The Great Slowdown: making peace with the pace of life as a parent

The great slowdown: making peace with the pace of life as a parent

I’ve been doing a lot of walking around a very hilly trail with The Toddler in his stroller. This is the route I used to run in high school cross country practice. Though I was never a very fast runner, retracing my steps behind a stroller  (especially on the uphills), has been a pretty apt metaphor for my life as a mom compared to my pre-baby days: Kids are wonderful, but there’s no denying they slow you down.

I love being a mom, and I love my kid. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have gotten back in line to jump on this roller coaster a second time. Even though I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything, I have been finding myself wishing for more time.

Yes, it would be cool to be able to go out to brunch with friends more or to catch up on a little self care. (The great thing about my horrifying overgrown hair style is how my long, long bangs cover up my unruly, unpruned eyebrows.) It’s not even the indulgences I’m really missing right now, though. What I really want is more time to get shit done.

I want to be a better blogger–write more often, more relevant and helpful information for pregnant and new moms, and give this site the serious facelift it sorely needs. I want to spend more time socializing the goats (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d type. They’re still a bit skittish, and I know they’d keep warming up if I could spend more time raking their pen and scratching their heads.) I want to learn how to code, cultivate more freelancing opportunities, log my business expenses. I want to finish clearing shit out of my garage that is destined for Goodwill and/or the trash sometime before winter hits so one or both of us could park our cars in it. I want to revamp my Etsy shop and add more items. I want to be a better friend and reach out to people I’m thinking of more often.

I have a list 100 miles long of all the things I wish I could be doing, and sure, I had a list before I was a mom, too, but there is an undeniable slowdown built into parenting very young children that I can’t find my way around, and it’s hard not to feel a little defeated.

Theoretically, I could surrender some sleep to tackle more of my list, but it’s really not feasible with pregnancy fatigue and would only make the days harder to get through.

It would just be nice to go to bed every once in awhile with the satisfaction of having accomplished anything beyond emptying the dishwasher that day.

I know the solution is to prioritize what’s really important to me and learn to accept the fact that my goals must either be bite-sized or very long-term for the foreseeable future.

One way or another, I have to make peace with the pace of life as a parent of young children. While the basement bathroom remains unrenovated and my desire to take a creative writing class languishes, I am taking immeasurable joy from holding my son’s hand as we walk around our pond looking for frogs. I don’t want to let go of my list forever, or let my own identity diminish to nothing but motherhood. But stressing out about what I’m not doing is only going to cloud my view of the really wonderful and fleeting moments I am getting to experience. The good news is the same as the bad news: These deliciously, agonizingly intense years of early parenthood won’t last forever.

The knowledge that it’s probably going to get harder–that I will look back on the days of having just one child with fondness as I slowly drown in dirty laundry–is pressing on me today.

Fellow parents, how do you cope with the limitations on your time and energy as they relate to your goals as human beings?

Also, approximately how much harder is life with two children than one? (Please lie.)

The Great Slowdown: making peace with the pace of life as a parent

7 thoughts on “The Great Slowdown: making peace with the pace of life as a parent

  1. Oh my gosh GUESS WHAT!? The new baby will actually take care of your first born, including cooking meals, and you will be able to take bubble baths. In fact, the children will RUN THE BATHS for you!!

    (You said to lie. 😂 🙃)

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  2. I struggle with this so much as well! I never realized how much time I had until I didn’t have it anymore. It is so hard to fit in everything that I want to during the day and feel like I’m spending enough time with the baby. There will always be mom guilt. If I spend time baking or cooking instead of hanging out with him then I feel guilty for that. If I spend time staying late at work then I feel guilty for that. If I spend time with the baby and not anything else in my to do list, I feel guilty for that. You just have to realize that what you are doing is good enough. I can’t imagine doing what you do and being pregnant and tired all the time. Great job momma, keep it up!

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  3. I specifically remember a point during pregnancy with #2 that I thought of as “the slow down.” It helped me prepare for the newborn days when you do nothing but feed and diaper.
    I think the majority of moms can relate to your post. Really though, there never seems like enough time no matter what your circumstances. I cope by trying (trying is the imperative word) to find satisfaction in whatever I’m doing in the moment. That sounds cliche, but it’s true. I don’t make to do lists anymore. I don’t set deadlines or strict expectations for myself. I think of it as “a season”. For me, it’s all a mind game!
    I’m looking forward to the bubble baths! Still waiting on my 3-month old to figure that out.

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  4. Oh boy … there is never enough time in the day. I get by via many lists … so I don’t forget tomorrow what I didn’t get to today. 🙂
    Having a second kid is harder at first, but then it gets easier once they can walk and play on their own – and also when the kids play together (or fight together, whatever). The to-do list grows. But I think I’m getting better at prioritizing, saying no, and asking my husband to do more to lighten my load.
    Hang in there!

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