Jacque Roberts lives and works in Houston, Texas. She is a wife, a mother, a teacher, a friend, a chocolate addict, a dog lover, a runner (ish), and a lover of writing.
I’m a working mom.
I’m an up at 6:00 a.m., get dressed in the dark, make a smoothie, grab a yogurt for lunch, and get out of the house by 6:45 kind of mom. My husband does all of the morning duties, and I get the afternoons. For me that means, rush out of work by 4:00 p.m., race across traffic to pick up my son, and frantically fight rush hour to get to some afterschool activity. Then, we get back in the car and repeat the same traffic nightmare as we head home, hoping to make and eat dinner at a decent time.
At a quick glance, this seems to sum up being a parent in today’s society, especially a working parent. There never seems to be enough time, and the schedule seems relentless.
If you had asked me in the very beginning of this parenting journey I might have summed up being a parent in one word, “busy.” But now, now as I get more into this “parenting thing”, I’m starting to realize that being a parent is really all about slowing everything down.
You see, before my son, I had the same busy schedule. Instead of rushing to afterschool activities, I was rushing to the gym or to meet a friend for coffee. I was still rushing. What I notice now though is that the rush has changed. On the outside it looks the same, but from where I am sitting it is much slower.
When my son wakes up the morning, he brings me a book to read him. That sweet boy climbs right into bed or plops down on the bathroom rug and demands, “Book! Mommy book.” And even though the clock is still ticking, and I still have to be out of the house in 45 minutes, I stop for just a minute and read some ridiculous story about trolls or llamas. For just a moment he slows down the rush of the world. For just a moment, I don’t feel busy.
Then there’s the walk to the car in the afternoon when I pick him up from school. My mind is racing, and I can feel the tick of the clock as I think about where we need to be. But my boy, my boy doesn’t need to be anywhere. Instead of walking straight to the car, he has to hop on an off of every curb or raised parking lot divider we pass. Again, my world slows down. He insists that I hop as well, and for just a minute we are laughing like crazy, jumping around the parking lot.
Kids have this way of making the constant hammering of the world around us stop. Instead of hammering, it feels like a subtle drum song begging us to dance. And you know what, slowing down feels good, taking just a minute to stop and enjoy the little things rarely makes us late, and it gives back that sense of control that is missing in the everyday race.
So, if you want to know if my life is busier as a parent, the answer is no. My life is slower. We slow down to point out the moon as it rises each night, even if we stop at the stop sign for just a minute longer. We slow down in the parking lot of the grocery store to pick up rocks, even though it may mean a trip to the bathroom to wash our hands. We stop and dance wherever we are whenever we hear music.
Yes, everything is slower, but slower is where the good stuff is; slower is what makes each day worth doing again and again at such a relentless pace.