I’ve noticed the gait of my stride has changed this past year. I’ve found that I’ve intentionally had to remind myself to “slow down and breathe,” as I’ve been running from school drop-off to workplace, washer to dryer, dinner table to kitchen sink. Moving from a sales position where productivity and success were based on “the bigger the number the better,” and into a creative job where having space to breathe and create is a requirement, has most definitely slowed my gait. Until lately though, I didn’t even realize how fast I had been running and that I was fighting against slowing down without even knowing it.
I’ve found that every decision to slow my steps is a sacrifice of time somewhere else. The decision to leave the dirty dinner dishes on the table to go play with my 5-year-old has been an exercise in discipline. It’s a decision to set aside my treadmill time to talk to my teenage daughter who’s mulling over questions like “what am I going to do when I grow up” and discussing the new subject of boys. It’s a decision to skip the beginning of my favorite TV show to snuggle with my son 10 minutes past his bedtime. The time spent with each one of my kiddos was once (and sometimes still is) an unwelcomed duty that I participate in only out of sheer “mom-guilt.” But now, more times than not, I welcome the pause in my harried steps.
I guess in that harried rhythm, I felt like I was somehow accomplishing more by feeling the frantic and the panic. But if I’m honest, in that breakneck pace, while I may have been checking more things off my to-do list, I was getting them done at the expense of my children’s questions going unanswered or the missed moments of sharing a valuable life lesson. By widening my step, I’ve allowed for the stretch by not filling in the space with tiny frantic steps. Because in the end, it will ultimately get me to the same place in the same amount of time, but without becoming breathless and rundown.
So, I am consciously not saying, “I can’t. I’m too busy.” It’s become my cop out, blaming and giving “busy” the power and authority over me, my family and my life choices. Instead, I now choose to say, “it’s not for me” or “not now.” It brings back my ownership of time and the way I’m choosing to spend it. Because after all, being gutsy is about reclaiming what is ours, surrendering what isn’t, and making it work with the rhythm and cadence of our own steps of our families. It’s taking that much needed breath in order to answer our child’s big question about sex or taking the time to celebrate your beautiful self. It’s a pause to ponder, “Why not?” and the chance to muster the courage to do something significant even if it feels small. The truth is, as mamas, we have more authority to shape our daily lives than we think we do. So, be gutsy and find your stride.
Jinny Jordan is the Editorial Manager for The MOPS Magazine and The MOPS Blog. She juggles life with her hubby, Tim, and three kiddos (15, 10 and 5), all the while trying to curb her “Real Housewives” addiction and sneaking in a shower from time to time.
This article currently appears in the winter 2018 issue of The MOPS Magazine.