“Hurry, hurry.” I tell him. “We’re going to be late.” “What’s late?” He asks casually, not hurrying at all. I’ve explained “late” at least a dozen times, but his concept of time is not the same as mine. He’s 3. “Hurry” is not a word he enjoys. In fact, it’s not a word he even so much as acknowledges. He sees no need for it. Why should we hurry? I get it. I get him. But, if I were to follow his lead, we’d never actually make it anywhere at all.
I struggle with this. I struggle with hurrying him. I love who he is. I don’t want him to have to hurry. But there are certain protocols that society dictates and expects. It’s the game of life and we have no choice but to play. We must be on time … or at least close.
Like most 3 year olds, N is a free spirit. He beats to his own drum. This big ole world hasn’t broken him, hasn’t even attempted to snuff out his soul. And, I don’t want it to. I want to see this world through his eyes. It’s beyond refreshing. Yet, a typical outing for us involves a battle over getting dressed (“I want comfy clothes, not jeans”), over brushing teeth (“Not right now, after George is over”), over getting his shoes on (“Not yet, not yet, not yet”). Once all of that is done, and N is buckled in his car seat it’s usually, “Oh, Mommy, I have to pee again” or “I forgot my blanket” or fill-in-the-blank item of the day. I try to make it to where we are going. I try not to snap his neck in the process. I aim to be on time. I do. And, I was never very good at being on time when it was just ME. Now it just feels nearly impossible. Oh, yes, and did I mention there’s the other one too?! A, the 7-month-old who’s certainly not without her needs. She loves to fill her diaper with a fun surprise right before we head out the door!
So, how do we find a balance between letting them move freely at their own pace, enjoying the world as they go and making it out the door to where we need to be? I struggle with the anxiety that I feel about time and hurrying. It makes me frazzled. It makes me impatient. Some days, it even makes me mean. I snap. I threaten. I certainly say things that I shouldn’t. And, I feel terrible about it.
Today, I hurried them. But, I used more kisses and less empty threats. I used gentle reminders. I started the process earlier. It felt good. Still, A was crying when I buckled her in. Still, a glass was broken and needed cleaned up. Still, our dog came in with mulch and mud all over her. Still, we were late. But, it’s just going to have to be. I’m just going to have to take deeper, slower breathes. I’m not going to give myself a panic attack. I’m going to use the word “hurry” a little less, but it WILL still be used from time to time. And I’m not going to feel guilty about that. That’ll just have to be. We’ll aim to be on time. But, it’ll be okay if we are a little late. It will just have to be. N doesn’t feel stressed. Why should I? Yes, I have to guide them, lead them and show them what responsibility looks like. But, they don’t need to see me fret over the little things so much. Let’s pick what matters. Take our time where we can. Hurry when we have to, and enjoy a slower pace whenever time allows. Breathe. It’ll all be okay. It will just have to be.