If motherhood is slowing us down, we might find we finally have the time to do what it is we really love with this one, precious life that we get to call our own. The decelerated pace that motherhood brings is honestly a gift that most of us have been told not to open. The more we allow motherhood to take up its full space in our lives, the more access we have to the abundant, transformational, and lovely realities of being a mother.
We live in a speed-addicted, “snap-back” obsessed, do-it-for-the-selfie culture. As many of our families and communities have forgotten how to tenderly love and care for its mothers, we are often left to fend for our rights to mother slowly all by ourselves.
The pressure to go faster and faster, to grind, grind, grind right along with the machine, no matter the costs to our still bleeding bodies, to recover the totality of our shattered selves in the first, blurry weeks of postpartum so that we can get back to the race—a race designed to intentionally exclude mothers— this pressure is haunting. When left unchecked, it obstructs our receptivity to our intuition at the most critical moments of our lives.
Lurking like a pestering mob, this pervasive pressure takes up residence inside every salvaged breath when we’re supposedly having time to ourselves, but are really worrying evermore about our productivity. It robs us of the gentle beauty that is most attainable when our motherhood is not trapped inside a sprint to the imaginary finish line. It blocks us from understanding how our dreams, passions, and creativity are vitally connected to our happiness, to our survival. It keeps us convinced that motherhood itself—and not the profit-driven systems exploiting our labors at every turn—is the real problem.
The truth is, going slowly saves us most of the time. It prevents us from causing more harm, from colliding with someone or something else, from acting on inauthentic, externally-motivated impulses, from making irreversible mistakes, from tearing ourselves apart in ways that can never be mended. Take your time, is something we hear again and again as children, the value of really becoming familiar with all parts of a thing being emphasized from early on. But the immense and constantly evolving labor that is motherhood, but birthing a whole, entire human being, but raising little brilliant people with every part of your soul, but navigating uninspired, unimaginative, sterile, cold—and at times extremely hostile—spaces that are purposely inaccessible to mothers and families, but figuring all this out without adequate support systems or tangible, generational wisdom, but sustaining our children’s physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual wellness, but centering ourselves and our sanity inside of everything else we hope for our families— is supposed to just happen? Just like that?
As mothering artists, we use our art and creative practices all the time to disrupt narratives and patterns of oppression that deny our humanity. Slowing down as a mother is an act of resistance to centuries-old, systemic erasures, and a radical form of personal and communal liberation. By slowing down, we are saying that our labor, our work as mothers, is real and deserving of the time it takes us to find a peaceful rhythm within our motherhood. We are insisting that our children are worthy of whatever time, resources, and spaces it takes to honor their needs, to support their growth, to encourage their passions, to nurture their freedoms and the sensitivity to use that freedom conscientiously. We are expanding our capacity to be meaningfully engaged with the many dimensions of our hearts, our visions, our fertility, our wild imaginations, our deeply magical and creative selves.
Going slowly makes motherhood sweeter, because we have more opportunities to experience the fullness of our labors. Sure, plenty of days are loaded with dizzying chaos, and it might feel at times as if our children are growing through stages in the blink of an eye. But when we are free to shape our time, to determine the intention and application of our seconds, of our minutes, of our hours, of our days, then our moments truly become our own. It is this ability to choose what we’re doing with our moments that brings more sweetness, and loveliness, and bliss to our lives. In this way we are able to really savor motherhood, and give more mothers room to do the same.