We move WAY too fast.
And in this busy family of 9, any prior effort of slowing down has consistently been overruled by more activity, random obligations, and well, people to manage. I used to assume slowing down would happen when the kiddos got older. That somehow having seven kids become seven teens would lead to a free-er lifestyle for this mom.
Indeed, it has been the exact opposite. People always chirp: “I don’t know how you do it!” As if I’ve discovered how I even do it. I’m right there with you. How we get from point A to point B on any given day is beyond me. There is no secret code. There are no extra hours in the day for me. No extra help. But I do know one thing. I move full speed ahead, firing on all cylinders, until I hit a wall.
And, let’s just say the results of hitting the wall is not pretty, so I try to jump over it or dodge it most of the time. Sometimes I’m successful, other times, not so much.
So, at the start of this Summer, I decided to try incorporating some form of slow living into our life. I’ve tried this before, but honestly it never dawned on me to look up how to make it work. I thought it was like this: Take whatever it is you have going on and slow it down. Or stop doing something altogether.
What I learned was that living a slower life had nothing to do with what I thought. I did a little research and figured some of that into our family equation and discovered some small moments of simplicity that felt necessary to me. With a family our size, it’s not possible to just want things to be uncomplicated. We have to be much more intentional about own our dynamic and constantly be weeding out what works and what doesn’t.
For me, it means thinking about what is most important. No matter what, I always go back to the same starting point: I love being a mom, living in a great neighborhood and being free to be who I am. I can *be more* to my kids because I have identified ways to do so, without taking on a whole lot more. It means redirecting my energy to and to free up being obnoxiously busy with stuff that doesn’t really matter. I love being with my wild kids. I hate doing nonsense chores and stuff that wastes time when we could be spending time together.
To make room for this, two things have changed for me: One, I forced myself to get regular outdoor time with my kids by signing up to volunteer at our school community garden. We have 7 kids in 6 different schools and this one in particular is one I am constantly falling out of touch with. To me, volunteering during the off season will help me get reconnected and hopefully fully re-engaged and online by the time school starts again.
Second, I ran for and got VP of another school’s PTA. I love this school. It’s somewhat new to the district and just trying to fit in. It’s quirky, it’s different and it needs help. So I decided to throw my hat in the ring and see how much I could get involved and fall in love even more. I think our family has always tended to catch the school teachers and staff off guard and as a result, I have responded in some not so colorful ways. But I’ve learned that approach does all of us zero favors so I’ve changed my tune. I want to play a bigger part and having responsibilities and people to answer to makes me show up in ways I never have before.
Being super busy, no matter how big your family is, is a choice. When you have a wild family like ours, it’s hard to know when you can slow down or if you ever can. Yes, it’s tiring. But the kids are growing up faster than ever now and I hate how I feel like I need to regularly outdo myself. So I have to make myself reconsider what our time spent together looks like. Which ultimately is: we may not move as slow as I want, but we’re moving forward together by making better use of the time we have available and that is all I could ask for.
Here’s to extreme deceleration,
So Called Mom