rushing: are we saving time, or wasting it?

Something I’ve noticed the last few weeks about myself: I’m always in a rush. I rush to get out of the house in the morning. I rush M to get dressed, eat, get out of the house, get into her car seat. Then rush her out of the car seat, into the building, hug and kiss me, go into the class. Then again I rush her back into the car. Then back out of the car. Then into the house (or wherever we are). I rush through the store while shopping, to get out as fast as possible. I rush to get stuff done, like making dinner, or tidying up. I rush M through the shower (“wash your hair, rinse it out, come on get out of the tub”). I rush her into bed. Everything I do is crackling like static electricity with my impatience.

I rush to get through one thing, so that I can rush to get through the next. I just have no idea why. Is it our society? The way I was raised? The fact that I feel like I have to be on time and always worry that I won’t be? Is it just plain habit? Is it healthy? Is it something I want to pass down to the next generation???

Ultimately, I think I waste a whole lot of precious time “under pressure”. It causes M to dig in her heels and refuse. She hasn’t yet adapted to our society, she hasn’t been beaten down, she hasn’t been indoctrinated. She doesn’t understand the “adult” timetable, doesn’t see time at all in the same way. I see how I must appear to her: totally neurotic. I’m obsessed with getting on with it, getting in, getting out, getting through. She’s focused on the moment. Because we have to function in the real world, we need to do things in a reasonable time frame, that is true. But could we also not go a little slower, relax a little, not always be in a rush?

My goal? To try to meet her somewhere in the middle. I’m giving this considerable effort. I’ve started to recognize my neuroses for what it is, almost a disorder of obsessive-compulsiveness. I become so impatient when it takes more than 30 seconds to get M out of the car, I could explode! This is unreasonable. This is quite possibly insane. Nothing bad is going to happen if it takes 60 seconds, two minutes, even *gasp* five minutes to transition from the house to the car, from the car to the store. The world is not going to end if we take a half hour longer in the store because M wants to, say, look at the watches on the shelf and open and close all of the boxes they are in. *This happened last week.* She took about 15 minutes to explore those watch boxes, reorder them, and play with them. She was very content. I was going crazy. “Those watch boxes are not interesting! I am so bored! OMG you are taking forever playing with those! Hurry up! Let’s go! Let’s get out of the store!” Insane. I did not say any of those things out loud. I did not confine her to the cart. I did not drag her physically away. But boy was I wanting to!

Now when I pick her up from school, she doesn’t want to get right into the car. She wants to play with the leaves on the side of the parking lot. I’ve been forcing myself to just let her play in the leaves. We have nowhere we really have to be. We certainly have 5 or 10 minutes to spare. Who am I to say that it’s ok to spend 5 extra minutes returning texts on my phone and not playing in leaves? So, she plays. The teacher and other parents think I don’t control my child and she’s unruly and we are weird. But that’s ok, right? Because who is really crazier, here?

So that’s where I am when it comes to rushing, specifically with my daughter, who has not yet been brainwashed into the Culture of Rushing yet. I’m trying to learn from her and see where it takes me. I have a feeling it just might be somewhere good.

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5 Comments »

  1. The timing of this is uncanny. We are really on the same wavelength! In fact, I have a post just like this started. I am *constantly* rushing to get from A to B, or get her out of the tub, or get dinner done, or get our shoes on, rush rush rush rush rush. Part of it is necessary – getting ready for work in the morning, we have to be on a tight timeline. But MOST of the time, we don’t need to rush or hurry or even be anywhere at a certain time. I am really, truly trying to take Evelyn’s lead and keep my patience intact. It’s hard!

  2. I feel you on this one! Obviously there are times when I’m not going to let my girl dink around because we have to be somewhere or whatever, but I try to let her take her time when I can. I’ve come to a compromise where things like getting ready in the morning, going to the store, etc. are on my time, but going for walks, going to the park or zoo, taking a bath at night, are totally at her pace.

  3. I could have written this post! I feel the exact same way – just rushing though one activity to another. Its exhausting and not productive at all at the end as you so rightly point out. I do try to take thing really easy on weekends, and we also take our time walking back to the car from classroom so she can pick stones and leaves, etc.

  4. This is my life! I think I waste more time saying hurry up then if I just let the kids be. I just know that with 4 kids one little slip up and it is all downhill.

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