Monday 25 October 2010

What's the hurry?

Sometimes the universe tries to teach you a bit of lesson, sometimes we take notice, a lot of the time I think we simply ignore it. The past few days, something keeps on coming up and so much so I just can't ignore it.

It started last Thursday and Friday, as I got the girls ready to get out to their different lessons. As usual we were trying to get out the door and things kept coming up – Goosey wanted to change her shoes, we couldn't find goggles for swimming, a nappy needed changing, etc, etc. I kept hearing myself say: "Hurry up," "Move along," "Come on," "Quickly!" "Let's go". Hurrying them along. I hate being late, I'm a punctual person, always have been.

While most of the time I feel like I spend my days running in circles chasing the girls, I spend the other part hurrying them along. Like all little kids, they get distracted by all the small wonders of the world. They like to stop and see what that snail's doing. Stop and pick a flower. Stop and say hello to a neighbour. While nice, being a typical adult I just want to get there and get things done. Gone are the days when you can jump in the car and buy some milk in 5 minutes, that task now takes 45 minutes.

But the other day as I was hurrying them along, I really hated the way I sounded. Pushy, rushed, flustered.

Then on Saturday, we had to go to our local shopping centre to pick up a couple of last minute things for the party. The girls were slowly negotiating a steep flight of stairs in the car park, when a 20-something girl with a phone glued to her ear pushed past us like we were invisible, almost knocking the girls over. 'What's your rush?' I thought.

Ten minutes later, in the shopping centre, negotiating another flight of stairs, an almost indentical girl with a phone glued to her ear did the exact same thing. 'Jeez,' I thought. 'Rushing around to nowhere.' I realised that I had once been that person, rushing around, trying to get from A to B asap. Never stopping to think, 'Gee it really is a nice day today.'

Last night, as I put the girls to bed I said: 'Quick! Into bed.'
Lil-lil looked at me and said: 'Why do I have to do it quickly?'
That question stopped me in my tracks, the only real reason was I was tired and wanted to crash on the couch as soon as I could. Which I admit is precious for me, as time to sit and not hear "Mum!" is not bountiful.

After they were in bed, I realised we had no milk for the morning, so jumped in the car to go to the shop. On the radio, Steve Biddulph was being interviewed (he's written the highly successful books Raising Boys and Manhood) and was saying "Hurrying sucks the love out of relationships and families."
He said that families should take extended time away before school got too busy, to fall into their own groove and reconnect. Take the hurry out of family lives for a while.

It was then I realised I was really being hit over the head with this lesson about hurrying.

The minute you have a child you instantly have to stop. Fall into their time frame. When a baby needs to be fed, it needs to be fed now, it can't wait until you finish what you're doing. You can't hurry a baby along when it's feeding. When Lil-lil was a newborn, I felt like the rest of the world was whizzing past me while I was trapped in a little bubble. While it was wonderful, it also felt a little isolating, I missed my friends who were whizzing past me and most all I missed Skip who was able to move at his own pace a little more freely and I missed being at his side.

You slowly catch up with the world again, and there is this pull to try and push the kids into the fast pace of life, when really they have it right, I think. Take your time. Enjoy the small things. Take note of the small joys. Don't be in such a hurry that you lose sight of what and who is really important.

Kids are hard work, but this is one of the most important lessons they teach a parent. The responsibility and hugeness of the role of a parent is balanced by life being stripped back to the basics and taking things at a slower pace. Even though raising small kids does seem like a blur of chaos a lot of the time, it's important to stop. Push the hurry to side.

While I do enjoy the slow life with the kids and try to relish the time, I do get frustrated at just how slow they move sometimes. I'm guilty of thinking about all the things I could be getting done while changing their clothes for the 16th time that day or reading that same book yet again or stopping to look at that dandelion on the nature strip. I'm going to try and take a deep breath this week and slow down a little. Forget about ticking absolutely everything off the to-do list, I know some of my list can wait until tomorrow. Try and not hurry so much. Try not to hurry them along so much. Most importantly I'm going to try and take a look at the world through their eyes just a little more than usual.


  1. Through a medical problem I've learnt to take time out to smell the roses, watch the world change.

    One way I've done this is make sure my husband has his work uniform together & ready to go the night before.

    Use to even do this with the step daughter made sure her school uniform was ready for her to wear the night before & that she had all important things she needed for a day at school the night before as well.

    That way no one in our family is rushing around in the mornings everthing can be done at a normal pace & husband arrives at work more relaxed & step daughter arrives at school more relaxed.

    I've even found out that my oldest daughter still continues to make sure her work clothes are ready the night before for the next day, that she has her handbag packed with everything she needs for that day at work.

    (((( Hugs ))))

  2. Great post! I HATE the way I am always saying quickly, quickly. It has stopped a little now, I mean "what IS the rush?" I want to start to allow more time instead of being frustrated, giving plenty of warning before I want stuff done and if the hair isn't brushed, then just let it go. It SO doesn't matter. I hear hard to break a pattern. Hope you have a slower certainly could use it sounds like you have been VERY busy!

  3. Another thought provoking post. Thank you.

  4. fantastic post Corinne you are on fire of late! So true, it is so interesting when messages keep appearing like that isn't it, great that you took notice of it. I am going to try and be aware of my hurry hurry too, though life is a slower pace out this way!

  5. (except when i want Monte to go to bed so I can get to the couch!! i HEAR YOU!)

  6. It's amazing how children can teach us things in the simplest ways. Thanks for this post Corinne.

  7. I completely agree with you.
    I also spend my days hurrying my kids up for... nothing.
    Last week I hurried my son to the swimming pool just to find it closed.
    I believe that was a lesson.
    Lovely post!

  8. Hi Corinne I'm one of your latest followers. This is such a thought-provoking post. We have 3 children under 5 and when my husband and I heard that comment of Steve Biddulph, we both smirked at each other. We kind of agreed with him but our reality made it seem a bit impractical. I guess it's all a matter of degree. I'm looking forward to reading more from you. J x

  9. Great post, I need this reminder.

    I really related to a lot of it, especially, "The minute you have a child you instantly have to stop. Fall into their time frame." And, I related to the isolation that comes from having the infant around too.

  10. Enjoyed your post, and I'm new to your blog. Actually, slowness is a matter quite close to my heart and in the past 4 years (since I've been a SAHM) I've been really enjoying the slower pace. Ambling, pottering, wandering through our lives - I relish it. Deadlines and hurry make me stressed. I really NEED slow time - so I think I can understand why my kids do too. However, I'm often late (which of course brings its own stress!) and I too am guilty of the 'hurry up', 'come on' mantra...


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