Because I overanalyze things, it's not unusual for me to invest in resolutions. I am always trying to think of a better way to do something, whether it's work-related, child-related, or what have you. The other day, as my 4-year-old daughter and I were walking into a restaurant to meet my parents for dinner, I stopped to ask her, "Am I walking too fast for you?"
I could see she was struggling to keep up.
"Yes, you're walking too fast," she said, probably relieved I asked.
"I'm sorry honey. Remind mommy to slow down if I go too fast."
When I was her age — albeit older by a few years — I used to go to work with my father in New York City, and not only was he fast, he was speedy. He would often end up three feet or more ahead of me, and it was impossible to keep his speed. Here I was, holding my daughter's hand but rushing her along, and it reminded me of the smaller version of myself, hustling through the garment district in Manhattan through the wind, my coat zipped up as my eyes delighted in the sights of the big city. I was in love with it from first sight.
And this, essentially, was what made me think: if I am rushing her today, how often am I rushing her? As a working single parent, our days are full of the hustle and bustle. She wakes anywhere from 6:45-7:00 a.m. and usually isn't home until 6:30 p.m. during the weekdays. She also goes from home to home – my ex's home and mine – and then there's the weekends in which we attempt to play, run errands, and get stuff done. There is never enough time. For a child that's just four, it's a lot but very common in today's age. But that moment as I tried to get her to "hurry up," I realized that the real problem was not that she was too slow, but that I was too fast.
I need to "slow down" for 2016.
How do I do this? Juggling multiple responsibilities and more than one job, this doesn't seem realistic but if there's one thing I know about myself it's that if I want something bad enough, I make it happen, and in 2016 this needs to happen.
It Doesn't Have to Be Perfect
I need to tell myself — and many of you mothers can relate – that it doesn't have to be perfect. Things can get done halfway or be put to the wayside. I can simply set out a smaller amount of time to achieve something, knowing that it won't be an A-plus but perhaps a B, and this is okay. Of course, I can't half-heartedly do everything, but some things don't need to be picture perfect. A little mess won't kill me. At least not in actuality.
I hate to say no to invitations, but sometimes I have to say no to my friends and to my daughter's friends. Obviously there are certain events that cannot be missed, but there are times in which I can say, "Hey man, I'm tired. Can we put this playdate/X event off?" Putting too many things on the calendar leaves me frazzled, tired, and stressed, and achieves the same negative things for my daughter, plus she then ends up cranky and having a tantrum, which is to be expected. We need more rest time.
It Will Get Done
If it doesn't get finished tomorrow, it will get done eventually. My ex hated dishes in the sink and so do I but guess what? Life goes on: just be sure to clean up before you've got pests! Everything gets completed eventually. Life goes on if you don't complete it today!
Stop & Play
Stop and play with your child. Set aside time to ignore social media, the phone, computer, errands, and cleaning each weekend or day, depending on whether you're a working mom or home with your kids, and just play! Don't let anything interrupt you unless it's an absolute emergency. Laundry, Facebook, email, and dishes can wait. Your kid cannot. Literally. Before you know it, your child will not want to play anymore. Carpe diem, Mommies. Seize the day and play! It's good for you and our children crave playtime with us and for them.
They Don't Need to Do Everything
Your kids will survive if they're not enrolled in every activity. Yes — I said it, and it's true. Is your kids' schedule insane? Do they really need to RSVP yes or sign up for every single opportunity that comes their way? No. Don't burn out your children.
A Few Minutes Late Doesn't Equal the End of the World
If your child wants to pick flowers, count stars, make a snowman, or grab a stuffed toy, will your lives go on if you're a few minutes late to go somewhere?
As long as you and your little one aren't always late for work or school, let them count those stars and pick those flowers!
Remember: your kids (my kid) are not adults yet in our crazy modern world, kids are asked to do much more than they developmentally are able to simply because parents are overextended to the max. Allow your kid to slow down and decompress in any way that is possible for you. All of you will benefit!