When you’re living a distracted life, every minute must be accounted for. You feel like you must be checking something off the list, staring at a screen, or rushing off to the next destination. And no matter how many ways you divide your time and attention, no matter how many duties you try and multi-task, there’s never enough time in a day to ever catch up.
That was my life for several maxed out years. My thoughts and actions were controlled by electronic notifications, ring tones, and jam-packed agendas. And although every fiber of my inner drill sergeant wanted to be on time to every activity on my overcommitted schedule, I wasn’t.
You see, six years ago I was blessed with a laid-back, carefree, stop-and-smell-the roses type of child.
When I needed to be out the door, she was taking her sweet time picking out a purse and a glittery crown.
When I needed to be somewhere five minutes ago, she insisted on buckling her stuffed animal into a car seat.
When I needed to grab a quick lunch at Subway, she’d stop to speak to the elderly woman who looked like her grandma.
When I had thirty minutes to get in a run, she wanted me to stop the stroller and pet every dog we passed.
When I had a full agenda that started at 6 a.m., she asked to crack the eggs and stir them ever so gently.
My carefree child was a gift to my Type A, task-driven nature—but I didn’t see it. Oh no, when you live life distracted, you have tunnel vision—only looking ahead to what’s next on the agenda. And anything that cannot be checked off the list is a waste of time.
Whenever my child caused me to deviate from my master schedule, I thought to myself, “We don’t have time for this.” Consequently, the two words I most commonly spoke to my little lover of life were: “Hurry up.”
I started my sentences with it.
Hurry up, we’re gonna be late.
I ended sentences with it.
We’re going to miss everything if you don’t hurry up.
I started my day with it.
Hurry up and eat your breakfast.
Hurry up and get dressed.
I ended my day with it.
Hurry up and brush your teeth.
Hurry up and get in bed.
And although the words “hurry up” did little if nothing to increase my child’s speed, I said them anyway. Maybe even more than the words, “I love you.”
The truth hurts, but the truth heals … and brings me closer to the parent I want to be.
Then one fateful day, things changed. We’d just picked my older daughter up from kindergarten and were getting out of the car. Not going fast enough for her liking, my older daughter said to her little sister, “You are so slow.” And when she crossed her arms and let out an exasperated sigh, I saw myself—and it was a gut-wrenching sight.
I was a bully who pushed and pressured and hurried a small child who simply wanted to enjoy life.
My eyes were opened; I saw with clarity the damage my hurried existence was doing to both of my children.
Although my voice trembled, I looked into my small child’s eyes and said, “I am so sorry I have been making you hurry. I love that you take your time, and I want to be more like you.”
Both my daughters looked equally surprised by my painful admission, but my younger daughter’s face held the unmistakable glow of validation and acceptance.
“I promise to be more patient from now on,” I said as I hugged my curly-haired child who was now beaming at her mother’s newfound promise.
It was pretty easy to banish “hurry up” from my vocabulary. What was not so easy was acquiring the patience to wait on my leisurely child. To help us both, I began giving her a little more time to prepare if we had to go somewhere. And sometimes, even then, we were still late. Those were the times I assured myself that I will be late only for a few years, if that, while she is young.
When my daughter and I took walks or went to the store, I allowed her to set the pace. And when she stopped to admire something, I would push thoughts of my agenda out of my head and simply observe her. I witnessed expressions on her face that I’d never seen before. I studied dimples on her hands and the way her eyes crinkled up when she smiled. I saw the way other people responded to her stopping to take time to talk to them. I saw the way she spotted the interesting bugs and pretty flowers. She was a Noticer, and I quickly learned that The Noticers of the world are rare and beautiful gifts. That’s when I finally realized she was a gift to my frenzied soul.
My promise to slow down was made almost three years ago, at the same time I began my journey to let go of daily distraction and grasp what matters in life. Living at a slower pace still takes a concerted effort. But my younger daughter is my living reminder of why I must keep trying. In fact, the other day, she reminded me once again.
The two of us had taken a bike ride to a sno-cone shack while on vacation. After purchasing a cool treat for my daughter, she sat down at a picnic table delightedly admiring the icy tower she held in her hand.
Suddenly a look of worry came across her face. “Do I have to rush, Mama?”
I could have cried. Perhaps the scars of a hurried life don’t ever completely disappear, I thought sadly.
As my child looked up at me waiting to know if she could take her time, I knew I had a choice. I could sit there in sorrow thinking about the number of times I rushed my child through life … or I could celebrate the fact that today I’m trying to do thing differently.
I chose to live in today.
“You don’t have to rush, baby. Just take your time,” I said gently. Her whole face instantly brightened and her shoulders relaxed.
And so we sat side-by-side talking about things that ukulele-playing-6-year-olds talk about. There were even moments when we sat in silence just smiling at each other and admiring the sights and sounds around us.
I thought my child was going to eat the whole darn thing—but when she got to the last bite, she held out a spoonful of ice crystals and sweet juice for me.
“I saved the last bite for you, Mama,” my daughter said proudly.
As I let the icy goodness quench my thirst, I realized I just got the deal of a lifetime.
I gave my child a little time … and in return, she gave me her last bite and reminded me that things taste sweeter and love comes easier when you stop rushing through life.
Whether it’s …
I will not say, “We don’t have time for this.” Because that is basically saying, “We don’t have time to live.”
Pausing to delight in the simple joys of everyday life is the only way to truly live.
(Trust me, I learned from the world’s leading expert on joyful living.)
UPDATE & RESOURCE June 2020: Through the “hurry up” epiphany and several other painful revelations that happened around the same time, I recognized that I was creating a home where my children were growing up afraid—afraid to make mistakes, afraid to take risks, afraid to be themselves, afraid of me. In a moment of clarity, I saw the damage I was inflicting and admitted to my older daughter that I was “mean to myself, and I take it out on you.” When I apologized to Natalie and expressed my deepest hope and prayer to change, I saw a look of hope on her face. Discovering that I could be truthful with my children about my missteps and struggles gave launch to a transformative journey to uncover and overcome obstacles that were sabotaging my peace, my relationships, my health, my joy, and my purpose. It’s taken a lot of hard work, and I don’t pretend to have it all figured out, but I am grateful for the breakthroughs I’ve made as a parent and as a human being, now shared in my latest best-selling book, LIVE LOVE NOW: Relieve the Pressure & Find Real Connection with Our Kids.
I am equally grateful to receive messages, like this one, from people who are currently reading my new book and finding hope in my life's work:
“Hi! I have never tried to reach an author before, but I have just finished reading Live Love Now, and I cannot imagine not saying thank you for the gift that is this book. I have no doubt I was meant to read this book at this exact time in my life. You said that when your daughters were young, you were in a dark and depleted state. I have been in a dark and depleted state. Some of the stories you shared about your own kids when they were small were so similar to mine that I wondered how you knew. But mostly, I felt less alone and hopeful. The afterword in your book was so powerful and was exactly what I needed. I’m tired of hating myself. I cried and re-read that hopeful message 3 times. It’s like I needed your message for myself, just as much as I needed it for the sake of my children. I just wanted to at least try to convey some of the gratitude I feel and the profound effect this book has had on me. I am FULL of hope and encouragement.” -J
Dear ones, change begins with one small step to live love. Begin with this guide.
Tania Gardere MacLeos says
I just love your blogs. So easy to get lost in your story as if it’s me as the main character!
I love what you are pushing me to realize! My children deserve ME to BE present and enjoy them more! Not to hurry them up all the time and realize the simple gift of me (totally me being 100% present) is what’s most important!
Thank you for opening my eyes!
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you, Tania. I cannot tell you how much it means to read your supportive words. Some days are easier to push “publish” than others. Lately, it’s not been so easy. But just knowing my admission helped one person today makes all the difference. I appreciate you taking the time to comment and lift me up today.
Jenifer G. says
You have touched my life, as well! I’m the type A rush, rush mom and I have a similar daughter who is nearly 3. This article made me cry, in a way that is freeing. I vow to live a slower life for her sake, if not also for mine. Thank you! Thank you for your blog, it always speaks to my soul… <3
I feel the same way. As a single mom working 2 jobs (1 full-time, one part-time) and in Grad school, I feel like I am always “keeping to the schedule”. I also feel like I am entirely missing all those memorable moments with my daughter (2 1/2), constantly rushing her to hurry past the flowers, bugs, rocks, etc. that are so interesting to her.
Tiffany Amesbury says
Tania – I love your comments – they are virtually the same as I was about to write when I read yours! We are on the same page and thank you Rachel for opening my eyes! 🙂
i agree with you tania! i see myself in your stories too! how neat to have found your story(stories!) thank you for making the world a better place.
Cookie's Mom says
Yes! So happy for you!
Jennifer Reath says
Beautiful post Rachel. One of the challenges I have is getting my 7 year old daughter out the door. She is so caught up in her own little world that she does not hurry either. I don’t have a choice about the time I need to be at work but I have been trying so hard not to rush my kids, especially my daughter. They have nothing to do with my schedule. Thankfully I go on vacation for a week this Friday. I am making a concerted effort to use the cell phone for a few pictures and leave it alone and soak up all of the free time I have with my 2 favorite little people. I love your posts and am working hard to change my “hurried” ways as well! Jennifer
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you for sharing your own struggles and mission to slow the pace. It is so nice to know so many of us share the same struggle and are trying different ways to keep things in perspective. I love to hear your Hands Free plans for vacation. I have found those week-long breaks from media to be so rejuvenating to me and inspire connection to my family. Have a wonderful break! Thank you for your support of my writings. I am grateful.
Carolyn Kisloski says
This could not have been written more beautifully. I only wish EVEYRONE could read it. You have such a gift to be able to open eyes to what matters. Thank you so much for sharing that gift. Now I am going to share your post!
Rachel Macy Stafford says
You have made me feel so good, Carolyn. Thank you for reading and letting me know that my words have touched your life. I am grateful for you.
This brought me to tears! I too have a 5 year old that does everything at his own pace, and am guilty of abusing the words “hurry up”. I am a SAHM of 4 kids and am always trying to clean this or run that errand or get someone where they need to go. I have been trying so hard to remind myself that the laundry can wait, cereal for dinner is ok if we don’t make it to the store, and if there are toys everywhere, who cares! It so much more important to enjoy my babies while they are young!
Even though I am a working mom who stays at home during the summers, I saw myself in your comment. Nice to know I’m not the only one. Hopefully we both can slow down 🙂
Arlene Caswell says
This is just what I have been needing to hear for years. I am very inspired and will be slowing down A LOT starting right now. Thank you so much.
Thank you for this post today! I inherited a clock-watching attitude from my dad. I hate waiting for people. I hate being late. And even more, I hate making other people late, or making other people wait for me.
As a result, I find that the times I most often yell at my kids, or cause tantrums, is when we are late and I am not patient enough to let them take their time. I too, have been blessed with a stop-and-smell-the-roses child. Up until now, I have been thinking of him as my challenge. But, thanks to your beautiful words, I will now recognize him as a blessing. Heavenly Father sent him to me, so that I can learn to slow down, and enjoy my children. They are only young for so long.
So, even if it makes us late… Even if we get in trouble for being late to school, or make people wait at our next family picnic, it will be worth it. My son will know that what matters most to me, is HIM! Not my schedule.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
That is truly beautiful, Rebecca. Thank you for sharing your own powerful revelation about your precious gift.
Crystal Green says
I have to say this was quite a read. It definitely made me think long and hard. I think you have quite a wonderful way of looking at life now. As a stay-at-home mother, I feel I hurry my kids far more than I should. I hope to be able to slow down my roll and enjoy the moments I have with my kids too.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you, Crystal. I appreciate your supportive words and feel fortunate my experiences are helping others see thing a bit differently. Thank you for being here.
Sharon Harding says
This is a lovely post Rachel. I am so glad that you have given your daughter such a wonderful gift. I am reading the book “Simplicity Parenting” by Kim John Payne. The author says “We’re confronted with the often simple requests of these small beings (whom we love immeasurably) and yet their pleas seem to be coming from a galaxy far away, from the planet ‘slow.” The book talks about the emotional damage that can be caused when we are constantly hurrying our children along. You have made a really good choice.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
I love Kim John Payne! I will definitely need to read his book. It sounds like a valuable resource for my journey. I appreciate you taking time to share.
Every blog you write I feel as if we are unknown twins…your life is my life…it is so very difficult to admit to these things as a Type-A person however when I do, it is such a welcoming admission and for my children to hear (mostly my older who is much like me and my younger is much like your daughter). As difficult as the ‘Publish’ button may be for you….please continue and know that when you push that button there are many of us out here that welcome reading what we struggle with.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
This really means so much to me, Kristin! Thank you for giving me the fuel to keep on writing and clicking “publish.”
I almost can’t express how much this post was written for me. I have been struggling with this for many years as my eldest is a true noticer. I am so not. I hurry him throughout the day & nights as you did. I know it doesn’t work for us & it causes me to loose control & get frustrated so easily. I am a bully & not only is it hurting him, but it is causing me to miss so many sweet moments that you described & causing me to come unglued, because he is living & I am rushing. Thank you for this & thanks for the book suggestions. I have a feeling it will be a difficult habit to undo or relearn.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
It is a great comfort to know we are not alone in our struggles and that there is hope for our distracted, hurried ways. I am grateful to share this journey with you, Theresa!
what about balance? sometimes there are deadlines. following them isn’t bullying, it’s teaching responsibility.
I choose both.
Sandy Cooper says
I was thinking the same thing. I think this post is beautifully written. And for those parents who struggle at the extreme end of “hurry,” this is very valuable.
I am a reformed late person. I used to be late for everything. Every class. Every staff meeting at work. Every church service. Everything. I learned over the years that other people’s time is also valuable. Lateness, in most cases, is irresponsible and inconsiderate.
So, I worked very hard (before kids) to be on time for things. It required me to stop my tasks well before I wanted to. I had to cut conversations short. I had to allow extra travel time.
Now that I have kids (and a prone-to-be-late husband!), I have tried to teach them to be considerate of other people’s time without telling them to constantly “hurry up.”
My daughter volunteers in the church nursery. She likes to take her time in the mornings, and we are ALWAYS waiting for her. I think it’s important to teach her that responsibility and timeliness are very good things. When she is late, it affects other teachers and it makes parents late for church. It’s a ripple effect. It’s not just about her.
So, all that to say, balance is the key here. We don’t want to be rushing through life, distracted and overscheduled. But the other extreme is not good either–nonchalant and inconsiderate of other people and their time. It’s okay sometimes to tell our kids, “We don’t have time for that right now, but how about we do it a little later after we get home?” Or, “You can’t crack the eggs right now because we’ll be late, but I promise you can do it on Saturday when we don’t have to get to school.”
I think you can and should strive for both.
Well said. It’s a beautiful thought to be able to take your time to slowly savor every moment in life. But not realistic. People have to get to work at certain times. School, playdates, meetings and other obligations. It’s important to teach your kids that in life, there are times when you need to be aware of time and prompt. But luckily we can teach our children to start getting ready early enough that we don’t have to rush. We can speak politely to each other when making requests to get out the the door quickly. But I do like the article as a reminder to let your children have the opportunity, when appropriate, to be the ‘leader’ and to slow down. But it has to be a balance.
I too was struggling with the balance. I totally agree with teaching about responsibility and the value of others’ time. In reality, there isn’t always time to “smell the roses”.
I think it’s the extreme “hurry up” mode that I will strive to avoid.
I agree about balance. While it sounds romantic to stop and smell the roses… and certainly one must stop and reflect often… one must also be conscious about time and about the need to do things within time… as well as respect other people’s time… for eg., you wouldn’t have your child eat meals at any time of the day…
I’m so glad you wrote this and that I found it. It’s just what I need. Thank you. X
Amanda T says
I stumbled onto your blog completely by accident (or not). I too seem to have A Noticer, but did not realize it until now. And I am always on the go…brush your teeth, brush your hair, get your shoes one, lets go go go! But my daughters do not run on the same schedule as I, and seems it is my schedule that is off! Something as simple as a different blade of grass is reason enough to stop and investigate all the things around it. I too will start to try and follow the path you did. Your blog moved me to tears, and I cannot wait to get started on the changes in me to slow down and smell the flowers with my two little ones. Thank you, for this eye opening blog.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you for taking the time to share your own experience with your precious Noticer of Life. I am so glad to know my words have inspired you, Amanda. It means a great deal to me.
this was exactly what I needed to read today!! I was feeling awful for rushing this morning with my 5 year old daughter and hating that we’re always rushing or i’m always rushing her! from today on out those words will not come out of my mouth especially when it comes to my child!! I choose to STOP and LIVE and smell the roses!! I love your blog!! so enriching and enlighting thanks so much for sharing
Dominique Side says
Beautiful. I needed this. Thank you.
thank you. beautiful writing. lovely sentiment. my children thank you.
Yet again, your thoughtful post has me in tears as I realize how important this reminder is. Also again, I have forwarded your post to my husband, so we can both remember to just let go and stop rushing! Thank you!
I started reading your blog posts with the one on not yelling. It touched me so much that I sent it to my husband to read and printed a copy for my purse. I am generally a very happy person but with working full time, keeping dinners coming every night and taking care of my two daughters ( 2 & 5 years), I lose my temper more than I would like. Since that blog post, whenever I feel like yelling or getting really upset, I try to make a joke. My husband has been so supportive and sometimes is the one who cracks the joke. We find that by taking a second to laugh at ourselves, you can’t yell. My 5 year old sees the difference and now jumps in on the jokes. My family as a whole laughs together more than ever.
I still struggle with many things as a parent, such as the constant questions – am I a good enough parent? Do I spend enough time with my kids? Reading your posts always help me to realize that I am not alone. It also gives me one more thing to work on. Thank you for your posts!
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Wow! What wonderful news to read about your change in yelling. I love that you are taking that anger and transforming it. Making a joke is a wonderful idea and what a beautiful example you are providing your child. When you said your family as a whole is laughing more than ever, I got tears in my eyes.
I am so thankful you feel a sense of validation when reading my blog. There is definitely no right or wrong way, but we so often feel there is. I just try to inspire people to listen to and love their children in the time that they have each day. That takes a lot of the pressure off, at least for me. I am so glad you are here!
You always make me tear up. In a good way. Thank you!
I have learned so much from your blog. I am still a work in progress, but I’ve really made more of an effort just to do things like studying my 3-year-old’s facial expressions and her hands and just listen to her odd sentences. When she was a baby I kept saying “I just want to know what is going on in that head.”
Now I have the fun of actually knowing what she is thinking. I too try to make her hurry. Even when we give extra time, we still run late. I’m going to try to make a better effort on this too and not rush her as much.
Thank you for your blog. I didn’t have a child until I was 38 and I had no idea how hard it is to raise a child. I also had no idea how easy it can be to just focus on them. I work so I feel my time with her is incredibly limited. I just want to be with her every day.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
I have enjoyed reading your experience of trying to soak up the beautiful expressions and words of your precious one. It definitely takes a conscious effort but as you know, it is so worth it! I appreciate your kind words and love sharing this journey with you.
Wonderful article as always. A friend shared your site with me and it is a treat and a revelation every time! What really touched me was the moment when you decided to live for today, and not get lost in thinking about how you’d done it “wrong” before. That is a pivotal moment and when you choose to move forward you leave the past where it should stay. In the past. Every day is a chance to start new – Love It!
A beautiful book on this subject: “Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting” by Myla and Jon Kabat Zinn.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you, Sue. I remind myself of that daily–each day is a chance to do better than I did yesterday. There is so much hope in that reminder! And thanks for the book recommendation. I am making a note of it right now.
As i’m sitting in a sea of papers at work, taking a quick break for lunch, and reading this, I have tears in my eyes. The first paragraph just hit me. It’s so much easier said than done sometimes. It is really, really hard being a FT Corporate working mom and trying to manage the demands of work and your children who just want all of you all the time. We’re always rushing and there is always something else to be done or somewhere to be. It’s not a great feeling, but you really have a way of putting it in perspective in a way that makes me want to keep working at it. My girls are growing so fast and I already miss them being little……
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you for your honesty and openness, Nicole. I believe awareness is everything on this journey. Just being aware of how we want to spend our time when we are home with the family can make a huge impact on our actions. Even small changes to be more present in our daily interactions can make a huge impact. I took a year of “baby steps” toward letting go of my overloaded, distracted way of life. But those baby steps helped free me from the weight of my distractions. I wish you all the best as you take your own small steps and find small ways to grasp what matters each day with the people you love.
Wow…just wow. I’m crying. Thank you for sharing and reminding me that it’s acceptable to slow down and enjoy.
JoAnna Courtenay says
Ohhhh, this made me cry. For you see that is me and my daughter. Privately I’ve called her my little sloth. Sigh… I’ve felt bad because I never wanted her to think that I didn’t approve of her that she never measures up, but she is always ” dawdling ” and making us late.
Thank You you’ve given me some things to think about. I need to figure out how to incorporate her need to go slow and our need to be on time at places.
Again thank you for a beautiful post
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you for sharing your own story, JoAnna. It just helps so much to know none of us are truly alone in our struggles and hopes. I am so grateful for this community!
This is a beautiful reminder to slow down. I struggle daily with my almost 8 year old. She’s a big “doddler” as we call it our home. As a child, I did the same thing but fell out of the habit as I got older and had more responsibilities. I am trying to be more present and take notice of the things she points out to me.
Oh my Goodness, how touching. You are so right. Thank you for opening my eyes.
I see myself so clearly in your blogs and I want, pretty desperately, to do better but I’m not exactly sure HOW. Your eloquently honest blogs inspire me. Thank you so, so much!
This could have been written for me. Its my older son that takes his time, he just turned 11. My younger son even gets on his case and my only excuse is that my husband and myself have set an example. I feel like I Live saying “hurry up” and its not once or twice, and no, it doesn’t make him go faster. He is who he is and that’s it. I am learning to give him more time and to help him focus. He just starts putting on socks and sneakers and gets caught up in something he may be so excited to tell me and Im too busy telling him to “hurry up” that I may not hear the story. They are growing up too fast and we all need to stop. He said to me the other day, “all my friends want to know why I’m so happy?” Does he know something I don’t. I swear this brought the most amazing happiness and tears to my eyes. He knows how to live, he lets things roll off his back. He stands up for himself when needed and yes he can pick up the pace when he wants to, but otherwise He is not in a rush. Does it frustrate me??? YES!!!! But, he is happier and appreciates more, for that I am envious, and proud! I love him with my heart and soul, he is my angel. Maybe that happy kid with the biggest smile can show me a thing or two…
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Well, that is just one of the loveliest things I have ever read. I don’t know your son, but I adore him. And I commend you for seeing all these beautiful attributes about him. Through your words, I am reminded that our children are true blessings and can teach us so much about life.
Tiffany Amesbury says
Rachel – your posts make me take that much needed time to sit down and breathe and read, really read and take in what your message is. This one is soooo true in our house – I am constantly ‘hurrying’ up my wonderful son who gets so lost in his stories that he forgets where he is.
Thank you for your words – they have resonated with me and today on a sunny Tuesday we will stop and smell the flowers and stop and read that extra chapter if that is what today brings.
Happy Tuesday everyone – Tiffany 🙂
Rachel Macy Stafford says
That means so much, Tiffany. Thank you for taking time to encourage and support.
I love reading your posts about slowing down and enjoying the blessedness which is your children. It reminds me to try harder to be the kind of parent I want to be. This one hit especially close to home as I find myself saying “Hurry up” to my children when I should be enjoying the time I have with them. Life goes by fast enough.
Thank you for this. I have been working so hard to put the technology down. And to slow down. I have told my children I want to be more like them – enjoying the little things in life that I so carelessly hurry by. I’ve seen the sadness in their eyes when I say they have to eat their snack in the car instead of on the bench. Reading this is a great reminder that nothing is so important. Our children are given to us for a reason – and I think that is not only to help them grow into amazing people but to help us grow into better people as well.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
I love this so much, Sara: “Our children are given to us for a reason – and I think that is not only to help them grow into amazing people but to help us grow into better people as well.” I couldn’t agree more!
Jane Bluestein says
Awesome. I plan on linking to this post in my next newsletter for parents. Thank you for powerful reminders nearly ALL of us need. xo
christina o. says
I absolutely love this post. I’m not entirely type A (or B for that matter), but I did used to say “hurry up” a lot. Every time I’d say it I’d literally cringe because I too realized that I was probably crushing my child’s spirit one word at a time. I no longer say “hurry up” so I can totally relate to this post. While reading it I smiled, teared up a bit, and got a pull at my heart… I want to go hug my daughter right now!
Ohhh my goodness, this is just beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes more than once. What a lovely lesson to learn from your daughter.
Antoinette Johnson says
I love your insight and resolve to slow down in order to enjoy your family. While all of this is good for you, good for your family overall, I have to agree with Stacey Cooper that it needs to be balanced.
My two children are adults now. An observation I’ve made is that the areas that I wasn’t as consistent in stressing became a problem for them in adulthood. For example, playing video games became an issue in the early years of my son’s marriage. It was always a battle with him and sometimes, I grew weary. I was inconsistent enforcing the time limit. Well, he and his wife worked it out, but the self-discipline had not been anchored by habit, so it became a weak area and a struggle for him as an adult. It opened my eyes not just for my kids but friends’ kids as well.
I have to say that as parents, we have to remember that our children will have to survive in society without us at some point, and employers, etc. are not going to be as patient or understanding as mom. Most places of employment will only give you three times to be late to work; then, you are fired. Even if your kids grow up to be entrepreneurs, they will still need to aware of timeliness; otherwise, they will lose customers. So go ahead and make time/space to “smell the roses” but also balance it by teaching them the very necessary skill of punctuality. Using an egg timer is helpful.
They will appreciate you for it later for the both/and more balanced approach to keep life from being totally nuts. I am constantly amazed at the interesting people my children grew up to be, especially my “Noticer” and my heart is beaming whenever one of them says, “…but you taught us that, Mom…”
Fifteen years from now, you’ll be glad you did. 🙂
Renea B. says
I have a little girl almost turning 4. Wow. I could have wrote the “Hurry Up” phrases you use for breafast, dinner, bedtime–well anytime. She used the phrase “I’m waiting on you” this weekend to her daddy. When we are getting in the car she often asks me if we are “running behind”. I never thought about it in the context of your post. It’s really given me pause and I had to read it again. I’ll be thinking about it long after I’m done reading it. Thanks for sharing a different perspective. Makes me feel a bit weepy and want to try to be better. Yeah, I think I’ll keep the email in my blog folder for a while so I can read it later on for a reminder. *wink*
Des Moines, IA
It’s wonderful to hear that a six year old “noticer” child” can reform a Type A frenzied soul personality!
It was a bright first grade student that somewhat reformed this Type A frenzied soul. She asked me one day, “Mr. H, is there something you could do to help the “yrruh” students in the classroom?” I responded, “What is a yrruh student?” “Oh, it’s one of many in my category who don’t like to hurry up and just take their time!” So from then on a special category of “yrruh” students became part of my vocabulary. It was an awesome & clear reminder that children come in all special categories through the wonderful words of a precious first grade students. Thanks for blessing us once again with another powerful message.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
I always know when I see there is a comment from you on my blog that I am about to receive a gift. You always have a beautiful word that makes me feel loved. I appreciate you, Lloyd!
I am someone who has always had a hard time getting anywhere on time. Now that I have three young kids it has definitely not gotten any easier. Add to that my middle daughter is a Noticer and I find myself saying “Hurry up, we’re gonna be late, we don’t have time for this” way too much. Sometimes I think that I’m damaging her spirit by saying this as often as I do. I will make a more concerted effort to give her that extra time she needs as much as I can. Thank you for your post, as always.
As I was reading this story, my daughter crawled up on my lap and asked what I was doing. I told her reading a story about a little girl whose mommy was always telling her to hurry up. and that she wanted to change… She said, “why, because she’s slow?” and I said “well kind of… she is a noticer.” and she thought a minute and said “like me? I’m slow sometimes.” I told her she wasnt slow, that she was noticing things, and that I was sorry for always trying to make her hurry up, of course the little sweet heart said it was ok, and she still loves me… Break my heart… I cant even count how many times a day I tell her to hurry up, or ask “WHY do you have to be SO SLOW…” How terrible of me. Your blog has made me realize how selfish I am, and how little attention and time I actually give to my children. I need to change. and I vow to start making the change now. THANK you
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. What a gift to me today to know this special conversation took place between you and your daughter like it did for me and my daughter. I am so touched.
I found your site and blog a couple of weeks ago and can’t wait for your book! I cry with almost every post, because when you describe who you used to be, I see myself in every word.
I am a single mom (by choice) who works full-time (not by choice), and while I wouldn’t change it for anything, most days, I feel like I am in a mad dash dependent on schedule that is detailed to the second. I am frequently late, and this post in particular was like an arrow in my heart.
I have no idea how to allow more time for my little “noticer”, and still get to school and work on-time, but you inspire me to keep trying to find the right solution for us!
Your writing is a touch of Grace in my life right now!
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you, Kali! I wish my book was already released because I would send it to you in a heartbeat. It has all the “hows” that helped me transform my distracted life into one of meaningful connection. It makes me so happy to know that you want to read my book and that you are here joining me on this life-changing journey. Keep taking the little baby steps each day to let go and connect to what matters. Those little changes can make a big impact!
Leigh Ann @ Intentional By Grace says
What a beautiful, wonderful reminder. I needed this today. Thanks for sharing and being vulnerable!
Lindsey Bell says
This is me…I am always in a hurry. Thank you for the conviction I needed today.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you for your support, Lindsey. I am so thankful to share this journey with you.
I really enjoyed reading this! I can relate to your daughter’s style..I used to be that way. Over time I became the usual hurry up woman of today, but I still miss that little girl and try to go back to her as much as I can..life never feels right without her…a piece of me is always missing! I am glad you see the value and gift your daughter is to this world and chose to keep the world from taking that away. You are a rare person. I love your writing. thank you for the daily inspiration!
Shannon B says
I have been reading your blog posts for the last several weeks, my first being “The Importance of Yelling.” I can wholeheartedly say that your beautifully drafted words in that post CHANGED MY LIFE as a mother, wife, friend and person.
Ever since, I have been following your posts without fail. I still have a long way to go in letting go of all of my current distractions, but your words have provided me such kind impetus and direction and they have left me with a feeling of such peace and contentment in my number one job as mum to our two kids.
When today’s installment hit my inbox, I felt like a kid on Christmas morning. I just love the way you can deliver such a simple (but important!) message with such force. Thank you, yet again, for your wise words. You are an inspiration and we are so lucky to have you available as a resource in those moments when we are feeling like we’re just not cutting it.
Looking forward to the next post.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Shannon, your words are such a gift to me! I will be revisiting your incredibly uplifting comment each time I feel hesitant about sharing my struggles. When I write, I just hope to touch one life with my story. So to know that I have impacted your life and your children’s life is truly a blessing. I am grateful you let me know.
Such a beautiful post. Totally made me tear up. A technique that I find that works for making kids hurry up, without hurrying them up is to ask them if they want to race to the car, or jump like frogs to the door, etc. Making it a fun activity can sometimes help in those moments when you do actually have to leave & you find you didn’t leave enough time.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
I love this, Anne! What a wonderful suggestion. Thanks for taking time to share.
Leslie Olsen says
Very insightful. As a preschool teacher I often find myself feeling pressured to conform to a rigid classroom schedule so we make some parents happy. I’d rather a child finish their playdough creation or snack or even just sit with a friend and giggle. This is a good reminder that life is long and we have time to do everything but won’t enjoy anything if we rush through it. Good article!
Dawn Everix says
Not only am I the ‘hurry up’ mom….my children (boys 7 &9) tell me that I make them do too much ‘fun stuff’….really??? but then I realized maybe I do….we don’t have to do something every day…even if it is ‘fun stuff’…we can sit at home and watch TV, or play with their friends outside…we don’t have to go to the park, zoo, mini golf, aquarium, baseball games…all fun things- but when you are on the go all the time…sometimes it’s ‘too much’…enjoy each other!!!!
Hi! You don’t know me, but a friend shared your blog post on Facebook and I was compelled to read it because of the post’s title. I have been trying to stop telling *myself* “hurry up,” but it IS something I have to work at constantly. Anyway, just wanted to say “Thanks for posting” because I really enjoyed the post. I don’t have any children yet, but we’re expecting our first this November…and I’m already trying to work on slowing down. 🙂
I could have written this post myself–it spoke to my heart so much! I too have a”Noticer” and she has been the tonic to my hurried soul. Like you, it took me a few years to realize it. My words were also “hurry up” along with “I don’t have time for this” and “we’re going to be late”. I started realizing how wrong I was when my daughter started asking if we were late or on time, when she started exclaiming in frustration “mommy, stop rushing me.” My daughter never hurries but she sees things that most of us miss and she’s teaching me to do the same. This month, I left my job of more than a decade to become a full-time freelancer because I no longer want the constant juggling. Our family is moving back to the Midwest both to be closer to relatives and also to establish some kind of slower life. Even through the craziness of our move, I can already feel myself changing and relaxing into life. It’s good and it’s all because of this little being who insists on being fully present. Thanks for the great posts!
Justin Knight says
Wow, Rachel, wow. This is my first time reading your blog. This post and your mission really speak to me. I was just telling my own 6 year old that he “moves like an 80 year old” because we were running “late” for a summer activity. Nothing bad was going to happen to us for being late, but I find that I am in the habit of rushing things along even when we are supposed to be having fun. I am looking forward to reading more of your posts!
Writing Pad Dad Blog
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you so much, Justin! I really appreciate the kind and supportive words. I look forward to checking out your blog. The name of it is awesome!
Anita @ Losing Austin says
I need to read this over.and over. and over. and over.
I don’t know how to slow down yet- but I’m trying.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you, Anita. I am a big believer in “trying” — I have made significant progress on my Hands Free journey simply by showing up and trying a little each day. So glad you are accompanying me on this journey.
I had a similar wake-up call when I heard myself in the way my older daughter spoke to my younger one and I didn’t like what I heard.
I remember always being stressed about getting to preschool (!) on time and yelling at my daughter to hurry up. Then a teacher told me not to stress about being a few minutes late and I felt like I had been given permission to slow down and relax.
I think the more often we slow down and go at our child’s pace, the more likely they are to “hurry up” when it really matters.
Great post, Rachel! xoxo
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you, Pam. And thanks to that special preschool teacher for allowing you to take the pressure off yourself and your child. What a gift.
This blog is such a blessing!
Very moved by this article and the comments that follow. My 7-year-old grandchild is a Noticer. As her caregiver, my “hurry ups” are said too often and unnecessarily. But, even if I give her more time, we can still be “late” to church, school and other events. Letting her “Notice” and my paying attention to her wonderful findings is important. Being on time is important, too. If I am honest, do find it hard to balance the two sometimes. I’ll keep trying!
Cassandra Russom says
I don’t have any children, but as a Type A person myself I would say that the gifts that have taught me to slow down are my chronic illnesses and my husband. He is self-describedly “lazy”, but a very responsible guy. He does what needs doing, and does it well, and the rest of the time is spent enjoying himself. He does not feel the same urge to fill all of his moments with activities and achievements, and living with him has opened my eyes to the sweetness of a life lived less hectically.
My chronic illnesses have literally forced me to choose only one or two things a day that I’d like to accomplish, making me prioritize and really think about what is truly important. Turns out… a lot of what I thought I HAD to do every day (for my own self-worth, mind you) is really not as necessary as I thought. Did you know that the world doesn’t stop turning if the bed isn’t made? True story.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
This is incredibly insightful, Cassandra. I love what you shared about how you prioritized to doing one or two things a day which then forced you to think about what was truly important. And thanks for the laugh about the bed being made. I think you know me too well! I love your perspective. Thank you for taking time to share and inspire.
Rachel Lohmann says
Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful post! I have tears streaming down my face. I have been living a distracted, frantic existence and have just recently reached breaking point. I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old and have been running my own small business. I am so stressed and sick of never reaching the end of my to do list! I never ever do anything just for me, I used to read, exercise and have ‘me’ time. Now every waking moment is looking after my kids, maintaining the household or spent on my business. This post has reaffirmed my need to change and slow down.
‘…anything that cannot be checked off the list is a waste of time.’
It’s like you’re reading my mind! I too have decided to slow down and take more time to enjoy life, enjoy my kids and take time for me.
I can’t thank you enough!
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you for your honesty, Rachel. It’s nice to know we are not alone. There is hope, my friend. Thank you for being here and come back anytime you need encouragement!
This reminds me soooo much of a little girl I knew through church. She was a “noticer” also, always finding the neatest things in every thing she did. Sadly, she passed away of a brain tumor at age 10. That taught me a valuable lesson, that we should ALWAYS take time to stop and smell the roses. We still miss you Katheryn!
Rachel Macy Stafford says
How touching and beautiful, Lisa. You have captured what really matters and reminded me what is truly important in life.
Ellen Cassidy says
I absolutely love the pictures you post of your beautiful, sweet daughters. I literally pray for the chance to have granddaughters one day and if I am so blessed…will relish every moment of spending time with them! Spoken from the lips of a “noticer” ! 🙂
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you, Ellen! You have put the biggest smile on my face! 🙂
amy @ one artsy mama says
Thank you so much…I needed this big time. My son is a “noticer” too and I’m constantly trying to get him to move faster. Thanks for the paradigm shift. You’re so right.
Leslie c says
Great insight snd a reminder I needed
You have brought me to tears. I am not a type A person but a person that by my own fault am constantly late to appointments and don’t let my daughter take the extra minute to walk the balance beam on our way in which probably wouldn’t make us any later than we already are. Thank you for this, tomorrow will be a better day for us because I read this tonight. I will allow her to sleep as long as she wants, take her for ice cream and slowly let her eat it, I will let her walk the balance beam. We will do everything at her pace.
Kristen Brecht says
What a Beautiful post. ❤ Made me stop and think how I act in life and what I say to my 2 year old. Thank you and look forward to more.. Oh and this made
Me cry as well.. ❤❤
Pavel Bentham - Desirable Life says
Wow. Just wow. I admire you for learning from your children rather than taking the cocksure, authoritarian route. It’s easy to think little people are reflections only of their surroundings; things to be taught but not to teach. This article proves that that ought not be so. Children are inspiring.
Rachel, I am so so grateful for this post. My two children are 8 and 4, and it seems you wrote this just for us. I am a SAHM and the words “Hurry up” come out of my mouth so often — usually because I visualize that being late has a domino effect that I have deemed terrible: ” if we’re late for my son’s drop-off, we’ll have to park the car and walk in, which will take an extra 15 minutes, which will make us 15 minutes late to my daughter’s camp, which will mean tougher parking in that small lot, which will mean I will have at least 30 minutes less time to myself while they are at camp, and I’m so stressed and exhausted as it is…”
But suddenly you’ve allowed me to see how I am consistently contributing to my very own stress by living it every moment in the land of “Hurry Up.” And the deep sadness and regret of realizing how many moments I’m missing with my children because of all of it…
This afternoon as my daughter and I put socks and shoes on to go get her brother, I said to her, “Sweetie, I am going to promise you that I’m going to practice not saying ‘Hurry up’ so much anymore. I’m going to work on being more patient.” She was quiet. Then my darling 4-year-old stood up and said, “Thank you.”
Thank you, Rachel.
Thank you Rachel for all of your inspiring blog entries, they are eye opening and very heartfelt! I tried to read them each night while I am in bed, and it gives me so much perspective to think about falling to sleep:) I have 4 young beautiful children that are the essence of goodness, sweetness and love 🙂 this article like all of your others remind me what is MOST important , and that is spending quality time with the people we love most in our world! Everything is so rushed constantly and I have said “we are going to be late” so often that my little ones will ask if we are going to be late for wherever we are going if I don’t say it first, it’s awful! Thank you for your beautifully written words , it really has made an incredible difference in my day to day life. 🙂
I have a beautiful 3 year old who, much like your daughter, doesn’t concern herself with rushing to anyone else’s agenda. She would rather take the time to look at whatever has caught her eye and do what she fancies. Unfortunately, I rarely relax and let her enjoy instead of rushing her. Thank you for this encouragement. I too want to commit to letting my child enjoy life and stop being the hurry-up mum.
This is me – Type A, with a 5-year-old Noticer (her older sister is a bit faster, but not much!). Thanks for the reminder, and the encouragement to try to stop rushing my precious girls. We’ll have to work hard at it, but I think it’s important. Now I need to find your “yelling” blog entry that other commentors mentioned – I think I need that one too!
I stumbled across this blog and am so glad I did. I am not yet married, and I don’t have children, but I definitely consider being a good mother (and wife) to be a life goal. One of the things I wonder about when I picture my future life in these roles is whether or not I’ll have the patience for children. I am a teacher, and I love it, and I adore my nieces and nephews, but I wonder if it will be different, and harder, to be patient with my own children. Thanks for showing me it is possible to slow down and enjoy life from a child’s perspective, even if smelling the roses isn’t typically in your nature. : )
Also, side note – you said your daughter plays the ukulele? She didn’t happen to open for Lindsey Stirling last September, did she? Because there was an adorable and very talented little uke player there. : )
I think I was your daughter when I was young. I am the youngest of thirteen children so there are not a lot of family stories about any of us, but there is definitely one of me that jumped into my mind tonight as I read your post. I’ve never read anything else you have written – a friend posted a link on fb so I clicked. I had time. LOL. Anyway, my story is that one morning when I was about five, we were supposed to be getting ready to go to school. My mother was a teacher in my school (rural Ontario), and my father, a farmer, would drive us all into town and school so my mother wouldn’t have to take the school bus. Some of us were lucky enough to catch a ride in the car, and since I was the youngest, that was me. Anyway, the calls for kids to pile into the car came, and I did not come. My mother remembered me (unlike the Home Alone kid) and came looking for me. Legend has it that I was sitting on the floor in front of our Christmas tree, still in my pajamas, singing O Christmas Tree, oblivious to what was going on around me. As I reflect on this moment in my life, I realize that it truly is a special gift to be able to enjoy the little things. The world didn’t end because we may have been a few minutes late for school that day. And I have a wonderful story to tell.
My heart hurts for all those mothers who race from hockey to softball to dance class to whatever it is they are racing to in order to make their kids lives ‘full’. They need to stop and enjoy their own Christmas trees.
A beautiful post and a much needed reminder for me to slowdown with the children and enjoy life! Thank you so much.
Thank you for taking the time to share this with us. When I do events for work, I’m at the zoo, all over really and when parents are rushing their children I’m thinking, “Why do they have to rush through this craft project, or through the straw to find a piece of candy? What are you here for? Obviously its not to enjoy the zoo with their child, because they are missing their child’s joy!” With that being said, I need to work on this as well. 🙂
This was an awesome read. My friend forwarded this to me because I once posted on fb, “I’m so impatient, my child probably thinks his middle name is Hurry Up”. —I can so relate and there are many lessons here I will cherish. Thank you!
I am in tears reading this. This is me and I have said a hundred time that I will stop saying Hurry Up. Today is the day. Life is too short and my babies ae still little. We will take a little time to smell the roses and enjoy all of the special moments that God gives us. Thank you for writing this.
Kate b says
I love this!! My older daughter is the same, and I’ve really had to slow it down, for her sake,
Kids don’t have the same sense of time as we,
Adults do 🙂
Bobbie Brown says
I actually have tears right now! Being a Momma to 3 little girls I feel that we are often running around and not getting much done… thank you for this!
Jennifer Hollis says
Wonderful post! There is a beautiful poem by Marie Howe called “Hurry” that captures this beautifully. You can find it on the poetry foundation website: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/237292
On our first date, my now-husband heard me rushing through a story and said, “You can slow down. I want to hear about this.” It was a great omen- it feels so good to be given the time we need to be ourselves!
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Beautiful, Jennifer! Thank you for sharing!!!
Carol F in New Mexico says
Thank you once again for a very timely post. It always seems like you are speaking directly to my heart. I’ve made a concerted effort to slow down in our life. My son is 7 and we homeschool. We are taking a much slower pace with school this coming year, we are cutting back on activities, and I am trying to set an example of living a life full of watching, studying, and noticing for him. Now if we could just get Daddy to slow down… Thanks again.
Tiffany J. says
I’m the mother of a 9-week old daughter. My first. And I just turned 40 last month. And I just unplugged from corporate America. I’m grateful for your post because it reminds me of what my own tendencies could be toward my baby girl. Thanks for your transparency. May your brokenness bless multitudes.
This is my first visit to your site, and wow, what an experience. Tears have welled up in my eyes and I have that feeling in my chest when I feel emotional.
Well done Mama. That little girl of yours has a fine soul indeed.
Donna J. Shepherd says
You made me cry today – and that does not happen often when I’m reading blogs. In fact, most of the time I hurry, hurry through the posts, but this one had me slowing down and savoring the moments with you and your precious child. What a sweet, sweet post. Thank you for sharing your life lesson.
I had my tears in my eyes after reading your beautiful blog Rachel. I sent it to my husband and he agrees. Today we are making a change! Thank you!
Food for thought for the type A mom in me as well.
Thank you for writing it.
Mrs. Gore says
This was truly beautiful. Thank you SO much for penning these thoughts and sharing your daughter’s beautiful heart with us.
I’m going to come back and read the other posts you linked to later today – I’m very interested to read more!
Maggie Holbik says
Wonderful reminder. My daughter is 7 and has the very same frog as in the picture….. your post really captured my heart and I am going to share this with my community at http://www.facebook.com/momsforkids Thank you!
Danelle Brown says
This is fabulous. This is me. And you said it so well. May I feature you as a guest post on my blog?
Carrie Monroe O'Keefe says
This article is beautiful. I have a 2 year old son who is also a “noticer”. He’s very laid back and takes everything in and at his own pace. Yesterday we went to the mall during the slow time and since there was hardly anyone there, I let him walk without holding my hand. He amazed me. He noticed everything, had to look in every window, had to talk to everyone he saw. We took our sweet time walking from one end to the other and I just watched him interact with everything around him. Sometimes it just hits me how amazing he really is, and this article made me realize how often I take him for granted. Thank you!!!
This post spoke to my soul. Tears were streaming down my cheeks as I read. Thank you so much for making me realize that I am probably doing more harm than good when I tell my children to ‘hurry up’ (something I shamefully do way too often). I am most definitely a distracted person and have always had a hard time stopping to ‘smell the roses’. Your post has clarified for me that I not only have to stop for my own sake, but for the betterment of my children too. Thank you!!
Thank you so much for sharing this. I SOOOO needed this today as I also have a slower moving younger child and most of the time forget to stop and slow down with her. Just this morning I told her to get dressed and be downstairs in 10 minutes. She came down at the right time but was hysterically crying. I didn’t give her enough time to get all the “stuff” she needed (like bracelets…).
I am going to apologize to her again as soon as she gets home from camp, and we are going to SLOW DOWN together.
Tears in my eyes! I recently came to this realization myself. I returned to the work force, when my then-youngest child started kindergarten. Eight years and two more children later, I realized that I was not living, only surviving. I completely missed eight years of my childrens’ lives, and suddenly they are high-schoolers, with one getting ready for his senior year. So I QUIT that job. I plan to spend time now enjoying my children and their lives. And not saying “hurry up”!
I really needed to read this. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
This post really resonates with me.
I too have a slower moving toddler, who likes to move at his own pace.
I try to stop and just observe, but it is so hard to internalize. Like when we are on a walk together, I find myself hurrying him along. But then I stop and think “where am I rushing”? We have a lot to learn from these little ones who are really able to live in the moment.
I’ve read many blogs over the last years, however this is the first time I have ever been moved enough to comment. Your post is so “close to home” for me and so eloquently written. Thank you so much for putting into words what has been so hard for me to articulate – my anxiety and drive has caused me to literally rush through life to the point that I’m missing all of the greatest parts. I’m looking forward to spending more time being a “Noticer” with my little ones…
Rachel Macy Stafford says
I am so honored that you felt compelled to leave a comment here. You have truly touched my heart with your honest and beautiful words.
I just came across your blog today and I love this post. It’s always nice to have a little reminder to slow down and smell a few roses. Thanks!
I, too, have a noticer, and am also type A. Being patient is so hard at times, but my little guy is such a gift. I am such a better person for having him in my life even if he gives me fits at times. Good to know it isn’t just me!
Heather B says
I love you so much. Seriously.
I love this and I needed to hear it! My oldest is a “stop and the smell the roses” kind of personality and I am definitely a “Type A hurry up”. Thank you so much for sharing!
I’m not parent, and I don’t plan on having a child any time soon, but this article really touched my heart. As a commenter posted above me, you did a superb job at making me feel like I was in your shoes. We constantly hear about how we need to slow down and enjoy the world around us, but this was a powerful reminder about why it’s so important.
I was that child like your daughter. In fact, I’ve been hearing the words, “Hurry up!” all my life. You mentioned earlier that you might be late for just a few years… judging by my case, as long as you go anywhere with her, you’ll probably late your whole life. 😉
Anyway, it was really nice to hear that how I am isn’t always a negative thing. Thank you for sharing such a touching post. I’ve never been here before, but I’ll keep this around for when I become a mother someday.
BiteSized Belle says
I’m not yet a mother so I can’t relate on that level to your post. However, it was very eye-opening, for me, as to how I’ve been treating my fiance the last few years. I can’t count how many times a day I ask him to “hurry up.” He is definitely a gift in my life in many ways and I’m thankful you guided me toward understand his potential to offer me even more through his slower process and pace. Thank you for sharing. Love your blog, pinned it, and hope to read more soon!
Cheryl Greene says
Rachel, Your post are beautiful and your perspective on life is an inspiration. We’re thrilled that you shared those with DrGreene.com readers last week, and yes, you overwhelmed our servers! Another testimony to how much your readers love you.
Love, love, love this!!!
Thanks for the reminder.
Rachel, I feel you wrote this just for me. I have a 4 year old and a 1 year old and I feel that I’m always saying ‘hurry up’ to my older daughter. Breakfast, getting dressed, going to the toilet, getting ready for bed…everything. I’m not even really sure why because I am a stay at home mum and we have a pretty relaxed lifestyle in the country. I have never thought about the stress it could be placing on my daughter. I cried while reading your story & I’m going to print it out as a constant reminder to LIVE LIFE not rush through it.
Amber (Wilmington, South Australia)
Cheryl Greene says
Amber — you are lucky to see this now. You still have a lot of time with your little ones and the the good news is we can each start today just slowing down and appreciating the moment of our kids’ lives.
I just found your blog today. So refreshing and real and really what I needed to hear. I feel like every night I go to bed making a pact with myself to slow down but by next morning I find myself on the wheel again.
Beautiful message, beautiful parenting. This is the kind of parent I want to be. So well put.
Sabina Mazac says
Thank you thank you thank you for this. My life radically changed for the better after reading your “How to miss a childhood” post last year. I’m not on my computer or phone like I used to be (at home or in the car). I enjoy my kids so much more… notice so much more. It’s been amazing and so rewarding.
but I’ve recently noticed how much I say hurry up, and we are just home all day. So this is a very timely post for me. Ironically, I didn’t know what to do about it. The thought of just stop saying “hurry up” seemed too hard. how do you take a phrase out of your vocabulary? but you did it. you really did it. so maybe i can too… thanks.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you for sharing this journey with me, Sabrina. It means so much to me to know you joined me last May and that my messages have impacted your choices with distraction.
It is interesting because instead of saying, “Hurry up.” I said in my mind as I watched her, “I love her.” This enabled me to see her through accepting eyes and see what she adds to my life. Now, here I am 3 years later finding myself thinking, “I love her” when I look at my child even when I am not rushing. My eyes just really became open when I started seeing life through her eyes.
Love this! My daughter and I are both laid back, late to everything and “stop to smell the roses” kinda girls. My husband will def be reading this! We drive him nuts!! 🙂
Jaclyn – I’m the same way! There’s so much love and joy in the world to notice, isn’t there?
Your words touched me so deeply. I wish I had read them 30 years ago. I was a stay at home Mom until my youngest started first grade. I then started running a large store for our family business. I was running, running. I was trying to learn a new profession, was very busy with volunteer leadership and my children had a babysitter. Ours lives changed dramatically. I began to develop a stress disorder. Still I ignored what I was being told. After about 16 years of this I was run over by a taxi and had to quite work. If we do not listen to our intuition or our higher power, he will get his message across. As a workaholic stopped dead in my tracks, I had a nervous breakdown. Although I have healed and learned how to slow down, my kids bear those scars. I hope many moms hear your sweet and oh so important lesson. May their children be spared the hurt my children went through. Thank you for you insightful words. may they be spread far and wide.
i hope your kids know this/got to read this. you sound like a great mom.
Thank you for this. I am not a mother, but I am still a slow-moving Noticer (I love this way of putting it!), even as a grown up. To someone like me, the words “you don’t have to rush, just take your time” are the most touching, generous thing anyone (and particularly someone who usually wants me to hurry!) could say. By allowing your daughter to be herself and, very importantly, not feel guilty about wanting to be herself, you have made her world a kinder, happier place. So thank you, from all of us Noticers.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Katy, you have brought me such beautiful affirmation for the choices I am making. I will treasure your words and think of them each time I allow my daughter to be who she is. I am so grateful for you.
What a great article & wonderful reminder to take time out for those you love the most, doing the things they love the most! A lot of times all your children/grandchildren/nieces/nephews want from you is your TIME!
Kathy Larson says
Beautiful admission. It reminds me of my friend Emily’s book – http://www.amazon.com/books/dp/1590787056
You should consider getting it for your daughter.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you, Kathy. I ordered it! I cannot wait to read it to my Noticer of Life.
Last night, I laid in bed and just started crying because I was so disappointed with the way I rushed through my day yesterday. I had to take my children to work with me and for me I get such tunnel vision when I have work to be done and children to attend to. Almost always work takes the front seat and my wonderful kids who love to talk and play get “shh be quiet” “stop that” and so on. In one more month my daughter will start kindergarten and be away from me for eight hours a day and my son will start four half days of preschool a week. I have ONE MORE MONTH where we are all three home together and I feel like I am wasting it away. I know I need to change. I need to stop being so stressed and always having another thing to cross off my list. Your website is an answer to prayer! Thank you for taking the time to not only change for the betterment of your children but to share it with women all over the world so we too can experience the joy of being hands free.
Brian Sorrell says
New reader, and what an introduction! This is a beautiful post, in its language and construction, and more than anything, its message. I can’t express how much I have learned about myself from my son, and I too have made the effort to slow down, to let him explore as I always wanted to, to let him make dreadful mistakes, tell stupid jokes, dawdle at the hole in the light post on the way back from the park because it’s a telescope from a pirate ship and he can see the ocean through it when he looks at just the right angle. It’s a good life, like this.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you, Brian. What a beautiful comment–love the bit about the light post being a telescope. Just that sentence alone gave me a feeling of hope. Glad to know you are out there in the world.
wow, that is so cool brian!~ what a good dad you are!
This comes on a day that I have been feeling especially emotional. Long the the “super mum” that can do everything, I have recently been trying to slow down, I come from a country where the education system is so stressful that my 2 young kids have such harried busy lives. Before me and the kids reach breaking point, I need to change the way we live our lives. Your posts always give me hope that I have the potential to be a better parent. Thank you.
Rabia @ TheLiebers says
I have a couple of “noticers” myself. I also deal with time constraints that I can’t change: school buses, a job, etc. I do, however, try to be mindful of saying “hurry up” and try to give them times at which they can dawdle and look at all the bugs they want to. It’s a tough balancing act. Thank you for bringing it up today.
It has been my experience as a parent that kids are often times our best teachers. They teach us patience, humility, joy, unconditional love, pain and the list goes on and on. My son goes to daycare and I cannot tell you how many times I see other parents rushing their kids along and missing out on all of those special moments that will soon be long gone. Great post!
This blog post moved me completely to tears. What a beautiful gift you have. Thank you. I have been truly inspired to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n (which sometimes can be tough with two energetic little boys and a third boy on the way), and to just be. I’ve also been inspired to get back into writing (which is a passion of mine, yet I am always somehow “too busy” to make time). At a point in my life when I am trying to prioritize the things that mean the most and find true balance, this blog post couldn’t have been more timely. A true reminder that God has me right where He wants me and He’s doing big things. And doing big things through you, too, dear fellow mother. Bless you!
Jennifer Thomas says
Very beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heart and for being real. I needed this reminder today!
Crying. Thank you so much. Beautiful.
Mom of 4 year old boy and twin 9 month daughters
Sarah Cartwright says
I just ran across your blog post on facebook and I could not be more grateful that I took the time and read it. You truly have a gift of bringing people back to what really matters. WOW! This was a gift to read today. I have 4 daughters and an in home business that is all about improving quality of life and yet whose lives am I improving when I do not stop and smell the roses with my children. Thank you for your beautiful words, my daughters and I will be forever changed 🙂
This is one of the most beautiful posts I’ve ever read. What a valuable lesson you have learned from your child. Brilliant!
What a beautiful post. Your daughter came to you to teach you these lessons about slowing down to enjoy life. My situation is different but I am struggling with the same thing. I try to do what serves me best in each moment but I often still deal with the stress of trying to get everything done that I put off while I was enjoying myself!
Nico Mendiola says
I read a lot of blogs but I actually never take time to comment or interact since most of the time…I feel that “I don’t have time”. Your blog post truly made my day and I promise to change my outlook for my carefree 7 year old daughter who is absolutely “a noticer” also. I’m so lost for words right now but I just really wanted to say THANK YOU!!!
that is the nicest blog post ever !!! and i can so relate ! every second word that i say to my daughter is hurry up. in the morning, when we have an appointment…. almost always.
thanks for sharing that !! i will definitely Keep it in mind next time 🙂
greetings from vienna
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you, Alexa! How lovely to receive a comment on my blog from a beautiful fashion designer in Vienna! I am thrilled by the global reach of this message! Thanks for taking a moment to share.
I am 16 months into my mothering path and take stories like this to heart. Thank you so much for sharing with the world.
Ahhhh … lovely, lovely thoughts and words. Noticing the dimples on her hands – what a treasure and treat, isn’t it? I have a grown daughter and two granddaughters – and *I’m* the Noticer in the family, the one who happily arrives when I arrive (what is “late” anyway when time doesn’t really exist? Are birds late?), the one who slows down to walk along curbs balancing myself, the one who stops and talks to everyone, noticing some nice about them and connecting to their souls. When my daughter was a baby, we’d go on walks with her in her stroller and I made sure to stop often to show her different flowers, a cloud formation, a line of ants. My granddaughters call me the “lady who talks to everyone.” I teach my granddaughters (now teens) the names of flowers and take them to art fairs where we meander and enjoy all the lovely bits. I notice how their laughter sounds like bells tinkling; how they sparkle and live life with such joy. My family and friends know that “late” isn’t in my being; they never need to wait for me and everyone is just fine with that. I’ll catch up if they’ve moved on and we’ll all have a wonderful time when we connect. (I’ve never been able to wear a watch, either, my entire life. They stop. I don’t worry about it.)
It was so nice to see a couple of others here who are Noticers like me, too. You don’t have to be little to be a Noticer. <3 (I still consider myself a Type A because I strive for the highest quality in all that I do, which includes deadheading geraniums in the morning as well as completing projects at work.) Namaste. Be well.
Rhoda Skerrye says
Thank you so much! Talk about putting life in. Perspective ! I was actually thinking of my 93-year-old mother. I try so hard not to be impatient when she moves slowly, but I sure do think it! I’m not going to anymore — going to enjoy the time I have with her. Thanx again.
I love this…. Thank you!
I just hugged my 9 year old. It’s never too late…..until it is.
As a mom of 4, I often find myself saying “hurry up”. Your blog post touched my heart (and made me cry!) & I’m making a commitment today to slow down & notice all the little things. Thank you.
This blog was like a smack to the solar plexus for me! I am constantly worrying about being late for everything (because I have always BEEN late for everything). Now, however, I find myself rushing my children out the door, “C’mon guys… hurry up; we’re going to be late!”
I realized this was a problem several months ago when my daughter asked, “Mommy… are we going to be late again?” Ouch. As it happens… no… we were on-time, and there was no rushing anything that day.
Shortly afterward, I took a job which allowed me to work from home. Things have been a much slower pace since then.
Now, however, I am about to return to the workforce outside of my home. Thank you for this poignant reminder! I love my little monsters, and wouldn’t want to miss a second!
Thank you for so timely touching me. All three of you. Thank you for your photos, they speak. Trust your heart, you, too. It’s not about the balance.
I almost cried. I’m so much like you. I’m pregnant with my first (a little girl), and I hope I can remember this as she grows. I’m scared to death that I’ll be a terrible mom; I’m pretty impatient. I’m also bummed that I have to continue my 9 to 5 career. I’ve wanted to find an at-home job, but I don’t know how to find reputable ones! This is a great post. Thank you for the reminder.
Wow! Was this read directly from my mind?
If not, this is what I completely agree with!
Love this so much. I’m trying to not regret the last 18 years. I’m glad that you had your aha moment while your daughter is still young.
Beautiful story!!! You are amazing mom!!!
Andrea Griffin says
This made me cry. I needed it. I think I’ll give my kids the time they need to live, and I know it will make me a better mom.
Hi Rachel! This is so me. I was crying the whole time I was reading this entry. I feel so awful that I always rush my daughter.. In the morning to get ready for school.. In the evening to get ready for bed…it never stops. I have to stop. I appreciate everything you said here.
Thank you for this.
Life looks so different when we slow down and just be in the moment!
Thank you for posting this, it brought me to tears! My first son will be two this year, and I find myself being rushed all the time. It seems like it’s the norm these days. I’m going to make a better effort to stop and smell the roses a little more often 🙂
This literally made me cry! I say the same thing 200 times/day to my 4 & 3 year old. I’m a SAHM, but also go to school full time so it always feels like that’s all I’m constantly saying. “Hurry up, I have homework to do!” or “Hurry up, we’re going to be late!” Reading this made me feel so ashamed because I know every word of it is true. I wanted you to know that I’m going to talk to my kids tomorrow so that they know I am working on this. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it’s worth working on!
Thank you for the post!
Mia C. Crespo says
I am discovering your blog with this post! Chance couldn’t have done better. While I am not a type A person and I am sadly used to be late, Ibelieved yourarticle to be inspiring.My messy life sometimes causes me to run in a frenzy like a headless chicken.As a result, I often forget to pay attention to my children’s magic. Thanks for reminding me to do so.
This was beautiful. And very true !! Thank IOU hit sharing.
Thank you. That is my daughter, curly hair and all, and I am hastily, stressfully, rushing right past her in hopes of making her more like me when… how Beautiful it would be if I could be more like her.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
I love your perspective and your powerful words. Thank you. This inspires me.
thank you for this. life changing!
Mom of Four says
Beautiful. Powerful words.
I REALLY needed this right now Rachel! Thank you! My daughter is also a Noticer and she wants to stop and check out every little bug or flower along the way. I’ve got my list every single day of things that I NEED to get accomplished. I imagine the world won’t come an end if I don’t cross off every item on my list, but I bet she’d love to see a few more bugs along the way. Thanks for sharing your perspective.
I totally had an ah-ha moment about this recently. I am constantly late in the mornings and as a result, constantly rushing my four-year-old to hurry to dress, eat and get out the door to school. The other day we were driving and he asked me “mom what time is it?” I answered him and he knew that answer was a time that was very close to when I am supposed to be at work. He said, “Mom, I messed up. I should have gotten dressed faster.” We were sitting a red light so I adjusted the mirror to look at him while I said, “Krystopher, it is never your fault that we’re running late. I should have gotten us started getting ready earlier. You didn’t do anything wrong.” He smiled at me and said, “its okay Mommy. You didn’t mean to make us late.” He is such a sweet spirit and since that day, I have made an effort not to be late and have enjoyed having more time with him in the mornings.
What a beautiful post!! I am so guilty of the “hurry up” phrase. I’m sure that I’ve missed out on many things that my boys would have liked to share with me. Starting right now, I’m going to try to slow down and enjoy all the little things.
A friend of mine shared your post on her FB page. I have one of these beautiful ones too. He is 6 🙂 Thank you for putting this out there. It was definitely an eye opener and something I need to work on to better myself and my family as a whole.
Thank you for this post! Life has been speedily passing us by, and I really needed this today. Thank you
Mama Bear says
This article could not have been more spot on for me too! I am always in a rush. I have noticed that if I sit down in the morning enjoying coffee while the kids are still asleep, I write out my day..prioritize the list with numbers and I don’t over do it. I find I not only get to accomplish my to do list for that day…I can take my time and somehow, some way…it STILL gets done…even the #3 priorities on the list 🙂 And alas…all are relaxed and having fun in the house! Woot!
rebecca at thisfineday says
Thank you so much for your post. I’m so you at the beginning of this article. I’m a supreme rusher!! I vow to be more mindful now 🙂 I’m sharing on my blog’s FB page!!
Great article! An eye opener for many of us who think that we can get all things done, which is impossible in this space-time reality where everything is in process.
Beth Redman says
WOW this brought tears of joy and sadness to me, Joy that now that I have 5 grand kids that I know to stop and smell the roses because after having my three children and everything was always so rushed my son with cancer twice, my daughter in beauty pageants, and my other daughter also in soft ball and twirling, volleyball,marching band, and more it was always rush here and rush there. So yes please everyone with small children PLEASE STOP and share with them ALL you can !!! LIFE IS TO SHORT.
Your story touched a cord in me but for me it is not a child I have tried to hurry but my husband. You see my husband has been living with Alzheimer Disease for 4 yrs now. As the disease progresses he slows and I find I am always in a hurry to get going. Reflecting on your story makes realize that as I watch him “hurry’ to put on his shoes, he may not be able to do that much longer, “hurry’ to button his shirt, he may not be able to do that much longer, “hurry” to shave, “hurry” to comb his hair, Hurry Hurry Hurry. what I realize now is that each task he completes is a success for him that may never happen again. I need to let go of the “hurry” and marvel at his strength of character to not give up, to not give in to this disease without a fight and to remain independent as possible. thank you for pointing out that life is not how fast we get there but how we enjoy the journey.
Kristin Shaw says
Oh, Rachel, I see myself in you so much. I fight with myself to slow down, and I don’t love this about myself either. I’m also Type A+! My sister, a mother of 3 girls, and I were just talking about this yesterday. Well done, my sweet friend. xo
I don’t know how you keep doing it, but this post also hit home with me. I too have a “noticer.” I try to slow down to let her enjoy life, but I’ve never thought about how this aspect of who she is has blessed me because it makes me slow down. Thank you!
Jennifer Sparks says
Your blog is great! Thanks for such awesome reminders that enrich our lives and relationships. One comment you made, “We’re going to miss everything if you don’t hurry up.” Made me think, “Wait a minute … if you don’t slow down, you miss the things that matter!” I have also been schooled by the wisdom of my children’s ways. I am thankful everyday for that!
Jennifer Sparks, Life Coach & Author of forthcoming book”WTF to OMG: The Frazzled Female’s Guide to Creating a Life You Love” Watch for it on Amazon Fall 2013!!
Thank you! I needed that reminder today.
I am a kindergarten teacher, and I can’t tell you how often when a child is late for school, the parents blame the child. “She took too long getting dressed. She couldn’t find her sharing. He wouldn’t eat breakfast.” etc. Parents are sometimes a little put out when I suggest that perhaps they need to allocate more time for getting ready for school in the morning; that their child may have their own agenda about what needs to be done before leaving and it might include things like picking out their own outfit, or choosing just the right item for sharing, or making their own toast. Setting up our own tight timelines and imposing them on children can add an element of stress to starting the day. Giving yourself a little extra time in the schedule to account for those distractions can make everyone much happier and relaxed and also sends a message to the child that their ideas and interests are important.
Cheryl Greene says
I completely agree, but it’s so hard to do. Life seems to happen in the morning and it usually happens to me, not my child.
Here’s how it goes —
It’s Sunday night, the kids are in bed, but there are still 17 things that I needed to get done over the weekend that are not yet done. I stay up just one hour later than I should and get the most important ones done.
Monday morning comes and the snooze button calls my name. I know I should be able to get ready in an hour. Of course the toast burns, the printer refuses to print the homework that should have been printed over the weekend, and the dog barfs on the carpet just as we’re walking out the door …
And there never seems to be time to catch up.
As a parent, I want to do my best, but there never seems to be enough time.
I think the key is to let go of some of the things that feel like they are important to make time to not rush through life. But it’s not easy.
Thank you for writing this. I am 31 and only recently have I realised that I actually could be a noticer myself. I like to take time doing things and exploring things. I can’t be rushed because when I do, I simply can’t perform. Yet, the society we live in now requires speed and I feel lost at times.
I am glad you do not rush your daughter anymore. (:
Rain San Martin says
This is touching and heartbreaking:
[I will not say, “We don’t have time for this.” Because that is basically saying, “We don’t have time to live.”]
Simple mum says
Hi, I just have to let you know I really thoroughly enjoy this post! I am 1000% guilty of saying “hurry up” and I really hated it beyond words. Thanks for reminding me that nothing is more important than observing my own children, letting them enjoy simple joys in life. Reading your post let me reflect on my impatient ways. I hope I can change for the better like you do. Thank you again for inspiring me!
As a Grandfather with my 4 year old “Angelbaby”, I learn something from her everytime I’m with her and am amazed by all the the things she “notices”! As the expression goes: Mi tiempo es su tiempo!
Simple mum says
btw, I have shared this in reddit and facebook too! Too good to miss sharing!
Andrea B (@goodgirlgonered) says
I *might* be trying not to cry here.
I so know and I so feel you. It’s so danged hard. Good for you for doing it. I hope I, too, get there someday. Before it’s too late.
Barb Bohan says
I’m not a parent but I loved this post. It is wonderful that you were able to change and take time to enjoy life!
Anita Lim says
Thank you for such a fantastic post.
I don’t have children, but have been taking the time recently to slow down 🙂
rebekah kanefsky says
So glad to hear your thoughts on this. Our world is spinning out of control with noise, movement, distractions…I also had a moment like yours. I’m a mom of three children ages 7 and under, working full-time and overcommitted to additional obligations in my life. One morning, just as the weather was becoming warm for the summer, I was rushing to get one kid on the bus, get my twins ready for daycare and get myself ready for work. My sweet twins, just turned age 4, plopped down on the kitchen floor with the blender I had pulled out of the cabinet in preparation for summer smoothies (note: I had yet to actually make them since I was “too busy” each morning) and playfully demanded that we use the blender. I resolutely refused, rattling off every reason in the book, at which point two sad, dejected and rejected faces stared at me with every ounce of disappointment they could muster. Something rose up in me that morning – obviously the same feeling that inspired your AHA moment. Rachel, I plopped down on the kitchen floor with them and we spent the next joyful half hour mixing and blending and sampling and stirring and laughing, loving, connecting, cherishing special moments that are ever-s0-fleeting and more precious than the rarest diamond. I will never, ever forget that morning and I doubt they will either. It was the morning that I put them first. Sweeter than the incredible smoothie we made that day was the moment we shared and the memories we created. THANK YOU for allowing me to relive such a wonderful memory as I read your blog. I truly appreciate it!
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Your beautiful story brings me to tears. Thank you for sharing. I loved how you said, “plopped down.” Whenever I “plop down” at my children’s level and engage in what they are doing, there is always, always a gift waiting for me. I am grateful for the reminder.
Kathleen Jeffery says
What a wonderful story. I’m just learning to slow down and enjoy life. My boyfriend and I go down to the river every morning and fish. The peace and tranquility of watching the sun come up over the trees while just casting and reeling in my line are something I look forward to each day. It’s helped me realize that I was rushing through life and I need to slow down and smell the roses so to speak.
This is a fantastic post. I need this reminder big time. I am always rushing the kids and we have a full schedule. I need to make it ‘less’ full.
I cried my eyes out reading this thanks so much
Stephanie Dreyer says
Thank you for sharing this post! I can completely relate and went through a similar epiphany lately. My kids pick up on my anxiety and stress so easily. I always marvel at how much my mood influences theirs and am consciously trying to be mindful of that as we go about our day. This post helped me feel less “shame” in the error of my ways, knowing that someone else has also been there. Thank you!
Leo Glickman says
Congratulations, you’re now a normal person and a decent parent.
Michael Lynch says
Beautiful. Just beautiful.
I appreciated your thoughts. They remind me of the ideals espoused by the folks at http://www.seeingtheeveryday.com – so true to take the time to not hurry and enjoy the precious moments of everyday.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Hi Amy, thank you! I was recently contacted by an editor from Seeing the Everyday after he read the “the day I stopped saying hurry up” post! I was truly blown away by the concept and the beautiful messages. They are sending me a copy of their magazine and I am so excited about it. Thank you for telling me my message reminded you of them. I am so touched!
Gosh….your words need to be read by every person in this world. Not kidding! I check in every now and then and am constantly touched by your words. Some ring very true, others I find enlightening, others that good reminder. When I read the post about “Stoplight Excuses” I am happy to say it did not pertain to me so much, but my thoughts were “How can I get every person/parent to read this!?” We are talking about lives, focusing, safety. I see it all too often on the road! I wish I could have shouted from the mountains! This post happened this morning with my 13 yr. old “pokey” child. I think remembering that there are times to be on time (appointments) versus not as important times is a factor. Responsibility for being on time is important but I DO hear your words and am guilty of this when not necessary. Your words must be put into a book. A sort of Life Lessons style book. Your writing, focus, depth, I find truely amazing. You need these lessons published to hopefully reach more people.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Hi Kristin, I just am so touched by your words today. Thank you for what you have shared here. I love that even when my messages don’t pertain to your life you feel the desire to share them. That is the greatest compliment a writer could receive. I am so thankful that you would support a book written by me. I have been working so hard on that very thing and my book comes out in January! I cannot wait to share it with my readers and anyone else who would like to let go of distraction and grasp the moments that matter in life. Thank you for taking the time to write to me today. I am grateful.
Oh my gosh! Congratulations! This would/will be the best gift a parent could ever receive. It would also be good for any young adult. You present so many wonderful subjects/issues that would be such a great way for young adults (most will have kids) to grow through your writing. I do hope you are using your posts and presenting it in a “Life Lessons” sort of format, similar to your blog…either way your words will be shared and read by many more–yeah hoo! I am going to add you to my daily check in so I don’t miss a beat or the release of this book!
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Hi Kristin, you have truly blessed me with such kindness! And you can be assured my book is in the same style that I write on my blog. I am definitely a story-teller by heart and so that is exactly how my book is formatted. It has practical ideas in additional to the inspiration because so oftentimes my readers want to know how or what strategies I used to create change. My publisher and I are still working on cover design, but here is the link to check out the synopsis of the book and other information. http://www.amazon.com/Hands-Free-Mama-Putting-Perfection/dp/0310338131. Thank you for being such a tremendous source of support to me!
I just checked in and you were so kind to respond–again! I clicked on the link and one word….CHILLS! I love the title(!) and the photo:)
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you, Kristin! This makes me very happy to hear you say this!
Felicia Brown says
Though I don’t have kids, I’m gonna share this on my blog as I have been writing lately about patience – or my lack of it sometimes – and the lessons I’ve learned about what patience really is. Both recent posts actually involved other people’s kids – and they are the ones who ultimately have helped me learn to become patient again. Thanks for a great post!
I am sometimes guilty of this as well with my 4 year old Noticer. I will make sure to try to be more patient with him. I do not however agree that it is OK to be late. It is very self centered to think that your time is more valuable than others’. If you haven’t budgeted enough time on a particular day or something unexpected came up, then the super idealistic way of living should have to wait and “Hurry up” might actually be the right answer.
Ellen Dillon says
Thank you for writing this. Your willingness to open up and share, and your ability to articulate your feelings so clearly and honestly brought tears to my eyes. You have two very lucky little girls. I’ll be sharing this.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
What a gift to me today, Ellen. I must admit–not the easiest post I ever shared. This is a very hard topic for me to understand, let alone write about, so your words are like a warm embrace.
Rebecah Shepherd says
I wanted to stop in this morning and tell you how grateful I am for your blog — and for your willingness to shine a light on the distractions and the busyness of our generation of mamas (most of us, anyway). I used to pride myself on being the type of mom who really lets my kids explore and develop at their own pace. But this post made me realize that I am rushing everything — even the really good moments. Like I’m allowing my kids 24.5 seconds to dig in the dirt so we can get going on our walk. So we’ve opted to slow down a bit for the rest of the summer and see where the unscheduled moments take us. The “must-do” appointments can be lessons to the kids in time management and responsibility. The best summer sounds in the world right now is “Mom, can you play with me?” and “Can we just sit here for a minute?” Why, yes we can!
Mommy to be says
I just found your blog, and I’m loving it! We are expecting our first and I’m so glad I found this blog now, so I can read and think ahead (I’m sure I’ll still have many “if only…” times, but with some of these posts, I hope to prevent them as well!)
Thank you for all you do!
Angela @ OMazing Kids says
Wow! This has so many fabulous points about appreciating each child for their individuality & savoring the moment. I can’t wait to share this with the parents I work with as a Speech-Language Pathologist and Kids Yoga Teacher 🙂
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you, Angela! That means so much to me to know you will be sharing it with others. It sounds like you are making quite a difference in the world–speech-language pathologist and kids yoga teacher! Wow! Rock on!
Synnoveah Cooke says
I have a 15 yr daughter with Down Syndrome and Autism, and she has taught me to slow down and enjoy the sights and sounds. She is a very visual child, so I try to see the world through her eyes for a change. We walk together to the park and swing on the swings and walk along the delta watching the fish or birds or whatever she points at. She isn’t very verbal, but she makes known what she likes, wants, needs or desires and most of the time I can figure it out. She has taught me patience, and has taught me how to be tolerant of some things, and to stand up and be her advocate for justice for the other abilitied people in the world. For my child is not disabled. It is the people in the world who have no time to try to see the world through their eyes, who cant slow down to count the steps from one fence post to the next, who use language such as “retard” in their vocabulary without noticing that my daughter or some other person like her might be standing by with their sibling, parent or grandparent, and while perhaps my Bri’anna doesn’t understand..I do. And I am learning from Bree how to forgive them for their ignorance.
Bernadette Noll says
thanks so much for sharing my book! I have appreciated the response for sure.
I also want to tell everyone who feels it will be difficult to slow down – just take it little by little. You don’t need to jump in for a lifetime of slow, you just need to make one change for today. Then for this week. Then for this month.
And in my book I offer real practical ideas for slowing down on a regular basis and for finding connection in the day to day – even when things are nutty!
Rachel Macy Stafford says
That is wonderful advice, Bernadette! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and inspiration with us all. I am so happy to know this post brought many people to you.
Diane Dupuis says
thank you so much for this! My son is 21 and we just travelled together for 10 days and I am so grateful for our time together…
Anna Wolleben says
Thanks for this amazing article! It is live changing! I was a child who all the time heard: “Hurry up, do it quickly” and now I am doing everything fast but with no focus……. I don’t enjoy the process….I have to learn that as an adult….. So I also decided to stop to rush my children! Thanks again!
I just cried reading this and “The Noticer” (linked to this page). Your observant little girl could have been me, but no one ever told me it was ok to stop and smell the roses. I’m almost 24 now and it’s been challenging, but one of the most freeing journeys to learn to accept that I am observant, an introvert and much more a wallflower than I want to be some times. It’s lead me to a wonderful career in pediatric critical care nursing where I get to be observant and compassionate in a way that is so necessary in my field. It has been such a blessing to see that my gifts have a place to fit in this world, and are not, in fact, faults.
Thank you for the reaffirmation to embrace who I am every day.
I used to be that child, always late and always last out the door with a carload of family waiting on me. And, though I am still like that as an adult, I find myself rushing my kids and making sure there are always tasks to accomplish. I have been at work on this and your blog is a great reminder of what rushing and being task driven can cost. After a lifetime of trying to focus and live up to the task driven life of a responsible adult and teaching that to my children, it is a tough road to re-learn that there are roses out there to be smelled. Thanks for your post, it shows me that I am not alone on this quest to live life.
Simple Mum says
Hi Rachel, after reading your post, I decided to change my hurried ways and it certainly was beneficial to my kids and myself. I have written a blog post on this and wrote a credit to you at the end of the post. I do hope you can drop by to leave your thoughts too. http://kidsrsimple.com/2013/07/26/i-want-to-stop-hurrying-my-kids/
I used to be just like your daughter. I was a Lover of Life, never in a hurry (much to the chagrin of my parents and their friends who’d drive by me lolling along on my way to school). I took time to notice, to enjoy moments. But then I had kids. I felt pressured to keep up the pace, to teach them to be respectful enough to be on time for things. You see, I was never on time as a kid, but as an adult someone taught me that that was disrespectful of others, as though I were saying they weren’t important enough to me to make an effort to show up on time. This struck me, and it made me want to instill something different in my own children.
I have two amazing young children, including an energetic and life-loving son and a slow-paced, life-loving daughter who is just like I was. I adore her (and him). But I am maddened by my constant reminders to “hurry up.” Thank you for your blog. Thank you for this post. My new promise to myself is to understand that the way I was is okay, the way she is is okay, and I don’t have to cow-tow to others’ expectations that I be a little more “Type A.” (Frankly, that comes so unnaturally to me that it stresses me out!) I am Type Z, and so is my little girl, and I honestly think that’s okay. Now to embrace that and incorporate it into my everyday living. I think we’ll all be much happier creatures in our house. Thanks again for the wake-up call!
Sarah Hales says
You have inspired me. Thank you for having the courage to publish.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you so much for the support, Sarah.
Someone posted a little to your article on FB a week or so ago and it caught my eye. I am coming back to read it. 1. because I always tell my son to hurry up and later feel bad. I was told I was a slow kid and in some respects I still am as an adult; 2. I remembered this morning I told my son to hurry up after he decided he should poop 2 minutes before it was time to go out the door (but knowing the entire time he was playing he had to use the bathroom).
So as I read your article, I was reminded of myself and daily “hurry ups”. I keep telling myself I need to stop saying this and find a new approach. Maybe your article will help me.
Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for the inspiration, Rachel. Please check out my blog post from today called “The Day I Learned to Love Nerf Gun Bullets”!
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Karen, thank you so much for taking time to share this with me. I loved how you changed your perspective and saw the Nerf Gun Bullets as gifts rather than nuisances! It is so powerful and can be used on other things–I’m thinking dirty clothes and the messy trails my children leave around the house. These items are evidence our children are here and available to be loved and give love. Thanks for sharing your post with me! xo
This is so very touching. I’m so happy for your kids to have such a strong mother figure. I’m blessed to not have a time oriented schedules but I have my own problems. Mine is patience. I have three kids. A 1 month old, 2 year old and a 6 year old. I feel pulled many directions at once. When I get overwhelmed I become, what I like to call, the I don’t care monster. My kids will ask if they can do something and I will just say ” I don’t care.” It’s not that I don’t care of course. It’s more I’m okay if they, go outside and play, or read upstairs, or play with puzzles. I’m just tired, and need a break. I never want my kids to think i don’t care, but it comes out that way. So, like you, I try so hard not to say these 3 words. None of us are perfect parents but if we know are weaknesses we can work on them one day at a time. <3 This has been a beautiful reminder as well as a "you're not alone." Thank you!
Sarah K Russell- Mama Gets Real says
This post totally hit home for me. I struggle to not rush my kids. It’s my own anxiety about being late that causes me to push them through life. Lately I have tried to be very conscious about not pushing them out the door. In the entire scheme of things, what’s another 60 seconds. I could be stuck at the stoplight or crosswalk for longer than that. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of this lesson. I adore your blog and can’t wait to read more from you! Peace, Mama!
I am going to print this and hang it on the fridge. It’s like I was reading about myself! I, too, am a “frenzied soul” who needs to learn to stop and smell the roses. It’s like I’m always trying so hard to get to the destination, without really enjoying the journey. Thank you so much for putting into writing what I often feel!
I absolutely loved the post! I am finally allowing myself to slow down and notice things along the way and it makes all the difference. Ironically, my moment came with an adult daughter who is an art student.
Thank you so much for waking me up….I just realised that I’ve been saying hurry up to my kids more than I say miss you or I love you. I definitely have to stop saying these word and let’s enjoy my precious moments with my children. You inspired me and glad to read your post!
Wow. I just saw this post a friend of mine shared and I am so happy I found you and your blogs. It is just what I needed. Thank you for sharing your soul with us and for making me see the reality. I’ve been trying to be a better mom, slow down and be a lot more patient with the people that matter the most to me and that I impact the most… My Family. I have a lot more faith now that I found THE person and source to help me through this journey and to be there along the way. I am so excited to read ALL of your posts.
I don’t really buy books (just read articles), but I would buy yours. You have to write a book.
Beautiful post! And a nice reminder for me that I say ‘hurry up’ far too often. Thank you 🙂
Ugh, I cried reading this. I’m guilty too. So guilty. Thank you for sharing. This is something I definitely need to work on.
Rebecca Flansburg "Franticmommy" says
I have a combination of sorrow and hope after reading this story. You and I are the same. Instead of “hurry up,” mine is to bark our “chop! chop! let’s move!” like some sort of demented drill sargent. Our 7 year old daughter is the laid back stop-and-blow-on-dandelions child that I am always ushering hurriedly towards the door. I know I can chance and thanks to this wonderful article, I will 🙂
Gena Stander says
From this post, I have realised that I am a ‘hurry up’ mom.
Thank-you, from the bottom of my heart.
Beth R. says
Beautiful sentiment and beautifully written. Being mindful is on this type A mom’s to do list this school year. I’m glad to read a success story. Your daughter is lucky to have you in her life.
Nardia carter says
Tears…. I have three beautiful girls, all of which have been hurried through their days. I am a working mum and therefore the hurry is amplified with having so many deadlines/curfews. Time to start work, time for tea, time for daycare to close their doors, time for swimming/netball etc etc! No time for me or us. Frustrating and it seems almost impossible but your article makes me want to try 🙂
I had a moment when my daughter taught me not to say “hurry” too. I too was grateful!
Jenny @ The Brick Castle says
What an amazing post. I’m sitting here so tired with 7 children and a partner who is recovering from Meningitis and really all I want to do is slow down. So I shall. Thank you x
Thanks for your real story. I am a stay-at-home father of two, and I have asked my children to say “slow down, daddy” when they see me getting tense. It makes me laugh and resets my mood.
I loved your sno-cone story and I understand your reaction; I had the same reaction reading it and thinking of my own interactions with my children. I have a different thought about what it means. Your daughter isn’t invested in a sno-cone; she is invested in her relationship to you. I think she might have been deferring to your pace just as you described deferring to hers. She was looking to you partly for permission and partly for connected relationship.
Thanks again. Dallas Daddy.
I loved reading every little bit of it!! I have a 8 years old who is a noticer as well and a lot of times in his own little world (thoughts)!! I always tried to be patient and give him time, but now it s just like you wrote!! I start the mornings with hurry up and so I finish the evenings 🙁 But the thing is, he just needs to take the bus on time to go to school! The teacher expects him to be fast and concentrated! We do have afternoon activities…so I always feel torn between giving him his time but also getting things done and be on time where we need to be (which we only make because I end up helping him or after having an almost heart attack cause it stresses me out so much, plus I need to get ready his kid brother as well!! I wish I could always give them all the time in this world they want and need but life and daily tasks have their own rules!! So, like I said..it s so hard to combine!! Thank you for sharing, it feels so good to know you re not alone!! (I loved the comment of an other reader as well ‘the earth doesn t stop to turn’ trying to learn that, cause I want everything to be done and be done well and I end up finishing my chores at home at nights when the kids are asleep, but this way I don t sleep more than 3 to 4 hours a night!! I need to learn to let go!!!!
You reminded me of a Reader’s Digest story from about fifty years ago where a holidaying family were getting ready to travel back home. It was early in the morning and the father wanted his children to hurry up so they could get an early start, but the kids ignored him. They ran onto the beach and refused to come when he called. He chased after them but they though it was all in fun and eventually dunked him in the water. He was furious, but recalled that the incident had become one of his children’s most treasured memories. Whenever they looked back on the good old days they always remembered the time when dad got dunked in the ocean. He realised that if he had had his way, it would never have happened. He would have rushed them into the car and they would have been sitting grumpily in the backseat as he headed down the highway. (He told the story better I just did).
Barbara @ Atlanta's Frugal Mom says
I needed to see this. I needed to read this. I needed to be reminded of the precious NOW time I have with my sweet, curious-minded 4-year-old daughter. It’s easy for me to get frustrated with her -even when I see so much of myself in her- when she is so wrapped up in her own little world of make-believe, when she finds the big and little in the world around her. Wherever we are trying to get to will still be there after the imaginary little people have safely been herded in to the van, when all the rocks and sticks and leaves have been added to the ever-growing “collection”, and when we -ahem- stop and smell the roses.
Thank you for this reminder. I can’t say I’ll get it down every time, but this certainly resonates with me.
Thank you for this!! I clicked on a link that someone posted on FB, and it was EXACTLY what I needed to read, especially right now. I have 2 daughters as well, and I am like you when it comes to the A-type always frenzied (or frazzled as I call it) person. My youngest is so much like yours sounds. I also know & have experienced that moment of truth when I hear my oldest daughter talk to her sister in a way that I hear myself talking. It is a hard, but also an awakening moment of truth. That instant when you realize that your actions set the precedent for who your children become as well as how they interact with and accept everyone and every situation in life. I often look at my youngest daughter and wish I had more time to enjoy, embrace, and foster her free and easy spirit. After reading this I cried. But now I am going to celebrate who she is, and how much I have and can learn from her. Thank you so much for the insight and for sharing your experiences!:)
Ashley Newton says
This post brought up so much tenderness for me. As a child, I was constantly rushed by my family members. My natural rhythm is much slower than that of others; I enjoy taking time to really observe he environment around me. As an adult I have been lucky enough to do movement practices that encourage people to slow down and have been able to support myself and others in finding slower rhythms. I am now able to tell others that I need to slow down to enjoy myself. It is wonderful that you were able to catch this pattern and change it in your relationship with your daughter! She will have so much more permission to be who she is; she will develop so much more fully. Thank you for writing!
hugh man says
“Oh no, when you live life distracted, you have tunnel vision” she doesn’t seem to understand the words she is using. Yay, someone with a loose grasp of language encouraging someone to grow up lackadaisical and unfocused, this will surely be beneficial to all. 🙁
Sara Lozano says
I just wanted to thank you, I never realized that I was doing the same thing with my 2 daughters I’ll try not to say hurry up anymore.
Hi! I found you after reading your article on Huffington Post. It really hit home and I have loved exploring your blog and can’t wait to do a little bit more exploring. I hope it’s ok that I posted a link on my blog at http://wp.me/p3HM0E-46. I would love it if you wanted to check it out. Can’t wait to join the Hands Free Revolution.
This beautifully written peace has shaken me to my core! Thank you for opening my eyes before I missed out on so much! My daughter is just shy of 1 and when I look back at my mat leave I see a lot of myself in this!
I have 3 weeks of mat leave to go and I vow to throw out my lists!!!!! And enjoy the simple wonders with my daughter!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Xoxoxox
This post is such a reminder about what matters most. I really need to slow down and treasure every moment while my kids needed me. Thank you, thank you & thank you.
Elizabeth MacDonald says
I came across your article on Huffington Post. It is wonderful that you actually had the courage to see yourself, and make changes in your family’s lives. May other parents be so blessed as you have been.
Amber's Angles says
I almost cried while reading this. Your words brought back visions and memories of a child I miss with all my heart. She was an old soul to say the least I recall a time she couldn’t decide what to wear and I had to pick up her dad at the airport. She was maybe 3 then. I recall a lovely young lady in high school who didn’t want me to kill the tomato worm. AKA a hook worm. A beautiful package with a beautiful interior. She wasn’t here on earth as long as most . A drunk drivers choices ended her life and shattered my family’s world. At the young age of 20 she hadn’t wasted a moment and had touched many lives both old and young. God bless and hold them near.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
You have brought me to tears. You have confirmed my choice to give my children the gift of time and soak up their gifts whenever I am able. Thank you!
Thank you for this beautiful post, I am so glad you clicked “publish.” Your courage to say it as it is, comparing your “I love yous” to your “hurry ups” is inspiring. I share the journey with you, like so many others. Trying to find the balance, honouring my 3 year-old daughter’s curiousity and learning from her open heart. I recently listened to one of Tara Brach’s talks where she talks about asking the question: “what is it like to live this moment without regret?” I’ve since had ample opportunity to pose that question to myself when wishing to hurry my daughter up (amongst other things) and has helped me live those moments more mindfully.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
That is really beautiful, Mamabear. I am so glad you shared that lovely question. It is powerful. I also appreciate the encouragement you have given me.
I loved this. I am guilty of the same exact thing, and do not have near the amount of patience that I should have with my free-spirited almost five-year-old. How do you ever get to things on time? I can try to tell my daughter an hour in advance that we will have to go somewhere, but I still end up rushed. Did this get better as she got a little older?
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Hi Katie, as a special education teacher, I learned that giving my students (as well as my daughter) a 10 minute warning helped them more than a longer time period. For instance, you might say, “We are going to leave in 10 minutes. I need you to put on your shoes and pick out the purse you want to take.” For my students, I used a kitchen timer so they could see how much time they had. This helped tremendously. You might also try giving her one task at a time. Like, “You have 5 minutes to get dressed.” Then set the timer for 5 minutes. Then you may give her 5 minutes to put on her shoes. My students learned to set the timer themselves and actually loved to be in charge of setting it. I learned to give my daughter time to just go at her pace when we could, but there are times in life when we must be punctual. This is when a kitchen timer would be helpful. My daughter did not need the timer, but just an advanced warning. All kids are different so just see what works for your 5 year old. And yes, this did get better as she got older. Good luck and thank you for giving your child the gift of time when you are able.
That just made me realise I need to slow down and stop telling my kids to hurry up. Thank you for writing this!
Francie Denis says
You are so lucky to have found out that important lesson early. . .and you are lucky to have your daughter. I lost my beautiful girl when she was 31 and had just given birth to her second child, a little girl. I would give anything to have her back and take all the time in the world enjoying her every breath. We take the important things for granted until we don’t have them anymore. Luckily for me, I never took anything she did for granted. I miss her dearly, every day of my life.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
My heart goes out to you, Francie. I am truly sorry for your unimaginable loss. Thank you for being an example of the way I want to live.
Larry Poole says
Incredible post! My wife sent this article today while I was at work with the message, “Read this. It made me cry. We’ve got to do a better job.”
This describes our daughter, and our words, exactly. Gonna work harder enjoying the little things and killing “Hurry Up” from our vocabulary.
Thank you for sharing.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you, Larry. This means a great deal to me.
I just came back from the mall where I had to get an ipod fixed. It belongs to my 11-year-old. He and his buddy came with me, and on the way back to the car they started climbing on the toy cars (you know the kind where you insert $1 to make them bounce). In the past I would have said “Let’s go, I want to get home.” But they were having so much fun and I joined in and took pictures. Since December I no longer hurry my child, I savor every sweet moment.
Karen in Newtown, CT
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Karen, I am grateful for your message tonight. I think of your community and its heroes every single day. You inspire me to grasp the moments that matter. Love and peace to you, dear one.
PS I wrote this in honor of your community last January: http://www.handsfreemama.com/2013/01/14/what-the-children-of-sandy-hook-taught-me-to-see-in-my-own-children/
I just wanted to say thank you so much for this. I have a 5 year old daughter who has always been unique and so many things you described about your daughter are just like mine. I hear about “kinetic” children and “spirited” children and “natural leaders”, etc etc. I hate
That those “brandings” makes me wonder what type is child my daughter is. But when I read this article, it was so clear to me that she is a noticer, too. And that God is loaning her to me to put my rushed lifestyle and impatience in perspective. This is so wonderful and eye opening. Thank you again.
Mary Loughlin says
I wish I had read this blog 20 years ago…but of course that wasn’t possible. Awesome thoughts. Thank you.
Maite R. says
I just read your blog for the first time, and I loved it. I have a Noticer also. He is 4 and loves to introduce himself to everyone. From cashiers at Target, to maintenance workers at the zoo. It sometimes drives me crazy, cause people dont seem to notice, but thats just who he is. I love him for that. He is a friendly, loving, caring, sweet boy. I look at him with amazement every day, and wonder what its like to live life through his eyes, he is constanly happy ,and without worry. I love that. Thank you for your blog, I know my son will have a great life, full of wonder,and curiority.
Laura Garcia Kakar says
I cried when I read this. I rush my kids almost every day and especially in the mornings when we’re getting ready to leave. I’m going to make a concerted effort to stop doing that. Maybe preparing more the night before and waking up a little earlier will help. I don’t want to miss this special time with my kids. Your blog opened my eyes. Thank you for helping me and many others. I have a blog too which is positive and uplifting (although not too many people know about it so don’t know if no one is benefitting from it). But nonetheless I enjoy writing and hopefully one day will have a successful blog like yours. 🙂
Thank you so much for this post. It really was a bit of a wake up call to me. I’ve been trying to live my life in a more meaningful manner, but often fall into my very hurried schedule. I think I really need to stop and smell the roses with my Little Bug more often.
Everything happens for a reason and something brought me to your blog today and I’m SO happy I did. Your post touched something deep in my heart and my soul. THANK YOU for helping me see that. My oldest is 16 and it hurts to realize she’s the same way I am…so impatient with the lil ones (my youngest is 7). So many thing I wish I could have done different but I do believe it’s never too late to change and be better. Thank you, thank you…THANK YOU!
This post made me tear up, and I don’t even have kids. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.
I read your post and must comment. When your children are 24 and 19 like mine you will never regret your choice to take the time. My husband and I were never believers in the overscheduled child and we made our choices accordingly. We have photo albums and memories of the time spent with our children when they were young. Every child deserves the best childhood you can give them so take the time you will never regret it. My boys enjoy spending time with us and I believe it is because of the relationship forged in the early years when we gave them the time. Good for you for making the choice to put your children first.
karen unrue says
what a wonderful post – it is something that my dreamer of a son taught me – such a valuable lesson – “And a little child shall lead them”
thank you for your transparency and honesty
Thanks for writing this! I do this all the time. My goal this year is to take those words out of my vocabulary!
THANK YOU for writing this. My daughter is also a Noticer. She is 7 now, and I have tried to let HER lead me, with her curiosity, her keen sense of observation, her gentle sweet nature. I love that you have made me remember to take the time to savour these fleeting years, and to treasure the gift that is my daughter.
With deep appreciation,
I don’t know how to thank you enough for this. My kids are ages 4 and 3. And I am a mother whose every day life was consumed by the words “hurry up.” It makes me cry to wonder how much of their lives and their own discoveries of life that not only I missed out on, but made THEM miss out on because I was too busy rushing them through it. I read this blog when you first posted it and I have since done my best to let them take their time. I still slip on occasion, but I am so much better. My four year old son, who is obsessed with fans, will sometimes skeptically ask me, “I can look at the fans?” as though he expects I will say “hurry up.” The delight on his face when I let him explore on his own time makes me realize how much I need to learn from him. The thing is…I don’t even have a packed agenda (aside from raising two toddlers, that is). So I have no excuse as to why I rushed them, except that I forget they are only toddlers and expect them to manage time like an adult. I don’t want to miss out on their lives anymore. I don’t want them to miss out on it. These times will be gone all too quickly. Thank you thank you thank you for opening my eyes to this.
Reading this made me like wanting to cry, I remembered my own carefree attitude when I was younger myself and when I would spend hours to watch the birds flying or Stars shining, when I would sit down and look so close at a flower praising its delicate nature so long.
Now it’s years I’ve been employed and become an slave who has to work all day or he would lose all his life, If I ever get any free time home I would just lay down to rest a little.
Thank you for writing this post. It has blessed me so and reminds me so much what really is important! You are awesome!
this is just beautiful…to the core.
yes, girl, live! and live hands free!
I just picked up my now 19 year old daughter from the airport from a summer research program and believe me that one day these precious memories will bring the sweetest memories to you.
treasure them and make many more!!!!
I love this and bless your precious daughter.
What a beautiful post! I’m so happy that it’s been posted on the Huffington Post website and that it’s been translated in French as well! More people will be able to read it and enjoy it, just like I did! I love your blog and your writing, you’re helping so many people with your wonderful wise words! Thank you!!!
I hate it when blog posts get to me this way. Ugh. FINE, I get your point, jeez.
What an amazing blog post. It is so easy to get distracted by the things that keep us busy. We feel such an urgency to get things done so we can feel like we have a fulfilling life. We forget the small things around us that can give us so much peace and joy if we will just stop and smell the roses. Thank you for this post!
Tim Kassouf says
I’m not a parent (my wife would want me to be sure I added “yet” to that, even though we’re not pregnant). I do work for national preschool/educational daycare company, Kiddie Academy, so understanding parents is a renewed focus. But I can relate to this one well beyond my career – I’ve been both the “laid-back” child and the “distracted adult.”
I thought this was a very sweet, genuine, and helpful post – despite my non-parent credentials… I think our culture overall could use a good helping of the lesson you learned from your child’s heart – “Pausing to delight in the simple joys of everyday life is the only way to truly live.”
And I think as we shift from childhood into adulthood, it’s important to extend this lesson into our relationships (of every kind) as well. Being too busy to nurture or re-kindle a connection with others is like saying (as you put it), “We don’t have time to live!”
I’m sure you won’t be able to read every comment posted to this article, but if you make it down to this one, do me a favor and thank your daughter for me. I appreciate her lesson. And I appreciate you for reminding me to keep perspective in my own life. Thanks!
OH this is something I needed to hear so badly. I know you’ve said similar things before…but I needed it this morning! I say the EXACT same things now that you used to say. You spoke to my heart. Thank you Rachel. All I can do is keep trying to be better and be more patient. I too have a daughter that likes to take her time. I love that you found the beauty and blessings in this “gift” of being a “noticer”. I love you Rachel. Don’t ever stop writing okay?! You are my inspiration. I look to other inspirational things, but you really are my number one inspiration. I once gave a talk in church and told the whole congregation about your blog….because it is absolutely beautiful and worth more than any money or materialistic thing on this earth. You are a gift from God. Really and truly. I love you from the depths of my soul and I don’t even know you. You bring light where there is darkness. I know if we lived near each other, we’d be good friends.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Oh Amber, how did you know I needed this message today? Thank you. I love you for taking time to encourage me today. A true gift.
Amy Auge says
Beautiful post, love what you wrote. Worst part for me was I found myself reading it in a hurry, not because I had anything else I HAD to do, more because I just hurry through everything! Reading a post about slowing down in a hurry?! What’s wrong with me! And yes, it is definitely my kids who suffer from this. I hate it about myself. But, like you, will not regret the past but will try and refuse to hurry my kids from now. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, very inspiring.
Wow! Just yesterday I used these words to my 22 month old. We were leaving for the grocery store and he wanted to walk down the stairs by himself. I said “hurry up, we have to go”. When we got to the store it started thundering. He wanted to unbuckle his carseat belt himself. I said “hurry up, it’s going to rain”. Needless to say, this article was a dagger to the heart. Most importantly, it’s a reminder that I’m setting the tone for this little man! Thank you so much!
Alicia Shepherd says
Your writing is very thought provoking. I have stirred it around in my mind for many days now. I understand and agree with several of the things you said. Certainly our children need days that aren’t overs-scheduled and technologically invaded. Surely, they need to walk through the park and pick the flowers. It is imperative however to consider other people’s time as well when we are raising our children and teach them to be respectful. An important balance needs to be had between allowing our children freedom to be children and raising them to be the adults the world needs them to be. Thank you for stirring my thoughts and getting me thinking. I wrote some of my own thoughts on your piece. “The Two Words I’ll Say if I Have To.”
Again, thank you for your point of you. Hope you’ll take the time to check mine out too. Blessings,
Rachel Macy Stafford says
I went to your blog and read your post. I would like to start by saying thank you for your kindness and sharing your opinion in the manner in which you did. You could have easily ripped my story to shreds because you are exactly right. Children do need to learn the importance of being prompt and responsible, and to respect other people’s time. I totally agree. But when I sat down to write this post for my blog, those were the words that came out. Although I used a kitchen timer to help my Noticer be ready on time when we had appointments and such, I didn’t include that. And although she moved more quickly as she grew and is always punctual to school and music lessons, I didn’t include that either. I knew I would get criticized for not talking about the importance of punctuality. But that was okay because that story reached many people who, like me, had no balance. Like me, there was one speed and it was rush, rush, rush through life. And those people read what they needed to read in my words and many of them saw what they were missing like I did that day. Unexpectedly, I heard from many parents whose children left this earth far too soon. Many of them told stories of rushing through life that now they see with different eyes. I am grateful they took time to encourage me to savor a few slow moments each day with my Noticer. Some of those stories will stick with me forever. But I know you are right and there will be times when we do have to rush and our children do need to learn about being on time. But now I know it doesn’t have to be that way ALL the time. That is the difference for me. I have more than one speed now and my life is so much better this way. I shared my story hoping to help someone else slow down–my intention wasn’t to make someone feel guilty for the way he or she lives his/her life. Thank you for the important points you raised and for treating me like a human being with real feelings. I would love it if you stick around and read more of my posts. You will find that I often write about letting go of guilt, perfection, and other distractions–I am definitely not an advocate for perfection. I am sorry that is what you read in my post. Thank you for taking time to write and share your thoughts with me and the world.
Alicia Shepherd says
I cannot express my gratitude to you for your response to my post. I am honored that you would take the time to write. I so appreciate the spirit of what you are saying and enjoying those moments with your children. I hope we celebrate the beauty of motherhood; many of us do it differently. Some nurse, some bottle feed; some home school, others public school and more… It is always ultimately my hope and prayer that anything I write can help moms. Whether that is by ditching the guilt they feel (perhaps I struggle with this more than most), reviewing kid movies so other moms know which ones to bring the kids to, or learning (I stress learning) to cook healthfully so my children can grow and learn well. I fully intend to follow you now and I want to hear what you have to say. Differing approaches expand our horizons, cause us to think and mull things over, and to become the most excellent in all we do–including mommyhood.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Wow, Alicia. I feel truly blessed right now that I was able to connect with you. My eyes are even a little teary reading your loving response here. I truly believe that if there could be more of what you did for me–this respectful, kind dialogue of sharing differing views–that we could all feel more at peace and more confident in the choices we make as parents. We all know there is definitely no right way or wrong way–we are all the experts of our own children. I just love when we can share our experiences as a means of helping someone else not feel so alone or to see perhaps there might be another way to see something. I love that your heart just wants to write to help other moms. I could tell that when I read your piece. I am glad you were able to see my heart, too. When I wrote that post from my heart, I had no idea the Huffington Post would ask if they could re-publish it. Suddenly, I had millions of people reading it. I am blessed that people like you took a moment to reach out and provide your thoughts in a loving manner. I am so inspired by our dialogue and just feel so thankful we connected today. With gratitude, Rachel
A powerful reminder to all of us to take time for small joys in our lives! I featured this piece on my weekly round-up of “Learning in the News” here: http://www.livingequalslearning.com/2013/08/13/learning-in-the-news-13-august-2013/
I love this post and it is something that I am painfully aware of. My question for you is that you mentioned an older daughter – did you make her hurry up? and are there lasting effects? I ask this because I have a son (11) and a daughter (7) and I have said hurry up for their whole lives and I makes me sad to think that I did this and vow to never do it again. But I see the effects on my son, and want to reverse this effect. Any suggestions. Thanks so much for the great blog.
Margaret Huang says
My two best friends from college and I have been discussing this subject for years. We are all go-getter types. What a revelation we have be given from our children that the skills we acquired from being accomplished students and professionals are not actually not so impressive to them! At the beginning of their young lives, they are looking for that slow version of life that we ourselves grew up in and forgot about. We even say, “When we were growing up, we had only one activity…” while we exclaim in the next heartfelt moment, “Oh! I should sign her up for that!”
Thank you for reminding us that we are raising children, not mini-versions of our frantic adult selves. This piece was such a poetic and emotional summary of my own experience. I shared it with my two BFFs right away, like a delicious piece of fruit from the wisdom tree.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
You are so kind, Margaret. I love the wisdom you share here. Thank you for contributing.
Oh how I relate with what you said! And it’s so beautifully written! Thank you for sharing! 🙂
Pauline Kisner says
I’m not a mother yet, but I saw the way I act with everything in life- including my husband, who’s an artist and has his own pace and way of seeing and doing things.
Thank you so much for making me se that!
Oh thank you for opening my eyes Rachel!
Your daughter sounds just like my eldest daughter. I am forever telling her to hurry up (not that it matters) As a single dad I find it hard to juggle all the things I have to get done, and sometimes I feel like they are just a big anchor slowing me down.
After the big rush, sitting in the car, or getting to my destination, I always feel so guilty, and blame myself for not allowing enough time, or being better prepared. From this day forward, I will take a deep breath, forget about the things I have to do, and ignore the BIG dark clock looming over my head going tiktoktiktoktiktok. I will just allow my two beautiful daughters (4&5) to show me how the enjoy life again, and notice the little things, like the dew drop on the blade of grass poking out through the bricks in the driveway.
I’m a mother and grandmother. I can’t say that I’ve ever been the ‘rusher’, because I’m ‘the noticer’. I’m fortunate to have children that are noticers too.
This post brought tears to my eyes. I’ve never been the ‘rusher’ but I think we can all relate to those moments that punch us in the gut and make us realize what we’re doing or have done wrong. You’re right. We can wallow in self-pity or we can make the changes necessary. Your child is blessed to have you.
great text! and even greater decision. I also live with a noticer at home (he’s 10 now) and I thank the world everyday for this gift. we live by Gandalf’s philosophy: “A wizard is never late, nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.”
Isabelle Monteiro says
I was really thrilled at this post. Often I find myself being this “Hurry up” with my daughter and I am very sorry for the beautiful smiles that I have lost to see it open. I wish I had more time to ride a bike, take her for ice cream, play with dolls and I’m afraid it grow without having experienced these things with me.
Begin to change my ways starting today.
Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.
Joval Don Ferreira says
Thank U Very Much! ::: ____ )
sam ramsay says
I can’t believe the timing of this inspiration of words.
I am just about to launch my website, and while I was talking to my best friend this morning about the first blog entry I had written last night (about life ,and the balance and the constant hurry to fit things in) she told me she had shared your article on facebook and it was so meant to be!! Thank you, I feel I have made an amazing discovery and will keep on checking in on your lovely site x
It bright tears to my eyes. I love the way you think and write. Inspiring. Thank you very much for sharing it.
Steve Dorsey says
How funny I just returned from my daily walk and I was thinking about how a person can go much further than a person who runs.
We are all in such a rush to get things done and life passes us by faster than we realize and the moments you are talking about are the moments you look back on one day and wonder how did time pass us by so quickly.
Take the time and smell the roses, and you might not miss so much in life…
Luis Otávio says
Thanks from Brazil!!!!
Thanks for this post. I’m a fast paces type A personality and the slow pace of my children can exasperate me on more than one occasion (per day). I’ve been lamenting on how kids have changed how I travel and how I have to slow down and see so much less. But after reading this I thought about how part of what I’ve enjoyed is seeing them enjoy the small plesentries I’m usually rushing over to see the town’s/country’s/region’s “must see”. Thanks for the reminder that they are a gift, sent to put a little perspective in our fasted paced adult lives.
I was this child, and my mom did always tell me to hurry up. Not in a bad way, and I don’t have bad memories, but sometimes I didn’t feel people understood that my slow-ness is part of my character. When I was a kid, a neighbor commented to my mom that she had never seen anyone walk slower to the bus stop. I explained to her I was looking for 4-leaf clovers and trying to sneak up on the bunnies in the lawns as I passed in the mornings. Now I have a daughter too young to know what she will be like, but after reading this, I am vowing to let her take her time and buckle in the teddy bears, help me make lunch, look for the 4-leaf clovers, whatever it may be. We’ll try not to be late, but either way, we’ll arrive happy.
Helen Osgathorpe says
Thank you for your post!!! It has really help me see things clearly in my own life. I was that child, with impatient parents. I prayed to God, please can someone explain to me what I need to hear….
I had a wonderful dinner with friends this evening and my friend sent me the link to this post, And felt God speak very clearly through this…. Another of My prayers was for him to be the ‘perfect Father’ to me, as it says in scripture. He spoke through your post and said you are definitely a ‘Noticer’, which my friend also said in her text, and the words you spoke about watching and noticing your daughter’s facial expression and observing how she looks at flowers and bugs and takes time to talk to people, etc… In fact all of what you spoke of, was like God speaking to me through your words, talking of his delight watching me and also Him saying; this is how I made you, you are beautiful the way you are, you are incredibly special and I love you so so so much!!! Things, I’ve very rarely felt in my life before. I’m on the cusp of my 30th birthday and finally I feel I can be myself and I now understand and appreciate Who I am, this is because my Daddy God in Heaven loves me the way I am. ‘Patience’ is essential to love a child. Thank you for being Patient ‘FOR’ your child, from a child who knows how INDESCRIBABLE it feels to finally have it!!!!! 😀
‘Love is patient’.. 1 Corinthians 13:4 ‘God is Love’ 1 John
Love and blessings to you, thank you for your bravery in posting this and encouraging others.
Hi, I loved your text!
Very sensitive, very beautiful, very important.
I will send it to my family and friends, because I think it’s important.
(Sorry my english, I’m brasilian and a english student).
We linked you up and mentioned your post in our blog today as a Family Friday challenge to our readers to read your post and think about how to live in the moment more/say hurry up less. Thank you for our weekend food for thought, inspiration and your wonderful post! Wisemommies, www. wisemommies.com
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you so much! I am truly grateful for the support this message has received! Thank you so much for sharing it with your community!
Fashionista Momma says
I want to thank you so much for this post. It was truly an inspiration. I too am a Type A personality who is lost with two girls that love the simple things. Your blog inspired me to make changes and write my own post in responses to yours. Thank you again. http://www.fashionistamomma.com/2013/08/trying-to-slow-down-and-smell-flowers.html?m=1
All I can say is THANK YOU… Thank you for bringing the words I needed to hear… I needed to realize how I DO NOT want to be that person who rushes my kids anymore. My children are defintinely worth the extra time… The extra few minutes that make a world of difference. The most important thing in this world are my children… everything else can wait.
Mia Von Scha says
I loved your article. Thank you so much. My intention in my own life and the thing that I work most on with my clients is this idea of living in the present moment. Our children are our greatest teachers in this regard and you have expressed this so beautifully here. Thanks again, and keep writing!!
Julia Schmuck says
Holding my baby on my lap and typing this with one hand: Thank you!!
Hihihihiiii! Your comment made me smile and brought me back to last year… Bravo for the mistake-free message! 😀
Guilty and….forgiven. Wow do I ever need to change perspective on my dawdling son.
Thank you! so incredibly important.
I’m in the midst of a nuclear meltdown type day, and I just wanted to say thank you for lowering the pressure.
Rachel, this was wonderful! As I was reading this I got a knot in my throat, because that is me & I have a noticer too, reminds me of your little girl so much! You are making me see my ways & helping me become a better Mother & I think you for that more then you know 🙂
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Thank you, Kristen. I am truly touched to know this.
Thank you for opening my eyes…I also have been doing this , but will not do this – starting NOW.
Beautifully written. Thank you for this powerful reminder. Children teach us so much!
Thanks for this! I am A-type, task-driven too! I found it hard to slow down, especially when I have to deal with my lay-back French husband, who believe 30 minutes late isn’t late at all. I try hard to enjoy life and relax. I just hope I can slow down a bit and he can catch up at bit, that way we can grow in a healthy way. But you know, most of the time, we reacted to each other, so I had to art faster and he slower down / go on strike on purpose:)
I feel many times as though i were too busy to really get to enjoy my kids when they were young. My brother always said wonderful things like i give them quality time but i always felt i wish i could just enjoy them more. Make no mistake, when i’m with the little ones now that are in my life i do so enjoy them and pay plenty of attention to them. They do teach you to enjoy life that’s for sure. Thank you. well written.
Lovely post!i have probably the same to say frog in the top picture??my daughter has the same one and loves it and I need another one!lol
Thank you! Thank you for reminding me. Having a newborn and a husband who works nearly 12 hours a day and sometimes on weekends make me a bit of a hurried mum to my 4 year old gorgeous girl. I enjoy watching my girl look at things. I enjoy our conversation. I realise how quickly she’s growing up and I won’t have this precious innocence in a few years time so I better enjoy it while it lasts. I shared it to my husband who’s read it and realised that he needs to stop “hurrying up”. Thank you so much.
Liz at Human Nature says
Thank you for a beautiful post. Slowing down can be so difficult to do. But I know from my own experience how rewarding it can be too. This year at back to school time, I made a decision to do things differently, and give my son a little more time to get ready, instead of constantly hurrying him up. It has transformed getting ready for school from a stressful, awful, guilt-ridden experience, to an absolute pleasure. We have time to talk, time to prepare for the day ahead, and he has developed his own fantastic routine for getting ready in plenty of time. No bribery, no guilt, no tears, no stress.
Celebrating trying to do things differently instead of dwelling on where we went wrong in the past is a hugely important thing to do. No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes and does things they regret. So learning to celebrate our choice to do things differently is essential to moving forwards and enjoying life!
Thanks for a lovely post x
Imagine that the job that was keeping you distracted was crucial to building a good high school in your community. A school to which your daughters would go to when they are a bit older. Would you still be willing to take a chance and risk ending up with a below-par high school by slowing down, not worrying about every minute detail and not hurrying up to get it all done? I understand that I might be pushing my point to a logical extreme in this hypothetical question but still the point is that we live in a society, each with a role to play in it. I also understand that your comments might be appropriate for some of us who are compelled to keep ourselves busy even if we realize that we are not achieving anything of any value.
Slowing down is a good idea but if everyone did it then there will be consequences as well. Maybe you got enjoy the sno-cone on a day and time when the sno-cone guy ought to have been with his daughter.
Liz Welsh says
I want to stop saying hurry up! But, I’m the cause of the problem in ALL delays. I am so unorganized, my house is so upside down I don’t know where to begin? I work too much and my days off I’m exhausted? I believe if I could get my house in order (clutter free) like it was before my beautiful, layed back, and also carefree 7 year was given to us by God? I’m too embarrassed to let anyone in to help me? I will promise this I today will work on those harmful words! And I thank You!!
Eileen Keane says
Rachel, I wish I could have read your wisdom 25 years ago. I can only hope that I can help my grandson.
Elena Embry says
I really needed to read this! Thank You!
Hi Rachel, thank you for sharing your journey so candidly and beautifully…Today was the first time my 3-year old daughter imitated me and said “hurry up!” And it pinched me ! but I went on with the ‘work’ at hand…and as if a sign from above tonight I read this post…I’ve been missing all the good, fun stuff even though I believe I am such a hands-on mamma who is with her every second of her life… but really I’m just a hurry up mamma! This just saved me! This is a priceless gift…
Thank you for saving me from a life of not really knowing my wonderfully gifted Noticer.
There is nothing I used to treasure more than sleep ..until I stumbled upon your blog..now I wait till the lights are out to read more because each night you transform me into a better mother…and in turn you transform my little girl’s experience of childhood…god bless you
What a wonderful article! I shared this with my readers on EducatingToday.com.
This really hit a cord with me (as it will with most parents). Thank you for sharing your heart with us.
It will make a difference in other families.
Flo Callender says
I too have one of those children…a Noticer…and I’m slowly learning how to appreciate life from her point of view and see it from through her eyes. In two short years, she will be off to college, and I have lost so much time rushing and trying to get so much done, and yet, missing so much from right under my nose. Thank you for such a lovely look at these little blessings God gives us to allow us to enjoy the journey of life.
Thank you for this post. I just spent my whole morning with my 5 year old repeatedly saying “quick quick quick, we’re going to be late again”. Your blog is a great reminder of why we all wanted to be parents in the first place. They are NOT adults, they are children. Patience is definitely a learned behaviour 😉
What a lovely concept, and one I learned when my daughter was about 4. Each Sunday was a battle to get her dressed, fed, into a coat and into the car for our 25 minute drive to church. To say I was anxious and pushing her was an understatement. On our drive to church, we cross a railroad track, and I always breathed a sigh of relief when the gates were up and there was no sign of trains. But one Sunday, as we neared the tracks, my 4 year old daughter leaned forward, peered up and down the track and sign “No train today…” and it hit me. Unlike he, she was looking forward to catching a train, as opposed to Mom who was hoping to avoid it.
Since then, (and my daughter is 17 now!) we actually enjoy it when we catch a Sunday train. We roll down the window in all weather so we can hear the whistle and clickety clack of the wheels, and if we’re a bit late for church, I think God understands.
I read this blog after I had sent my boys off to catch their bus to school…. and sure enough I was screaming “hurry up!” Feeling guilty right now …. but what else can I do??? I will try harder to be a more patient mom!
You hit the nail on the head…I am floored by how I can relate to every single post you make. Thank you for sharing. I cant wait to learn to LIVE and follow my daughters example and appreciate the amazing wonder that surrounds us daily! Bless your heart!
Larry Mills says
This speaks to a deeper issue of or time driven society. While I have always been like the youngest daughter mentioned in this blog, I currently work a job that is time driven; in fact I don’t think I have ever had a job that didn’t have some kind of time driven schedule. I cannot even begin to express the amount of stress, anger and unhappiness that time driven schedules do to a person who is like myself or Mrs. Stafford’s youngest daughter. Suffice to say I don’t that it’s just people like myself who are suffering for our society’s seeming addiction to micromanaging ever minute. I don’t know everyone’s religious beliefs here, but Jesus often took time out of what may have been his schedule to stop and spend time with people that most proper Jews would have nothing to do with.
Nice Article.Just pointed out “the thing” in simple words,which is the need of the hour.Keep writing.
Jo Owens says
I loved reading this article when it was first published and I just re-read it today after reading the first chapter of your new book. I am a yoga teacher and so I am very conscious of being present and more aware. Yet I still often catch myself saying “hurry up” to my beautiful little 3 year old daughter. I also spend a fair amount of time distracted by my devices and screens. So I’m taking your new book seriously and reading one chapter at a time. I think I’ll need 12 boxes of tissues for the 12 chapters. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with so much honesty and for helping mamas like me. Thank you.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
This means the world to me, Jo! I poured my heart and soul into my book and to know it is touching your heart and soul is the best gift I can receive. Thank you for telling me.
I love these posts. But I want to know: how do I stop this when I need to get her out of the house in the morning and get her to school and get me to work, on time (there’s a train)? I’m a single parent. Please understand — this is completely sincere. What do I do? Setting aside whether it’s ok for her to be late for school — I cannot be late for work every day, and that’s what’s happening. I need a different approach. I can banish “hurry up,” which is chronic, but I still can’t be late all the time. Help.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Hi EB, as a special education teacher, I learned that giving my students (as well as my daughter) a 10 minute warning helped them more than a longer time period. For instance, you might say, “We are going to leave in 10 minutes. I need you to put on your shoes and pick out the purse you want to take.” For my students, I used a kitchen timer so they could see how much time they had. This helped tremendously. You might also try giving her one task at a time. Like, “You have 5 minutes to get dressed.” Then set the timer for 5 minutes. Then you may give her 5 minutes to put on her shoes. My students learned to set the timer themselves and actually loved to be in charge of setting it. I learned to give my daughter time to just go at her pace when we could, but there are times in life when we must be punctual. This is when a kitchen timer would be helpful. My daughter did not need the timer, but just an advanced warning. All kids are different so just see what works for your family. Good luck and thank you for giving your child the gift of time when you are able. For me, it was all about realizing that EVERY Moment in life did not have to be rushed.
Aw, that little story nearly made me cry. Your little girl could teach us all a thing or two
This post hit straight to my inner self! I have been in a horrible ‘life-fog’ if you will. This is helping me see things more clearly. I, too, have been given a gift from God. My gift, like your gift, is a noticer. My husband is the same way-probably one of the reasons I fell in love with him. I pledge & pray that I be the mother, wife & person God intended me to be…..and to stop and smell the roses:)
today the German version of you blog reached me and it made me smile because it was my mother who taught me that lesson. She taught me that while she was suffering on Alzheimer disease. It makes no sense to hurry with a person like her. She would have become angry (very angry) and strong. So I slowed down. And I learnt that she was the best Lama I could imagine. She died last April and I am preparing my totally new life which is focused on live now and happy. One year I decided to think about all things that are worth to life for and my preparations are coming to an end. So teachers are everywhere, if we want to see them. Children are the most beautiful ones because they make us smile every now and then but also old people with a lost mind. Isn’t it lovely that we have such good teachers? Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
i am so guilty of this! my whole life is hurry up as a mom of 3 and also a nurse and a wife (ugh). i want to cry most days bc i realize nothing is going to get done the way it should and in the amount of time it should take … even as i write this there is wet laundry in the washer (sitting for the past few hrs) … but my kids are lovely, sweet, adorable relentless monsters who hang on me morning, noon and night to answer questions, retrieve snacks, water and read books with them- should be fun tasks if there were not 8 million other things to do. i promise to unhurry them and unhurry me … thank you for your thoughts. slowing down from here on out …
Hi Rachel, I have only just found your website and this post. I don’t know what your personal beliefs are, but I am believing Christian, and I wanted to tell you that as I read this article, I felt the Holy Spirit come and the presence of God with me. Tonight God challenged me about how I might be bullying or harassing my wonderful inquisitive little toddler in this way. You’re right – the truth hurts. But I’m so happy that I can change things before it’s too late. I was also particularly inspired by the photo of your daughter barefoot (the third photo down), and when I saw it, I felt that we should all appear this way, in the spiritual if not the physical! I hope this makes sense to you. If not, please be encouraged anyway, God has used your words to teach and bless me, all the way over here in the UK. Take care & many thanks, Nicola xx
Rachel Macy Stafford says
It makes perfect sense to me, Nicola. Thank you. This is a spiritual journey for me. I am blessed by your words.
I love it! I wish I can be that patient. I know it’s sometimes my fault for not being patient. My daughter is 5 and she’s always been taking her time with everything. She has no sense of time even if i say you’re gonna miss your school bus! I wish I could just sit and relax but I don’t think I will enjoy being late for an appointment or being an hour late for bedtime. There is always a reason why I wanna be on time, but I’m not satisfied! I sometimes think she’s being stubborn but she’s mostly enjoying her imagination time in the bathroom by spending 15 mins to only brush her teeth. I’m afraid that this pace will be set for a lifetime and i would raise a non committed lady! argh
Oh gosh, this was me as a child. What a lovely post. How lovely for her to feel like it’s ok to take her time.
Thank you so much for what you wrote here, I’m so moved, I almost cried.
Do you know why? because I live in such a rush, I can’t enjoy living everyday, & I keep telling to myself: I will do so in 3 or 5 years, when I’ll insure my future..
What If I don’t get the chance to live until then?
I don’t have children yet, and I’d love to have a child like yours, to remind me how to live, because I forgot how when I was studying, then when I started working.
I would love to slow down, take my time every morning while driving to work, enjoy the sun & birds’s tweets when I want to, take a walk & disconnect from my many obligations.
Thank you again.
WOW! Thank you so much for writing this – it is just what moms need to hear!! Hope you don’t mind that I am going to link to this on my blog.
Ben Dowling says
I just wanted you to know that, as a father, I had the same experience one day with my daughter (then 2 1/2) who I was walking around the block while she was “discovering tree bark.” I was looking at my watch and reviewing all the things I needed to do when suddenly I heard my own voice say, “You are walking your 2 1/2 year old around the block as she discovers bark. Could there be anything more important than this?”
The answer is clear to all of us, and it has been the greatest gift I could ever have shared.
Big love to this article,
Ben Dowling, pianist
Hi.How are you?
my name is farzaneh.Im live in iran.
I have just one quation you too.
for example:if Im in a hurry&thind people are talking too slowly?
Excuse me-Im a little learn english.
can I help me?
What if it was not her child, but her man like that child?
scène x horriblement emballante en hd avec une vicieuse grasse says
Poste carrément captivant
débauchée énormes mamelons says
Une fois de plus un poste clairement attrayant
Hi, I really think you have a point even if I don’t agree with your text completly.
I do feel bad about your other daughter though. Cause you are teaching the little one but forgetting the old one… Well, at least your text sounded like it.
Congratulations on your text.
This brought me to tears. I was the little girl who had to stop and smell the roses, talk to everyone, and pet the animals. I’ve never been able to get anywhere on time, and I’ve always had this feeling that I’m not as good as the other women in my family – who could keep things immaculate and get places on time. Last summer my mom told me that she and my dad were thankful that I broke up with the guy I’d been dating. When I took him to meet them and a joke came up about my tardiness, he told them we were working on that. My mom reminded me of that and told me they felt like he didn’t accept me for who I was. I went home and cried that day. At 41 years old, I finally felt like my parents loved me just the way I am.
Oh my goodness Lisa. It’s amazing how much we crave parental acceptance no matter what our age. It’s a complete necessity. Thanks for reminding us how much our love and unconditional acceptance as parents means to our children. Hugs to you.
I was incredibly moved by this post. I too have a child who likes to notice and observe. I call it distracted. Now I realize the difference. Although I rarely say “hurry up,” I get exasperated and annoyed which has the same unfortunate result. Thanks for shedding light where it was needed. I promise to do better too.
So you slow down for your younger daughter and spent many years trying to make sure she was not rushed. But what about your older daughter? What about the daughter you had already damaged and rushed for years. I don’t like how much emphasis you put on slowing down for the younger daughter when you still have twp daughters. The younger one is not more special. I have been in the position of the older daughter and seeing many people who have been in that position. Watching as parents try to make up for mistakes on a younger sibling who seems to get preferential treatment while the older sibling who had to endure that mistake for years is dismissed and never has it made up to them.
Shame on you for focusing on the younger daughter when you should’ve been trying to make it up to the one you actually hurt
Thank-you for this wonderful, eye-opening account of being the parent of a young Noticer……this is a little like looking in a mirror, brought me to tears as well. I will make a vested effort from now on to hurry less and appreciate more the lovely little gift I have in my daughter. Baby steps starting today, thanks for the inspiration 🙂
This is so wonderful, and a similar experience in my life changed me forever! As a single mother of six children and a successful real estate broker, I rushed and rushed to get from place to place. Then I, too, received my gift of a joyful life. My last son is my blessing, and I too, was rushing, while he wanted to be a super hero, or I needed to go, while he held the hand of an elderly lady at church. It was through his eyes that I found the need to change, when he said to me, “Did you know her man died last year?” and I did not. Because I did not even take the time to talk to her. But my little 5 year old man, sat with her for a mere few minutes, and found out more than I had in the 2 years I had been going to that church. He held her hand in comfort, and sat with her for several weeks after that during service. He is my beautiful soul child, and he is now 16, still the same, and still not in a hurry. Thank you, my dear Nigel, for the joys you have shared with me!
I am this little girl. This article really hit a nerve with me about who I am – that it’s okay. Thank you, thank you, thank you for it.
I cried reading this. I realized I was reading about myself and how I am with my sweet baby girl. I really have just recently started taking a step back and trying to be the best mom I can be! Thank you sooo much for writing this and for the inspiration to be a go with the flow mom!!
Jennifer N says
I just stumble upon your blog and really love the words of encouragement you write about. I have 2 daughters that are 20 years apart. I basically feel like I am starting over with my 3 year old. There are so many differences I can see in raising them 20 years apart. I was young and quite ignorant, when I had my first born, with a completely different outlook on life as I was a single mom. My 2nd one is more fortunate as she has two parents raising her and learning together. As I have gotten older and wiser, the little stuff just doesn’t matter anymore. There are so many times I wish I could turn back the clock and just hug my 1st born and tell her to “slow down” mommy loves you and everything will be alright. Don’t get me wrong, my first born is very independent (again I feel guilty about this as it’s to a fault) and is living the life she wants, plus she knows exactly what she wants out of life. I raised her the best way I could at the time. It’s just so vastly different now and I can see myself and how I used to be in my first born. Not that it’s bad…it’s just so different. Your words just remind me that it really is never too late to change and never too late to try and correct some past mistakes and behaviors’.
I want to thank you. You have so eloquently written something that has caused me more and more discomfort every time it comes up. I want to instill my children with the ability to be present in the moment (something I personally struggle with, but have made a number one priority), but how can that be possible if they are constantly hurried from place to place without fully being able to enjoy themselves. Your post has helped me to become aware that I can allow my children to be my teachers in this very important lesson and let them teach me to stop and smell the roses and relax.
Thank you for sharing so honestly.
Thank you for this, as I just realized my 6 yr old child is also a Noticer…and I feel terrible for not appreciating that at times up until now. I considered writing a book called *Waiting for Daniel” because it seems that was always what I was doing (and still am): Waiting for him to get in the car, out of the car, walk somewhere, eat, get out the door, answer me…you name it, I was waiting for him to do it. When other moms would share stories about chasing after their toddlers, mine would be about waiting for him while he stopped and looked at an ant on the ground for 5 minutes. I think I can count on one hand the amount of times I had to run after him! Come on! I was always saying, Come on! He is an observer, a Noticer, and today I let him know that was his gift. Thank you hands free mama. Your writings are your gift to the world.
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Please write that book, Deborah. I love the title and I know it would have a beautiful message that we could all really use! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience and to give me this loving encouragement. I so appreciate it!
I came across your blog as i am googling how to get my child go faster in the morning and stop repeating myself.. And I read your story it made me cry. I am always saying hurry up hurry up. She liked it start doing her task then talk talk talk meanwhile it’s 6 am and we need to getting out the door and no teeth,hair or peeing done.. 🙂 it’s has been the 10 th time I I have said ” hipurry up” in different ways different tones different looks grrrr. Please help. And we are late leaving the house heh have a good day
Rachel Macy Stafford says
Hi Lorraine, thank you for the interest in the post and how you might be able to help your child get ready more promptly without saying “hurry up” all the time. Here are a few ideas I have shared with other readers:
Thanks for reaching out! I am so grateful for your interest in how to avoid saying “hurry up” yet be on time when you need to be. I am cutting and pasting 2 responses I wrote on my blog that I think you might find helpful!
1) An idea that I used with my special education students and also with my daughters to encourage certain behaviors or actions is The Warm Fuzzy Jar. I got a clear jar of colorful pom pom balls from the craft store. I told my students/kids that each time they did something kind or helpful they got to put a “warm fuzzy” in their cup or jar. In your case, it could be whenever your child does one of the things she needs to do to get ready for bed or get ready to leave the house. When my students/kids collected a certain amount, we would do something they wanted to do or they could earn a treat. You can make the reward daily or weekly. For younger children, a week is probably too long. Maybe if she earns 5 pom poms that morning, she can have special time with you that evening or a treat of her choosing. What this does is helps create a pattern of positive behaviors and it makes you notice positive behaviors rather than what they are not doing. Eventually you will not need the jar because the behavior patterns will be in place. When they start to slide, you can get the jar back out. When you first tell your child about the warm fuzzy jar, you should give examples of what would earn her a pom pom (or even make a list with words or pictures and put it on the jar). Like, “When I set the timer for you to get dressed and you get dressed before the timer goes off, you can put a warm fuzzy in your cup (or jar). But when you play instead, you don’t get a warm fuzzy.” Or “When I tell you to put on your shoes in the morning and you do it, you can give yourself a pom pom.” They love putting the pom poms in themselves. In fact, sometimes doing that is an even bigger deal that the reward. I do not take away pom poms that are earned. I would just remind them that what they are doing is not earning a pom pom. Try to notice every positive thing they do and give them a pom pom for it. Here is an entire blog post I wrote about The Warm Fuzzy Jar: http://www.handsfreemama.com/2013/05/29/how-to-fill-up-a-child/.
2) As a special education teacher, I learned that giving my students (as well as my daughter) a 5 minute warning helped them more than a longer time period. For instance, you might say, “We are going to leave in 5 minutes. I need you to put on your shoes and pick out the purse you want to take.” For my students, I used a kitchen timer or a sand timer so they could see how much time they had. This helped tremendously. You might also try giving her one task at a time. Like, “You have 5 minutes to get dressed.” Then set the timer for 5 minutes. Then you may give him 5 minutes to put on her shoes. My students learned to set the timer themselves and actually loved to be in charge of setting it. I learned to give my daughter time to just go at her pace when we could, but there are times in life when we must be punctual. This is when a kitchen timer would be helpful. My daughter did not need the timer for long, but an advanced warning worked well. I really focused on praising her when she did what she needed to do without stopping to play. All kids are different so just see what works for your family. Good luck and thank you for giving your child the gift of time when you are able. For me, it was all about realizing that EVERY Moment in life did not have to be rushed.
3) This is something I still use with my daughter age 8 at bedtime. I say, “At 7:45, I am going to begin reading stories. In the next 15 minutes you need to get on your pjs, brush teeth, and put your dirty clothes in the hamper. It is up to you how much of the story you hear. I will read from 7:45 til 8.” This really motivates her to get what she needs to get done so she can hear the story. It is important to stick to what you said. If you said “lights out at 8,” and she did not hear the story, that is the consequence. The next day remind her that she missed the story so she will need to do her nightly duties more quickly if she wants to hear it.
Whenever you do happen to have time and are not on a schedule, be sure to say things like, “It’s okay, we have time today. You don’t have to rush.” Or “Take your time,” — to our little Noticers of the World those are very loving and affirming words.
Kalon Wiggins says
What a beautiful story. There’s so much wonder in the moment. I don’t know why more people don’t slow down to notice. I love your realization not just of how special the moment is, but that this was your opportunity to grow. So many people expect the world to conform to them and it’s great to see you conform to how your world wanted you to be.
You don’t know how much I need this. Thank you very much!
You are so true. thank you for sharing. this post just open up my eyes and mind :). I have 4 years old son named Kemal. Here in Jakarta, Indonesia, we called “hurry up” with “buruan” or “cepetan”. And I admit yelling that word often to him. And I promise will never say it again! Hug and kiss for you Mama, it’s trully inspiring me.
The Chatty Doctor says
I know you wrote this a while ago but just stumbled upon it. Beautiful post & I am definitely guilty of rushing my children from dawn till dusk. Will try to follow your advice & allow them to set the pace a bit more (or at least build in more time for them to take things a bit slower!). Thank you.
Nicole Miller says
Wow. Super convicted. I just thought about this very thing as I was dropping my son off for MDO this morning. He is as sweet as sweet can be, but man is he slow. I’m type A, always rushing. I hate to be late more than I hate most things. He and my husband are both this way, and it drives me crazy.
I say ‘hurry up’ to him all the time, and I’m brokenhearted to admit that he probably feels the same way your daughter did. I will try to remove it from my vocabulary! Thank you for your post!
Very good article. nice blog
Natalie Coslett says
Im guilty of this myself and this has really helped me to understand whatni been doing and that far from what I want to do, thank you!
it is really good to stop hurrying up ..
hurrying makes you miss the joy of life ..
Thank you, thank you so much for this text. I’m 29 y/0 now, and I have always suffered with my mother’s rush. You see, here in Brazil we usually live with our parents until we get married, and until today when I have to go somewhere with my mom, she says we’re getting late because of me. I am also a noticer. I like to see, touch, hear and smell everything I can. You really made me cry today, because I never thought of myself the way you think about your girl, and inspite being sad for myself, I am so happy that she is being admired just for being herself. As an underestimated daughter, I just wanted to say thank you. You really are an angel, you know?
Jenny Johnston says
Rachel, your words are what I came searching for today after a night of about 3 hours of sleep. Although my 7 year old has made some huge strides in the last 6 weeks with her separation anxiety, there are moments when I feel like I am far from the greatest mother to her. I dont have much time to myself anymore (since I homeschool and she does not feel ok with being away from me for very long – 30 minutes if I am lucky) I can feel myself dropping back into the “poor me” mentality. but I know I can get lifted up here. One blog post down….tears have been cried….now I am on to more of your beautiful uplifting words.
Beautiful and true article. Thank you for writing this and the reminder of the gifts we have.
This is lovely. I definitely need to slow down sometimes and appreciate things more. Thank you for reminding me.
Laura Lee says
This is just simply beautiful. I’m planning to share this blog post with our new parents group next week. So much to talk about and you cover the subject perfectly. We all need to be “noticers” every so often 🙂
Rachel Richards says
So glad I came across this post. I am making a big life change this summer and can take full advantage of living slowly with my quickly growing 11 year old.
I have also realised that I do the “Hurry up” thing with my Mum. Hoping I can take my time with the older generation as well as the younger generation 🙂
That is great and all, but my youngest kid takes an HOUR to eat a sandwich. That is not an exaggeration. I gave her a fried egg sandwich at 12 and at 12:49 she is still eating but not done. It is the same with the shower and getting dressed. I can’t be annoyed with the slow pace of her homework since I was the same way as a child, though I preferred drawing unicorns to butterflies down the margins. It is just so hard when I have planned a fun activity, like today we were supposed to call their friends and go to the park, and not even being able to THINK about doing anything at all worth while until 3pm at the earliest. I am bored. I will start on my own project while waiting for my kids to finish doing the most mundane tasks and even though they are supposed to be busy they still interrupt me and slow us all down anyway. I am not a fast-paced person. I don’t juggle tasks under a bigtop. But is it too much to ask for showers, clothes, food, quick tidy-ups, and shoes to take less than an hour each? Is it to much to ask to have kids that get it done so I don’t have to turn into my mother every time we need to go somewhere even when it is somewhere they want to go? They are not toddlers anymore at 6 and 7, so why? Ah brilliant, kid just dumped milk all over and has to change her pants… again, so likely the park will not be an option for today as I shall have to wait another hour for her to clean up and change. I could do it myself of course, but I’ve gone and cracked my hip and can’t bend. Really though I am sick of doing it all myself just so that it will get done in a timely manner anyway. Why is it when I have something fun planned everything goes wrong that day? I’m not even in the mood for fun anymore and I’m the one who worked for it. … 1:09… at least she is done with the sandwich. >sigh< I don't really feel better. You know, sometimes I think I've totally got this parenting thing… other times I wonder why I inflicted such a thing on myself.
I’m literally teary reading this. I needed to hear this lesson NOW at this EXACT moment in my life. I’m the mom you’re describing- frazzled and constantly rushing my son who is also an observer of life. Thank you for putting this in front of my face too see and absorb. I’m going to try and be the type of hands free you’re describing. Most sincerely and gratefully, thank you.
Rachel Stafford says
I am glad you are here, Katy. There is great hope in your words. Today matters more than yesterday.
Ricky Bella says
I happen to come across your article on someone else’s facebook page. Beautifully written…I love your honesty & ability to share authentic moments of growth. We’ve all been there & its important to talk about.
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I’m a thirty-one year old male who lives in Australia. I’ll try to keep this brief. I used to live a very hurried and frantic existence, especially between the ages of seventeen to twenty-one. At one point I was trying to shave seconds, literally, off everything I was doing in order to be more “efficient”.
Cut a long story short, I got very sick and realized I couldn’t continue living at a very frantic pace. Now I don’t put pressure on myself to “achieve” a million different things that are of no importance to me but which I was trying to “achieve” in order to conform and please others, and feel better for it.
Sarah Bradford says
THANK YOU for this post! I first read it when I was pregnant with my son and it really resonated. I vowed to myself right then and there to not rush my children and to remember your words. Now that my son is here, I find myself thinking things like, “I can’t wait of him to start laughing…. I can’t wait till he can sit up….talk…” So aren’t I then, in a sense, asking my child to hurry up? I came back and re-read your post and it reminded me to SLOW DOWn, and enjoy each any every minute and milestone with my son as they come, to be present. It has made all the difference and now I am loving truly watching him grow and doing my best to remember each stage as they come.
Sweety Singh says
What a lovely post. I am totally agreed with you. Our kids are given to us for a reason. We need to understand them with love and softness. Read some more parenting blog here: http://www.mycity4kids.com/parenting/
Sweety Singh says
Such a lovely post. We need to understand our kids with love and softness. Read some more parenting blog here: http://www.mycity4kids.com/parenting/
Sweety Singh says
Lovely post. When real life experiences are put down in words, the results can be as heartwarming as they can be heart-wrenching. Read some more parenting blog here: http://www.mycity4kids.com/parenting/
Tiffany @ Website Angel says
Wow, this was an amazing story! This really touched my heart. SO sweet that she gave you her last bite after you had decided not to rush 🙂
Awesome article to read and Great tips.I Love it….Thank you so much…
Glass Half-Full Momma says
I literally just said the words “we have to be more efficient ” to my 2-year old. Shame on me! While I don’t anticipate it will be easy to do, from now on I’ll work hard not to impose my own sense of panic & urgency upon my sweet daughter. She’s just doing what she’s supposed to at this age — being blissfully unaware of the time crunch that is modern life. Thank you for sharing your refreshing viewpoint on raising children with less pressure.
Melanie Shively says