the things that need to get done so that we can all be fed and dressed in clean clothes, and live in a somewhat clean-ish house (the somewhat clean-ish is my aspiration, folks. It doesn’t always get to be that.)
It’s not easy to change these hurried patterns, but since I had this realization, I’m trying. To at least be THERE when I hug my kids good morning and goodbye. Or when I sit down to read them a story, I try to be present: be engaged and make funny voices that they like instead of just reciting the story while thinking about something else (I’ve certainly done that before).
I also notice that when I truly pause and become present when the kids are misbehaving, I am more likely to handle the situation in a way that doesn’t require immediate follow ups and they understand better what is expected of them.
It seems that when I stop frantically trying to get everything done at the same time, when I slow down and focus on what I am doing at the moment, I get better results. And that’s why this rings so true to me, folks: there is no time to hurry.
Also, I love this poem by Marie Howe:
We stop at the dry cleaners and the grocery store
and the gas station and the green market and
Hurry up honey, I say, hurry hurry,
as she runs along two or three steps behind me
her blue jacket unzipped and her socks rolled down.
Where do I want her to hurry to? To her grave?
To mine? Where one day she might stand all grown?
Today, when all the errands are finally done, I say to her,
Honey I’m sorry I keep saying Hurry—
you walk ahead of me. You be the mother.
And, Hurry up, she says, over her shoulder, looking
back at me, laughing. Hurry up now darling, she says,
hurry, hurry, taking the house keys from my hands.