It is that time of year when things can get hectic and sometimes overwhelming for some people. This often results in making it more difficult to stay present during these times.
I recently read an article about slow parenting, and it really resonated with me:
“I encourage parents to take some time to just watch their children, whether they are playing, doing homework, or eating a snack,” [John Duffy, a clinical psychologist and author of The Available Parent] says. “Take a moment to drink them in. Remember and remind yourself how remarkable your children are. That pause alone, even if momentary, can drive a shift in the pace”…
“We don’t over schedule ourselves. My husband and I spend lots of time at home. My kids dig in the dirt and ride bikes, we blow bubbles and go to the beach,” says [Lindsay Miller, a mother of three boys, ages 2, 4, and 7]…
“These days when everyone is so busy, we need to be intentional about making space for family time…” Family time, says Contey [cofounder of Slow Family Living] is different for all of us. “You might say, ‘we’re all here on Thursday mornings, so let’s make a leisurely pancake breakfast’; or one night a week take a walk in the dark before bed. Something like that can feel really special and the kids will remember it as they get older”…
I loved the above line about simply watching your children. There is so much to really see when we truly stop to just simply watch and show up in the moment. We usually incorporate fun outings on the weekends as a family. But sometimes, maybe, it is nice to not do anything. This month, I am inspired to slow down and let Alex take the lead. Maybe this will mean that she will gather up all of our laundry and put it in the washer, a favorite ritual! (She also likes to stop the wash in the middle of the cycle by pressing all of the buttons on the washing machine!) Also, maybe this will mean she will carry her little step stool all over the house. She loves to use her step stool to get up on the beds or chairs to sit along with trying to pet Victory, while she is sitting on our bed. She also loves to go into the bathrooms with her trusty step stool, especially when one of us is getting ready, whereby she takes down all of the items on the counter and then run around the house with her menagerie, as she always needs to be holding something whether that be my small canister of gum, lotion, Doug’s case for his glasses, or her bubbles, etc.!
It is nice to notice the little things — like witnessing how Alex figures things out, what makes her laugh, and seeing what she enjoys, and truly being with her, which is what all kids desire. This is not a new idea but it feels this way, for me, sometimes, especially when I feel in a hurry and hurrying Alex along, too. However, things always go much smoother when you simply are in the moment and not rushing through things. I captured a few images of our girls, Alex and Victory, recently. They both are always so present. (And, yes, Alex’s crib is the only way to keep the two of them in the same vicinity these days!)
I wish every single one of you the gift of presence. To quote Mary Oliver: “To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.”
Here is a brief video of the girls together!