How often do you find yourself sighing the expression.…”I can’t wait until…?”
When you wake up on a Monday morning and automatically think, “I can’t wait until Friday!”
When you feel overworked and think “I can’t wait until my vacation!”
Many of us have feelings and thoughts such as these at times. How about when it comes to your kids? I’ve absolutely found myself saying “I can’t wait until he walks,” or “I can’t wait until she can eat real food,” or “I can’t wait until she can do this herself!”
Parts of parenting are so amazing and rewarding that you simply cannot wait for the next milestone. And on the flip side, certain stages of parenting can be quite trying and exhausting that you can’t wait for that next milestone. Trying not to jump ahead can feel challenging, but those next stages will come. I promise!
But we may need to remind ourselves not to rush and take pleasure in what’s happening “now.” I know I do….. You see, my children are 12 and 9. My children - not the neighbor’s children; not my co-workers children - but mine! When did that happen? My son is having his Bar Mitzvah at the end of this year. And soon I’ll have both of my kids in double-digit ages. That’s a biggie.
That age old cliché of “time flies” certainly has hit me often lately. This brings me to begging for time to stop going by so fast! Here’s what I’ve resolved to do though is slow down and savor the present.
Sounds easy enough, right? But how? Here are some ideas I like to keep in mind – some I’ve learned along the way in my parenting journey - and some I’m still hoping and learning to adopt:
5 Ways to Savor the Moment
Focus on your family unit: Pause and enjoy! The daily grind with work, school, and activities can be brutal! Every day feels like a whirlwind. And maybe that’s how it has to be sometimes…but once those weekends come around? Those two days are for us. We try our best not to overschedule our weekends. Sure, we’ve felt some guilt when we’ve declined attending functions, but it’s what we’ve needed to do as a family of four to continue focusing on us in the present. (If you need help figuring out what makes the cut and what doesn't, Jessie has shared some great tips here.)
Do less: No need to bog down every day of your week with gym classes, story time, music class, baby yoga, etc. Sure, you will want to go every once in a while – but don’t feel that you “need” to do them because that’s what everyone else is doing. If you don’t want to play the game, don’t play the game.
No need to engage in competitive parenting: Seriously – run the other way! It’s not worth the time or the stress. No need to be concerned if your friend’s baby can recite the alphabet forwards and backwards at 12 months old. Your baby will get there. You be you - and let your baby be his/herself too.
Curb the desire to look ahead…just a bit: Of course there are plenty of aspects of life that you need to plan, but focus on the present as much as you are able. Don’t pay attention to those Christmas decorations in September! And no, I’m not buying a bathing suit in January! And I’m not stocking up on school supplies in July!
Be present physically and emotionally: In this day and age, it feels like we are being pulled in a 1,001 different directions on daily basis. Am I right? This may call for a conscious effort to take a step back. I admit to not always following my own advice here and I vow to improve my attempts with this. For example, I’m trying to put the phone down when I’m with my kids, so I can be fully present with them. For children “this” is the moment that is important to them. (Actually, we can probably learn a lot from our kids here!)
Children learn from our example – and slowing down a bit and savoring the “now” is a simple and genuine lesson. If we’re constantly running around like a chicken without a head, as the expression says, our children can pick up on this. Be in the “now” and let your children feel the joy of who they are “now.”
The last thing I’ll add is about a family trip we took; we went to Washington DC for a few days last year. We had a fun and informative time – went to the monuments and the museums and toured the city. When we returned home, I asked the kids about their favorite parts of the trip. My daughter responded, “Swimming at the hotel pool with Daddy and the snacks!” My son said it was relaxing in the hotel room with us. No mention of museums or the monuments!
The best part of the vacation for the kids was just being together as a family. Could it be that the simplest times - and the littlest things - make the most memories? I guess it doesn’t really matter where we go or what we do, as long as we’re together. What may seem “little” to us as adults could very well the “big” things to our children. As my kids get older, I realize that this will change - sooner than I care to admit – so I’m slowing down and savoring these beautiful moments for as long as I can.
My name is Melissa – I’m a native New Yorker and the mother of two school aged children. My son is in middle school and my daughter is in elementary school and they are both Bright Horizons alumni. I love working for an organization that has meant so much to our family. As an Enrollment Counselor, I assist families with the enrollment process for our centers in NYC. What a way to pay it forward! Having been through the incredible Bright Horizons experience as parent, from infants all the way through Kindergarten Prep, I’m so happy to be able to share some of my views and experiences with The Family Room community. Do you want more tips on how to balance your life as a Modern Mother? Use the below player to download, follow, and listen to Episode 2 of the Bright Horizons Family Matters Podcast: Making Modern Family Life Work. Click here to learn more about the Bright Horizons Family Matters Podcast. RELATED RESOURCES:
- The Family Room: Slow Parenting - How Do You Slow Down?
- E-family news: Fostering a Sense of Wonder and Joy in Children
- The Family Room: Parenting Worries: What I Worried About Then that I Don't Worry About Now
- E-family news: Children’s Schedule – Not Enough, Too Much or Just Right?