It’s been quiet over here on the blogging-front. I’m not exactly sure why other than I’ve been trying to slow down. In general, in life. This constant nagging, pulling feeling of “I have to do this right away! I must get this done now!” is exhausting. I mean, I have two kids for that (half joking). I don’t need to add more pressure and unnecessary stress to my life. Not that blogging is always stressful, but it can be. It can also be a cathartic, supportive experience. As I write this now, like I’m writing in my journal, I feel grateful to have this space. I’m writing as I feel inspired, and not because of some imaginary rule or deadline I set for myself. That’s not how I want to operate anymore. I’m instead working on the art of slowing down.
“There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.” Mahatma Ghandi
Like it was yesterday…
We just found out two nights ago that Ellie got into the elementary school we applied for. It was a lottery system so for the last 4 months we’ve been waiting to hear if her name got picked out of the hat. We are thrilled. And we are terrified. It just got real. Our daughter will be going to kindergarten in 5 months’ time. Cue the water works.
And cue the pause button. She was JUST a tiny babe, making me a Mama and now she’s going to be out of the house and in school full time…for the rest of forever. Like how did that happen?? If only I could slow down time, but I can’t. So I need to look in. To quote Hands Free Mama, “I want to make slowing down the practice of my life.” It’s also the only thing in my actual control.
The Art of Slowing Down
I’m working on prioritizing my time. There’s no getting away from the daily grind and massive to-do lists that come with being an adult, and a parent. But there’s always room for better prioritizing. Just as important as the things on my to-do list are the moments that happen when I’m not trying to get anything crossed off a list. Just because I didn’t get a single thing DONE doesn’t mean I didn’t DO anything. (Reminds me of this post I wrote a year ago)
For the past 6 or 7 months I’ve done this exercise nightly. I run though my “highlight reel” – my favorite moments of that day. Even if it was a totally crappy day, there is always something to be grateful for. There is always at least one memory that makes me smile recalling it. 99% of the time, I remember the small moments. The moments in between. The squeal Ellie gave me when I picked her up from preschool. The hug Layla gave me before nap time. The quiet time I spent with Ellie coloring in a picture together. The uninterrupted conversation I had with Chris catching up on our day. The fact that I carved a few minutes to myself to jot in my journal. Nothing huge, nothing crazy, but certainly the most special parts of my day.
Like so many others, my “natural” tendency is to rush through my day. To cross things of the list, to move from one thing to the other quickly, to be as efficient with my time as possible.
Of course the skills of multi tasking and productivity are valuable and useful, don’t get me wrong. But they can take over and take precedence. I’m constantly needing to come back to these reminders that there are more important “things to be done.”
Another thing I like to do to make sure I’m being truly present is to take note of the details in a given situation with the girls. Putting Layla down for her nap or bedtime is my favorite example. I turn off the lights and rock her in the chair. I sing her a song and she settles into my arms. While I sing, I do a scan of our bodies. I note where her foot hits my thigh, marking how long she is. I listen to the sound of her breathing, and hear it slowing down. And I stroke her hair and notice that it is starting to get longer. This is my way of making sure my mind is present. It’s unfortunately not my default so this practice has been good for me. I suggest you try it if you have an overactive wandering mind like I have.
Back to time. My time with my family, and with myself, is precious and I want to make sure I am mindful about where I put my time and energy. I don’t want to rush through these moments or this time in my life. I’ll never get this back. Next Layla will be going off to school and the last thing I want to feel is any semblance of regret.
This obviously isn’t a “how-to” post because I’m working on figuring this out every day. I just thought I’d share my intention with you in case you find yourself in the same boat.
Our Little Photo Shoot
A quick background on these photos because it relates a little to the topic. Layla was asleep and we were needing to get somewhere on time. I had been telling Ellie for weeks that I would dress up in my white flower dress while she wore hers but it just hadn’t happened yet. I asked Chris if he could snap a few pictures of us and because we always seem to be in a rush, this scenario doesn’t always work out that well. But we went with it. We let ourselves laugh, Chris had the idea of throwing the flowers (blossoming insta-hubby that he is!!!) and we didn’t worry about the time. Yes we were late but we didn’t let it bother us for once. A good example about being in the moment and letting it just be. I want more of this.
Ellie’s adorable dress is from Little Adventures, where they have the cutest, most comfortable, easy to wear, easy to clean dress up outfits. Ellie has a couple of their dresses and she calls them her “soft dresses” and rarely wants to wear her other princess dresses. They are great quality and ship free in the U.S.
Code HELLOMYLOVE15% saves you 15% through March!
Thanks for reading – and please share your thoughts below, I would love to know how you are slowing down and if that’s an intention of yours!