Slow Parenting || When It's Hard
I scream "slow down" from my internal rooftops all day everyday. Part of my job involves advertising slow fashion brands. My closet is carefully curated to make getting dressed easier, eliminating decision fatigue. Our kitchen is stocked with healthy foods, meant to make feeding a family of four easier than rummaging through cupboards of unknown ingredients. But one of the most important areas of my life is often the hardest for me to live "slowly" in.
Our recent move is my excuse for every stress in my life, both inconsequential and significant, but it's been over a month and the transition isn't getting any simpler. As we "ease into" (I like using phrases that downplay how difficult it really feels- words like "transition" make it seem neat and tidy, but when is it, really?) our new life, I'm realizing that my approach to parenting lately has been anything but slow.
Even as I type this, my daughters are crawling out of their beds, sneaking out for one last cuddle or bedtime snack or bathroom break (really, they're just avoiding going to bed altogether). "Go lay down," I order, counting down the minutes till they fall asleep and I have a few hours of solitude until one of them climbs into bed with my husband and I in the middle of the night.
Parenthood is simultaneously the most amazing, empowering, heart-growing experience and the most testing, exhausting, and stressful one. And it usually feels the opposite of slow.
We're adjusting to (see, there's those easy phrases again...in reality, it's more like fumbling into or making-do with) a new schedule where I'm home with the girls working online while my husband works his new job. It's great that we both have predictable incomes and that I'm able to stay with my girls, but g-dang it, some days my kids watch movies more than they should and the words "no" leave my lips more than I ever wanted them to.
Parenting two toddlers usually feels haphazard and fast - like I'm scrambling to keep my head on top of all that "needs" done in between the making of ham sandwiches and vacuuming the rug.
(See, here they come again. Mommy, I can't sleep by myself....)
If this sounds like complaining, that's not my intention. I'm well aware of how blessed I am to have the life I have. But when does the transitioning stop? When do I figure out a way to "do it all" and enjoy my glass of wine at night without thinking of what we're having for dinner tomorrow and oh, that pile of laundry needs folding.
I read a quote earlier today that said went something like this: once you come to terms with the mess of it all - the reality that you might not get clear cut answers or that life might not feel streamlined all of the time - that's where true contentment comes from. And I think that applies to raising children as much as it does to anything else.
One phase leads into the next. One mess is cleaned, another is made.
In seasons of transition, I hope that I can teach my daughters that life is less about having it all figured out and more about being content with having nothing figured out. I hope I can remember to say yes more than I say no and that I can give myself the same grace that my toddlers give me, even when I cry during Frozen, or leave the clothes in the same unfolded lump for weeks.
And I hope that you can give yourself that same grace too.
I'm learning that slow living doesn't always feel all that slow, but if you can replace the unnecessary speed with intention in the stressful times and content in the messy ones, I think you've mastered more than you know.