"Quickly," I say as I stand holding the backseat car door open as I wait for them to unbuckle themselves and hop out of the car.
"Walk faster," I remind them as we make our way back down the cereal aisle towards the grocery checkout.
"Hurry up," I bark if we're getting our shoes on to go anywhere at all.
Yes, I tell my kids to move fast without hesitation, question or guilt. "Move fast" are two words that have been ingrained in my mind since I myself was a kid, thanks to my own mom. And thank goodness—moving fast is one of life's most important abilities that many modern parents, I think, are dropping the ball about when it comes to teaching our kids life skills.
No, we don't want our children rushing through life without enjoyment. No, we don't want our kids to be unappreciative of the present. But, do I believe we can enjoy life and be mindful at a faster pace? Yes. Why? Because it's a time-saving and valuable way to prepare our kids for their futures as working adults and parents.
Right out of college, I worked for a business genius and famous financial wizard in the media world for about six months (I'll leave his name out of this, because you most definitely would recognize it and I'm not sure if he'd like his words twisted for the sake of modern parenting tips. Let's just say he was responsible for creating Power Rangers.) He'd say, "If you mind the pennies, the dollars take care of themselves." I took these words most seriously and started doing my own lifestyle math through my 20s: If pennies are minutes, then hours can add up big time too. This way of living stuck with me after becoming a parent, too.
Practically everyone I know asks me, "How do you fit it all in? The kids' lessons, work, household duties, school stuff, family time, activities and writing a book?" My answer always leaves them looking confused. "I move fast," I tell them. They don't get it and think I'm being cagey and snarky while hiding some secret full-time nanny/housekeeper/assistant somewhere. But it's the truth. I. Move. Fast. No hidden help required.
The faster you move, the more you can fit into your day. It's pure math.
But how can you enjoy anything if you're just moving fast? You're teaching your kids to rush through life?!
Moving fast helps us cope with the ongoing issue of so much to do, so little time that every single mom I know deals with. I load the dishwasher fast. I dress fast. I put on my seatbelt fast. I talk and write fast (sorry, friends and coworkers). I fix my bed fast. I refuse to waste precious time on things that matter less than more important stuff, and it's a strategic skill I'm trying to teach my daughters every day as they grow up.
I tell my daughters to "hurry up and move fast" for their own future survival in a demanding world. "If you make decisions fast, get dressed quickly and don't waste time on unimportant stuff throughout your day like getting out of the car, then you'll have more time to play and spend quality time on things you actually like to do."
The more I train them to move quickly, the better prepared they'll be for life's swift-moving and overabundant to-do's when they're adults. They'll be better equipped to handle a busy, full life with ongoing family/work/personal responsibilities than the kids who were raised being able to take their sweet time getting shoes on back in the day.
Am I wrong?
But how can you enjoy anything if you're just moving fast? You're teaching your kids to rush through life?! I'm glad you asked. And while this may not be an answer everyone likes, it's true: Not every single tiny thing in life requires pure and uninterrupted enjoyment—some things just need to get done and be done.
Do we really need to' enjoy the act of brushing our teeth? I'll argue no. In fact, I'll argue that moving quickly requires extra concentration on the immediate task at hand so that we may do it quickly, without distraction, and move on to the next thing. And we've all read the benefits of incorporating true mindfulness into our day, right?
Now excuse me, but my time here is up. It's been a blast. But I've got a dishwasher to unload.