keeping it moving and slowing it down

Most people know that I’m a go-get-’em girl. By the time my feet hit the floor in the morning, I’m already thinking about lunch time, play time, work time, nap time, dinner time, bedtime. All of the times, they are ever-present for me. I want my house to run smoothly, and I want the people inside of it to feel loved and supported and full of joy. Who doesn’t feel joy at the thought of a freshly-vacuumed carpet, or a well-organized weekly schedule? Christopher likes to pick on my inability to relax. I have a hard time plopping down onto the couch if I know something needs attention first.

People love to tell new moms to slow down, to soak up those fleeting moments that don’t last. This is great advice, and it’s true. But after a few children, I’ve found that I can’t follow it to the letter. When I let go of my busybody personality, I lose a little bit of my identity. When I can’t check things off of my to-do list, I grow resentful towards the thing (or tiny baby) keeping me from the other things in my life and family and home.

So I keep moving. It’s why I go to church at one week postpartum. It’s why I let the twins chatter for a few extra minutes after nap time, so I can finish folding a load of laundry or writing a blog post. It’s why I’m a staunch supporter of moms who keep their iPhones on them throughout the day. It’s important to hold onto the things that make me who I am… even in the midst of my busiest years, the ones that call me to pour myself out over and over, day after day.

Since Hadassah Lee arrived, I’ve kept up with our kitchen chalkboard pretty meticulously. I write a few to-do list items on there, along with what we’ll be eating and some kind of quote for the day. When I find myself wanting to stay busy and do too much, I slow down and look at the board.

If the list has one box beside the word laundry, I will only do one load of laundry. If the list says clean bathroom, I will scrub it top to bottom and let the toddler pee outside while I do so, but I will not move on to another room after that. If the list reminds me to return emails, I will not feel guilty for propping the computer up on the couch while I nurse the newbie, but I will not hang out on Facebook when I’m done.

I recently taught Ames to say, “Momma’s doing mental health” when he sees me running around the house like a wild woman right after breakfast. I usually cram the entire list into a single hour or two. But after that, after I’ve proudly placed an X inside each box, I will spend the rest of the day slowing down and soaking up the fleeting moments.

10 thoughts on “keeping it moving and slowing it down”

  1. Thank you for this. I too am the same way. You know that saying “good moms have sticky floors and messy kitchens?” – I hate it! Ha ha I’m a much better momma when my house isn’t in chaos. I can relax knowing the dryer is running and I’m not tripping over cars and airplanes (at least not ALL over the house!) LOL ANd I can’t help but think this is a good thing for our kiddos to see and therefore take part in by helping out around the home. :)

  2. I feel the same way! I dont seem to mentally operate the right way with a messy out of control house. And I feel my kids seem more relaxed in a tidy home. I do soak up the slow moments (thank goodness for nursing breaks!) but I feel it is important to keep up with the things that make you you. Great post!

  3. A girl after my own heart. Thank you for always reminding me that it’s okay to be a busy body mama, a go get ’em girl. Thank you for reminding me that I’m doing good work for my family.

  4. I completely relate to this!! My baby is five weeks old today and I realized I have not spent an entire day at home since she was born. It took me three weeks to just stop and be ok with letting a day go by without running the vacuum (the thought of that alone makes me want to vacuum at 11:30pm!) and to snuggle my girl instead. (She instantly falls asleep in the sling when I run the vacuum – go figure!) I like busy. Busy people get stuff done. I like nursing because I’ve learned to stop & enjoy the time with her.

  5. Great post. I have to admit I could use more of your energy, enthusiasm and gusto for keeping on top of the household “to do” list. You seem very disciplined. How great for your family. Yes, busy moms definitely get stuff done. I know my daughter loves a clean home and who doesn’t, really?! Just wanted to know if you meal plan? If so, how does that go for you and do you shop for the weekly meal plan or do you shop a little here and there (like me) and figure it out the day of? I could use the tips if you have any. Thanks so much for the inspiration this evening. -Cynthia

  6. Yup, with my 2nd I did ‘sleep when baby slept’ for the first couple of weeks, once my C section had healed I was back up and at ’em… but I’ll definitely take it easier this time around, if I can, too. It’s worth it to take the first few weeks to just relax and bond, and then slowly get back into your routine.

    I have it set up right now that I have 2-3 small chores for me to do (not including laundry or dishes which I do a load every day or every other day just depending) every day to keep the house looking ‘fresh’.. Mondays I water the plant, put on a new tablecloth, and make a grocery list or meal plan (why do we always run out of things on the weekend?) — that’s not much, but then I feel like I’ve tidied a bit. Since my kids pick up their toys, I’m not constantly tripping over them, and the house looks a bit fresher and not so much like a mutant lions den or something along those lines. If I miss something, I don’t get mad at myself (things happen), and I just catch up the next day, or if it’s something not so important, I do it the next week and just give myself the benefit of the doubt that I’ll do it then. It’s actually worked pretty well for me, because I can say ‘yes, I’m done’ at 5 a.m. and feel like everything else is a bonus!

  7. Hello,

    I am a fan of Ames and his way of expressing life, as I already mentioned in a comment some months back. I read you from near Barcelona, Spain. I found your blog, and some others, two years ago when my son Aimar was born and I was feeling all up and down and happy and sad and alone and… you know: postpartum. Your blog and your ideas helped me a lot back then.
    I have been thinking that I’d love to ask you some questions on how you organise your beautiful big family.
    Sometimes, like in this post, you mention some things you do, but I’d love to know how you organise meals for all and morning and bedtime routines. Do your kids sleep well at night? What do you do if they don’t? I am looking for ideas that might help my family organisation. And also I’d love to know your ideas on daycare/kindergarden/pre-school.
    Thanks and keep it up, your family spreads smiles all over the world!

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