Hitting the milestone of Sam’s first birthday brought up a glaring realization: Father Time has us in a headlock. Time is moving waaaaay too fast…and it’s freaking me out. I know we all feel this struggle. A weekend doesn’t seem to last as long as it used to. A month, gone in a snap. (Ironically, a random Tuesday can feel like a decade, but that’s a topic for another day.)
My dad always says that life seems to go faster the older you get; I thought that was just something older people say, like the lyrics to some sad, sappy country song. (No offense, Dad.) But I’ve realized he’s right. Adding to that- EVERYTHING takes just a little more when you have a family…more lead time, more logistical magic, more effort, definitely more money. Bundle all of those factors together, and it’s a wonder how we do anything at all outside of the required routine. Anymore, I need to pencil in a manicure two weeks out, with the caveat that there’s a very good chance it will get cancelled.
I shouldn’t complain- my solo babe is only a year old, so our hustle is pretty minimal at this point. I can only imagine the momentum Time will gain as more kids are added to the mix, they get older, and their activities begin to dictate…well, virtually everything. One of the best things about being a parent is watching your child develop into their own little person, with natural talents, abilities and preferences. While this is wonderful (and kind of the main objective for this whole having-a-kid thing) there is one major hurdle in this evolution: the race. The race against time. I see my siblings and friends with older kiddos running from one side of their city to the other, with their calendar color coordinated by kid as the treasure map. Almost like a scavenger hunt, dividing the family into teams, collecting their loot in the form of soccer goals and tee-ball hits. I watch this flawless choreography in complete amazement. I have no idea how they successfully pull this off week after week, but somehow they do, and they deserve a medal of their own. At the very least, a bedazzled cape, because they are clearly superheroes, and of course there should be sequins.
There is no question that we have to run this race, and most of us are willing and fierce competitors. The one thing we cannot neglect is the ultra important post-race cool-down. Doing a victory lap, catching your breath, stretching- literally and figuratively- will help keep your mind right for that next leg. There are very few things in life that we can truly control, but how we spend our free time is absolutely one of them. We all need to be a little more protective of this gift. Find what recharges you, and actually make it a priority. Reward yourself for a race well run. Encourage your partner to do the same. It doesn’t need to be extravagant, it just needs to be yours. Whether it’s dedicated time with your family, a child, a sibling, your spouse; a night out with your girlfriends; a bubble bath with a glass of wine, a nap, binge-watching an entire season on Netflix (Bloodlines, anyone? I think you know my reboot…)
Whatever it is, seek it out, and make it happen. Mark your calendar so your partner knows they’re on duty if you have to. Bold it in red and title it Mama’s Dropping the Mic. You’ve earned it. You owe it to yourself. And no one is more deserving of your time and attention, than you.