When life throws you a reminder … or three

When life throws you a reminder - Ever-changing Life of a MumThe last few days have been rather exhausting as my baby girl has been sick with a bad cold for most of the weekend which means we have both had very little sleep over the past few nights.

So as I dragged my feet towards my computer, I wondered what I might pull together for today’s blog post – my enthusiasm was there but my brain and body certainly were not.

And then I came across this post which I had written but shelved for some reason … a lack of time perhaps or maybe it just didn’t feel right at that moment.

But reading back over it this morning, it was exactly what I needed to hear. A reminder that time is too precious, that it’s ok to slow down and do what feels right at this moment.

So I thought I would share it with you  …

Lately, it’s like life is imparting its wisdom everywhere I go, reminding me to refocus on what is most important to me in life.

Visiting my dad in hospital while undergoing cancer treatment recently, I was holding my baby girl and he smiled as he said to me: “She brings you so much happiness, doesn’t she? The youngest one is always special”. While I love all three of my girls as much as the other for their perfect uniqueness, I know exactly what he means. He told me to just enjoy ‘now’: “I never really had the time when you were young. I was too busy working to make money for my family. But now I have another chance with my grandchildren.”

A few days later while riding in the hospital elevator a lady looked at me cuddling my baby, smiled knowingly and said “She’s adorable, enjoy every moment because it goes by too fast.”

Then the following week, while shopping with three kids in Bunnings of all places (crazy I know!), an elderly man saw my two older girls happily running around and said “They are just gorgeous, they must give you plenty of laughter. Enjoy them.”

Three times in just as many weeks the world was slapping me right in my face with what was most important, with what I needed to focus on right now, because sometimes it is far too easy to slip back into old habits and for your mind to start telling you what you ‘should’ be doing.

Last year was truly a wake up call for me to slow things down, although honestly at the time I didn’t realise I was making a conscious choice towards ‘slow living’. But it’s only now looking back on the past year and a half that I realise there is a name, a movement behind what I have done. At the time, all I simply knew was that our current lifestyle was not working for our family and who knew where we were headed if we continued down that path.

Making the decision to leave work to focus on my family didn’t come easily, but more than one year on it was the best decision my family has ever made. I was stressed and extremely run down, my children were dealing with anxiety issues they had never experienced in the past, my relationship with my husband and my children were suffering. I needed to spend more time with my family, to enjoy watching my girls grow up and re-connect with life.

In some ways, I have discovered that perhaps I need to parent more like my parents by slowing down, not over-scheduling our lives and allowing plenty of unstructured time for my kids to play and use their imagination.

I grew up taking part in very few structured activities outside of school. Sure, there were plenty of play dates with friends but otherwise most of my activities were between held between the hours of 9am-3.30pm. That gave me plenty of time to read a book (after book after book after book), tap out creative stories on the typewriter (no computer at home back then much to the horror of my kids!), jump on my bike and ride up around the house or down the street over and over again, play board games with my brother, head outside to the backyard for a game of backyard cricket, tennis, badminton or shoot some hoops.

It was free time, full of great memories, and looking back on my childhood that’s exactly how I did feel as a kid – free. That’s a feeling I wish for my three daughters to experience too.

So thank you life for throwing me the reminders I need to hear right now and for letting me know I’m on the right track for my family. Sometimes I wish I knew all this before having kids, but I have come to realise that it’s all just part of the ever-changing journey of parenthood and I’m on board for the ride.

What reminders has life thrown your way lately?

30 thoughts on “When life throws you a reminder … or three

  1. Great post. I have been practicing saying no (and I’m getting so good at it) and letting there be a good balance between scheduled fun and free play. I am a SAHM (other than working one day a week while my son is in day care) and while I do sometimes wonder if I’ll ever have a career again, I do not regret it at all. I get more time with my son, I have more time and energy for running our home without panicking about it, and I have more time/energy to spend with my husband. I am quite convinced we’d live separate lives if I worked full time and I know I’d be miserable (not at all saying that’s the way for every double income family – it just wouldn’t work for us). I feel lucky to have a choice as I know many people do not.

  2. ‘Stop trying to everything at once’ is a big one for me at the moment. At seven months pregnant with number 2, I’m acutely aware of both how much I need to do before bubba arrives, and the fact that these are the last few weeks when it’s just us with our daughter. So I feel like I’m being stretched in a dozen different directions trying to prepare whilst also soaking up every moment with her before my time is divided between the two of them.

    Slowing down is definitely a good thing 🙂

  3. This is such a lovely post Erika! I’m so happy for you that you’ve made a decision that is working better for your family. It is also wonderful that you do listen to all those *signs* and little snippets of wisdom and applying them to how you go through life. As a mum of three myself, whose youngest will turn 21 in May, I can tell you that though life is less physically exhausting these days, I do miss my ‘children’. It’s the innocence, the complete trust in you, the wanting to be with you and hug you, the adoration that little kids have for their parents. When they grow up they still love you but they don’t show it like they did when they were little.

  4. Oh, great post… and kinda timely for me as I’m at a crossroads having given up full time work 3 yrs ago (and I wrote about this today!). I’m still in my 40s and single and making do with bits and pieces of stuff but trying to reconcile who I am with who I thought I would be…. if that makes sense.

  5. Lovely post Erika. I have been very fortunate to have spent the past 6 years at home with my girls, and enjoy watching them grow and develop while my husband works hard for us to have a house and pay the bills. But its like what everyone says ”Blink and you miss it”, it goes by too fast. 🙂

  6. I love getting those reminders! A lady once told me that my kids, despite making me very busy, are my ‘rubies and pearls.’ I love thinking of them like that – like they’re my treasure, my pride and joy. Even though it’s hard work!

  7. It is so important to open our eyes up to these little reminders and to listen to our intuition. It sounds like you’ve done this really well. I admire you for leaving work to spend more time with your family 🙂 #teamIBOT

  8. I think we should take every reminder to slow down. We never get reminders to pick up the pace – that’s just the society we live in. But we forget to stop and enjoy. Our daughter finishes primary school in a few weeks and our son will finish Prep – blink and you miss it.

  9. Erika, we are very similar. I am very passionate about slow parenting and slow living in general. I resist “busy” and make a big effort to chill out, hang out and simply “be” with my family on what we call “Slow Sundays.” It’s been a game changer. Lovely post x

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