I was walking up the stairs behind my son one day and he was going SO SLOWLY!
I wanted to tell him to hurry up!
Or maybe I would try to push past him and go on ahead.
I have no idea what I was in such a hurry to get to, but I felt something a little bit like rage building up inside me. Not my best day, I guess!
On a whim, I started counting the seconds in my head. It’s an old coping mechanism for any time I have to wait.
I got to 7 before we got to the top of the stairs. Well, awesome! That didn’t take that long after all.
A few days later, I was helping him out of the car. He wanted to pause to put his shoes on, even though we were going straight into the house. Couldn’t he just grab them and go on in? There was that feeling again. I started counting.
I got to 8.
There are other times in our lives where the waiting is much longer. Baths sometimes seem to take forever! I have to use that time to do something else.
But what I’m talking about here are those little moments where I want to say, “Hurry up.” The little moments where I want him to just move a little faster, because… well, I’m not sure why, honestly. Because I’m a Big Bad Busy Adult with so many Very Important Things to get to?
That’s some bullshit right there.
Over the next few weeks I kept counting. It’s a habit now, and it reminds me every time how silly I am.
Because I have never gotten to 15.
15 seconds. At most! That’s what I’m trying to save when I want to rush him, push him, pressure him.
15 seconds is nothing. NOTHING. It is absolutely nothing to me. I don’t need it. It doesn’t help me.
But 15 seconds is everything to my kid.
It’s the freedom to do things himself.
The room to go his own pace.
The belief that I’m right there with him instead of rushing on ahead.
Give it a try next time you have the urge to rush your child along. Take a big breath and start counting the seconds.
Really look at what you’re trading for getting there a few seconds sooner.
Give those seconds back to your child.
And then, it turns out I get those seconds back, too. I’m not just standing on the stairs pissed that someone is in my way. I’m not tapping my foot and rolling my eyes, my body tense with impatience. Eventually, I don’t even have to count. I get those seconds back to just BE in the moment and BE with my child.
Those 15 seconds change my life, too.
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