The Art of Slowing Down

smellrosesHurry up. Come on. Keep moving. Let’s go!

These are the phrases I often use to get my two daughters to hustle along when we are, well, doing just about anything. For some reason, they always seem to be on the wrong side of the door when it opens. They stop to inspect bugs on the sidewalk. And although they have entered and exited the car nearly a million times, it still takes them an eternity of climbing up ever so slowly, stopping to look at something on the car floor and then finally inching into their car seats at the speed of a turtle on high doses of Benedryl.

I hate that I rush them, but sometimes – okay all the time – I just can’t help thinking (and saying), “Are you kidding me? Hurry up!”

So I loved an article recently that has been making the Internet rounds in the last few weeks by Rachel Stafford. She writes of her own lollygagging daughter and how she changed her perspective on life and hurrying. Stafford writes that she found herself saying hurry up more than the words, I love you.

“Then one fateful day, things changed. We’d just picked my older daughter up from kindergarten and were getting out of the car. Not going fast enough for her liking, my older daughter said to her little sister, “You are so slow.” And when she crossed her arms and let out an exasperated sigh, I saw myself — and it was a gut-wrenching sight. I was a bully who pushed and pressured and hurried a small child who simply wanted to enjoy life,” she writes.

After realizing what she was missing, Stafford says she slowed down and let her daughter set the pace. She writes, “She was a Noticer, and I quickly learned that The Noticers of the world are rare and beautiful gifts. That’s when I finally realized she was a gift to my frenzied soul.”

I love that. When I first read her article, I vowed to slow down, to let my daughter stop and smell the roses or point out the nail polish colors in the store.

But as I was paying attention this week, I found that I am actually pretty good at that. I don’t usually over schedule my kids. I allow them to go at their own pace most of the time. We poke at earthworms and make it only about 10 feet on our afternoon walks. Where I struggle is the moments that are not about noticing life. It’s the moments where it’s simply taking a ridiculous amount of time to put on a shoe or get in the car or brush their teeth. These are the moments where I find myself saying, “Come on. Let’s go. You’re taking too long.”

So what about these moments? I am not a naturally patient person. Having two I’ll-get-there-when-I-get-there type daughters has helped my patience immensely, but I still struggle. I honestly don’t want to wait at the car door for that painfully slow climb into the car seat. I hate standing in the bathroom stall for 20 minutes waiting for the slowest bowl movement in the history of mankind.

So yes, I’m all for stopping to stroll through life, but how can I be more patient with the day-to-day tasks that take forever? Any tips for how to make little ones move faster or organizing our lives to speed up these daily tasks?



One comment

  1. Sannah


    I don’t know the answer to how to get small kids to hurry up–I just wanted to say that I appreciate your perspective in this post, it was both reflective and realistic. Your second-to-last paragraph made me laugh out loud, I like your style of writing. I just graduated from school (undergrad), not married yet and don’t have kids but I’ve read this blog for about three years and have enjoyed it. I liked this post and noticed that there weren’t any other comments, and so I figured this would be as good of a place as any to let you know! Good luck with your girls 🙂

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