The first few days of our ‘time off’, my son took a nap of over 3 hours each day.
He slept through the night.
For a notoriously frequent waker and early riser, this alone was a huge indicator of how desperately we needed to slow things down.
I found myself leaving the television on for half a day, maybe more. More importantly, I didn’t STRESS about having it on. I accepted it and moved on. My child and I watched movies together. We played together on the floor while children’s programs sung to us in the background.
I found myself falling back in love with motherhood. I WANTED to be here, playing. I wanted to take the time to tickle and giggle and read books together. I learnt more about my son and the way he saw the world, and the joy in his heart brought joy to mine.
I didn’t rush housework and I didn’t do too much. I did the basics, slowly. I cooked, not in a rushed or hurried way, but gently. My little boy either watched TV, listened to music or played while I prepared our meals, and I simply relaxed into the experience of what I was doing. I didn’t allow myself to feel guilty for not engaging with him constantly.
I realised that I had more time and was more eager to interact with him, when I wasn’t hustling from one thing to the next. We went on trips to the park, at dusk, after everyone else had left. We took walks at the beach, or in the bush.
I stopped looking at the clock.
I found myself feeling more loving towards my husband. The resentment I often felt towards all the ‘free time’ I convinced myself he had, just disappeared.
In allowing myself to slow down, I was giving myself the permission to rest – rest that I previously thought I could only enjoy once he was home to take over my responsibilities.
I was learning that my responsibilities could be met in harmony with my ability to rest; they didn’t need to be at battle with one another.
I know now that the way forward for my family, is to continue to slow down.
But it certainly challenges me, this new way of thinking and behaving.
I keep telling myself ‘in a few more days, we’ll go back to normal, I’ll just enjoy the rest a little while longer’.
What I’m hoping I’ll learn, as this newfound lifestyle becomes our natural rhythm, is that living our best lives, sometimes means living them in slow motion.
Samantha Johnson is a writer, mother and fan of facts, fiction, feminism and families. You can find more of her articles over at The Huffington Post and follow her on Twitter. Make sure to follow her Samantha Johnson Storyteller Facebook page.