I had a good mama moment last week, where instead of leaving Zeph to play while I tidied the kitchen, I asked him what he would like to do while I was busy. I mean, he would have played happily enough – his ability and desire to play independently has come on in leaps and bounds since he turned four in January – but still, I felt like it was just the sort of thing one ought to do from time to time when one is doing this mum business well.
First I asked if he’d like the play dough out while I washed up after lunch… but I got that response ^^.
Super messy painting it is. Did he want to paint in the kitchen at the table where I was, or did he want to go by himself to paint in the conservatory? Outside by himself.
So we got out the paints and papers (actually opened up cereal boxes that I’d been saving for him to paint on) and off he went. After a while he called to me: Mum, come and see what I’ve done for you!
And, after finishing the dish I was on and drying my hands, off I went to see (like a good mama again). He’d painted me a cake, with candles, and cherries, and some juice. He called me back three or four times, showing me the pictures he was painting for me. Sharing all the thought and love that had gone into each one. Thoughts and love I might have so easily missed if I had prioritised finishing in the kitchen over going to see what he wanted to show me. And afterwards I went to sit with him, watching, without taking my phone or any other distractions.
Because the quiet moments together are precious.
It’s so easy to get caught up in all the things that need doing. The places that need getting to. The tasks that need completing to coax each child into their corresponding clothes and shoes and out the door. And so easy to then get stressed when the schedule doesn’t run on time. When things are spilled or ripped or lost. When chaos is created in the 2 seconds after some kind of order was restored. And then everyone’s wellbeing becomes secondary to the task or the schedule. The doing overtakes the being.
But that’s not who we are.
That’s not how people are made.
So here are some ways that we slowed down on an everyday trip to the supermarket today. Ways, perhaps, of realising that while we sometimes have to be there now, it’s not always such a hurry. And when it’s not a hurry, we don’t have to hurry.
1. Take a short (or not so short) detour and walk through the park instead of down the road.
2. Look at/smell/pick the flowers.
3. Find a bench and sit down to have a snack together.
4. Look at the live seafood section for as long as the kids want.
6. Stop to throw rocks into the most ginormous muddy puddle.
7. Listen to the birds.
8. Watch the machines on the construction site.
9. Collect sticks and stones along the way.
Do you have ways of slowing down as an individual or a family? Let me know in the comments.
Bring me sticks
Bring me pine cones
Bring me your pockets full of stones
A slow afternoon in the park, playing on the stepping stones across the river. Making sure the baby didn’t fall in. Though he did manage to dip both shoes to greater and lesser extents. Looking at the daffodils growing, wandering under the trees.
On the way home Zeph fell behind and called out to me, ‘Mummy! Wait! I’ve got to get some stones for Daddy!’
He came home with pockets full of stones and gravel bits and dirt.
He came home with pockets full of love.