Time is an unstoppable force. It cannot be altered, changed or manipulated. A second will always be a second. A minute will always be a minute. Nothing will ever change that.
Yet this unchanging force somehow seems to change when you have kids. Okay, so maybe time doesn’t change. However our perception and experience of time certainly seems to.
When you have kids, it feels like the fast-forward button gets pushed in your life. I have two theories as to why this is:
Kids do an incredible amount of growing in the first 18 years of their life. In their infancy that growth is mostly physical. Each month they are adding 10% or more to their weight. Imagine if you gained ten percent of your current weight in a month. You’d double your current weight in less than a year!
As toddlers, they develop new skills and abilities everyday. Learn new words; master the ability to move around in their environment. The changes don’t stop coming. The physical, mental, and emotional growth during this period is staggering.
With that much change happening in such a short period of time, it is no wonder that time seems to speed up. Every week marks a new milestone. With every milestone you traverse, time seems to go that much faster.
The other factor is that life gets a lot more hectic when you have children. I used to work in a restaurant and time seemed to change there too. During the lunch or dinner rush, time flew by. It was chaotic and everyone was running around trying to keep up with the influx of customers. However, when the flow of patrons stopped, time seemed to slow down.
Having children in your house is just as (okay, more) chaotic. It leads to the illusion that time is moving faster. School seems to have a compounding effect on both the chaos and the speed with which time elapses. Once you add in after school activities, you’re suddenly rocketing through life.
My point in all of this is that time is precious and it becomes even more precious when you have kids. It should be treated as such. It is a non-renewable resource that methodically ticks away. Value the time that you have. Value the time you have with people most of all.
With kids it is easy to wish time away. “I can’t wait until we’re done changing diapers.” Or “I can’t wait until they can brush their own teeth.” I know I’ve been guilty of this in the past.
My goal moving forward is to appreciate the stage my kids are at right now. I want to enjoy this moment and not wish it away; even the things that can feel like a hassle.
They’ll be a point in the future that they are grown up and I won’t get to interact with them on a daily basis. I don’t want to wish them closer to that moment. I want to enjoy them until that moment. Then find a new way of enjoying them when they achieve independence.
Time is moving fast enough. Appreciate the moment you are in. Be sure that what you choose to add to your life is adding value and not just chaos. For chaos is an amplifier of time and the enemy of appreciation.