Take Your Time

by Stefani on 8-October-2008

One of the things that I hope most for my littles is that they have time. 

I try, truly, to very often say "take your time," and mean it. 

Maybe that means scrapping other schoolwork for the day, so that we can sit under a quilt and just read and read a story that we're lost in. Or maybe it means letting him bake the cookies himself even though it would be faster for me to intervene. Perhaps it's as simple as waiting to speak, not jumping in with the answer to his problem, but instead giving him that little bit of extra thinking time that he needs to figure it out on his own. 

My time with them is so short. Their time to be a child is short too. And so, I am kind of miserly about how we spend it. 

I guess I just hope that at the end of the day, when all of the minutes in October 8th, 2008 have been spent, that I feel like I've gotten some value out of my investment. I want to see that I haven't wasted too much of my precious time sitting in traffic, waiting in line, rushing here and there, disconnected from the people that I care about. 

Strange isn't it? The sort of time paradox that mamas live in?You'd think that the way to buy yourself time would be to speed things up, get more done in less time, but it turns out to be just the opposite. It seems like the way to stretch out your day is to do less. Do just a few things, and do them well. 

Today, our time was spent standing in the kitchen picking and washing a million pounds of basil that were given to us by one very generous Grandmother who happens to own a very green thumb. 

One little man sat beside me and measured, poured and pulverized our green goodness into pesto (10 half pint jars, thank you very much). Another boy sat across from me reading aloud, to make our work more enjoyable.

  Basil Coming Out of Our Ears

Still another sat quietly for hours  tinkering away at the beast that is currently on his "take apart table" (formerly known as my dining room table).


I love to watch him do this. He stares. He walks circles around the thing, screwdriver in hand. He holds his tongue just so and then dives in like a hungry vulture. After a while, he comes waltzing into the kitchen holding some bit of machinery over his head and squealing, "LOOK! Look at this one! I just got a MAJOR chunk of it to come apart!"


Was it a wise use of our time? Did I squeeze the most value out of my minutes? Well, if you measure by the number of things checked off a list, no, not so much. 

On the other hand, if you consider the number of jolly green jars in my freezer, that a stack of books were read back to back, that the old Singer is picked clean, that one little finger got to push the "pulse" button on the food processor just as many times as he pleased, and that we managed it all while orbiting each other in a tight little family circle, well then yes, today was worth every minute. 

erin October 8, 2008 at 9:10 pm

Ah, I needed this today. I’m sitting here in our quiet house, all of our little ones tucked into their beds, and I’m feeling discouraged about the lack of things that got accomplished today.
Thanks for encouraging me to look at the things that we accomplished that were NOT on my beloved list.
Thank you, thank you for the reminder.

YayaOrchid October 8, 2008 at 9:50 pm

You, my dear, have it right! Don’t change a thing!

melissa s. October 8, 2008 at 9:57 pm

i can always rely on a good dose of daily reality from your blog. thanks for the wisdoms!

Jody October 8, 2008 at 10:05 pm

I have this quote by Auguste Rodin posted in my kitchen…”Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.”
Thanks for a beautiful post and the reminder to think about how I view my use of time.

Donna October 8, 2008 at 10:13 pm

Oh my gosh, if I had that much basil, I think I’d want to roll around in it. Although then it wouldn’t be much good for pesto, would it.

FreshMD October 8, 2008 at 10:39 pm

Love this post. So true, and beautifully written.

kathy October 8, 2008 at 10:57 pm

this is beautiful and I’m glad to read this before going off to sleep and well recount our day.

Sarah Jackson October 8, 2008 at 11:19 pm

Just perfect! My kids are on fall break this week and we’re spending our time in much the same way. Just being. Hope tomorrow is just as happy.

Barbara October 9, 2008 at 1:15 am

what a great post, and sound advice, too.

Kez October 9, 2008 at 1:36 am

What a gorgeous post and a great reminder!

jodi October 9, 2008 at 4:02 am


Julie October 9, 2008 at 4:29 am

Exactly what I’m trying to figure out. The time thing. I loved this post.

christi October 9, 2008 at 4:44 am

Beautiful post! It makes me feel happy inside knowing that you and your boys make so much of what you eat yourselves! Where do you find the old machinery and appliances for your son to take apart?

Caroline October 9, 2008 at 5:28 am

Thank you for the gentle reminders and ideas of how to slow things down and just “be.” After a crazy, UBER productive day yesterday, the to-do list I started this morning should probably wait. Or be extended quite a bit.

Rachel October 9, 2008 at 5:49 am

this was such a nice reminder to slow down. thanks for that!

Ansley October 9, 2008 at 5:51 am

love it…thanks for a beautiful reminder of time, family, togetherness!

melody October 9, 2008 at 6:01 am

Such a good lesson… and one that I definitely need to work on.

Barbara October 9, 2008 at 6:04 am

How timely! I was just sitting here, contemplating our day….I have a number of things looming on my to-do list, and was wondering whether to drag this kids from here to there, trying to get some of them done. Your post gave me a little sigh of relief, reminding me that these things can wait, and what I really need “to do” today is let the day unfold with my girls. thanks!

Stephanie October 9, 2008 at 6:11 am

You know, every time I read your posts, I marvel again at the wisdom and the talent you have of making a home full of memories. Someday I’d like to meet your adult sons and peek into their own family lives just to see how the story goes on and on.

Sarah October 9, 2008 at 6:24 am

I think that both Jack and Dave would love to be set loose on a sewing machine like that!

Linn October 9, 2008 at 6:47 am

What a beautiful post and reminder. I love the idea of a take apart table! I think I will have to steal that one for my oldest, who wants to know how everything works. Thank you.

Lisa Clarke October 9, 2008 at 6:49 am

Sometimes I really wish we were homeschooling. I’ve done my best not to over-schedule my kids (5 days of school, one afternoon of religious education, and another afternoon with an enrichment program – that’s it) but there’s still the bus to catch every morning and someplace to be two afternoons of the week. I feel like I’m always saying “come on! hurry up!”

“Take your time” just sounds so much nicer 🙂

Your day was very well-spent from where I sit!

Melanie O. October 9, 2008 at 7:06 am

Thanks for reminding me! I need this sometimes!

Crystal October 9, 2008 at 7:16 am

I totally needed to hear this. Thank you.

I have that exact sewing amchine. I call her Old Faithfull. 🙂

Ellie - Petalplum October 9, 2008 at 7:32 am

Hmmm. Kids do have a way of slowing you down – in their own speedy sort of way. I remember the feeling of being pregnant and being physically forced to walk and even breathe slower; almost in anticipation of how things will (hopefully) be once a baby is born, and children get to plan the day.
I have to keep reminding myself to take time now, as the slow moments move much too quickly. Thank you for this reminder of the daily moments, which are the best moments.

molly October 9, 2008 at 8:11 am

well said mama.

Regina October 9, 2008 at 8:16 am

You just described an ideal day – and why my sewing room is being used for storage so my machine can be in the middle of the dining room, the hub of our little hive. Reading, baking, laundry folding, sewing, even blogging – all center around that table so we can all be together, all be involved. Sure we have to clear off a section at dinner time, but I would not trade it for a “magazine cover” table any day!

Anna October 9, 2008 at 8:58 am

nicely said. the list eventually evolves…things find a way of getting done. the quality of our short time should me most important.

Grace October 9, 2008 at 9:47 am

god. gorgeous. just gorgeous. blue yonder is a true respite from the rest of … well, everything. thank you, thank you. you don’t know how much i love you, stef. i have to email you today. xoxox

MadWomanMeg October 9, 2008 at 10:08 am

What a fantastic reminder to slow down. We rush through our lives so much of the time and rarely take the time to chill and have fun. Thank you!!

Amy October 9, 2008 at 11:15 am

Very well said. Thank you.

Tiffany October 9, 2008 at 11:54 am

yummy stuff. Those precious memories. You are a daily dose of goodness, thank you.

Baba October 9, 2008 at 12:11 pm

Good Job Mom! I really hope that wasn’t your only sewing machine. Eeek.

Mary Smith October 9, 2008 at 12:25 pm

Thank you for this wonderful post, Stefani. Time is on my mind all the time. Rushing, rushing, rushing from school to activities. It makes me feel frenzied. Today we had our one “quiet day” and I loved it.

hanna October 9, 2008 at 12:43 pm

Once again, you say it so well. So well that I’ve linked to this post on my blog.

Jules October 9, 2008 at 3:28 pm

oh you wonderful woman!
thankyou thankyou thankyou


OMSH October 9, 2008 at 4:07 pm

I’m listening. I really am.

Michelle Cowden October 9, 2008 at 4:26 pm

LOVELY! I wholeheartedly agree.

tara October 9, 2008 at 5:00 pm

Just stumbled onto your blog today (from Oh My Stinkin’ Heck). I read hundreds of blogs but, after reading about a dozen or so of yours, I’ve decided I want to be you “when I grow up”:) Your thoughts and perceptions are very meaningful to me.

caroline October 9, 2008 at 5:44 pm

Well said, you brilliant woman. Well said.

molly October 9, 2008 at 6:03 pm

i had this same kind of realization today, sitting under blankets on the sofa, reading “Goodnight Moon” to Elizabeth for the umpteenth time. For a second I thought, “Oh my upstairs is so messy and the breakfast dishes are still on the table.” Then I thought, “THIS is so much better.”

well said, dear friend.

Relyn October 9, 2008 at 6:21 pm

Stefani, You have quite a lot of wisdom to share. Most of us struggle so much with trying to do more and more. I think you may just have the real answer. Happy savoring.

claudia October 9, 2008 at 9:23 pm

Just today I remarked there aren’t enough hours in the day. When really ~ it’s how well we make use of them, since we all get the same amount of time don’t we?

Did you know you can freeze pesto in ice cube trays then store in freezer bags? One cube is enough for two servings reconstituted with a little more olive oil 🙂 when thawed.

My dad taught me. I made pesto this year for the first time in the four years since he’s been gone. I had a great day remembering him and his tips.

KYouell October 9, 2008 at 11:55 pm

Came over from Heather @ OMSH. This was lovely. It was my birthday yesterday and I think you spent it better than I did. But you blogged about it, Heather linked, and now it’s a belated gift to me. I’m going to keep it and take it out and look at it when I get to thinking we should get more done.

Off to add you to my reader now!

erin October 10, 2008 at 4:17 am

this was how i felt when the power was out. there was no reason not to take our time to do everything. it was wonderful!

Lasso the Moon October 10, 2008 at 11:02 am

Thank you.

emily October 11, 2008 at 5:48 am


Kate October 11, 2008 at 5:18 pm

Thank you for the reminder…

Holly October 12, 2008 at 5:41 am

You are a very wise lady, Stephani!

Ali October 12, 2008 at 12:40 pm

That was a beautiful post.

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