Motherhood

Trying Out Slow Parenting

kendra-smoot

Cup of Jo has been running for 13 years (!) so we’ve decided that every week, we’ll be highlighting one of the most popular posts from the past. Here’s one of our favorites, originally published on May 26, 2015. Although we can’t go outside, the idea of sloooooowing way down felt timely…

After work and on the weekends, I often take our boys on neighborhood adventures — to the playground, to the carousel, to the bookstore, to the deli to get popsicles. But even though these outings are fun, I’ve found that…

…en route, I’m constantly calling after them: “Hurry up, sweetie!” “Let’s go!” “Keep walking!” “Come on, honey, follow me!”

One recent evening, I even challenged myself not to tell them any instructions for the next minute. And it made me realize how often I did — 60 seconds was hard to get through! The funny thing is, usually we’re not even in a rush. As an adult, I move at a faster pace than they do, and I’m also not great, generally, at relaxing, even on my own time. So, when Anton stops to examine a bicycle pedal or spots an ant on the ground or Toby walks slowly and dreamily down the block, I instinctively tell them to c’mon and come along.

The other day, I read a Boston Globe article about slow parenting, and it really resonated with me:

“I encourage parents to take some time to just watch their children, whether they are playing, doing homework, or eating a snack,” [John Duffy, a clinical psychologist and author of The Available Parent] says. “Take a moment to drink them in. Remember and remind yourself how remarkable your children are. That pause alone, even if momentary, can drive a shift in the pace”…

“We don’t overschedule ourselves. My husband and I spend lots of time at home. My kids dig in the dirt and ride bikes, we blow bubbles and go to the beach,” says [Lindsay Miller, a mother of three boys, ages 2, 4, and 7]…

“These days when everyone is so busy, we need to be intentional about making space for family time…” Family time, says Contey [cofounder of Slow Family Living] is different for all of us. “You might say, ‘we’re all here on Thursday mornings, so let’s make a leisurely pancake breakfast’; or one night a week take a walk in the dark before bed. Something like that can feel really special and the kids will remember it as they get older”…

I loved that line about simply watching your children. The other day, the boys were taking a bath, and instead of cleaning up the room or scrubbing them down, I decided to look at them. I noticed how Anton’s hair sticks out to each side, like Doc from Back to the Future. And Toby was softly humming a tune, which I didn’t recognize at first, but then realized was “So Long, Farewell” from the Sound of Music. (“And you and you and you!”) And their round bellies and serious focus on bath toys broke my heart from the sweetness. And I could have just as easily missed it!

My approach has typically been to squeeze in fun outings with them, especially if I’ve been at work all day. But maybe it’s nice sometimes to not do anything.

This month, I’m inspired to slow down and let the boys take the lead. Maybe we’ll skip a carousel excursion and instead just walk around the block as slowly as they’d like. Maybe we’ll take an hour! We’ll notice little things (like those fascinating bike pedals) and say hi to neighbors and turn around and sit on a bench and NOT, under any circumstances, hurry up.

What about you? Do you factor in slow-paced time with your little ones? It’s not a groundbreaking realization, but it feels like it in the moment.

stephanie-congdon-barnes-gorge-oregon

P.S. An outdoors challenge, and our vacation on Fire Island last summer that felt like slow parenting, as vacations sometimes do!

(Top photo by Kendra Smoot; bottom photo by Stephanie Congdon Barnes/Little Birds)

  1. Christine says...

    Does anyone have advice on how to enforce ‘quiet time’ in a 3 year old who has dropped their nap? We are all desperate for a break but she absolutely refuses to be alone or quiet. She’s very extroverted and talks constantly – she’s a hoot but exhausting! Right now, we have resorted to TV time while her baby sister naps 2x a day and that’s our “down time” but I wish I could get her to read quietly alone in her room. I don’t want to resort to locking her in there! Any ideas?

    • hm says...

      Special toys just for quiet time! And, start small. Say, 15 minutes. Then if she’s happy at the 15 minute mark, let it go another 5 minutes. Stretch it out a little longer every day. If you have a way to play music in her room, let her pick special quiet time music. If you have an okay-to-wake clock, use the alarm function to go off when quiet time is over–kids respect clocks for some reason. I think it helps to have quiet time every day, including on weekends, and remind the kiddo that you’ll be busy doing something not-so-fun anyhow, so she’s not missing out on anything.

    • Katie says...

      We love the Calm app. Our girl likes to listen to the kids bedtime stories on there during quiet time, and she’ll color or play with her toys or books while she listens. We’ve also always been very consistent about quiet time, ever since her little brother started a consistent afternoon nap. We NEED it.

  2. Lori says...

    Oh my… crying. I have a college sophomore and high school senior. They both are spending quarantine at the college apartment together because of our lack of rural internet. I miss them and this post…my heart! I might need some of that FaceTime tonight. I would just like to look at them for a bit

  3. Rebecca says...

    I’m alone in my NYC apartment (with my cat). It’s been pretty tough being alone and I have a lot of medical anxiety as is so it’s hard not to spiral. But I’m trying to consume some cultural comfort food — re-reading the Neopolitan Novels and watching Golden Girls!

  4. Hi HM! I am also working from home and doing full-time childcare (having been doing it for 9 months, ever since I returned from maternity leave). I could really use some advice from someone who has been doing it longer! I’d you have more tips, I would be SO grateful.

    • hm says...

      This might be the longest comment in history (sorry!), but yes, Lindsay, I have a bunch of tips! I put these together last week for friends and colleagues who just got thrown into working from home, with or without kids. These are a few things that work well for me:

      1. Schedules are your best friend. Kids thrive on routine, and our schedule follows the basic rhythm of my kids’ day. Our weekday schedule usually looks like:
      7:00 wake up. I shower, get dressed, and get ready. These are non-negotiables for my mental health.
      7:30 breakfast.
      8:00 free play/I start work.
      11:15 if possible, go outside.
      12:00 lunch
      1:00 nap/quiet time/work time. Quiet time is non-negotiable for us. We all need time to recharge. Kids can read, listen to music, or play quietly in their rooms.
      3:30 snack/free play/reading/work. My kids have less bandwidth to play independently at this time, so I try to be available to play or read with them, if they can.
      4:15 if possible, go outside.
      5:30 bath
      6:00 dinner
      7:00 bedtime routine
      I often resume work after the kids go to bed. During some seasons, I get up at 5:30 to work. Do what you need to do!

      2. Be incredibly organized, and expect interruptions. I map out projects with detailed notes. If I have to abandon ship mid-task or mid-sentence, I’m prepared. I write for work, so I use a “flag phrase,” which I can quickly type into any document to flag where I left off (I type “HERE HERE” so I can easily search the doc).

      3. I use a “block schedule” for workdays. I prioritize 2-3 tasks I need to accomplish, assign how long I think they’ll take, and put the most important work in the first block. If I’m interrupted, at least I got through the important tasks. I have my greatest bandwidth for challenging/creative work in the morning, so I try to start with that.

      4. Group small tasks together (responding to emails, writing thank you notes, etc.), then address them all together in what I call an “admin” block. As tasks come up, I put them on an “admin” list, then do about three 30-min admin blocks a week.

      5. Work ahead, whenever possible. Especially if I’m working with others, I try to give myself lots of wiggle room in case someone drops a deadline or a kid needs more attention.

      6. Whenever possible, schedule phone calls during nap/quiet time, when you know it will be quiet (I try to group them all on one day per week, so I have the rest of the days’ quiet times for focused work). If people call when my kids are around, I just preface that I’m home with my kids, and apologize in advance for any background noise—I have never been met with anything but grace. Most people want to talk about their own kids!

      7. Physical proximity–when my kids were little (under 2), I’d try to always be in the same room with them, and “busy but available.” They know they can interrupt if they need me, but in general, they respect that I’m working (I see this as being good for them–patience will get them so far in life!)

      8. You are not a snack vending machine. Your kids likely have 1-2 snacks per day at school/daycare. They’ll be fine with that at home too. Build snacks into your routine and remind them when snack time will be, to cut down on requests (or do whatever you’d normally do!).

      9. Screen time! We keep screen time pretty minimal in our house, but do what feels right to you (no judgment here)! When we do have screen time, we do it at the end of the day, when their bandwidth for creative play is lower. My kids know this and usually don’t ask until the end of the day. We don’t turn on the TV when the kids are playing happily.

      10. When in doubt, change the scenery or add water. Go outside, put the kids in the bath, set up a “car wash” for toy cars in the sink. Water and fresh air are both great reset buttons for kids and adults.

      11. Your needs are important too! One thing I learned from my newborns is, if I hadn’t showered that day, we were BOTH fussy. Take the shower. For all of us, now more than ever, take a few quiet moments every day that are just for you—a long shower, a bath, reading a book, a walk outside, painting, cooking, meditation, journaling, exercise, prayer—whatever makes you feel like yourself.

      Give yourself grace and treat yourself kindly!

      Happy to answer questions or connect (maybe the CoJ team is able to connect us?). We WFH mamas are a unique crew of extreme multitaskers. It’s not without challenges–but it’s been such a privilege to be present for all of my kids’ meals and milestones.

    • C says...

      Thank you HM! This was lovely.

  5. I actually think this is a beautiful reminder for non-parents as well! Taking the *time* to slow down and just BE. To notice. To savor. There’s a silver lining in everything, and I’d like to think this particular time of social distancing and sheltering in place is allowing us the opportunity to take inventory of what’s all around us. The simple, magical things that make up our everyday :)

  6. Molly K says...

    Oh, I loved this post when it was first published, and I love it still!

  7. katherine says...

    I have a dear friend who spent some time as an oyster farmer. She said that during that period her life had to follow the rhythm of the tides which stuck with me. One day many years ago when my now 20-year-old daughter was little I decided to try to spend a chunk of the day following her rhythm–we moved from activity to activity at her pace. I offered her food but didn’t fret or insist if she didn’t want to eat. She has no recollection but I remembver it and treasure it as a special very carefree day in our lives.

    • julie says...

      I spend at least 2-3 weekend days a month like this with my 5 year old and have been since he was about 3. I call it “messing around” days – kids need it so desperately now without the free play and independence that we had. No schedules, no classes, no have-tos. So much better.

  8. Jen says...

    Loving this idea. My daughter and I have been having candle lit chats in the evenings before she is off to bed, and it is so lovely to drink in her face, gestures and little 10 year old personality as a nighttime tonic after these especially stressful days. We were recently inspired to do this one night during a brief power outage, but it has become a ritual. Pretty much anything is better done in candle light, but I am especially enjoying these nighttime moments with her.

    • Jenny says...

      So sweet! I’m going to try this!!

  9. HM says...

    This post is so timely, in this season when many are suddenly working from home with kids. I have had the privilege of working from home full time, while also caring for my two kids (aged 5 and 2), since they were born.

    Two pieces of advice:
    1. Give them space to play independently. Unstructured play is so good for kids—helping them build creativity, problem solving, and resilience. My kids have always had the most bandwidth for free play in the morning—so I structure our days around that. My kids are also really good friends. I credit this to them playing together. They help each other, learn from one another, problem-solve together, and truly enjoy one another’s company.
    -For kids who aren’t used to independent play, they will need to practice. They may have shorter attention spans as they get used to it. Encourage them. Give them resources and suggestions. We always have toys, art supplies, and books available.
    -When kids are fighting, the concept of “turns” is magic. Saying “could she have a turn when you’re done with it?” empowers the kid who thinks he is being disenfranchised. If that doesn’t work, set a timer. Kids respect timers.

    2. Remember that this is a season. I have looked at the past 5.5 years that way—some months/days/hours are more difficult than others, but it’s a season, and therefore it’s temporary. There’s also a lot of magic along the way.

    We will all be slightly traumatized by this season—but we will also form lifelong memories of the time we spend together.

    • Annie K. says...

      HM- thank you! It’s a breath of fresh air for me to read this from a more “advanced” parent. My kids are 3.5 and 11 months, and I really believe in the concepts of letting kids have unstructured time, letting them be bored (which only happens for about 15 seconds if I encourage them through). I’ve just been second guessing myself because of what I think of as parental performance anxiety (PPA), wondering if I’m doing it “right.” Ugh.

      I love reminders to slow things down, to let everyone just “be” rather than be busy. Thank you!

  10. Lesley says...

    I’m embarrassed to admit this, but normally when my girls hug me my mind is thinking about what I could be doing instead or how we’re already late. This past week I’ve gotten so much joy from just drinking in the hugs and not worrying about what I should be doing instead.

  11. Ll says...

    I don’t have kids but my sister has two, and I’m very close to them. I noticed that they play really well, become creative and have most fun when us adults are busy with something else. I’m at their house so often that it’s not a “special occasion”, so if us adults are cooking or whatever, I love watching them. Out in the garden (enclosed so they can roam around freely) or in their rooms or just around the house. They really don’t have to be entertained all the time. I think a lot of parents forget that.

  12. Sloane says...

    I spent 20 minutes watching my 15 month old sit on the bathroom counter and play with his toothbrush and toothpaste this morning. Normally I would have rushed him on to the next step in the routine so we could get out the door on time. Despite all the worry and anxiety in my day, this feeling of having all the time in the world to enjoy my son is magical. I’ll never forget it.

  13. Joi Caplen says...

    I had a childhood. My parents let us roam and get dirty and sweaty and fall down. It looks like this generation is trying to create a perfect childhood.
    Sad.

    • Jenny says...

      I agree with you. This is how it feels – like we should be able to provide a perfect childhood. What this period of time is driving home for me is how different my generation is when it comes to parenting that my parents’ generation. Now that I’m trying to work from home and don’t have the ability to monitor my kids’ every action (nor have our nanny here who usually does that for me), I find myself so frustrated by my kids’ inability to entertain themselves – which is, of course, our fault. They are used to be driven around to activities and playdates. When I tell them to go outside, they look at me like they’re awaiting further instructions. Hopefully this period will allow our kids to experience the fine art of being bored witless.

  14. Denise says...

    That bottom picture looks like Oneonta Gorge, here in Oregon. I did that exact activity more times than I can recall. Walking/swimming up stream and around the corner to a hidden waterfall. Now it’s clogged by a log jam, but if you can get over the logs – be careful, they can shift! – it’s still such a special place. Fun to see that here today.

    • Cate says...

      I was JUST thinking that! Oneonta is so beautiful!

  15. Carrie says...

    I’m expecting our first in October but until then I have been practicing this with our dog during walks :) Letting him smell all the smells and stop to stare at the cat sitting on his front porch, etc.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s really sweet :)

    • Rachael says...

      I do this with my dog, too! According to some, it’s not how you’re “supposed to” do it from an obedience/training perspective, but I always come back to the point, “what are we trying to accomplish with this walk?”, and my answer is always: quality time with and for my dog (and general mindfulness for me). Through that lens, we’re definitely doing it right! :) Best wishes to you, Carrie!

  16. Sarah says...

    My two year old has been running around the house begging for more craps. I was totally confused, until I realized she was asking for more crafts! She has a breakdown at least once a day. I think she misses her daycare family, but we’re both learning to enjoy this extra time together. It helps that children are naturally hilarious!

  17. SaraY says...

    YES! My 5 yo and I try and take a nightly walk to ‘shake our sillies out’. Right now our little squirrel knows where all the oak trees are dropping acorns in our neighborhood. Some nights we walk to ‘acorn lane’ (Oh! To be inspired by William Steig’s Sylvester!). Other nights we’ll walk to our son’s elementary to ‘see if any teachers are sleeping over’. Sometimes we play a game where I pick which direction we head one block and my son chooses our direction the next block. On those nights we meander like a Family Circus map loop-de-looping the neighborhood. No destination. Alleys are a favorite route!

    I savor these walks with my kinder kid. He asks incredible questions and sets up beautiful scenarios about space and tacos and chipmunks. Another favorite game is to suddenly stop on a walk and ask my son which direction we go to get home. We started doing it when he was 3ish and it’s been a great way to build orienteering skills and independence. We play the same game when we’re hiking and camping. PNW kids are a different breed. :)

  18. Maria says...

    I could not agree more with this!!! We try and implement Montessori at home wherever possible. The most difficult part was learning not to jump in and do things for my daughter or try and over “guide” or rush her.
    There’s nothing wrong at all with kids struggling a little whilst they’re trying to learn a new skill. My daughter has now taken to physically pushing me away if I get too closely involved haha
    If anyone is interested in learning more about Montessori this article is pretty comprehensive https://remoterainforestmum.com/beginners-guide-toddler-montessori/
    We’re not “purists” and just try doing the best we can, I think that’s all any parent can do I guess. Easy to forget in the busy-ness of everyday life though!
    LOVE your website and the design by the way – everything is so beautiful!!

    • C says...

      I’d love to check that out but the link is dead. Do you know if she’s moved somewhere else?

  19. Hannah says...

    I’m not a parent yet but get to babysit my friends’ two incredible kids. Over the summer I realized how lucky I was that while babysitting I don’t have to get anything done, and that all I was there to do was essentially be with the kids (and feed them and eventually get them to bed). Since throwing deadlines out the window, our visits have been so much better.

    I know it’s not always possible as a parent but I hope to keep this frame of mind when I have my own little ones toddling along at the speed of a slug :)

    • Kelly says...

      Toddling along at the speed of a slug has to be one of the most honest and sweetest things ever!

  20. Ashley says...

    I love this! Often times, as my daughter and I are running errands or simply playing, I try to imagine what she is experiencing. Not just that we are walking into the rec center but hearing all the sounds, walking on the rocks, etc. It would be totally fascinating! For me, that justifies why she wants to take her time and I often remind myself to learn from her. Just yesterday, my husband, daughter, and I walked into a store and Maevis walked over and sat in a chair. She just sat. My husband told her to, “hurry up.” I asked him, “why?” We weren’t in a hurry. We had nowhere to be. And then I reminded him how wonderful life would be if you just sat down when you wanted to. And that in that moment nothing else in the world mattered but sitting in a chair you thought was cool. It seems that so often I catch myself feeling like I am learning more from my daughter than she is from me. And I love it!

    • Sonya says...

      I agree whole heartedly. Before I had my boys I dreamt of how much I would teach them…however they have taught me more about myself and the world around us than I ever expected. 💕💕

  21. Carolin says...

    One of my favorite things to do with my soon-to-be 3 year old is to just go outside, and let him lead the way. We’ve been doing this since he had learned how to walk. Sometimes he walks to the train station, sometimes the forest and sometimes he just wants to stay in our courtyard. This has been a great way to discover our new neighborhood. It is fun and relaxing for both of us.

  22. Alexis says...

    Ugh. We live in Brooklyn too, and I am also rushing my son off to catch the bus and then getting so irritated when we miss it. We reached the pinnacle of this last night. I was late picking him up so I decided to get take out. The bag was really really heavy, and I was already loaded with groceries, my work bag, and his school bag. I was hurrying him to the bus, which was fast approaching. Yelling, shouting, cajoling. The poor kid had a tote bag slung over his chest and was running to keep up. We ended up JUST missing the bus. It pulled away as we were running halfway up its side. I yelled in frustration while everyone on the bus looked on in amusement and horror and then turned to my son and said “SEE! This is why I was hurrying!!” Two blocks later with him still scurrying to keep up, I finally came to my senses and stopped, crouched down next to him, and told him it wasn’t his fault. I got a big big hug.
    Slowing down in such a fast-paced city is such a conscious thing. I need to remind myself to do it more often.
    I’ve also learned to slow down on holidays. I often plan so many things to do each day and it’s not realistic. Now I am happy if we can do one major thing each day and just let our son enjoy himself.

    • Amy says...

      Slowing down is not easy to do – you’re a mama! You got people who need you and things to do. Kudos to you for being mindful!

  23. Lisa Caracciolo says...

    This was my very first COJ article and I have been a fan and loyal reader since. Thanks COJ team for giving me a haven to retreat to for replenishment.

  24. Tiffany D Frias says...

    I love the idea of slow parenting when possible. We have an almost 4 year old and he seems to be the only kid I know that is not attending some sort of extra activity. Soccer, dance, martial arts. Sometimes I wonder if I am depriving my son of an experience he could benefit from. But then I remember that adding another thing to the schedules of 2 working parents would mostly result in more rush and less actual time with our son. He has his entire childhood to explore his interests. So I am going to keep protecting our small space of unscheduled time while I can.

  25. Love this post. When we moved from a small town to the city we strangely slowed down significantly to give ourselves a reset. It’s not always easy, but it is worth it. We pretty much do slow living in general now! Even when I find that I have overcommitted, I will totally back out of things to serve our interests of maintaining a life that suits us. Best thing, in my opinion, to counter the pace of modern life!

  26. I try to take things at the children’s pace if there is no need to rush. I leave plenty of time on the walk to school to allow them to stop and look. I’m not so good at stopping and watching, I need to do that more.

  27. My four children are grown. We did things without video games, computers, cellphones, and TV — and this was before things went crazy. I was criticized by our low-tech home….but my kids were so creative because we took time to just live. They lived in the trees and woods around our home and we took our time. Sometimes I rushed (I am super impatient by nature) and those are the times I regret. It is over like a whirlwind and this is the only time you get with them. Savor and enjoy it.

    • Abbie says...

      Thank you for this!!

    • michelle says...

      thank you for sharing this. ?

  28. I love this post! I am due to have my first baby in February of 2017. As the time nears, I get more and more nervous about how I will be as a mom. I am so work-oriented, that I find myself getting frustrated if I don’t get something done in adequate time. Worst part about that, I work from home. My schedule is still insanely busy working from home, as I have even stricter calendars to keep. I’m so nervous that I’m going to be this way when our sweet baby girl arrives, but this post honestly puts it into perspective how important it is to slow down and take in the beauty of the little human you formed in your body for 9 months! Thank you so much for this perspective.

    • Laura says...

      Nicole, I know you posted this a long time ago, but I’m wishing you well on your motherhood journey. We all over schedule, become impatient, etc., but it’s so important to remember to extend ourselves grace as we learn how to be a mother. :) Hope all is well with you and yours.

  29. Excellent post — really resonates with me! So important to slow down and just enjoy your kids being kids. It all goes so fast and one day they’re grown. Thank you for the reminder to slow down for my younger kids!

  30. Lindsay says...

    Yes! I have recently stopped working and have a full time nanny/domestic worker and I STILL find it hard not to be busy. I am trying so hard to unwind, not hurry my child who is only 3 and be patient with her lack of time sense… Why is it so hard! I will get this right, I will persevere and I will slow down to enjoy precious moments with her. I’ve read all the blogs, I know the things you cherish most on your death bed are the special times spent bonding with loved ones, but to actually apply it daily is another story. I am on a minimalist journey though and I will get there one day. Hopefully soon! Thanks for a lovely article and some more motivation.

  31. Brenda says...

    Me and my husband both read and love this article. Where is the bottom photo taken at? It is a very beautiful place.

  32. Stephanie says...

    Love this! We slow parent here…and it’s hard to find friends that do the same. Mom groups in my area just want to run from museum to zoo every week. My husband works from home full time and I stay at home so we’re always together playing, listening to music, going for slow walks on the trail. We always wonder why doesn’t everyone else do this?

  33. Love this post! Now I don’t feel bad for the days that we just hang out doing nothing in particular. To be honest I love this slow parenting but sometimes I get worried if I’m just being lazy not wanting to do more.

    • I think the key is spending the time with your kids and conversing, not just plopping them in front of media or an electronic device. I like to remember that “today is their day, too” and sometimes they get to create the spontaneous agenda.

  34. rita says...

    It is interesting that the more older my son is, the more he needs slowing down. We rarely do something special after preschool and on weekends: maybe some playground, or some short playdate, but usually we just go home and hang out together. And it feels great!

  35. Sally says...

    Love this post! Thanks for reminding us how special doing nothing can be! My kids are now in their late 20s, but some of my most treasured memories are of watching them do — well, nothing! Those sweet moments were always full of innocence, imagination, playfulness, laughter, and surprise. This post also reminds me of two lovely children’s books: “Nothing to Do” by Douglas Wood and Wendy Anderson Halperin and “Let’s Do Nothing” by Tony Fucile. Very fun to share with kids.

  36. Annette says...

    This a wonderful! I will pass this along to my daughters who are raising my grandchildren. The best advice I ever received as a young parent came from my mom who told me “you don’t need a lot of money to have fun and raise happy children”. She told me to do things they will remember, like going for a walk in the dark, looking at the stars and watching the boats go through the drawbridge. These are the things, she told me, that your kids will remember. And she was right.

  37. Thank you for the reminder! I am one who easily gets sucked into the “GO!GO!GO!” and forget to enjoy all the precious moments along the journey. I need to print this and hang it on my fridge!

  38. Lily says...

    As I am reading this article I am exactly doing this, I watch and hear my daughter play. I’m a rather lazy person by nature and being a parent I see it as an advantage. I am also blessed for not having to work and I am a stay at home mum for almost 5 years. Of course I have things to do and nobody can do what he wants all the time but I understand myself as a slow parenting mum and I am grateful for all the tiny moments I notice.

  39. Sondra stepp says...

    I love this article. I have 2 small boys and feel as though I am always rushing. It nice to slow down and watch their cute little faces and realize how blessed I am to have two gifts from god.

  40. Lisa C says...

    i really hope that you are still blogging by the time i have kids! i’m still far off, but your posts make me so excited and calm about babies. I look forward to savouring every moment when the time comes, and you do a good job at reminding moms to do just that.

  41. I always felt like I was quite a chilled mummy, but I did this the other day, I took notice of everytime I said ‘come on, hurry up, we’re going to be late’ and most of the time we’re not going to be late, I just want them to go faster! I do have a few hang ups with slow parenting. If I did everything at the kids speed, I and i’m sure most people would get nothing done, which on the odd day is lovely.

  42. yes. yes. yes.
    When I had my children, my manhattan life became al but unbearable which its structures playground outings, enrichment classes, and bags of packed snacks. We embarked for the “suburbs” of Ditmas Park brooklyn and now our weekends consist of opening the back door and having adventures in our back yard. That shift from herding kids around on my schedule to allowing them to take the lead has transformed our lives. My precious weekends feel expansive rather than harried and we are much closer as a family.

  43. I love this article!
    I read it a few weeks ago and it’s been bouncing around inside my head since then.
    On the weekend my girls and I were walking back from the park and they were wandering off the path to pick up branches and look at different plants and my first reaction was to say “Keep on walking” “Let’s get home”, but then I thought of this article and just let them continue at their own pace. It took us forever to get home, but we weren’t in a rush and they arrived home more excited to tell their Dad about the things they found on the return journey, than what they did at the park.

  44. Debbie says...

    I love this! I did not practice this as a parent. I am now a grandparent to 4 children age 2 and under. This is how I grand parent, and I LOVE it. Maybe that is why grandparenting is so fun without the worries that I had as a parent. I just enjoy that bug as much as they do! What a precious discovery you’ve had :)!

  45. This article was sent to me 7 times in a day. People loved this post I did for Wanderlust.com though I was very scared to share it. My business is challenging people to get back to slow everything….or at least closer to it. I will send you an email as well but cannot wait to hear how this month of just being bored and wandering makes you and your family feel. Bravo! http://wanderlust.com/journal/its-time-to-parent-like-its-1985/

    • Natalie says...

      life is a moment and watching your children grow is the most precious moments. We are so busy to warry and plan for tomorrow then tomorrow comes and we plan and worry for the next tomorrow. The truth is life and most memories are made of today’s and now we just have to remind ourself this every morning.

  46. Prudence Yeo says...

    I don’t have any children yet but I think it’s really cool to be able to slow down and truly enjoy the children, even if there is nothing we are doing in particular! Thanks for sharing this inspiring post!

    Prudence
    http://www.prudencepetitestyle.com

  47. What a brilliant piece! I’m a mum to three little boys under 5. Life gets quite busy, often just hurrying them along to do basic things so we can get on with something productive for that day. My husband & I end up so flustered even just getting them dressed & fed due to tantrums, objections etc…. I truly feel blessed to have read this post as I now feel responsible to soak in all that craziness & mania. It’s not going to last for ever and I know one day I’ll long to experience it all over again when they boys are too big. Thank you so much. A simple but important skill so many of us will be applying thanks to you.xx

  48. Needed this. I’m always dragging everyone along, worrying about getting somewhere quick enough. Going to try and drink it all in. Thanks Jo x

  49. Raymona says...

    When picking my 2 year old up from daycare sometimes it takes quit a while to get down the stairs in the front of the building. This is where she likes to stop and play peek-a-boo, climb, jump and count, or yell bye to teachers on a playground near by. I learned very quickly to enjoy this time with her and not rush. There isno hurry to get home. I had everything I needed right there.

  50. I will soon have a little boy of my own and I can’t wait to give this a try. Great and inspiring advice remember and cherish the little moments because time really does go by too fast.

  51. Mary Beth says...

    Learning this as a grandparent!

    • Abuela says...

      When my now almost 11 year old grandson was 15 mos. or so, he took a liking to an old suitcase with a broken zipper. The suitcase was sitting on its’ feet upright in a corner of my great room, awaiting a trip to the dump. My grandson discovered that he could open the top like a door, which he did. He then proceeded to sit down on the inside, closing “the door” and opening it over and over again. He would laugh to himself, peek out, giggle some more, close “the door”, open it and see if someone could see him….and on, and on. Needless to say, the suitcase did not make it to the dump until the novelty of it wore off many months later. At some point in my younger days, I might have just pitched that suitcase after the first day of play. If I had, I would not have enjoyed secretly observing my grandson’s many, many moments of delight. Nor would the lesson that sometimes the simplest things can entertain in the most unexpected ways be brought home once again.

  52. Stephanie says...

    We are doing this! It’s wonderful…my husband and I both work at home and love every moment together with our baby and two fabulous dogs. We take daily walks…cook together(even lunch)…even play pinball in the middle of the day in our game room. Life is short…enjoy every last drop :-) This is what it’s about.

  53. Jo says...

    Love this. I work long hours most days but am home with my little sons on a Tuesday. I try not to schedule anything much for Tuesday mornings – my 3 year old goes to nursery for 3 hours in the afternoon but they are often so tired from childcare activities that it’s nice to do nothing in the morning. It’s a fine line between space and boredom though – I love the idea of walking round the neighborhood looking at things! My 15 month old stops to look at EVERYTHING (trying to get him anywhere fast is like herding cats!), so maybe I should try this!

  54. Abuela says...

    All five daughters are grown and gone, with homes and families of their own. I was blessed to be able to stay home with my girls, only taking the occasional job as they got older. Since 2005, I’ve had the pleasure of being able to care for a few of my grandkids prior to pre-school. What I have learned as a grandparent is to enjoy watching the amazing little developmental steps they each make on a day by day basis. What is particularly fun is to observe the facial expressions as they realize they have just accomplished something new and then see how they repeat the action over and over and over again until some inner signal goes off and they move on to another hurdle or milestone. My husband is now retired and I am encouraging him to patiently observe, interfering or injecting himself only when absolutely necessary. That, too, has been fun to experience. Taking the time to observe, delighting in the amazing steps infants, toddlers and young children take in their development forces one to slow down perforce. BTW: It’s tough to do this kind of observation with a cellular appendage.

  55. Awww I love this post! II a hugely guilty of always trying to get my son to hurry up but since reading this, I am going to try a bit of slow parenting today. Would love to hear from any of you that try it too? X

  56. Oh yes, this is something I’ve been working on this year. I’ve got two little boys (5 and 3) and the youngest is particularly slow in doing certain things and wanting to stop and examine every leaf/petal/blade of grass.

    It’s funny, since I’ve slowed down a bit I’ve noticed how much my husband tries to hurry every one up! Working on getting him to begin slow parenting.

  57. Been on vacation, but had to catch up on this week’s posts!

    We definitely slow parent! I am on team anxiety girl so being more chill about our parenting, activities and plans makes life so much simpler! I know so many moms that have their little ones in multiple activities and run around all week, and sometimes I feel guilty and think maybe I should do more with Luna or we should sign her up for a, b,c &/or d, but then I snap out of it! They can parent their way and I’ll parent my way. When I see other parents being so frantic, I think it’s insane and I don’t quite get why they are making life harder on themselves. Our kids feed off of our energy so if we are spazzed out then they will too! No thanks! Ever since deciding to be more slow/chill my days with Luna (all day everyday) are so much happier! I think more parents nowadays definitely need to slow their roll…

  58. Kathleen says...

    You are a wise woman! I love this. My babes are grown. But when I look back on the days when they were growing up we had lots of “slow time” where I would savor the moment (& they would have time to be kids). I have no regrets which I am so thankful for. When you are in the midst of child rearing it can be intense, but then in a blink it is over. Savor & enjoy!

  59. We had dinner ready early last night and ate almost an hour before usual. I noticed that my husband (completely out of routine) was telling our son to hurry up and finish eating. We get so used to rushing the kids that we automatically do it when there’s absolutely no reason for it.

    I’ve been working to “live in the moment” a lot lately, and this is great advice to help us parents be just a little bit more PRESENT in our kids’ lives.