It's so tempting to rush as parents! I remember wanting to hurry the birth up, tired of waiting through those uncomfortable final days of pregnancy. I knew better--knowing that the baby knows when it's time to be born and that it would be wise to relax and even savor those final days--but it was so hard to be patient. At every age and stage, there's a part of me that rushes ahead.
Kids don't hurry, though. They don't rush through birth, through nursing, through learning to walk or use the potty or do homework or drive a car. They don't learn how to handle their temper in a moment (not even in a great moment of understanding).
Development takes time. There are bits of progress, regressions, distractions, confusions. As a mom, I've learned how important it is to slow down. I've learned through hard experience that pushing and hurrying slows us down. That my kids need to move in their own timing. And that real learning doesn't happen on my timetable.
Lately I've been reflecting on anxiety and counseling parents on how to work with it. We talk about how important it is to slow down and build a strong connection with their child rather try to 'fix' anxious symptoms. The symptoms can be easy to change in the short term, but I don't want to help parents hide their child's anxiety! I want to help the child and parents to transform the anxiety. That takes time.
What are you working on with your kids? Manners? Going to sleep independently? Non-violence? Chores? Whatever it is, take a moment to step back and see the big picture. Remember that you aren't raising them to behave a certain way just today or tomorrow or even this year. You're helping them learn how to really handle complex questions with wisdom and integrity.
Stay tuned, I'll be writing more on this topic over the coming week!
I'm a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and teacher who has long struggled with the desire to be the perfect person I imagine that I should be. Practicing mindfulness has changed my life, helping me to make peace with myself as I truly am and to appreciate my family, life, and the world as they actually are.