Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Slow Parenting

A slow-parenting activity:   "bedazzling" pumpkins this fall

I'm hyper.  Enthusiastic.  Opinionated.  Type A.  I'm always on time and prepared.    I'm organized.  Efficient.    Determined.  

When I heard of slow parenting, it appealed to me.  Desperately.  Because one thing I'm not is calm.   I'd love to be a zen-goddess who practices yoga and prayer daily, deeply, and meaningfully, who sips organic flax/wheat grass/lettuce smoothies all day, walks slowly while "smelling the roses," and who never yells at her kids.

The other day I went to the library after work.    My husband was home with the kids.  It was a quiet, mild evening.   I strolled in, got my books, and left.    As I was walking from the library doors to my car, I realized that I was power walking....as usual.    And then I asked myself, What's the hurry, Rach?    I took a deep breath, slowed my pace, and got mindful of the moment.   

Slow parenting appeals to me because with each child we add to our family, I realize how fast parenting just doesn't work.     I've never been a fan of children having loads of scheduled activities.  In fact, when we had just one activity, Miss E's dance class, it was enough to send me over the edge some weeks.    It became a "to do" instead of an enjoyable activity.    I would sit in a tiny, warm waiting room with other moms, desperately trying to entertain my 1.5 year old energetic and mischievous toddler, steering her away from the steep staircase leading to the basement dance classrooms and a few houseplants.    It was exhausting.

I feel as though society is telling me what I should be doing as a parent, but I'll be honest.  I'm not jealous of my friends who run their kids here and there and everywhere, from activity to activity, frantic.    It's their choice, of course.  But for me, I'm not sure my nerves, my blood sugars, or my spirit could handle it.

I know, I know.  It's not what is best for me.  It's what best for the kids.    Right?  Well, what if slow parenting is best for all of us?  

I grew up in "the country."   We lived on two acres of green space complete with a treehouse, swimming pool, two barns, a shed, hills, and a national forest directly behind our home.    We spent hours upon hours either playing outside, writing stories and plays, reading, building creations with Legos, etc.   We played.  A lot.   We owned two electronic toys:  a Peter Pan book with buttons and the original Nintendo that a cool uncle got for us one summer.    That was it.   

Life was slow.  And it was fabulous!    Any given object (a stick, a doll, a box) inspired adventure.  

Some might call it lazy, especially in today's culture of GO GO GO.    It's as if we believe that unless our children are consumed with school followed by several activities followed by weekends of more activities and birthday parties, that we aren't good parents and our kids will quickly fall by the wayside of life.

Slow parenting involves being calm.  Allowing kids to learn and grow at their own pace.   It means leaving plenty of room for creativity and possibility.

I'm just getting to know this parenting style for my own kids, though I was raised with the slow parenting concept, and I'm learning to very much appreciate it.

I also embrace slow parenting because it's quite opposite of my personality, and because I know slow parenting is what is best for our family.   We already have two children under the age of four, and we are waiting to adopt a third child.    Yep, that's ages 0, 2, and 4.    Crazy, right?  

Well, I guess it COULD be crazy.  And I know some days it will be crazy.    But parents set the tone for so much that goes on in a household...

and I'm choosing a slower pace, more peace, more joy, more laughter.


  1. Amen! I'm with you on that one. We do one class a week and that feels like too much sometimes. When I was a kid, we just spent time being kids and I feel like I had a more pleasant childhood than my friends who ran around like crazy. I feel like this helped me become a better balanced teenager, actually. Again, I had friends who were actively involved in literally every club they could. I joined a couple things I was genuinely interested in and felt much less stressed out. Same with college. So I choose to have my kids take it easy. They can try out one thing at a time if they'd like, and we always stop classes around March or April when it starts getting nice enough to spend the evenings outside, picking them back up in September. I truly believe we're all happier that way.

  2. I love this post! I am also type A kinda person and I have been stiving for slower parenting styles with my children, because the more that is going on running kids around, the more this momma feels chaos within! I am finding, though, that it is HARD to do slow parenting in this day because of the GO, GO, GO world we live in. It really means making a lot of choices where your children may feel excluded and underprivileged if you don't handle it right! We are working on it.
    Momma of six, four homegrown, and 2 adopted from ET


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