Do you ever feel like you’ve spent the day rushing, nagging, hurrying and despite it all wonder why no-one is listening?! I do!
When I ask my three year old to do something, I get so worried about whether he’s listening to me and doing as I ask that I barely even consider that he might be doing something. Why can’t he just stop what he’s doing and do what I’m asking him to do instead!
This evening I was rushing him home from our walk as it was nearly time for bed. “I’ll count to ten…” I said…getting impatient as his little brother started fidgeting in my arms. I resisted the urge to call him again and walked over to see what he was doing. “I’m trying to save that worm” he pointed as it wriggled in a puddle of water. “I don’t think worms can swim” he added thoughtfully. We helped it out together and walked home happily, talking about how pleased the worm must have been that he came along!
It got me thinking…how many times a day do I rush my children? My husband’s always reminding me to stop doing everything so quickly. To relax and leave the kids as they are if they’re happy. But, it’s so difficult! I’m one of the many parents that’s been ‘trained’ to achieve, conditioned to have to have everything ‘just so ‘…sometimes we’re so busy striving for the perfect life that we’ve missed the perfect moments. Those perfect little moments that will make us smile long after our kids have left home.
My children have such beautiful imaginations. Everything is an adventure! I want to go on their adventures with them. I want them to see me laugh with them at the butterflies chasing each other through the meadow. I want us to tumble together down the grassy slopes. I want us to spend the morning splashing in puddles and the afternoon telling silly stories. I don’t want to be the one to teach them that being a grown-up means ignoring beauty, joy and wonder. I don’t want to be a parent that worries whether other people think I’m too soft or that they aren’t ‘obedient’ enough. I want them to be free to explore, wonder, fidget, splash, practice, stare, play, imagine…with me by their side.
There’s definitely a place for routine when it comes to raising happy kids but there’s also a place for going with the flow! Do they really need to stop running around the garden in their underwear and get dressed right now? Can’t they stay out to play just a little longer? Can dinner not wait 5 more minutes so they can finish their game? Does bathtime have to happen at exactly 6pm on such a beautiful evening? Maybe we should ask ourselves whether what we’re asking is truly important or whether we just want to be obeyed. Whether we’re dragging them from one place to another with no consideration for what they want. Each seamingly small request we make interrupting their precious imagination and curiosity. Imaginations and curiosities that we should be encouraging.
So, next time I’m tempted to start counting to ten…I’ll remind myself to slow down…and ask them what their doing…I can guarantee that it’ll be more fun than being a ‘grown-up’!
This post is inspired by a post by Leah from Your Natural Learner and my little explorers Leo (age 3) and Sebastien (16 months).