Slow Down

I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed (although I do pride on myself on being pretty sharp), I can still recognize a sign when it’s flashed my way. And this week, the signs were all around.

This past week, I felt my anxiety level mounting, and I felt myself beginning to vent it onto my children. Shame on me, I hear you. But this is my safe place, so no judgement please. Nothing new had happened, nothing out of the ordinary, just my patience level was wearing thin this week, and instead of enjoying my boys as usual, they were starting to, **GASP** annoy me. The bickering and whining had taken its toll. I knew I had to do something to cage the Elvira, and fast. My children are my life. They take first priority. Over sex. Yes.

My first AHA moment that I needed to slow down, was when I read fellow blogger, Brooke Burke’s Blog. It was titled, “Brooke Gets Bad Mommy Award.” And although there wasn’t a bad exchange of words with my kids in my case, reading Brooke’s words became the first realization that I had to stop myself, and calm the hell down. Change my attitude. Or I was going to screw up a very good thing.

Thank you Brooke for so candidly sharing your story. It affected me deeply. Here is an excerpt.

“I have been thinking for days about the mean words she (my daughter) shot at me  and how I reacted. I could have stood there, fought back my tears and taken them, or better yet walked away. But what I did wrong was lash out back at her, which left us wounded, sad and deflated. I know we have all been there. But I wish in the heat of the moment I would have reacted differently, more maturely and less humanly!

A friend shared this story with me today that doesn’t make me feel any better, but has some heavy truth to it and it will make me think twice next time I forget my role…

There once was man who said nasty things to many others in his village. One day he sadly realized that no one liked him. He went to his chief to ask what he could do to make things right and make people like him again.

The chief said, “Tonight, put a feather in front of everyone’s door that you have said hurtful things to.” So he did just that. The next morning he went back to the chief and asked, “What now?” The chief replied, “Now go and pick all of the feathers up.”
Unfortunately all the feathers had blown away….

Words are like feathers that you cannot pick up or take back.” ~Brooke Burke, ModernMom.com

That is when I changed my tone with the kids. I got on the floor and played with them again. I tried to catch myself before uttering in an aggressive tone, “Hurry up, let’s go, c’mon!”

The next clue that I needed to slow down, was a random email sent from my mother. It was titled SLOW DANCE.

“Have you ever watched kids
on a merry-go-round
Or listened to the rain
slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
You better slow down
Don’t dance so fast
Time is short
The music won’t last

Do you run through each day
on the fly
When you ask “How are you?”
do you hear the reply?

When the day is done,
do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
running through your head?

You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast
Time is short
The music won’t last

Ever told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow
And in your haste,
not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
‘Cause you never had time
to call and say “Hi”?

You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast
Time is short
The music won’t last

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift….
Thrown away…

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.”

And if that wasn’t enough, my son’s Father’s Day gift to his incredible dad, read this.

Today is St. Jean Baptiste, a national holiday in Quebec. It’s the only day of the year whereby every business in the province must legally close their doors and take a break. I know it’s my sign to do the same.

All the emails, blogs and letters have been the slap on the wrist I needed this week. I have found the joy again in my children who had frustrated me the past few days, and I found my missing patience. I’m spending the day with my family, regrouping and relaxing. My hard-going pace has been a little over-the-top.

So if you’ve been short tempered, or displaced frustration onto people who haven’t deserved it, this is your slap on the wrist too. Slow down. Don’t miss the music.

Happy weekend, lovely readers.

Tell us, have you ever just LOST IT in mommyhood, and what did you do to grab the reigns back and recenter yourself?

xoxEDxox

14 Comments
  1. Great blog Erica. I loved those two poems. We all lose it as moms. The good thing is you bounced back quickly.

  2. I wish I could say this blog made me feel good about the way I parent but it really just crushed me. Reading this and how you only lose your patience or get annoyed with them occasionaly makes me feel like an awful mom. I am a SAHM and I am very blessed to be able to raise my kids without help but sadly I lose my patience several times per day and feel annoyed with them much of the time. I love them dearly but being that my life is centered around them most of the time I guess at times I just get overwhelmed. I know these years will go by too quickly and someday I will miss the chaotic moments of having young kids. So while this blog was more like a kick in the gut for me, it was also eye opening and I know must change the way I interact with my precious children during those moments of stress!

    1. Suzanne, I agree with the others… we ALL have unpretty moments as moms. The key is awareness. I’m aware. You’re aware now. Now recognize it, own it, and move forward. The years do go by quickly, and it’s a solid foundation that gives them tools for life. Wishing us mommyhood community lots of happiness, joy and GREAT MOMENTS with our kids!

  3. Suzanne don’t be so hard on yourself. Our kids all annoy us at times and we all vent frustration on them at moments. The years do go by fast so now that you’re aware of it you can try and perhaps tweak the way you interact with them. Good luck but we’ve all been there. Virtual hugs here.

  4. I think it is a beautiful thing if all of us joined in mommyhood can remind each other to slow down and in the words of Deepak Chopra “Enjoy the journey.” Suzanne the real you is an infinite source of love, awareness is the first step back. You can do it!

  5. Great post. I have no words of wisdom to share, but I can completely relate to what you talked about here. Thanks for sharing & letting the rest of us stressed-out moms know we’re not alone.

  6. This is partially directed to Suzanne, but really applies to all moms. Whether you’re a stay at home mom, a single parent (like me), or a working woman with a partner, we’re all under a tremendous amount of pressure. The bulk of our days is focused on the needs of our kids, our spouses, our employers, with little time or thought for what *we* need. It’s no wonder we all freak out occasionally. 🙂

    The first step is to forgive yourself for being human. Give the Superman cape to your kids for dress-up, and accept the fact that you can’t be perfect all the time. Better yet, stop trying to *be* perfect — decide on a few things that are really important and let the rest go. (You’re probably the only one who notices the lint on the carpet, so let it stay there for a while.) I’ve found that if I keep my expectations to “mission-critical” stuff, there’s less for me to get upset over.

    The second step is to trust in your kids’ understanding and unconditional love, just as they trust in yours. I’m certainly not proud of it, but I’ve wigged out on my son over something really stupid more times than I care to admit. I’ve made him cry. Ugh… Mom guilt… After a REALLY deep breath I apologize, and explain to him that it wasn’t really his fault I yelled — I was just frustrated with things that happened at work, etc. and I was feeling really hurt and angry that day. Then I try to relate it to something in his life experience: “Remember when you had a bad day at preschool, and then you had a meltdown about (X) when you got home because you were still angry? My day was kinda like that.” Then I tell him that I love him more than anything, and always will, even if I yell about something stupid. Generally speaking, he gets it.

    OK, being very long-winded here! Bottom line: go easy on you, trust your parental gut, and love your kids like crazy. In the end nothing else matters. If you’re actually concerned about how often you get snippy with your kids, that tells me you’re probably a better, more involved parent than most. You’re doing just fine.

  7. Thanks so much to everyone for the encouraging words! I just got back from a much needed vacation with my husband and I am in a much better place emotionally. While I was gone, my good friends two year old daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia and that certainly put things into perspective. It is just not worth it to lose it over the small things.
    I do tend to have a very type A perfectionist personality and while it can be a great thing in many circumstances, not so much in the mothering department. From here on out I am going to work a little more on enjoying my kids and less time worrying about cleaning under the couch cushions and dusting baseboards!! One of these days I will have grown children and a spotless house and I will miss all the little fingerprints and stray socks lying around.

  8. You talked about getting messages in your post and I can say that this certainly was one for me! Another reminder to slow down and enjoy what is happening in my life RIGHT NOW. I can honestly say that my 7 year old boy can drive me insane sometimes but then something like Sunday happens and it makes it alright with the world again.

    We had a hundred things to do on our list this past Sunday and the weather had other plans. The sky opened up and we had a terrible storm come through that kept us home instead. So we spent the day watching Shrek movies (yes, we have all four!) and playing monopoly and connect 4.
    Thanks for the reminder to pay attention the messages to slow down!

  9. Hi Erica….
    Thank you for sharing, I love your Mom’s song and son’s poem. I will feature those in my blog. I know what you mean about signs, the issue is, Are WE Paying Attention?!?
    I love your voice and honesty. I think woman to woman we keep each other real.
    Hope you are well. You’re AMAZING!

    Thx! xo, Brooke Burke

  10. So true. My signs of trouble were severe enough to lead me to a medical leave of absence from my job. This time off helped me heal physically so I can teach my students well and still have enough energy to love my family.

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