It’s official. I gave birth to two sloths.
Oh sure, they pass for human beings, with their swishy ponytails and their full English sentences. But don’t let them fool you. These children morph into slow-motion mammals as soon as you tell them to move.
“Get your shoes on, girls. We leave for karate in five minutes.” I rushed through the house, packing snacks and water bottles, smacking on a quick layer of lip gloss and searching for my phone.
Five minutes later, my children had not yet unglued their bottoms from the sofa.
“Girls! What did I say? It’s time to go to karate. Turn off the TV and put your shoes on.”
“I don’t want to go to karate today,” groaned the second-born creature. “I want to stay home.”
“Too bad. You love karate. We’re going. Put your shoes on.”
“Do we haaaaaave to go?” Big sister sprawled her legs across the sofa. I clenched my fists, closed my eyes, blew steam out my nostrils and counted to five—for me, not for them.
“Girls, what is our family rule?”
“Obeyyyyy the firrrrrrst tiiiiiiiime.” If sloths could speak, I’m sure they could not drawl those words any slower. My children know this rule. Yet the space between knowing and doing is where I live and train and discipline—and sometimes drive myself straight up the wall, which wouldn’t be so bad if I had the sloth gene, too, and could hang upside down on the ceiling fan for a nice long nap.
How do I get THROUGH to these
Mom is on a schedule! GET ON THE BUS OR GET RUN OVER, PEOPLE!!!!!!!!
Hmmm. Stress much?
Let’s rewind and replay the morning at sloth speed.
While I was watching the clock, trying to squeeze in one last chore or e-mail or status update before the last possible minute to get into the shower or else run late (again), my girls were seated at the kitchen table drawing flowers and dinosaurs. “Mommy, look at my picture!” In a minute, I said. Mom is busy.
When they ate their pancakes and asked for more, I answered five texts, switched two loads of laundry, and completely spaced the update that my kids were still hungry. “Mom, my pancake? You said I could have another one.” Dang it.
And while I barked at them to brush their teeth and comb their hair, I stood half naked in the mirror still fixing my own hair and makeup, clearly not demonstrating punctuality by example. Perhaps I could’ve gotten ready ten minutes earlier so I’d have time to relish their pretty reflections and tell them how beautiful God made them.
Do you see the problem here? I expect my children to enter my world—my fast-paced, clock-ticking, hamster wheel existence. But I seldom bother to slow into theirs, to delight in their artwork or their silly songs, to answer their curiosity with more than half a brain of distracted attention in those moments when I have things to do and places to go.
And I suspect I’m not alone.
Do you do it, too?
Maybe their dawdling is an issue of disobedience. Probably. Yes. I will continue to work on that. I don’t have any brilliant solutions or magic words of wisdom. I’m struggling just like you.
But maybe. Maybe their dawdling is partly a digging in—a show of resistance against their mother’s crazy pace. And if that’s the case? I could learn a few things from my kids. Perhaps in the space between knowing and doing, I am just as disobedient as they are.
“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’
‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her’” (Luke 10:38–42).
What will you choose today, momma? Tasks and distractions? Or living in the moment, soaking up what matters?
Yes, I know those tasks need to get done, oh man don’t I know it. But we have to keep them in perspective—because Jesus says those tasks are not the most important thing. Let’s show our kids how to keep up by walking alongside them rather than harping from behind. Amen?
“Moooom, where are you?” My girls called from the garage, where they were now buckled into the minivan and waiting for me—oh the irony.
“Thank you for getting ready on time,” I said as I slid into the driver’s seat, running two minutes late as usual.
“What took you so long?” My five-year-old scolded.
“I couldn’t find my shoes.”
“Hahaha,” she cracked up, “Mommy, you’re just like me! I lose my shoes all the time!”
Heaven help me. She’s right. My dawdlers and I—we’re growing up together.
This scripture always speaks to me, too! Right there with you! I better stop reading and get ready for work! 🙂
Ha ha! If this post made you three minutes late this morning, I’ll accept part of the blame, sister! 😉
Liz Millay says
Becky, this is great and so true! I also have dwaddler, a second generation dwaddler to be exact! (Like father like son!) just yesterday we had almost the same scene leaving to go shopping. It is such a struggle to balance the reality of just needing to *please. get. going. now.* and letting them be in their own daydreamy world. I am seeing this be a problem already with the small amount of preschool we do at home. He wants to dawdle and ask a million questions and go down alllll the rabbit trails. I do t want to squash his curiosity , but I also don’t want to take an hour to do a 10 minute reading lesson! So tricky!
Thanks again for the reminder that sometimes it’s on us to slow down. Going to share this on Facebook and Twitter now!
Liz, we are in this together! I can relate to trying to find that balance between efficiency and creativity. I don’t want to squash my kids’ sense of wonder, either. It’s tricky for sure! Thanks so much for sharing today!
Nicole S says
I absolutely love how we come to find that the Lord’s teachings written in this ancient book is ever bit as relevant today, as it was then. And how wonderful that you were able to see where that message applies in your life (and many others including me…lol!) Your daughters sound EXACTLY like my eldest! She is a procrastinating homebody. Getting her to get dressed and leave the house for anything outside of school is a challenge. Although, I suppose that between my husband and I she doesn’t fall too far from her parental trees 😉 Lovely post!
Yep, I have an apple that resembles her tree pretty closely, too! Praise God for his wisdom and grace.
Oh yes, we have this problem in my house, too. This morning, I was trying to hustle my oldest out of the house to get to camp on time… and then I realized that maybe I should have given him more than 20 minutes to be ready.
You are so insightful and wise beyond your years, sweet Becky! I always love visiting your place and being ushered into the hallows of your halls with your two little “sloths” as my/our guide. I’m grateful for the reminder to slow myself and soak up time with my family and the Lord. Those things are important, necessary and best too! Oh, how do we get it all done?! I also wanted to say this reminded me of a polar bear video that’s circulating out on FB lately. If you haven’t seen it, maybe Google polar bear sliding on ice. It’s a perfect picture of the slothfulness in each one of us! Hugs to you!
I’m going to look for that polar bear video right now, Beth! Thank you once again for your wonderful encouragement. You bless me!
Parent of a dawdler here and I have to learn to be more patient and take more time.
You and me both!
I have a toddler who is pretty efficient and getting out the door… until we go outside. Then she has to examine some weeds, listen to the birds sing, feel the gravel from our driveway in her hand. I have to stop and remind myself to let her explore God’s creation, unless we’re running really late, of course! 😉
I can relate to that, Sarah. We should all be so in tune with God’s creation! Sometimes I think our kids have it right.
Debbie @ One Little Project says
haha…. I can soooooooooooooo relate to this! I’m always running around like a crazy person and constantly trying to remind myself that it’s okay to stop working for 5 minutes so I can play some play dough with them. But every morning it’s like “Please take your pajamas off and get dressed,” then “did you hear me? Please get dressed.” then “Hello? Please get dressed girls!” then finally “PLEASE GET DRESSED OR YOU ARE GOING IN TIME OUT!” I swear, I wouldn’t yell so much if I didn’t have to say EVERYTHING 5 times!
Thanks for this post! It makes me feel more normal! 🙂
Ha ha! That sounds just like my house!
Brittany @ Equipping Godly Women says
Yep, I’ve definitely noticed that too. Of course my kids dawdle. It takes me forever to put down what I’m doing and get around to whatever they need help with. Why wouldn’t they do it too? Sigh…
Oh, I love this post! It reminds me of the times I get totally overwhelmed with so many grabby kids in my face that I snap out “EVERYONE JUST BE PATIENT!” and then realize I have totally lost my patience. Awesome. That gap between knowing and doing, it’s so real. Thanks for the reminder!