Weekly Column: Rush Hour

©Stephenie Freeman

I spend my life in a hurry, constantly trying to get everyone around me to do the same.

“Hurry up and eat your dinner.”

“Hurry up and get dressed.”

“Hurry up we’ve got to go.”

I am the only one in my family who’s in any kind of a rush. My kids inherited the Golfer’s laid back nature. Being still, being in no hurry to go anywhere or do anything, goes against every fiber of my being. I don’t have time to be laid back. There is always somewhere to be, something to do, someone who is waiting on us. I’m a person who runs on time and expects everyone else to do the same—including my children.

Waiting on people isn’t a virtue that I possess. I’m quick to honk the horn, letting you know that you need to hurry up. I’m big on alarm clocks and watches and schedules to keep us on time and ahead of the game. I figure that age will cause me to slow down eventually, but for now I choose to go full speed ahead.

My kids feel the opposite. They take their time, leisurely enjoying the world, never in a hurry to get anywhere anytime soon. My kids are too busy discovering roly-polies on the driveway, waving hello to the neighbor’s dog or putting their Crocs on the wrong feet, all of it slowing me down and driving me crazy.

As summertime approaches, I am filled with mixed emotions. Part of me is excited. No alarm going off at the crack of dawn. No homework to help with. No lunches to pack. I’ll admit that I’m looking forward to it. There’s a reason it is called summer “break.”

Summer break is also about breaking from your daily school year routine. This is the part that I’m not looking forward to. I’ll be forced to slow down because there won’t be any reason to constantly hurry to get somewhere. I guess they don’t call them the lazy days of summer for nothing.

But I don’t like being lazy. As a stay-at-home mama, I feel compelled to fill every second of my day with some kind of activity or chore or errand. When you work inside of the home your work constantly surrounds you. There’s always something to do and I’m always in a hurry to get to that next thing.

However, my hurried nature might be doing more harm than good. I’ve begun to notice that being in a hurry leaves little breathing room for things like unplanned fun. There’s no time for spontaneous playdates or trips to the library. There’s no stopping at the park on the way to the grocery store. Those sorts of last minute choices have no place in our hurried schedule.

Whether I like it or not my children are growing up and in my quest to be the best mother I can be, filling my days with hurried schedules and responsibilities, I am missing out on a lot of fun that I could be having fun with my kids.

Last week, two cases of strep throat forced me to slow down. As the boys convalesced on the couch, I had no choice but to abandon all our plans and schedule. I could easily have spent my day catching up on housework, perhaps work on those photo albums that needed updating or reorganize the closets.

Instead, I chose to sit and be lazy. I sat on the couch between the sniffling and the coughing and simply loved on my sick babies all day. It made us all feel a lot better.

This might just be the first case of strep throat that ever inspired someone to change, but that’s exactly what happened. When the Golfer asked me what activities I had planned for the summer, what our schedule looked like, he was shocked when I told him that I had nothing planned, nothing scheduled.

And I would have explained why if I hadn’t been in such a hurry to get out the door.

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