Are You Fed Up with Frenzy?

I thought I had protected my children from the frantic pressure of modern life — limiting screen time, skipping after-school activities, and keeping weekends open for reading, friends, and handmade paper dolls. But as a blogger for hire, I was participating in the rat race. Eventually the stress, the hurry, and the striving were bound to seep in and trickle down to our children.

Overscheduling, outsourcing, multi-tasking, carpooling — we’re all doing what we can to keep up with the demands of a super-charged world.  And it’s not just the world, it’s ourselves.  It’s how we react to the pressures and the expectations:  do we pile more on our plates, or do we carve out time to rest and reflect?

Even though “slow” connotes laziness and lack of ambition, it’s actually harder to slow down. Slowing down takes commitment and discipline; going with the flow is easier.

The quickening of our culture has been gradual. Maybe some of us didn’t realize how fast it had become until we got overwhelmed. It was as if we were floating down a river in inner tubes, like we did in high school, with coolers of beer, cut-off t-shirts, and sunburned cheeks.  Then we woke up to find ourselves in a swift, swelling river.  Now we’re so busy navigating the whirlpools, white-water rapids, and confusing forks in the river that it’s hard to enoy the ride anymore.

Why is Life Faster Now?

Three trends are standing out as driving the fastness of family life today:

  1. Both parents in most American families are working full-time;
  2. Technology keeps getting quicker, easier, more portable, and more accessible;
  3. The pressure on education, all the way down to preschool, has intensified as competition is greater for college degrees and good jobs.

Some of these issues are larger than we are, but we do have choices in how we deal with them.  Not everyone can or would want to make some of the choices our family has made (only one parent doing paid work, no cable TV or personal electronics, and little to no organized sports and activities).  There are simpler ways to negotiate pockets of downtime, and fill them with stuff that satisfies.

Fed Up With Frenzy: Slow Parenting in a Fast-Moving World gives us lots of compelling reasons to climb out of the swelling river every once in a while, and author Susan (Suz) Lipman shows us how to find that rope swing and what to do once we are on the shore.

Frugal and Slow are Sisters

I have felt in tune with Susan’s message even before I knew her.  She has been standing up for slowing down since 2002, when she founded her blog Slow Family Online.  As her daughter has grown up, she has taken on more leadership roles in the slow parenting movement.  She is the social media director for the Children & Nature Network, founded by Richard Louv of the seminal Last Child in the Woods; she writes for the Christian Science Monitor’s new Modern Parenthood blog; and I am honored that she is also now one of Frugal Mama’s new contributors.

Suz once told me that frugal and slow are sisters, and I could not agree more. Most slow activities are free, like state parks and homemade jam, but saving money requires slowing down enough to have the time to do it.

There is another consequence of letting the pace of life envelop us. When life goes too fast, we don’t have time to figure out what is important to us. And when we aren’t in touch with our values, we get sloppy. We grab the iPad to keep the kids from whining, we throw together frozen meals instead of planning ahead, we spend more money than we should because we never stopped to establish rules.

In fact, I had trouble even figuring out what my values were until I found enough peace and quiet (unplugging in nature) to listen to what was inside.  Thankfully it didn’t take a tragedy, as it did with Steve Jobs and many other less famous people.  Putting things into perspective can be as simple as asking one of those “when you look back on your life” questions.

Honoring Life’s Simple Pleasures

In case you are wondering what slow parenting is and why it’s good, Suz goes into all the benefits to children and parents in the first chapter of her book — such as how kids need unstructured play for their cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being, or how some of the best family interactions happen during downtime.

I have to admit that, when reading Fed Up With Frenzy, I began to well up thinking of how many sweet moments I had let slip away from my life in pursuit of more money and prestige.

What about the simple act of reading to a child?  Bedtime stories are sacred at our house, but in the past year, I had run myself down so much that I was too exhausted and cranky to enjoy them much.

Suz says, ”When we spend time holding our kids in our laps and reading to them, we’re doing more than transferring words. We’re transferring affection and the idea they they are important to us and that we value the time spent together.”

Reading to a child, whether it’s a chapter book or a fairytale, close enough so that we can feel each other’s warmth and weight, is symbolic of all the small yet important activities that we sometimes brush aside as we get busier and busier.

Balancing Craziness with Calm

As you know I recently decided to realign my actions with my priorities.  By putting the brakes on work and achievement, I give more weight to my job as a parent and wife.

Fed Up With Frenzy author Susan Sachs Lipman

Instead of pushing myself so hard to get more and more done while my kids were in school or napping, I am shutting off the computer a little earlier, giving myself time to prepare an afternoon snack, getting the kids up sooner from their nap so they can wake up gently, and even resting for 20 minutes instead of making more coffee and trying to cram more into my day.

Fed Up With Frenzy is mostly a collection of gentle games, ideas, and activities, and I need them as much as anyone. I might be an at-home mom, but I’m the organized productive mom, not the fun mom who lets the dishes pile up in the sink. And with constant temptations from screens, chores, and status, I need the encouragement to stop and play.

I need to stop sweeping the porch and teach my kids jumprope games. (Fed Up With Frenzy has a bunch of them — foursquare and hopscotch too.) When my kids lose interest in the garden, I need Suz’s ideas for spicing it up with sunflower houses and seed-growing races. I need to find more ways to replace the commercialism of the holidays with different family traditions.

If any of you are thinking that you’re already parenting too much, don’t feel like you have to add more to your plate. Slow parenting is just as much about giving ourselves permission to let go and downshift, as it is about connecting with each other.

A pretty impressive array of experts, parenting authors, and thought leaders have written blurbs for this book, so if you have any doubts (because it’s true that I do know and like Suz), then open up a copy at your bookstore and check out the testimonials from people like Richard Louv and Carl Honore’. And don’t skip over the forward by the author’s daughter.  (If my children would grow up with this much respect for my ideals, I could rest in peace.)

Win a Free Copy of the Book

The publisher, Source Books, gave me an extra copy of Fed Up With Frenzy to give away, and I’d love to mail it to one of you.  If you are interested, please help me understand how our fast culture affects you by answering this question in the comments: What is your biggest obstacle to slowing down?

Please leave your comment by next Wednesday, September 26. A winner will be chosen at random will be announced on the Frugal Mama Facebook page on Thursday.

Even if you don’t want to be entered, I’d love to hear your thoughts about how we get so hectic.

Thank you,

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45 comments

  • Amy September 28, 2012, 2:37 pm

    Thank you everyone for sharing what keeps you from finding a slower pace of life.

    What I am hearing is that we are feeling pressure from 1) our jobs, 2) our kids’ activity schedules and our feeling that encouraging or allowing children to participate in a lot is helping their chances for success, 3) the ever-growing presence of glowing screens and the intense self-discipline required to turn them off, and finally 4) our own drive to keep moving, experiencing, creating, and accomplishing.

    You’ve given me a lot of food for thought this week, and I can identify with where you are coming from. I too struggled with trying to make money while raising children, and I continue to struggle with getting distracted by emails and other pings and dings while I am trying to get something done on the computer.

    I am one of those people who has a hard time sitting still, and I am realizing that quiet moments — whether it’s a couples dinner, a family trip to the nature center, or a solitary trip to the bookstore — might need to be put on the calendar or other more seemingly pressing concerns will take over.

    My kids are under-scheduled right now (only Virginia has a piano lessons), but sometimes I wonder whether they should be participating in a tiny bit more. As parents we just want to know we’re doing the right thing, and we are constantly getting varied messages from society and the media.

    I plan on addressing all these issues on future posts here on this blog, so I thank you for helping me see what’s relevant and on your minds.

    As for the free copy of the book, Fed Up With Frenzy, my random number generator picked Shannon’s comment. Congratulations, Shannon, and thank you once again to everyone for participating.

    -Amy

    Reply
  • Liz September 26, 2012, 9:30 pm

    I can get in quite a frenzy when I try to do too many things at once or have a really long to-do list. I get so excited about all the projects I want to do, that I start several and complete none of them. I find it helpful now to focus on one task until it is finished. This helps me to slow down, and I get more accomplished.

    Reply
  • Kyra September 26, 2012, 2:07 pm

    My biggest obstacle is there is always too much to do!

    Reply
  • Annie Kip September 24, 2012, 10:12 pm

    I hope this doesn’t sound like a cop-out, but I think it is my kids. They seem to really like the activities they do. They love being with their friends. They would kill me if I made them move to a town with a slower pace. We are the weird famuily who doesn’t watch TV. We limit screen time and scary movies, and we have family dinners and neighborhood picnics. It is really hard to back even further out of the mainstream while maintaining the lifestyle my kids seem to love, but I would if I could. I would live on a farm off the grid if I could!

    Reply
  • Teresa September 24, 2012, 5:15 pm

    My biggest obstacle to slowing down is finding myself spending too much time
    on the computer, whether it is email, website browsing or online ordering. I need
    to find ways to slow down more and I think I would enjoy this book!

    Reply
  • Audrey September 24, 2012, 4:02 pm

    This morning I read a quote from the psychologist Henry Cloud (on Facebook, no less): “Wise people have problems; foolish people have patterns.” My biggest problem is letting my everyday patterns (checking blogs/emails/all that paying attention to the seemingly urgent) cloud my progress toward living more slowly and simply. Basically, I THINK I don’t have enough time because of the PATTERNS I’ve created that suck up all of that time!

    Reply
  • Shelley16 September 24, 2012, 10:18 am

    Amy, this post and most of your other posts really strike a cord with me. I work full time because of financial necessity and feel frenzied most of the time. I would love to “win” a copy of this book as I am “Fed Up With Frenzy”!! Both kids are involved in afterschool activities – so when I am done with my first job my second job as shuttle service, juggler, etc. begins. When we finally get to slow down on Sat. afternoon and Sunday we are all so exhausted that we don’t take advantage of true, quality family time. All my coworkers keep asking me “how do you do it all?” After reading this, I/we are definitely going to take a step back as soon as this fall sports season committment is over. Thank you!

    Reply
  • Lina September 24, 2012, 6:14 am

    Working full time has got to be my biggest obstacle. Not enough time in the day, but I do the best I can with what I’ve got.

    Reply
  • Julie September 24, 2012, 1:40 am

    I enjoy both being high- and low-powered as a parent, and I love to peruse ideas! My biggest obstacle is not getting enough sleep…so I’m grumpy…which leads to not very much fun. So now I’m off to bed : )

    Reply
  • Imra September 23, 2012, 8:39 pm

    It seems like slowing down has become the latest trend with moms rushing off to get books and following instructions on how to be a slow parent – looks like there is competition now on who can be slowest parent.. This really cracks me up.. seriously whatever happened to that thing called the parenting / mothering instinct and just being and enjoying time with your children in whatever ways that feels right for you and your family…

    I consider myself a lazy parent but if you are a type A and doing a lot of things (It doesn’t matter if it is the extra curricular activities or domestic activities like baking or gardening) is your style and your kids enjoy that pace – what on earth is wrong with that? Everyone does the best they can with their children given their circumstances and parenting style. This new trend promoting one style of parenting over another and finger wagging at ‘sloppy’ parents who feed frozen dinners (for goodness sake – the kids are still getting dinner -maybe they did something really fun that day!) is simply another way of making some feel ‘ahead’ in the parenting business and an example of how parenting can become a substitute for a career – especially for the type A’s – with the same need to be ‘ahead’..

    And No Thanks – please don’t include me in the draw – I really don’t need another book – with a list of things I should be doing with my child. In any case I am usually suspicious when teenagers write flowery prose about their parents – that doesn’t seem quite age – appropriate or natural..

    Reply
    • Amy September 28, 2012, 2:45 pm

      Imra,

      I don’t feel that talking about slow parenting is like a competition. On the contrary, movements like this help people feel less alone and part of something larger than themselves. Mainstream culture in America promotes a fast pace with lots of plugging in, signing up, and earning more — it’s nice to know that there are alternative ways of living.

      Not everyone is confident enough to know they are doing everything right, and hearing how other people are finding value and meaning in a different lifestyle can be a source of strength and comfort.

      If you are happy with the pace of your life and your parenting style, then this would be a post to ignore — and please do not leave disparaging remarks about other people’s children. Future comments like that will be removed.

      Differing opinions are ok, but let’s keep the criticism constructive and supportive.

      -Amy

      Reply
      • Imra October 11, 2012, 8:10 pm

        I don’t think I made a disparaging remark about a child. Though I did criticize the child’s work. When parents allow a child’s work to be published they are invariably exposing the child’s words to all type of criticism. This is the real world.

        Of course, you are free to delete this or any comment you consider offensive – it is your blog! I need to learn to hit delete or turn away when I read articles / blogs I consider offensive to me – all these upper middle class first world problems about child rearing :)

        Reply
  • Mia September 23, 2012, 2:10 pm

    My biggest obstacle is also the computer. (I’ll get off right after this comment. Really!!) But I can really relate to the need for parents to slow down. As a parent, I try not to have my kids overly scheduled. As a teacher of children ages 3 – 6, I am often dumbfounded by the amount of activities that parents impose on kids at this age. I would love to tell them to stop & just let their kids be kids for awhile. This time in their lives goes so quickly as it is, they really do not need every moment of every day completely filled with playdates, sports, lessons, & the like.

    Reply
  • Cathy B*****y September 23, 2012, 3:17 am

    my biggest obstacle is myself!… even when the body slows down the brain does not… so the lists get longer by the hour… and of course, rarely get checked off!
    Cathy B*****y pbprojecthope at yahoo dot com

    Reply
  • Andrea Hamilton September 22, 2012, 10:23 pm

    My biggest obstacle is the computer. It seems everything I need is digital…maps, documents, email, weather reports. But everytime I sit down I get trapped. One click leads to another and before I know the kids are waking up and the dishes are still in the sink. I am working on taming this problem and I frequently take a “fast” from Facebook, etc. to limit the number of things on the screen that scream for my attention.

    Reply
  • Rebecca September 22, 2012, 7:39 pm

    I am definitely fed up with frenzy! My biggest obstacle is that I always feel like I should be doing more. I should be teaching my son more, I should be taking him to the park more, I should be doing activities like art and music more, I should be going to story time more, I should be working more, I should be cleaning the house more – the list goes on and on and on, but I’ll stop here. I just feel like whatever I do it isn’t enough, I could always do more. I wish I could just shut that voice out of my head, but the pressure to do more is always there.

    Reply
  • kate w September 22, 2012, 4:14 pm

    my biggest obstacle is that I love projects: whether its gardening, house improvements, creating stained glass, creating photo books, etc. My lists-of-things-to-do, combined with my full-time job in land conservation for an NGO, and the general maintenance of life with two small children, sometimes takes away from time spent on picnics, living-room dance parties, creating fairy houses, and making up stories about our dog’s adventures when he goes out the dog door.

    Reply
  • Shannon September 22, 2012, 2:45 pm

    My biggest obstacle is better budgeting. I am now working part-time, but am always worried about having “enough”, enough in savings, enough to do inexpensive, yet fun activities. I guess my biggest obstacle, now that I think about it, would have to be the “enough” factor.

    Reply
    • Amy September 28, 2012, 2:49 pm

      Hi Shannon,

      Thank you for sharing this thought about budgeting and “enough.” You are not alone, believe me.

      My random number generator chose you to receive a copy of Fed Up with Frenzy. Congratulations! Please send me your snail mail address to info @ frugal-mama.com and I’ll get it into the mail to you.

      Wishing you a slow weekend :-)
      Amy

      Reply
  • Jeanette September 22, 2012, 2:29 pm

    Being a single mother I have to work – still waiting to win the lottery (LOL). With budget cuts at work, everyone is having to do more work with less man power. So even when I try to get home early or just on time, it’s hard to do.

    Reply
  • Sarah Hickok September 22, 2012, 1:28 pm

    my biggest obstacle is peer pressure. I homeschool my kids, partly due to the overscheduled-ness of life, and my kids’ (really my son’s) need for downtime. But even with homeschooling, September rolls around and the email lists start lighting up with workshops, tours, shows, classes, etc… it makes it hard to remember that one reason I homeschool is to have lots of downtime.

    Sarah

    Reply
  • maggie September 22, 2012, 11:49 am

    My biggest obstacle is that I can’t say no!

    Reply
  • Deepa September 22, 2012, 7:19 am

    Hello frugal-mama,

    Stumbled onto your website while was digging the internet for clues to raise my 2 kiddos.

    My anxiety and fear are the obstacles…. . Of what you ask?

    if what i am doing is enough for them to make a place for themselves in this world

    if what i am teaching them will give them enough confidence to be their own person in their own skin and not morph into an impersonation of an xyz

    My fear that they will become me – always have a hundred ideas but never be able to accomplish…

    I want them to visualize, dream and be confident and have faith in their abilities, so that one day they may say

    ‘My life I am proud of’ and not as ‘My life I survived’.

    oh my kids are just 4 and 2 year old.
    hope i dont’ scar them for life with my weird thoughts and trials.

    Deepa. (that’s my name)

    Reply
  • Melissa September 22, 2012, 2:26 am

    School and sports activities and schedules are frantic times.

    Reply
  • Jennifer Ott September 22, 2012, 12:28 am

    My greatest obstacle is my own boredom and wanting to please others. My kiddos are perfectly happy doing simple things: reading, cooking, playing together. I want to go places, buy things, do anything others ask of me. I want to do what I think will be “best” for my kids…even at the expense of the time to just be kids! Thanks for the chance to win what looks like a great book!

    Reply
  • Kim September 22, 2012, 12:15 am

    I sometimes think that the greatest obstacle is saying “no”. There are so many choices now to choose for your kids or yourself. As a reader stated earlier, you do feel a bit guilty if you don’t have an agenda or activity of some sort planned. I was talking to a professor at George Fox College. He was headed to Africa to help with one of the christian schools in Kenya. He said that time seems to be of no importance there. They don’t constantly look at thier watches and are not controlled by the clock. I wish sometimes that we could do that as well. I am trying to slow down my family’s schedule but my twin boys decided they wanted to do club soccer and fall ball. For Sept. and Oct. we are busy each weekend day. I now realize it was a mistake. This isn’t slowing down but rather the opposite. I learned my lesson but it’s hard to stop especially when sports are involved. I am fed up with the frenzy too! Looking forward to reading your book someday.

    Reply
  • Eloise Porter September 21, 2012, 11:34 pm

    Frenzy is like the train that once you jump on it becomes more and more difficult to disembark. So the gifted school gives too much homework for normal life balance, are you going to cheat your child? And waht about the super athletic one who seems to thrive on all things competive whether its soccer or swimming or quiz bowl competitions. And then sometimes I wonder if it is my own fear of an empty calendar. I just want to breathe and enjoy these moments with my children ages 13 – 4 .. when I look at my own childhood, it is the family bikerides and evenings by the fire I most fondly recall, not all my acheivements and performances.

    Reply
  • kirsty September 21, 2012, 11:08 pm

    My biggest obstacle is myself and my need to have the house clean and tidy! I am forever putting off playing with my kids til the dishes are done or the clothes washed and hung out! I need to put them ahead of my clean house!
    Thanks for another great article! Have bought the book!

    Reply
  • Sara September 21, 2012, 10:04 pm

    My biggest obstacle to slowing down is having to making money. The stress of having making money as a work at home mom is an even more striking contradiction, because you have your sweet wonderful baby boy right there looking up at you and you feel guilty for wanting more time to work so that you can make your mortgage payment and feed your child and get him basic necessities and doctors appointments, etc. The moments with him during the day when he’s awake are priceless (when he’s not teething). And I’ll never regret them. I will regret all the time I spent worrying about bills. I don’t know how to change that.

    Reply
  • Renee P September 21, 2012, 9:23 pm

    I have a difficult time trying to balance giving my children opportunities in education and social/sports activities and forgoing activities. In my mind the conflict is if we dont participate will it put them at a disadvantage later. I would love to read the book to gain insight and help to further develop my parenting skills.

    Reply
  • Caroline September 21, 2012, 9:21 pm

    Technology is a huge obstacle in our house! DH and I are both nerds and love techie toys. He’s better about setting limits on himself than I am, but I’m working on it. Admitting the problem it is half the battle, right? :-)

    Thanks for another great post. Closing the laptop now, seriously!!!

    Reply
  • Christy Laverty September 21, 2012, 8:57 pm

    The biggest obstacle is ME! and what I think I should be doing. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do more, be more, have more, write more, parent more…I am working on changing that internal dialogue. It is important to quite the voice inside my head, to tell myself to slow down and enjoy the moment – to be truly present. I love the idea of slow parenting! I think life becomes more meaningful when you slow down to truly appreciate the great things in our lives

    Reply
  • janene@EverydayEO September 21, 2012, 7:43 pm

    I just decreased my work week to one day teaching part time–I have to literally pull myself away from the computer and say no to some of the mundane unimportant things to make more time for the meaningful tim that my kids deserve. I find myself breathing deeply often these days as I realize my expectation for the house and all things are too much if I am not enjoying the smallest moments with the kids–it is a process, but I am happy that I have been enlightened–I already put a request in to the library for this book–just finished Almost Amish and some of the principles seem to parallel.

    Reply
  • Joanna September 21, 2012, 3:59 pm

    My biggest obstacle and at the same time motivation is my son. When he was a baby doctors at a hospital gave him encephalitis. He survived, he’s even developing almost normally. There is just one problem – he can’t understand speech (and, of course, speak). He can hear, but has some problems with localisation and discrimination of sounds.
    At 3.5 years he doesn’t really understand the concept of time or waiting (only on a very small scale, e.g. I’m preparing a sandwitch and he will observe me and wait for it, but cooking pasta is accompanied by crying, because nothing apparently happens and he can’t yet have it), so for him everything needs to be right now.
    On the other hand he needs extra attention and work to learn any form of communication. It took him over 6 months from the day that he voluntarily sat on a potty to the day that he understood what he shoud do while sitting.

    Reply
  • Jennifer September 21, 2012, 3:48 pm

    Gosh, sometimes it’s hard to put into words how I feel or what I am thinking. I think, not being confident with what feels is right for me and my family has been one of the biggest obstacles. I have come to realize once I had become confident in my decisions that I wasn’t going to be like everyone else those obstacles became easier to overcome. We just moved and everyone thinks we are crazy for not owning a television. I think they feel sorry for us because I have been offered a T.V. about 5 times. I have commented on here a couple times. I am quiet, but I assure you I read every post. I am taking it all in!

    Reply
  • heather September 21, 2012, 3:44 pm

    My biggest obstacle to slow is wanting to do so much and, at times, losing sight of the long term benefits of slowness. Signing the kids up for soccer produces instant results and applause from society. Spending that time at home allowing the kids to have free play time can cause me feel like we haven’t accomplished anything even though days spent in free play time pay big dividends in the long term. The dividends come in the from of character, family closeness, and similar qualities that are not easily put into a box. A sport’s scholarship seems impressive, but a kid with natural curiosity and internal peace and strong family bonds are beyond value. I struggle to not buy into the “we can do it all and have it all” mentality. I want slow and I want kids who do sports and who are smart and who are connected with family and… For me the challenge is to narrow it all down and select wisely what to say “yes” to and what to say “no” to. This book sounds like an excellent help in this area.

    Reply
  • Melanie September 21, 2012, 3:31 pm

    Perfectionism is definitely a barrier to slowing down. When you constantly have the feeling that nothing is good enough, every waking moment carries the weight of “I should be doing…” When I was a teenager I remember my aunt (once her kids were grown) looking back on her kids’ younger years and saying, “I wish I didn’t spend so much time mopping the floors and trying to maintain a perfectly clean home.” I feel like I’ve fallen into the same trap even after that statement stuck with me all these years. It makes me sad that most women have such high standards for EVERYTHING, and that striving to achieve perfection only leads to disappointment and regret. I am hoping this book can be a wake up call before I find myself in my aunt’s shoes. Thanks so much for your post!

    Reply
  • Alison @ L is for Latte September 21, 2012, 3:28 pm

    Comment #2 (sincere this time, not smart-aleck): My biggest obstacle to slowing down is wanting to do and try everything–crafts, cooking, playing with the kids, running, knitting, photography, blogging, mini-travel, napping, reading, Netflix, watching a handful of fave TV shows, gardening, home decorating, entertaining, going out to eat with friends, de-cluttering, organizing my house, helping at school, writing letters to friends and family, and the list goes on.

    Sadly, even I can’t drink enough coffee to make this all happen… :)

    Reply
  • Alison @ L is for Latte September 21, 2012, 3:23 pm

    What? No organized sports? No cable? No personal electronics? That’s positively unAmerican!!!! :)

    You know I’m kidding you, right? :)

    Reply
    • Amy September 28, 2012, 2:47 pm

      Hi Alison,

      Smiling when I write this: I know, as much as I love my country, I have often felt a little on the fringes.

      Here’s to being weird!
      Amy

      Reply
  • Javamom September 21, 2012, 2:15 pm

    Currently I am not working outside the home for paid work but have taken on contract work to do at home occasionally. Which has added to the frenzy for me. Still, for most families today a second job for the spouse at some point usually becomes necessity. There are simply things we want to help us with our frenzied life-style, to make things easier for us.

    It’s a tough, tough balance to achieve. But it is not impossible. Individual families make choices unique to their dynamic, and for us this means most of my awake time is spent thinking, shopping or growing and cooking food. Growing and cooking food is done in a slow and determined manner (and I encourage the kids to participate) but it is a time-consuming activity. Still, it’s one of those trade-offs…yet, as we get older I find that the option to reach for a restaurant phone number is a nice one to have after a particularly busy or crazy week. And for that, a second income certainly is helpful (or essential). Or, to upgrade the aging phone to a better one which helps me during the time I am working. Or to let the child play in organized sport if he really wants to and follows through with his part of the responsibility (be accountable for equipment, be ready to leave at given time, homework without complaining). None of this can happen without money, but I/we recognize that we don’t have to make it happen, either. It’s a trade-off. We make choices.

    Still. I love this idea of slow parenting. I’m an advocate (and participant) in slow food, and do plan my days accordingly so that my children, and my family, get plenty of time to live life slow(er) at times. The simple daily walk to and from school every day and the 1 hour+ they spend playing with their friends after school, that is all part of it for us.

    This is a great post and I will have to look at this book more closely.

    Reply
  • Amanda September 21, 2012, 1:40 pm

    I struggle against the idea that it is both possible and desirable to develop our children’s skills, talents, interests, abilities through just the right activities, just the right kind of praise, just the right toys, etc. It makes it hard to feel like it is ok to just hang out without a clear agenda.

    Reply
  • Gina W. September 21, 2012, 11:27 am

    My biggest obstacle is working full-time. I’m hoping in the next year or two to fix that. Would love to read the book!

    Reply
    • Amy September 21, 2012, 1:02 pm

      Hi Gina,

      I like that you are taking action towards creating the life you want.

      I’m cheering you on!
      Amy

      Reply

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