Strictly season is upon us – I’m not ashamed to admit it’s my favourite time of year. At home I’ve nailed the quick quicks, but I’m stumbling over the slows. Don’t worry the husband and I haven’t taken up the foxtrot (though we did a dance class years ago and were told we weren’t compatible partners! A bit late for that I think). No, I’m referring to my current state of mind. It’s in jive mode, giving my audience a dizzying display of anxieties.
I’m one of life’s twitterers. A frenetic fretter. If there’s nothing to fret about, then I’m fretting about that. It’s exhausting. Admittedly I’ve had a lot to fret about over the past couple of months – a move, leaving a job I loved, saying goodbye to friends…big stuff. But unlike the scientist husband who handles it all rather stoically, I’m stuck on the what was, what if see-saw.
My overactive mind is in turn fueling our hectic schedule. I’m forever planning. One particular low point was googling potential after-school activities at 4am. I’m guilty of parenting FOMO – constantly questioning if the boys are doing enough sport, enough socialising, enough homework. But this spiral leaves me feeling inadequate, and for what? The boys are happy and healthy, if marginally crazy.
So this week I decided to slow things down. To stop my hyperparenting and embrace a new approach. There’s slow food, slow travel – I’m going to try slow parenting. Not sloppy, but slow (though I’d be better at the former). I’m lucky enough to have more time with my trio at the moment, and I should be relishing it, not overloading it.
I’ve also been inspired by a lovely friend @slowfamilytravel, who is currently taking a gap year with her young family. Seeing how she’s giving her girls an alternative education makes me remember that a child’s life is not about rushing to keep up with their peers. I’d love to whisk the boys off too, but the husband’s Appalachian ambitions will have to wait until then can walk for longer than 500m without complaining. I can however introduce small changes to help simplify our lives.
First step, stop comparing and stop stressing! Spend more time outdoors, be spontaneous, more movie nights, definitely more books, weekend afternoon naps (for adults too), try new sports but don’t worry if it’s not their thing, less stuff, more experiences and the hardest of all..less screentime…(mainly for me hmm).
Today I made no plans, I dusted off the running buggy and went to bushy park. After a gentle jog, the little one kicked autumn leaves while I strolled with a tea. Slow perfection.
Of course it’s about finding a balance, but our pace of mind and body is definitely quick quick. It’s going take some practice, but maybe by Christmas I’ll have mastered my slows.