Do we hurry our children too much?
About a month ago I stumbled across the French version of this very interesting article in the Huffington Post, The Day I Stopped Saying ‘Hurry Up’ (French version is here), and it really jumped out at me. I realised when I read Rachel Macy Stafford’s story that I utter the words “Hurry up” more often than “I love you”, which is saying something as I say those three words a lot.
Reading this really made me stop and think about how important it is that L hurries up, so I’ve been trying to bite my tongue when it’s tempting to chivvy her along, and I’ve been trying to view the world from a less rushed angle. This is very hard as I feel like a have a forever-long to do list, and I don’t like being late, so it’s not second nature to slow things down a notch for me.
Over the last month (since I first read the post) I have secretly set myself the challenge to not hurry L along, to try and go at her pace, and to try not to stress it. And it has been HARD.
Getting ready in the morning takes 90 minutes. Mealtimes take 1 hour. Bedtime takes 45 minutes, and 15 minutes of that is L’s bedtime story.
So let’s break that down. In the morning L has to get dressed, have breakfast, brush her teeth, have her hair sorted out (to avoid scary, unruly, curly hair) and put her shoes on. For you or me that would be doable in what, 20 minutes, tops? Without me hurrying L it takes her 90 minutes.
The evening meal with no rushing L takes 1 hour – this is one main course with fruit or yogurt as a dessert, so hardly a French banquet.
Bedtime is the worst though. If you’re a parent you know what bedtime is like, it’s that time when you’re so close to “me time”, but it’s the time your child is the most tired and tends to play up the most, cue frayed nerves on one side and tantrums on the other side. L’s bedtime ritual consists of a toilet trip, putting pyjamas on, brushing her teeth and having a 15 minute bedtime story. It takes 45 minutes if she is not hurried along.
I wish I could stop saying “Hurry up” completely as Rachel Macy Stafford has managed to, but for now those words are still not banished. However they have been greatly reduced. And I do try to stop and smell the flowers with L, and to listen to something of vital importance that she has to share with me instead of putting her pyjamas on.
I am very aware that L is already 6, nearly 7, and that very soon she’ll be getting herself ready for bed, then getting up on her own in the morning, then in no time going out into the world on her own, and I won’t share any of these parenting moments with her anymore. So I do try to treasure these moments with her while I still have them.
I challenge you to do the same with your children – can you stop saying “hurry up” completely? Or maybe reduce it to stop and live a little with your little ones? Let me know how you get on.
I’ll leave you with this picture of L from this morning, she still had to brush a teeth, have her hair dealt with (as you can see!), get her school bag ready and put her shoes on. Instead of doing any of this she picked these French books off the bookshelf (now she’s mastered reading in English, she’s decided to learn to read in French too), sat down on the sofa and started to read them out loud. It was so tempting to tell her to stop reading and to hurry up and get ready for school. But I stopped myself, and I let her read, which she loves to do, and I love to hear. And you know what? We were early for school in the end.