Actual statement from my five year old son the week before we left for vacation: "Dad you're always telling me to hurry up."
While always is always an exaggeration, especially in the mind of a five year old, his statement hit me like a right hook from Pacquiao.
If he felt that way, I'm sure our four daughters had similar feelings.
I started observing how often we said the word hurry in our home.
Hurry up and get ready for school. Hurry up we're going to be late to school. Hurry up, I'm late for work. Hurry home from school so you can get ready for practice. Hurry up and get your reading and homework done. Hurry up and shove food in your mouth. Hurry to bed. So we can hurry up and do it again tomorrow.
As parents, of course it's our responsibility to teach our kids how to be hard-working, prompt, respectful.
But is all the hurrying beneficial?
We're noticing the nasty current that comes with hurry:
- Short, shallow conversations
- Impatient, frustrated attitudes
- Unfocused presence because we're thinking of the five things we have to do next
- Distracted, fragmented relationships
- Rushed, incomplete everything
Our vacation came at a perfect time for us after beginning to see the shrapnel of such hurried lives. Not because vacation is a cure-all, it's not.
But it did allow us to step out of the chaos and overburdened calendar. In order to reclaim some peace, order and joy in our home.
Busy, especially while raising kids, isn't going away. But hurry can. It's a small distinction with a huge impact.
Is it possible to love this season of busy instead of simply enduring it?
With five kids, we're guilty of pushing, hurrying, rushing. But we're beginning to see the benefits of an unhurried family.
Here are five practical ways to unwind the hurry up:
- Have a Plan - hurrying typically comes from a frantic, rushed, calendar. You're in control of your calendar, you're not a victim of it. Block time each Sunday night to look at calendars for the week and agree how you'll tackle the week before it tackles you.
- Say No - this is related to the point above. Part of taking ownership of your calendar is that you have to learn to say no. With young kids, the requests are endless. Birthday parties, play dates, sleepovers, another sport, another event, another thing. Your kids won't fall apart, be socially awkward, not be well-adjusted or any other worst case scenario you play out in your head, if you start saying no to stuff. Even without a great excuse. Sometimes what we need is slow, quiet, together times in our own houses instead of the shuttling all over creation trying to meet others' expectations of our schedule.
- Sleep - sounds so simple, but it works. Our whole family needs more sleep. We've filled our calendars so full that the biggest sacrifice being made is actually resting. Don't feel guilty for taking a nap with your kid instead of tacking the endless to-do list. Don't be ashamed of shutting it down a bit earlier each night instead of folding the last load of laundry or balancing the budget.
- Minimize the Decisions - where are your shoes? Where is your backpack? Why are you wearing that? Why didn't we pack food? Why is your car out of gas? We've all experienced these questions and a thousand more like them. Become aware of the 80/20 rule of your frustrations. What most frequent issues keep popping up? Minimize those by being proactive and removing them from being an issue during the high stress times of getting out the door. Pick out clothes the night before, be sure lunches are packed, etc. Simple stuff but not necessarily easy.
- Be Present - it's tempting to always think about what's next. So much so that we completely miss the moment we're in. We have to hurry up and get home so we can hurry up and get to bed so we can hurry up and do it again tomorrow. Stop the madness. These days fly by way too quickly to always be thinking about what's next.
What would life look like if we found ways to enjoy the busyness, not simply survive it?
Now hurry up and quit hurrying.