Being a mother never stops. From the moment you wake up to the time when your head finally hits the pillow at night, you are on. Sometimes the days themselves seem to flow into each other with no rest in between.
It seems on most days, if not all, as soon as you’ve finished feeding your children a meal, they’re already asking for a snack, all while you’re busy trying to wipe little faces before you wipe off the table, only to look down and notice all the crumbs on the floor. It just never seems to end.
Mental exhaustion is real
And the mental demands are just as great as the physical ones. There’s that constant to-do list running through the heads of young mamas. There’s also this stream of conversation that only mamas can hear, that never-ending voice in your head telling you what you should have done, what you need to do, how to best handle situations that haven’t even happened yet. That voice that you simply cannot shut down.
Every day can be exhausting.
As children grow, so do mothers. The seasons of motherhood change, allowing the demands to shift, but the mental load of questioning whether you are doing it all right never goes away.
How can it? What we are doing with our children when they are young will determine who they will one day be. No wonder we spend so much time and energy thinking and doing.
Moms, it’s ok to slow down
But it’s important to remember that, in the busyness of the life of motherhood, it’s okay to slow down.
It’s actually more than okay; it’s the way to give our children the gift of becoming their best selves. It’s the way to deposit into their lives much more effectively than all our running around and worrying will ever achieve.
I think we can look to young children to show us how it’s done. I also think it’s something we must do.
Remember when the little kids flocked to Jesus?
In fact, in the 18th chapter of Matthew, Jesus instructs us to become like little children.
Children naturally like other people, enjoying their presence. Their first instinct is to offer kindness to others. Their words and actions reflect their heart, a heart that loves instinctively.
A young child doesn’t really think about time; he lives in the moment, understanding the beauty of living in the now because it’s all he’s ever known. And it’s all he wants to know. It’s just how little children are. Their minds aren’t usually living in the past. They don’t fret about what the future holds. They aren’t big planners. They don’t have calendars, cell phones, and all the entrapments of adult life that we don’t think we can live without.
A young child notices beauty around him because he isn’t thinking about all the things. He usually wants to pick the flower to share with others, usually wants to grab our hand to show us what he has seen, usually takes the time to tell us about what he has experienced. There is a purity in his intentions that we, as adults, often question when it comes from our peers.
How often do we, in our rush to do everything that is important, miss the truly valuable?
Give slowing down a shot
I’m not suggesting we abandon the cleaning of our houses. I certainly don’t think meals and snacks can become optional. And I know the mental load has to be there; we are, after all, the ones who keep up with everything for our children. Appointments need to be made and kept. Routines need to be established and adhered to. The business of life is often hectic, but our busyness doesn’t have to consume us.
What if we take a few minutes each day to stop, to slow down, to really look and listen like our children do? What if we get down on their level and experience life the way they do?
I think they have a lot to share with us, a lot they can teach us. I also think we, when we slow down for a bit, will experience a calmness that will find its way into other areas of our lives, all by spending time with the little people we pour our lives into.
Yes, every single day is going to be busy. Some days are going to be overwhelming. Most days the thought of carving out five minutes of free time seems impossible, especially when you can’t even go to the bathroom without being followed.
But there’s just something about getting down on a child’s level that helps to put everything else into perspective.
The daily issues that make up our lives won’t stop, but we might just walk away recharged, feeling a lightness that wasn’t there before.
The benefits of slowing down are for you and your kids
And our children will have an extra dose of happiness, a feeling of security, and even a calmness that they didn’t know they were missing, didn’t know they were longing for. Infusing them with the positive emotions that only can come from quality time spent with us may only take a few minutes, but the benefits will last much longer for them. And we are often gifted with more time to get some things on our endless to-do list done since a child who feels seen is often able to play alone for a few minutes because he no longer seeks out attention. You see, you’ve given it to him. He knows he is loved, knows he is valued, knows he is seen.
When Emily Dickinson penned “Forever-is composed of Nows-“ she could have been speaking directly to young mamas of today. Take time to pause; take time to reflect; take time to notice. You are your child’s forever. You are making the memories, the nows, that will be forever in his mind, forever telling him how valuable he is.
Slowing down will bless you too. In fact, it might just keep you from missing everything.