Walk slowly in motherhood

I once had an elderly lady stop me in the parking lot of Walmart to tell me that I was “walking too fast with my baby.” I had only one child then. She was around 17 months and I, on that particular day, was attempting to hold her hand and cross the street, quickly.

I’ve always been a fast walker. It started in high school  because I was usually nervous and didn’t like how intentional walking slow felt. It became a habit from there. So when the lady stopped me to tell me that I was “walking too fast with my baby” and that I should “slow down because her legs weren’t long enough to keep up with me,” I laughed, nervously. I didn’t know I was walking fast. And that my daughter’s legs were practically limp against the pace I thought we should go to hurry into the store, just didn’t register.

My long, quick strides worked best for me as a important woman who needed to “get things done…at Walmart…at 1 in the afternoon!”, So of course, that pace must also work for her little legs, too! “Keep up, child! Keep up!”

I thought about that story when I edited the above picture and some other pictures yesterday. The theme that came to mind as I  sat down to write this post is that with two children my life feels easier.

I think with one, I could more easily trick myself into believing that I could set the pace of our lives, that I could still be this semi-massive orbit and my children would drift along by virtue of gravitational pull. I could be center and still be a mother.

But now with two, it feels easier because I’ve settled into the idea that while I am central in their lives, I can’t be the center all the time. My pull is shaped by the also powerful and unique pulls of my children. We pull each other in directions and find our centers together in order to make this work.

I’ve slowed down because they need me to and because I need to order to see them clearly, not as little bystanders to my life’s ambition, but as partners to it.

Having two children feels easy because I know this and a lot more now. With two grey hairs, I’m still growing at 29. I’m growing alongside my girls. I’ve been humbled.

I walk more slowly now because this is the pace that’s best for us.

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25 Responses to “Walk slowly in motherhood”

  1. Kita says:

    I am always in a hurry so I pull mines along or pick them up so I can move faster not realizing that as I move fast they grow fast. Now you got me thinking I need to slow it down and enjoy whats really the rush. Great post

  2. Alison says:

    I’m a fast walker too :)
    Slowing down is a good thing. It’s one lesson my firstborn taught me when I first started walking with him- he would always stop/ slow down, literally to smell the roses.

    • Jessica says:

      Yes! And their pace helps us see and appreciate so much more, right? It’s humbling what our children can teach us if we allow them to!

  3. Rachel J. says:

    I love the idea of the little ones as partners in our lives. There certainly is so much more to consider day to day with them there. I tend to have a quicker pace as well, and it can make me feel a little stressed when I get stuck in that mode and forget to relax. But you must be doing something right – I’m 29 too and have a lot more than just two gray hairs! :D

    • Jessica says:

      lol. Aww. Thanks! It’s funny because I was late to get my greys, but when the one came, the other came soon after. It’s like my body has given itself permission to reflect my age, which is okay. :)

      The same thing happens to me! Or sometimes, I do get stuck in stressed modes and forget how to relax. But, I’m trying to work on it. The last two weeks, I’ve been relaxing more about bedtimes, for instance. They now happen when they happen. It’s not ideal for all parents or families, but right now, this is working for us, and I’m learning to be okay with that.

  4. Lashawn says:

    Children definately make you slow down. I’ve always had my own pace and want everyone to go at my pace. I’m so impatient. But having Pookah makes me want to slow down. Time is moving way too quickly around here. When did my baby get to be 3?

    • Jessica says:

      Oh, I know! Pookah is 3!! That is amazing! It’s amazing how quickly it all goes by! It’s so important to slow down and savor it every now and then.

  5. Kimberly says:

    Partners…exactly that.
    This is beautiful.
    Slowing down.

  6. I’m a fast walker too, but I do love those moments when we have no agenda and can just walk and explore something every few minutes for as long as it takes. I’m pretty jealous you only have 2 gray hairs by the way.

    • Me, too! I never did much exploring before children. I pretty much lived by an agenda that guided all of my steps.

      lol. (re: gray hair) I should say that I have two gray hairs that I can see. I may have more in the back and not know it. But you know, ignorance is bliss, right?!? lol.

      p.s. Thanks, again, for letting me know that my commentluv wasn’t working. I really appreciate it!

  7. Mellisa Rock says:

    Every time I visit your blog I am inspired to be a better mother. I just love that lady for stopping you and that the moment stayed with you until you really were able to comprehend the intent behind it.

  8. vanita says:

    i love following your journey girl. i love how you put these experiences i can relate to into words that i can feel. hugs to you gf!
    vanita recently posted…The Smart Way To Promote Your Blog With CommentluvMy Profile

  9. Cecilia says:

    What an interesting observation, Jessica! I think it takes a while – maybe a couple of kids? – for us to *really* shift gears. I remember thinking that maybe I couldn’t have more than one child because I was too afraid to have my life changed completely. I have one, and it’s easy to still maintain one leg (or at least a couple of toes) in my former adult world. For me the issue isn’t walking (though I know you meant that in both the literal and figural sense ;-)), it’s EATING! Wow, is it ever frustrating for meal time to screech to a practical standstill each night. My husband and I are always done with our plates before our son even picks up his third spoonful. Wait, scratch that — it’s not just eating, it’s practically everything! EVERYTHING slows down! Except walking. When it comes to walking my hyperactive boy is always literally a block ahead of me.

    That’s great that you have adjusted to your daughters’ pace! And I am sure that often times it is nicer to see the world through their eyes too.
    Cecilia recently posted…That’s all I wantMy Profile

    • It is! And I think I had the same problem with eating! I was going fast in almost every area of my life. I was going so fast that I honestly couldn’t see my first daughter in the beginning beyond much the generalities I learned about most babies. It was sad. But with time, I got better. My girls forced me to slow down. Even when I didn’t want to, they made me. Since slowing down, I feel so much more sane and balanced. It’s really amazing.

  10. Such a true post and YAY for syndication on BH! I think walking & living so fast also comes from the structure we try to find when the kids are little. The day is dictated by naptimes, and so I at least feel like I want to get the most out of those hours between wake up and bedtime. I try to counteract the rushed or planned moments by having walks where A is in charge of where we go and how fast we do that.

    Another thing that comes to mind is that I often hear myself telling Amber to “stop rushing me”. Ahem. I wonder where she gets that from…
    Ruby @ Focus, Woman! recently posted…Preparing for 2013My Profile

    • lol. Yes! When I had one child, I LIVED for naptimes and bedtimes and things happening according to a plan. It really became an obsession of mine. With two, it’s harder to do that. Or, maybe, I’ve just changed and decided it’s not worth doing that all the time. I don’t know which one it is.

      Amber saying “stop rushing me” made me laugh. Kids say the darndest things, don’t they? lol.

      And, thank you! I hope you are feeling well.

  11. […] A reminder: sometimes we need to walk slowly in motherhood. […]

  12. I think I know what you mean. Since having two my life has become more hectic for sure but I am now OK with just going with the flow. I tend to fall in line with whatever is working best for them. If that means moving a little slower – that’s quite alright.
    Cam | Bibs & Baubles recently posted…Bloggers Behaving BadlyMy Profile

    • Yes! And that’s exactly it! I think with two it does become easier to embrace that your life has changed and that you must make adjustments accordingly. It feels hard in the beginning, but once you do accommodate and learn to be flexible, your life feels so much easier!

  13. […] I wrote “Walk slowly in motherhood,” I was inspired by remembering that opening anecdote and the thought that I had finally […]

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