You’re either reading this because 1. you’re really interested in how to make this work or 2. you’re here wondering what the heck I’m talking about because you’ve seen me & my husband running around chasing crazy babies and stopping them from killing themselves and throwing food on restaurants. Either way, keep on reading.
I need to admit that slow living and children might sound really strange, at least from my perspective having two babies under the age of two. There isn’t much “slow” in our every day except perhaps when making us ready to go somewhere.
Here's the thing, as adults we often have a low tolerance for our kids to be bored. You read it right, I'm not talking about our own tolerance for boredom. We really want our kids to be happy and as a result of that we often fill upp free time with classes, practices and screen time, because when our kids are bored they complain and they whine.
Perhaps it begun before we became parents already, the idealizing of the time spent with family. It is the real culprit because it makes us feel like we aren't measuring up. After what might have felt like a couple of "failed" family outings with your kids throwing food everywhere, a visit at a friend's where your children broke at least two and a half things, your child going through a new leap or a period of defiance, or after an ordinary day with the babies being overly tired, not synced when it comes to napping and are having a generally bad day, you might be totally convinced that your kids simply CAN NOT soak up the concept of slow living like you imagined.
A little child’s life is nothing like the structured & controlled lifestyle you were able to have before you became a parent. They are learning how to communicate - without and with words. They are learning how to walk. They start to explore the world, and they definitely do not have a lot of impulse control. They throw tantrums at inconvinent times and they struggle with sitting still at cafés and restaurants. This is hard work for a brand new human!
We hold on to a vision of a picture perfect variation of life that is so far from what family life should really look like and because of that we become unhappy. We're holding on to something so different than the imperfect & amazing life we are blessed to access.
So let me tell you about the essence of slow living and perhaps you’ll agree with me - that it actually is possible to embrace the lifestyle with babies in your life.
The essence is simply being there for life. It’s the building of a more sustainable every-day were relationships and being in tune with yourself is weighing more than chasing for efficiency at the cost of sanity and relationships, it’s less quick fixes and less technology overwhelm. It's taking your kids on fewer dance and soccer practices and more playing in the park and dancing in the livingroom. It's clearing out our schedules for more freedom, a life with fewer obligations and more flexibility. It’s learning how to be with your children in more loving, supportive and patient ways. It’s changing your view of little people being difficult and realizing they are perhaps just misunderstood little humans that need guidance.
It will will never be perfect, but if you allow it, this will be the happiest time of your life.
Slow living with kids is being present in their lives and in your own as much as you can. Babies and toddlers already live in the present moment. Learn from it and join them.
Slow living is low tech and more intentional. Slow living with kids is the best way to enjoy their childhood. There will be laughs, there will be hugs, there will be times where you run and there will be times when you get to drink you coffee warm. There will be times where you hold conversations solely by looking into your childrens' eyes and there will be times where you and your husband will laugh yourselves through a chaotic hotel stay-over.
By dropping our unrealistic idealizations of what life with small children should look like and by freeing up more time on our calendars, we can live a slower paced life and make time for the most important things - our babies, life partners and all other relationships, you totally included.