Slow down mama, hug a little longer, love a little stronger
If you're always in a hurry and have a million things on your to-do list, I urge you to stop for a bit. Let everything wait and just enjoy your children.
Slow down mama for if you don’t, when you finally find the time to pause, some of the most beautiful and meaningful moments in life would have gone by, a tad bit too fast.
I’m always rushing to do many objective-driven tasks like drilling my older son for spelling, reorganising the wardrobes in my home and a whole lot of other things.Time is scarce and I keep telling my children to hurry up.
But a sudden realisation changed my mind one day. I decided that the universe could wait while I made the time to pause and appreciate the finer things in life.
It was the usual Sunday night routine. I was putting the toys away, and getting everything set for the Monday morning mayhem when suddenly, my eyes rested on my son’s school bag. Then it struck me so hard that in about a year and a few months more, it’s not going to be this cute kindergarten bag anymore.
My firstborn will soon be going to primary school and I’m not ready for it. My second child will go on to nursery next year. My infant will soon become a toddler. I’m not ready for any of this.
A sudden rush of emotions overwhelmed me. I realised that I’ve been so preoccupied with preparing my boy for Primary 1 that the very notion of him outgrowing my lap and progressing to the next phase of life had faded into the periphery.
I realised that in between working full time, running the home and getting him from school to every other enrichment class, the days and months slip by so fast that I don’t even realise it.
And I know I’m not alone. If there’s one thing that keeps Singaporean mums going, it’s adrenaline. From the time our alarm goes off in the morning, we jump right out of bed and just keep going. It’s even worse for those who work.
There’s just so much to do and so little time. Even for the most organised and efficient of mums, 24 hours in a day is just not enough.
But slow down mama, while you still can.
Don’t be too quick to dash out of the room the moment they fall asleep. Stay a little longer. Sit by their bed and watch how beautiful they look when the moonlight illuminates their faces as they sleep. Listen to the mellifluous sound of their breathing against the still of the night.
Slow down mama and hold your precious little angels. Hug them tight and stroke their hair. Kiss their eyelashes.
Every now and then, loosen up and let bedtime wait a little. Let them pretend to be pirates and Harry Porter. Join them and dance around the house. Have fun. Laugh at each other. Laugh with each other.
Read them another story, or two, or three. Sing ‘you are my sunshine’ as many times as they want you to. Never mind those dishes in the sink. Never mind that stack of assessment books.
Some day, the house is going to be eerily silent and empty and you will wish with every bit of yourself to bring back that pleasant cacophony of their laughter. So don’t let it go by too fast.
Slow down mama and listen to them talk. Listen to them going on about the new kid in the class or the teacher’s new dress that makes her look like a princess.
Listen to their problems as if your life depends on it. Treat their concerns with utmost respect. Laugh at their jokes and share their sadness. It doesn’t matter how silly, trivial or insignificant they come across as.
For some day, you will be yearning and doing everything you can to have the slightest inkling of what’s going on in their lives. You will miss this chitter chatter I promise you.
Slow down mama, hug a little longer and love a little stronger.
I know that you want to rush off to work but hug them for a few moments before you get back behind the wheel and speed off. Those hugs mean the world to them now. The day will come when they will look over their shoulder and tell you not to kiss them in the presence of their friends.
And your heart will just shatter at that very instant. Trust me, I’ve been there. You won’t even realise when hugging you became embarrassing to them but it just happens one fine day. More often than not, it happens sooner than you think it will.
So slow down mama. The house isn’t spick and span. The to-do list gets longer but that’s ok. Somehow, someway, you will figure it all out.
The flashcards will be strewn across the dinner table, the books will be all over your bed. The Darth Vader plush toy and tennis racket will be left in your car and kiddy socks will mysteriously appear in your handbag.
There’s a little bit of them everywhere and it’s like magic in the air. Slow down mama and hold on to the magic a little longer for when that magic dust settles, they would have grown up. And you’re never going to be ready for that.