The Pause

Over the weekend, when I left my grocery list in the car. Obviously not using The Pause.

Bringing Up Bébé is seriously changing my life! If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend. It’s not just for mamas, either. I’m currently racking my brain for ideas to get my husband interested. Any suggestions? Check out the book here.

So I’m reading it, and I’m sort of obsessed with The Pause.

It’s a main concept in the book, one upon which I’ve become rather fixated. The author explores French culture and relationships. Although she focuses a lot on parenting, her experiences have changed my views on everything from housework to dynamics at work to my marriage. The idea that we must respond to everything and everyone right way, with every answer we can think of? Apparently, that’s not how the rest of the world does things. It’s pretty much just us Americans, and the sense of urgency is downright inefficient in most situations. So what is The Pause? French people have implemented a sort of delayed reaction into their everyday routines. Apparently, they’ve been doing this for generations now- and it works. The French believe every relationship is symbiotic… and if you’ve ever read my blog during newborn months, you know I’ve never lived from this perspective.

This is not about learning patience, although that’s something upon which I could always improve. This is about observing, watching for cues and signals, and then making a decision on how to react. This is about learning how to learn from interactions with people, places, and things. Learning how to learn, instead of treating each interaction as if I already know how to handle it? Brilliant.

So I’m bringing The Pause into the Kincaid household. I’ve been working on it for about a week now, and I’ve noticed a huge difference in my own mood. I feel more rational, more peaceful, and more in control of my emotions. At home, I might take a deep breath before I respond to whatever annoys me, whether it be toddlers in my face or dirty floors. At work, I might wait a few hours before I type out that email, in order to get my thoughts more organized. And this all goes for positive interactions, too! No matter how frustrating or exciting an opportunity is, I’d love to be able to approach it with poise and a level head. I’d love to get to the point where I can incorporate The Pause into every dynamic of my life, without even realizing it.

The author says it’s true to form, that we Americans have to give this age-old idea a name and a brand. I’m okay with that! God Bless America, and long live The Pause!

13 thoughts on “The Pause”

    1. Aw yay! I’m interested to see how it works out for her! Wish I’d read it before the twins. With Ames, I sorta fumbled along into a good routine – but the sisters worked me something fierce!

  1. I read the book while in the hospital having my second son. We took the advice for the pause when it came to dealing with his sleep and we now have a PERFECT sleeper. It’s insane. His brother was terrible and now I see what kind of impact our reactions to things can do to shape a baby.

  2. I love that book…I’d already been doing the pause with my son when it came to his sleep bc I thought it was just s natural instinct to do that but I’m glad the author was able to put her finger on it and explain it more in depth, I’d recommend that chapter to anyone having sleep issues, and I love how you are taking it in the broader context to apply to other areas than just sleep. And didn’t it make so much sense when the French pediatrician explained the way sleep cycles work and how everyone wakes up babies just need to be taught to go back on their own and not conditioned To have a boob,bottle, rock etc to do it?! I loved how that was explained!

    1. Me, too! I felt like she delivered it with sensitivity, too. I appreciated that for a topic that seems to divide the parenting community with such force!

  3. I read about that book a few months ago and meant to pick it up – thanks for the reminder! This makes so much sense. I’m a little inclined to “pause” anyways, but I feel so pressured to hurry up that I’d love something to remind me that hurrying up is not always the way to go!

    1. I’m learning to incorporate it into the happy moments, too… I feel like I’m always reminding myself to slow down and soak up the moment and yada yada. But what about a purchase? Or a note to a friend? Or a gush to the husband? Learning to do everything with control takes work, but I’m gonna practice!

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