Dear Mamas, It is Okay to Slow Down.

Dear Mamas, The sun is rising, and what a magnificent sight it is. The sun will set today as well, and the cycle will continue tomorrow. It is within these hours of daylight, and so often into the darkness, that we mothers struggle. We willing take part in the competition of motherhood, often without the knowledge of joining the invisible team. There is a uniform of yoga pants and mom buns for the ‘B-Team’ and ballet flats, jeans, and make-up for the All-Stars. And the yearning to make it to the All-Star squad tends to run deep.
We play the role of maid, chef, chauffer, hairdresser, nurse, therapist, personal assistant, event planner, baby-wearer, all-night-buffet, financial planner, and motivational coach. Typically, we are not paid. What we are is masters of prioritization.  Somehow, we balance it all without having a mental breakdown when a toddler decides he is no longer potty trained in aisle 4 of Target. We hold ourselves together, but at what cost? Are we all spending our energy on the wrong things? We often over-buy, over-protect, and over-schedule our lives, but are we under-experiencing? Yes, we are.  Most of us are anyway. While we are busy ‘doing,’ our babies are busy living. We are present, but we are busy. IT IS OKAY TO SLOW DOWN. Moving across the country and being pregnant with baby #5 has triggered an urge in me to slow. I have spent many playdates venting about life and all that comes with it, and it is time to stop. A wise friend told me recently to just sit outside and watch the day. I thought she was crazy. I tried it and couldn’t last 3 minutes before itching to stand up and accomplish something. My mind wasn’t ready. I learned that, for some of us, it takes preparation to slow down. I began returning to the gym for yoga and great workouts, scheduling less for the kids, starting the day with read aloud books at breakfast, and asking my children about their dreams from the night before. I hired someone else to clean my house and asked my husband to pick the few random items up at the grocery store. We turned off the TV, tablets, and technology between the hours of waking up and dinner. I organized the crafting items, outdoor play-things, and board games for easy access. I started taking baths – alone. Oh, and reading a book for myself… what a forgotten sanity-savor. Instead of making a daily list of crap to accomplish, I kept a running list of these things on my phone and stopped looking at it every morning. Somehow the most important items on the list were still accomplished while the rest were forgotten about without consequence. I found more time to talk to those I really want to talk with, but most importantly I WAS LIVING. I slowly drink my hot tea; I am teaching my young children the game of chess (and happily sitting for two hours to play); I extinguish sibling arguments easily because I am aware of what is happening. Letting go of the thoughts that have spent years being my internal voice, telling me to do more, go faster, accomplish it all, and be the best mom ever – this has been the most life-changing process, and I highly recommend it. Being free, slowing down, not accomplishing it all – not even a fraction of it all, I think this is the secret of happiness in motherhood. The yoga pants and mom buns can still be rocked, but without the jealousy of those who made the All-Star team. Because, mamas, when you slow down and live life with your children, you learn that they are your teammates. This family that you helped create is worth slowing down for. We may still see the sun rise, the sun set, and several hours of the darkness, as we are mothers and this is what we do. BUT, mamas, we can LIVE through these moments. We can notice the changing colors of the sky; we can inhale the changing of the seasons; we can let go of the struggle and truly experience this stage of life. From One Mother to Another, Breathe and Slow Down.
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