The Kids

This Is Why Moms Can't Slow Down

by Katie Smith

Photograph by Twenty20

I dropped off my kids at school this morning and was rushing through the grocery store. I was trying to grab everything on my list as quickly as possible. My youngest has a birthday coming up and I want to make it special by making him that epic candy cake he wants so badly. I need to pick up his gift, I have work that needs to be handed in by the end of the day and I was starving. I grabbed a bag of nuts and popped them open. These will do until I can have a proper meal, I thought to myself as I forgot two things on my list. Then I remember my son has an appointment at 5. Shit, so much for down time tonight.

I plop down in my car and tell myself to calm the hell down. Maybe if I try and slow down a bit, I can breathe better. Maybe if I take my time, I won't be so forgetful. But the thing is, I'm so afraid if I stop sprinting around, there's no way I will get it all done.

Something will get left behind. I might forget to pick up the favors for the party. I might not get all the ingredients for dinner. I won't get all my work done. Those permission slips won't get signed. I won't have time to throw in that load of laundry that so desperately needs to get done because I literally have no clean underwear and my son told me this morning he didn't have any socks in his drawer.

I'm afraid if I take my time in a store to simply just browse around, everything will catch up to me and come crashing at my feet. There are days I'm afraid to sit down because I'm afraid I won't get up for the rest of the day. And the fear that I'll never be able to catch up is very real.

It overwhelms me just to think about it.

Moms don't slow down because they're deeply afraid that if they do, they will never make up for lost time. They are afraid if they slow down, things just won't get done. Let's face it, there is not some magic fairy that swoops in and takes care of things we forget. Momming doesn't work that way.

Moms learn that truth early on, so we keep on going.

No, we get the middle finger from parenting if we miss something, reminding us if we don't get something done, we just pay for it later. We don't want to pay for it later.

Even if we have a partner, let's face it, moms have a sixth sense. It's called noticing all the things that need to get done and racing around to make sure it happens come hell or high water. Yes, we might have helpers in our other family members, but who keeps reminding everyone to clean up after themselves? Moms—that's who.

Who teaches them how to do chores, tie their shoe laces, wipe and say "please" and "thank you"? Moms.

It takes energy and effort to do that. And we've all had our moments of letting things slide only to regret it in a bad way later. It doesn't matter how tired we are. It doesn't matter if we're going on no sleep or our back feels like it's broken. We struggle to slow down because we know it means we'll have double the amount of work later. And there's peace of mind in just getting it done now, so it's not hanging over our heads because who knows what's going to come up later.

Something always comes up. Things never go as planned. We literally cannot count on a smooth day. They are few and far between. Moms learn that truth early on, so we keep on going.

We refuse to slow down because we know it's easier this way. We push through the hard, tired hours of the day because it seems to be the only way to hang onto some type of order. Before we know it, slowing down isn't an option in our lives at all.

We get through the days. We get it all done. We are exhausted and don't think we have anything left. Then we check on our kids one last time before we fall into bed and see them sleeping soundly. We bend down to kiss their sweet cheeks, hear their soft breathing. And it somehow is enough—that precious sight is all we need to get up and start the race again the next day.

Explore More: advice
RELATED

I Decided to Send My Kid to Private School and, OMG, the Judgment!

More from kids