Feel that the days are just whizzing by you? Here’s how you can help slow down your family’s pace and enjoy motherhood again.
Recently I was on the way to school pick up – with an eye twitch – stressed out of my head.
Why did I feel so nervous?
Why was life so busy?
Why could I never just sit down?
Sure, we’re in a transition period, getting ready to move. But even so… we don’t have a lot of commitments or obligations that take up our evenings or weekends. And yet…
And yet I feel extremely busy. Like my life is on a runaway train I can’t manage to jump out of.
That’s when it hit me: there is physical busyness and mental busyness.
And both of these can cause us to have a fast paced family life we don’t actually like.
How To Have A Slower Family Pace
Become More Hands Free And Get Off Social Media
When our lives are stressful (busy) our gut reaction is to escape. Phones, tablets, and computers make such an easy escape source. But instead of that helping lessen the stress, it actually trains our brains to escape our emotions.
This leads to inner turmoil which leads to Excess Energy that many of us equate with busyness.
“Simply let go of distraction for one moment. In that moment, you have the power to make a significant connection with another human being. You have the opportunity to be in the right place at the right time.” Hands Free Mama
“Turn off the device and take your child for a walk through the woods or on a hike up a mountain. Go on a camping trip. Late at night, when it’s absolutely dark, take your child’s hand and ask her to look up at the stars. Talk with her about the vastness of space and the tininess of our planet in the universe. That’s reality. That’s perspective.” Leonard Sax
Time slows down when you are really focusing on what’s in front of you.
“How often do you meet someone and instantly forget her name? This indicates that your mind was distracted, that it was preoccupied with something else entirely. The inability to concentrate on a name or conversation is evidence of what I deem SBS—Scattered Brain Syndrome.
Singletasking isn’t only about getting things done. It’s also about developing focus. Living in the present will affect the very essence of your life, including work, relationships, and everything else that matters to you.” Time
Read: My “Daily Escape” to a Quiet Place & Why It’s Necessary
Slow Down And Sit With Your Family
Research has proven time and time again that normal mundane everyday events like Family Dinner can make a huge difference in a child’s well-being.
It doesn’t matter if it’s all organic, from a can, or take out… the benefit comes in the uninterrupted regular time together that makes space for genuine relationship.
If you’re too busy to eat meals at home with your family then you’re probably too busy. With little ones, dinner ain’t easy. But as children grow older, the dinner table becomes a place to share stories, family history, and talk about what’s happening in their lives.
Regular unrushed family meals are touch points in family life.
Read: Family Traditions: The Indisputable Benefits of Rituals
Help prepare your kids for life, one skill at a time. Simple, easy skills every month!Learn More
Develop Habits That Work
Home systems are not a Super Exciting thing to think about, but disorganization and chaos actually takes up a lot of time. When life gets busy it’s time to tighten up the home systems.
Practical things to do when life gets busy:
- Declutter then donate or throw away. (My husband thinks everything in our home is one step away from being thrown out, depending on my mood.)
- Figure out where things pile up then put a system there. Baskets, containers, or trays make a pile seem more organized and less stressful to the eye.
- Take an hour or two, gather all the family members, and attack the mess together.
Brainstorm some new routines or habits that’ll help alleviate the pileup from happening again. Remember, only try to start one new habit at a time so you aren’t setting yourself up for failure.
Under Schedule Your Family
If you could teleport everyone from the house to practice to games to school and back you’d save a lot of time. Alas, time in the car increases the sense that life is frantic.
“Replay some mental pictures of your child over the past week. If all your images are of him or her on the go—heading to an appointment, on the way back from one, doing homework, practicing an instrument—and there are not many moments of Quiet and Relaxation, your kid is too busy.”
“Every hour kids come into my office and throw themselves onto my couch complaining that they are overbooked with too many appointments,” says Dr. Fran Walfish, a child psychologist and author.“All they want is down time.”
“Lack of time is actually lack of priorities.” Tim Ferris
In this modern age we forget we actually have limits.
We cannot do it all. Our kids cannot do it all. We cannot be both manic and relaxed. We cannot have a peaceful family life if we have 18 practices/lessons a week and 7 games/recitals per weekend.
Think about all that you do each week. Now, looking at those things, what does that say about your priorities?
If the way you spend your time doesn’t reflect your values, then it’s time to make changes.
Do New Things Together
I read something interesting the other day. It said the reason that time seems to speed up the older you get is because you’re always doing the same things.
Let me explain.
Our brain processes information in different ways depending on whether the information is new or familiar. When our brain processes familiar information, it doesn’t take much time.
However, it takes longer to process new information which makes time seem to slow down. Neuroscientist David Eagleman believes this is why time seems to go by faster the older we get.
“This explains why we think that time speeds up when we grow older,” Eagleman said, why childhood summers seem to go on forever, while old age slips by while we’re dozing.
The more familiar the world becomes, the less information your brain writes down, and the more quickly time seems to pass. “Time is this rubbery thing…it stretches out when you really turn your brain resources on, and when you say, ‘Oh, I got this, everything is as expected,’ it shrinks up.” (source)
So want to slow down time? Do new things.
Cuddle, Read Books, and Talk More
Read: My “Daily Escape” to a Quiet Place & Why It’s Necessary
Cuddling is actually good for kids’ brains. Heck, it’s good for all of us. When we spend quality time with those we love – or doing things we love – it feels like time well spent.
It’s both satisfying and refreshing. Quality time with our children doing normal things help us feel connected and purposeful.
The trouble is, the small moments are the first to get crowded out by the tyranny of the urgent.
We need to do All The Things and – before we know it – it’s bedtime and we’re exhausted and we’ve had 2.5 hours of time with the kids and most of that was shooing them around.
Stop doing stupid stuff that doesn’t matter so you can make time for the people you love more than anything else in the world.
Our culture tells us to Do It All and not ever miss out.
Our nervous systems, on the other hand, are saying the opposite.
“It said the reason that time seems to speed up the older you get is because you’re always doing the same things.” Oh wow. Really? Coz I most certainly feel that time is whizzing past me!
But when I am learning new things I feel stressed coz I have so little time to process things. Interesting thought nonetheless.
So glad I woke up to this! I homeschool my oldest, but she has 3 other siblings! We don’t have a whole lot of extra curricular activities, but I still feel like I’m always busy and like I never have enough one on one time with each kid. Decluterring is a definite need for me! And help! I am terrible at meal planning.
Mealime app (I have it for Android) You can input your allergies or things to avoid and then pick the meals you like (mine are chosen by how many ingredients I can grow myself, crossed with how cheap the remaining purchases are). The app will give you a grocery list for every meal you put in (start with one weeks worth and then work up from there) and instructions on how to cook it and what pots/pans/whatever to use. It is a total lifesaver and even helps me plan what veg needs to be in the garden most next year so I can keep using the app!
It’s so hard when what you feel is right is the exact opposite of what our culture promotes. Every day, I am getting better at listening to my heart and to my gut.
Really fantastic and timely reminder. Thank you! Xx
My biggest issue is figuring out what is the MOST important and ONLY doing that. I want my kids to learn:
History—————Learn from the past (scriptures included) or we will repeat it!
Science—————The kids LOVE this!
Literature————-Oh, the books! So many Books! My house overflows!
Language Arts———Use what you’ve learned by reading! Yahoo!
Math—————–Yeah well, we all know ya need it
American Sign Language-Because some of us are going awfully deaf
Horse Training———They want to ride them so must know how to get ’em ride-able
Dog Training———–Can’t get rid of this; need a service dog (& lack of $ to buy one)
Other Animal Husbandry-Got chickens, rabbits, and looking for a milk goat in addition
Gardening————-Want to eat
Cooking and food prep—Don’t always want it raw
Violin—————-I so LOVE the violin! And they have such good ears
Piano—————-For their father, he insists ever since grandpa died
Dance—————My youngest just IS a dancer. Had rhythm since birth that one.
Music/Singing———Oh yeah, they can sing and they love it!
-Got to have time for Scouts and all the various projects with that go with it
-Got to have time for horseback riding not just training
-Got to have time for walks and lazy afternoons
-Got to have time to feed the animals and tend the garden
-Got to have time to write my novels, listen to music, continue my own education, do simple things like get groceries and clean up this mess of a home, oh right… there should be some sleep in there too!
-A sport anyone? Sorry, no time!
Soooooo, I dunno. I could cut History and Science… but we really like those… I could get rid of scouts but that is the best time for them to see their friends…
I am always running ragged and not very happy… but I don’t want to take away good things that can help them later in life, as well as now really.
This is so true Rachel! Thank you so much for this article.
Thank you so much! I am a army mom with a toddler and feel like everything has to be done RIGHT NOW! I need to balance and schedule..one step at a time. All I want is a happy and smart child overall! My clean house can come in steps. HA HA
This is a timely message for me. I recently found I had all the early symptoms of Burnout-Syndrome. Yes, I have a lot to do, but a lot of it is also constantly rechurning those tasks in my head while doing other things. I sit down, my son is napping and my thoughts go on and on but the time isn’t right to handle it or I am really too tired. Yes, I use social media to turn my brain off, but also to socialise because I am bored and lonely. And then in turn, it stresses me more, because what I read in that FB-parenting-group sticks in my head…