“You need to slow down”

Has a passing comment ever resonated with you, I mean really stayed with you beyond it’s throwaway nature?

“You need to slow down”

Those were the simple words spoken to me by a grandmother at the nursery gates some eighteen months ago. A stranger really, but someone who impacted me quite significantly with five short words.

Spoken with a wisdom that comes only with years of experience, I could see the knowing glint in her eye. As I flippantly exclaimed how busy we always are, and we always have somewhere to be straight from the nursery gates. So much to do, not a second to waste. No time to walk, no time to stop…I’m dashing back to get cracking with all that stuff I have to do.

You see, it’s in my nature to rush. To want to get things done. To never be late. That comes with a cost – to be so busy being too god damn efficient that you fail to notice the birds singing, the smell of the bakery as you pass by, or the changing faces looking right up at you every day.

How naive I must have sounded to her – as she held on to her granddaughter’s hand so tenderly, having seen first hand her own children’s life whizz by and the world around her change so much.

As a parent it is all too easy to see the days in time windows of opportunity to get stuff done. Such a crime it is to see naptime wasted just driving from A to B, or worst still on a walk home – to be rudely interrupted the second you open the front door.

And, as someone who is mostly unable to be late – what exactly is the benefit of yelling at the kids to get in the car, only to be waiting at the other end for everyone else to arrive.

Some days, I have to remind myself of that moment, on that day; Sarah, you need to slow down.

Sod the dishes, read ‘The tiger that came to tea’. Walk to school, and stop and look at the wedding dress shop window. Don’t get dressed. Don’t worry about taking photos – look back at some old ones. Say no sometimes. Break out of doing things just because that’s the routine – spend time at home. Soak it all in. Paint. Go to the park. Take a bath, not a shower. Breathe.

Because one day, if you’re lucky, you will be looking on at young mothers complaining about their hectic lives and smiling at the naivety, but there won’t be any going back.

x MMT

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One thought on ““You need to slow down”

  1. Pam Lobley Reply

    This is so beautifully written. My kids are older now and I can testify, yes, slow down. And also, even as my kids are teens I still need to remind myself to slow down and enjoy it. I did cancel all activities for one summer when my kids were 8 and 10. I wrote a book about it and how slowing down was so difficult and so very worth it. If you’re interested … http://familius.com/why-cant-we-just-play . I wish you many rich days.

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