Lockdown parenting: I am chosing to savour these slow days for all they are worth
These are intense days.
Different. Full-on. Emotional. Lonely. Weird. But also good, I find. There is a lot about this living slow thing that I have to admit I am actually liking.
Many of us are in the same boat, I think, feeling all the feels and going back and forth between feeling stressed and anxious and more than ready to return to normal, and then, in the next second, feeling grateful and safe at home and soaking up this quiet, still, slow time with our children and own little families.
I know I am, for sure.
Life is normally so busy, with a 10-year-old and a six-year-old, our 'old life' was a classic carousel of school and homework and ballet and football and playdates and taekwondo and birthday parties. Often, I would find myself almost grieving how fast time went by, and longing to slow down our days, without even knowing how to.
Now I had to. Now the world made that decision for me, and so despite all the scary news and uncertainty and worry, I am choosing to spend these days soaking up my children's childhood, and savouring these slow days for all they are worth.
Because every day my children are getting a little bigger.
Every morning when we wake up they are a little older and a little wiser and a little bit closer to not being my (little) babies anymore.
And while watching them grow is amazing – and truly the greatest thing I have ever done – nothing will remind you just how fast time really is whizzing by as having children does.
The days with young children can be long (oh, how we know!), both during normal times, and also now, mid-pandemic. But the years are so, so short. And when life is busy, it is all so easy to forget to stop and just BE when you are so busy with the school run and the work commute and the dinner rush and the toddler tantrums and the homework helping. When work and family and relationships and the daily grind is pulling you in different directions all day every day, and when you are chasing your tail from morning till night.
And so now, when a lot of the rush has been taken away for a while, don't forget to make time for the really important things too. The ones you won't get back if you always push them to the back of the line. The ones you'll regret not doing when time has slipped through your fingers.
This poem by Diane Loomans is stuck to my fridge at home, and these days, I try to read these words every day and remind myself to be grateful for these days, and, even when life returns to normal, what it is that I really need to make time for.
“If I had my child to raise all over again,
I’d finger paint more, and point the finger less.
I’d do less correcting, and more connecting.
I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less, and know to care more.
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.
I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I’d run through more fields, and gaze at more stars.
I’d do more hugging, and less tugging.
I would be firm less often, and affirm much more.
I’d build self esteem first, and the house later.
I’d teach less about the love of power, and more about the power of love."
There will always be things we wish we had done differently, and growing up and older will always have its moments of "if I could turn back time.." but I think we need to get better at reminding each other to soak and enjoy the NOW of motherhood. Of not letting parenting be one of those things we will look back and wish we had done differently. Prioritized better.
My own mum once told me some words that stuck with me forever: "You are now living the days that you one day will look back at as 'the good, old days." This was before the current pandemic, of course, but still – they remain very true in terms of where I am in my motherhood journey. These days of having my children young, of them needing me and wanting me and loving me so fiercely and wildly, they really are the good days, the most amazing days, and I will soak them up with my whole heart.