I sometimes feel the bubbling of impatience as I mother. I observe myself and other parents wrestling with this desire to hurry up and get our little people to go where we want them to go. Children move at a slower rhythm and our prodding and pushing can disrupt their natural flow.
When I feel into the natural pace of children and then adults, there is a huge disparity between the two. This can cause a lack of harmony which usually results in unnecessary struggle. I don’t believe we need to force or coerce our children to do daily tasks. I see it as a partnership. I often ask myself how I would want to be treated.
For example: let’s say I am fully engaged in something I love like writing, reading or exercising. I am in my flow and someone comes up and jumps into my bliss and says: Hurry up. Let’s go. We are leaving right now to go do (fill in the blank). It would feel jarring and disorienting. Why would this be any different for our children? Yet, we expect them to just go with our pace and tempo.
One of the best pieces of parenting wisdom I’ve received was from the late Magda Gerber; her recommendation was one simple word: Wait! Silently repeating it to ourselves if needed. Wait…Wait… Wait... When we make a request…pause, wait, and give our children space to process. When we feel the urge to push our children to do something like put their pajamas on, change their diaper or brush their teeth. Remember to wait.
Create more space in your mind and your life so you can give the gift of spaciousness. A natural flow will emerge, even if it feels counterintuitive. There can be a concern that by giving them more space they’ll never actually do what we are asking, but that hasn’t been my experience. Usually, I am astonished at how just a few minutes of patience can create so much more peace.
This may sound easy but it’s a monumental task to feel the rise of frustration and choose to wait and breathe. This doesn’t mean we are permissive with our parenting and let them do whatever they want whenever they want to do it. It just means giving more time and presence in order for them to move from their center.
Our role as parents is to create a safe haven for our children to thrive and also hold strong boundaries so they learn how to be a collaborator within the family. Treating them with respect and love and trusting that just because they are smaller and their brains aren’t fully formed that they understand, because they do. Their knowing may not always be an intellectual understanding. Most of the time (especially when they are young) this knowing is an energetic transmission.
The mother sets the tone, rhythm and culture for the family. We must be centered and attuned so we can create a flow that works for everyone. Sometimes this means there are time constraints we must honor in order to create harmony within the whole. This may upset our children’s desire for play and exploration which may include upset and tears.
This doesn’t mean something’s wrong. It just means we need to hold more loving space for them as they integrate the emotions that are arising. We all have these emotions and children just express them more fully and outwardly than we do. If we can hold space and allow their emotions to flow like a river they will move right through them.
It’s a constant dance. It’s vital for us, as mothers, to honor our desires and also our children’s. When these desires conflict (as they often can), I usually get down on my knees or pick my son up so we can connect eye to eye. Then, I say: I see that you want this and I want this. Let’s make a deal.
We talk about creative ways we can both get our needs met. Some days this goes smoother than others and sometimes we need to re-negotiate deals again and again. The simple practice of slowing down enough to listen, connect and be in relationship with my child makes such a big difference.
The reality is that children go slower than adults. They explore, they’re curious and ask questions, they see and experience the world with completely different eyes. If we are going to authentically connect we must tune into their level of absorption and focus…their enthusiasm for the ordinary. This isn’t easy for most of us.
Our culturally conditioned adult minds tend to move faster. Much faster and disembodied. Life is a full embodied experience for children — mind, body and spirit. So-called grown ups can tend to be distracted with future thinking about what’s next, where we need to go, what needs to get done.
I continually play with the rise of hurriedness I feel sometimes. This urge to hurry up. When I notice myself projecting into the future while I am at the park with my son or thinking about the dinner I still need to make, or wanting to be doing something more interesting, etc. I stop the mental chatter and ask myself to come back to the present.
I inquire into how can I sink more into this moment so that I can find the joy right where I stand. I ask: How can I be fully engaged with my child? Learn from him? He knows presence way better than I do. In many ways in the pursuit of adulthood I’ve unlearned the simple joys of living. Being with him helps me settle back into my natural soul pace.
The art of motherhood fascinates me. It’s a completely different pace and reality than most of the world. I wonder if this is why it can feel so challenging to be a modern mom? The email, the iPhones, the technology moves at the pace of electricity. Children don’t.
Our relationships don’t move in this way. They need space to explore and to feel and to rest in order to flourish. There is a rush we feel when we work, or are engaged with adults because most of the time the vibe is higher and faster. It feels more in sync with our racing minds. If we want to experience joyful parenting we can’t try to operate our home in the same way we would if were leading a meeting, managing a business, or trying to get 100 things done in a day.
There are days I wish for more excitement in my daily life. More burst of electricity and less of the mundane. Then, I step back and see. I see that motherhood is calling me deeper into myself and deeper into life. Which is what my soul wants more than anything. I want to live deeper. I want to feel more. I want to experience more. I want to feel the pulse of life running through my veins. This takes patience and practice. It’s not glamorous and it can be challenging. But, what could more powerful than returning to my natural essence?
Motherhood is changing me in ways I could’ve never imagined. I am grateful because it’s calling me home in a way I’ve been desiring for a long time. I just didn’t think it would look like this. I thought it would be more graceful and more easeful with more sparkles and joy. Not there aren’t a lot of those moments…because there are. But it’s…well, a whole lot harder than I envisioned.
I imagine it’s easier for some. But, for me it’s been a deconstruction phase where I’ve challenged my beliefs about time, love, joy and success. I continually choose to create the sacred in the ordinary again and again and again.
This has opened up space for a whole new re-invention of self that I wasn’t even aware existed. I could have missed this call for transformation but I’ve done my best to stay present to what’s real and true for me. Even during those times I wish things felt easier I hear the emergence of my true self whispering to keep on…there’s more unfolding you just can’t see it right now.
It’s all a work in progress. I am no zen priestess but I am slowly learning there is no need to hurry. I can sit for a bit longer. I can rest in the moment a bit longer. I can enjoy the sun on my face and feel the joy in my heart as I watch my son completely and fully be himself.
Why would I want to hurry this? My desire and practice is to be passionately present and engaged and connected. My son is my teacher on this one. His natural pace and essence is guiding me to a place I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have experienced if I wasn’t his mother.
The hardest part of stepping into motherhood was the feeling that I lost some of my spark, my creativity, my freedom. Now, I smile (most days) because I know that’s not true. I am finding an even more authentic voice and spark and an internal freedom. Transformation takes time, persistence, diligence and a willingness to see the light even as we navigate the unknown. And, motherhood is the definition of flux.
May I be present to the magic that is always unfolding. May I trust in the flow of life. May I rest in the joy that is always available. May I be engaged and present. May I be willing to slow down and go at a completely difference pace than the collective. May I move from a place of rest, ease and grace. May I continue to honor the sacred duty of being a mother.
Here’s a little free flow blissitation to support you in resting today: