Change of Pace

     We all live in different parts of the world experiencing different ways of life. Some of us live in bigger cities where life is fast and chaotic, but others live in smaller times where things move slower with fewer people. I recently moved from the fast pace life of living in Little Rock, Arkansas to move to the slower life of the small town of Huron, South Dakota.
     Back in Arkansas, I had to get up each morning at 5:00 a.m. in order to be out the door with my two older children by 6:00 a.m. to commute 30 minutes to get to school. My workday started around 6:30 a.m. and did not finish until 4:30 p.m., then I would pick up my two youngest children from daycare. We would get home around 5:30 p.m.
      The moment we walked in the door, I would instantly hear multiple complaints of starvation as if they had not eaten at all. Most days I either ordered pizza or microwaved sometime because God forbid I would make my children wait 30 minutes or more to cook a meal that they will probably just refuse to eat. If you are a parent of multiple kids, you probably know the pains of having kids who won’t all eat the same meal.
     After we would eat our extra healthy homemade meals, all of us would go our separate ways until bedtime. We were all glued to different screens. This was a normal routine for us. The toughest days were when I could not avoid taking them to the store after school. By this point, my kids have been in school or daycare for 10 hours or more and just wanted to go home to relax under the warm glow of their favorite screens. This means that they would find new ways to show how much they did not want to be in the store. My favorite was always when my two years old would try to steal candy in the check out line when I was not looking. When I would eventually catch her, and I always did, she would throw herself on the floor and scream.
     Children shouldn’t have to endure a life like this. Even though I loved my job, for the most part, I was miserable. My kids were miserable too. We were constantly rushing around and never truly connecting. We would forget to stop for a minute for a hug and kiss or to ask how someone’s day had gone. So, when my husband started interviewing with a company that had a facility in South Dakota, I started to consider this drastic change of life.
      A change would mean I would stop working and stay home with our two youngest children. On paper, this sounds great, but the reality isn’t always the same. I had been a stay at home mom twice in my life. Once when I chose to quit a job that was treating me horribly and could not find a better job for a while. This was when my oldest children were very little. My husband had to work 2 jobs to support us. Needless to say, I was miserable. I went back to work a few months later and vowed to never do it again.
     Three years later, my husband got a better job 3 hours away. I had to quit my job for the sake of the whole family. I was now a stay at home mom of three. This lasted only a few months due to lack of money. I finally found a great teaching job and said goodbye to the stay at home mom life. Or so I thought.
     Now five years later with four kids and a husband who has a great job that can support us all with good hours, I am giving the whole stay at home mom another shot. This time is already different. Life is much slower here. We get up at 7:00 a.m. to get the two older kids to school by 8:00 a.m. I have time to cook now. I do have times when I use a microwave instead of a stove, but that is no longer out of necessity. My husband is home for dinner every night as well. We all stop to give hugs, kisses, and ask about our day.
     For me, the slower pace suits my family. We still have times when we all bask in the glow of a warm screen, but we now have time to walk to the park, throw a football, and observe nature. We never had time for the little things in our old fast past way of life. I do not regret this move one bit.
    When things aren’t going right, maybe all you need is a change of pace. If life feels overwhelming at a fast pace, just slow it down.

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