Over the past few weeks, we have had a few interesting things happening. Birthdays, a holiday with Nana and Grandad and ‘Little P’s first road trip! All things that took us out of our usual routine. They were all great fun, very exciting and she certainly enjoyed the new faces and all the moving around. But now that things have settled back to normal it made me realise how much I treasure the small mundane details of our days.
We do pretty much the same thing every day. It varies a little depending on weather but it’s generally breakfast, beach, playground, lunch, nap, garden, dinner, playground, bath and bed.
On rainy days it’s drawing, reading, dancing to The Beatles and playing with the toy farm animals. Not exactly thrills and spills but I have to confess that I love it. I love the little chats we have over breakfast about whether seagull poo is bigger than pigeon poo. I love the fact that we have to do the toddler swing BEFORE the big girl swing in the playground and I love the way she always pick the same blue colouring pencil no matter what she decides to draw.
It’s a world away from my previous life. I used to make television programmes and no two days were ever the same. I was always travelling and meeting new people. My life was exciting but at times exhausting. There was so much to do and very little time to savour the moment. Often months would pass in a blur where I didn’t take the time to really enjoy the experiences I was having. When I became a parent for the first time I was determined not to allow the same thing to happen to the time spent with my daughter. So, kind of unwittingly, I made my decisions about slow parenting very early on.
As parents, we are bombarded with rules, advice and ‘best practices’. There is so much information out there about every aspect of parenting that sometimes it can add to a never ending cycle of worry about whether you are doing everything correctly. It’s possible to become so focused on the routines and the practicalities from feeding to sleeping, weaning to potty training, screen time to exercise and forget about just being with your child. Suddenly months then years can go by in a flash. Babies become children, then children become adults. All of us recognise that feeling of ‘where has the time gone?!’ For me that is really what slow parenting means. Taking time to enjoy the moments. Forgetting about what I ‘should’ be doing and just ‘being’.
Usually the most joy can be found, not in the big monumental occasions, but the small moments of togetherness. While I’m in them I’m not concerned about whether ‘Little P’ should be eating that biscuit, or climbing on that rock, or whether I should have brushed her hair or changed her grubby t-shirt. I just enjoy her giggles or watching her get totally absorbed in dropping stones into the water, or listening to her try to remember the lyrics to her favourite Beatlessong. Slow parenting is not about trying to be the the best parent or the perfect parent it’s simply about enjoying being a parent. Sometimes it’s very low key, maybe even a bit routine. Other times it’s exciting and exhilarating. But the important thing is that it’s happening and happening to me.
So I’ve yet to make my plans for the future but for the moment I’m happy with my choice of the slow and simple life. Or boring, depending on your point of view!