By Dr. Paula Bloom
There is nothing like pregnancy to make people come of out the woodwork and offer unsolicited advice. ”Sleep when the baby sleeps.” “It will change you forever.” “Put Vitamin E on your belly to help with stretch marks.” The piece of advice, however, that I heard the most was “It goes by fast, enjoy it as much as you can.” At the time I really had no idea what this meant. As I look at my kids I’m just beginning to understand what those wise women told me. It seems I was just cleaning smeared cake from a 1 yr old’s face and now I’m helping the same child do long division. Yikes!
A few days ago I was reading an article about the most common New Year’s resolutions. Of course there was getting healthy, losing weight and getting more organized. But close to the top of the list was “spend more time with loved ones.” It is something many of us want. It seems so simple, but far from easy. Life gets busy. I’ve been known to answer my kid’s’ questions while not even looking up from my laptop. I’m not proud to say that it sometimes can take multiple “Mom, are you really listening to me?”s to snap me out of the fog and focus on what most matters. The only way to slow time down is to get more present. Less distracted. More connected.
This year, for the holidays, we drove down to Florida to see family. In the past these long road trips have been stressful. I’d be tense and grouchy and scurrying with wires and plugs to make sure all devices were charged up and ready to entertain the kids. This year I wanted to do things differently. Rather than find ways to pass the time I wanted to enjoy the time. I was prepared to move around the van by wearing yoga pants, an old soft sweatshirt and, since my husband was doing all the driving on the way down, I wore my deliciously comfortable slippers – Acorn slippers and yes, they are “FootSmart” too. I was dressed and ready for hanging out with kids.
We did not take any kind of DVD player. In the past I found myself very irritated and annoyed when the kids became restless and cranky. Putting on a movie was an easy way to get them to be quiet. This drive was different. We talked, sang songs and laughed. There were still some portable electronics (I mean it is the 21st century) but they were limited to brief periods of use. For some reason I kept hearing the words of wisdom in my head “it goes by fast, enjoy it.” I’ve had many a road trip with cranky kids (or cranky adults) where I complained that it felt like it took forever to get to our destination. This time I welcomed it. Those few hours of forever were pretty wonderful.
How do you plan to spend more time with loved ones in the new year? I’d love to hear from you!