What do you do when life makes you slow down?
There’s an aspect of parenthood that seems overwhelming at times especially for new parents. The idea of trying to decipher your baby’s cries, noises, and other such things in order to take care of them and meet their needs can be quite daunting. It can often make you feel frantic, or set you in a panic trying to meet one need after the next.
Yet there’s an aspect of parenthood that can also feel real slow. Just the constant cycle of eat and sleep with a little play in between can begin to seem mundane and slow after awhile. Before you know it this new baby, and just trying to take care of her can consume your entire focus. At least that’s how it was for me, especially with my first child. My whole life changed from being on the go, meeting with different people constantly, and involved in various projects, to just being home with my child. I wasn’t sure what to do with this change.
Suddenly life was forcing me to just stop or at least slow down.
It took some time to adjust to and recognize that life with a child is my new normal. There may be times when we’re on the go, probably more so as they get older. But there will also be plenty of times when we’re just still, or going slow, which is the season I’m finding myself in lately. This is still something I’m learning to accept.
I had to realize that my choice to either embrace or fight those seasons can make the difference in whether I will thrive in it or burn out.
So as find myself in these moments, where life is making me slow down, the more I see that perspective makes a big difference on how I react to them. When I start to feel down about being in this season, it helps a great deal when I learn to reset my focus by doing these 4 key things.
1. Be mindful of today
When I get caught up thinking about what I use to do, or could be doing, I tend to miss out on what is happening around me. When I am mindful of today, and the things going on around me – even on the simplest things, it helps me appreciate it more. Which brings up the next thing I do.
2. Practice gratitude.
When I’m intentional about finding something to be grateful for in the present moment, it helps me embrace this current season of life I find myself in.
3. Savor the little moments
I can also choose to savor the moments with my child at each stage of her life. For once she passes it – it’s gone. I don’t want to find myself wondering what happened and wishing I took more time to enjoy it. Whether it’s as simple as her first smile, or her little fingers wrapped around mine, I want to cherish it all.
4. Reflect on God
When I find myself slowing down from the rush of life, I’m learning to really utilize that time to reflect on God. Think about his goodness and who He is. Use the quiet and slow times to have even more in-depth prayers and bible time. Reflect on His grace and bask in His presence. Maybe – just maybe – he’s asking me to slow down to spend more time with him?
Now I can look back at the many hours I found myself doing “nothing” but holding my daughters in my arms, rocking them to sleep, and remember it with fondness and joy . Maybe my days aren’t as fast pace as I’m used to. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in my own thoughts, wondering “am I making a difference if I’m ‘not doing much’ at all?” But in truth, I know there’s significance in these quiet and slow moments. Today I can honestly say I’m grateful for the season I’m in with my kids. Because one day they’ll be grown, or too big or “too cool” for me to hang out with them. I’m sure I’ll miss it.
So in the end, the slow quiet moments are just as integral as the fast active moments of parenthood. Why should I mess with that?