I’ve been thinking about slowing down, ever since we got back from the Zen Parenting Conference in Chicago put on by our friends, Cathy and Todd Adams. I listened to Michelle Anderson and Lauren Massarella from the Sister Project give a talk about the benefits of slowing down. 

I’ll tell you what I learned–and what Michelle and Lauren talked about, but the thing that I want to ask you is this… (And I’m asking myself the same thing too, because I’m right next to you trying to figure this out)


What keeps us parents from slowing down? 

  • Does slowing down sound selfish? Or self-indulgent? (And what is wrong with indulging ourselves once in a while?)
  • Are you holding onto impossibly high standards for yourself? Why? Who are you trying to impress?
  • Are there conditions that need to be met before you allow yourself to slow down? (“I can relax when I finish x, y, z”)
  • If you slow down, are you afraid that others will get “ahead”? (Like in a board game if one person gets ahead then you need to catch up?)
  • Are you worried about what other people will think of you? (“She’s putting up her feet and eating bonbons.”)
  • Is it because you don’t see anyone else slowing down?

As parents, and especially as moms, let’s look at why we maintain impossibly high standards for ourselves, why we judge ourselves or others for taking breaks, and what false beliefs keep us from caring for ourselves and “s l o w i n g  d o w n”?


The benefits of slowing down: How to live a cozier, more mindful, and connected life*

*This is what I learned from Michelle and Lauren of the Sister Project, melded with some of my own thoughts and feelings, and my “dirty little secret” about slowing down.

Slowing Down Benefits the Family

Rushing creates a domino effect on our families.

We miss out on the joy, we misplace things. It increases anxiety. We react in our parenting instead of responding. 

Slowing down helps us live in the present, find joy and meaning in the little things, and helps us get back in touch with our dreams. 

I wonder…

  • If you slowed down, how would it benefit your kids?
  • If you slowed down, how would it benefit your partner?
  • In what ways would slowing down benefit you?
  • If you slowed down in your life right now, what things would you be more present for? (Said another way… what things do you want to make sure that you don’t miss?)

Slowing Down Benefits Us

Slowing down is about valuing quality over quantity. It’s sustainable and ecological. It’s refreshing, rather than exhausting. 

In slowing down, we increase empathy for ourselves and others.

Slowing down can even improve our efficiency and productivity. How much more productive are you when your mind is refreshed, alert, and relaxed?

Slowing down gives us opportunities to think creatively about the problems we face. Slowing down builds patience rather than the endless pursuit of perfection. Slowing down gives our mind and body a chance to rest. 

Ask yourself:

  • What dream of yours have you let go of? 
  • What makes your heart sing?
  • How can you care less, so you can do more of nothing? (When you “care less”, it’s not the same as being “careless”.)


My Dirty Little Secret About Motherhood

I secretly call myself a “slacker mom”. This is not an insult to myself, it is an invitation. 

It’s an invitation to be imperfect. And to let others see my imperfections. 

A slacker mom can leave laundry on the floor. And dishes in the sink. 

A slacker mom can take a nap or sleep in, rather than getting up at the crack of dawn to exercise or get her kids out the door. 

A slacker mom sometimes calls things “good enough” at work. And “good enough” at home. 

Slacking is attainable. Fun. Spontaneous. Playful. I am enough just as I am. 

Slacking is an appropriate response to anything that I’ve purchased for myself to try to make myself feel better, only to end up feeling worse.

Slacking means that sometimes I serve sandwiches for dinner, or something frozen and defrosted, or something from a box, rather than an organic meal made from scratch out of vegetables that I grew myself.

Slacking means an unmade bed. 

Slacking leaves room for kids who wear mismatched clothes, or sometimes go to bed without their teeth brushed.

Slacking means that sometimes I care about harmony more than a power struggle. 

Of course, I love a clean house. And our house is often pretty tidy. But if I’m a slacker, I don’t need cleanliness to define me. I don’t believe it’s next to godliness. 

“Idle hands” are not bad. They’re just resting. 

Or reading. 

Or holding a paintbrush. 

Or a child. 

Or a cat.

The tidiness of my house, family, garden, car, desk, and my email inbox is not the measure of my worth. It just is what it is. And sometimes, to be honest, it is a jungle. 

And that’s okay. 

Here. Now. At this moment. (And the next moment.)

I am whole. 

I am complete. 

I don’t need to do anything to be 

worthy of love, 

worthy of respect, 

worthy of joy. 

I just need to be.



Posted above my desk is one of my favorite quotes…

“Most people treat the present moment as if it were an obstacle that they need to overcome. Since the present moment is Life itself, it is an insane way to live.” – Eckhart Tolle

Here’s another one (from the Sister Project)…

“Once she stopped rushing through life she was amazed how much more life she had time for.” – Unknown