How To Choose Connection Over Productivity

How To Choose Connection Over Productivity

I've been reading a lot of articles about lonely motherhood lately. None of them are surprising, because I've been there.

We pay a price for our privilege today. All of us do, not just mothers. And that price is isolation.

My slow living tip for this month is this:

Resist the pressure to do it all, and choose connection over productivity.

Easier said than done, right? Absolutely. I'm not going to pretend that I'm making this happen for myself on the regular. I'm not.

But here are some ideas from an imperfect soul just trying to find some meaning amidst the chaos:

  • Make a NOT TO DO list. This one is my favorite. We live in an age of invasive technology, and it's wildly distracting. Check out Warren Buffett's 5/25 rule, do the exercise, and then make a NOT TO DO list based on what you've uncovered. And really do not do them. The things we say no to are sometimes more important than the things we do.
  • Foster hyperlocal community. This one is powerful, and there are a lot of ways to connect with your neighbors: Start a book club. Start a local Buy Nothing group. Do Flamingo Fridays in your neighborhood. Social connections to those around you are absolutely vital to your health and well being. I know these particular efforts pay off, because I've tried them all. If you want to start any of these things in your neighborhood, please feel free to contact me for help.
  • Nurture existing connections. I'm so guilty of neglecting my friendships in these years of early motherhood. Commit to reaching out to your friends just once a week, maybe. Or get really old-fashioned and write a letter. Liking a Facebook post will never be as satisfying as sharing a coffee with someone you love.
  • Stay home more. Do you live with other people? Consider clearing your schedule just a tiny bit, and committing to spending some real quality time with the folks who share your address. This isn't so easy when you need to shove piles of laundry off your dining room table just to make some space for game night, but it's worth it. Resist the urge to take care of some thing during this time, and take care of yourselves, instead. Some things to try: screen-free week, a weekly game night ritual, 20 set minutes every day of presence, a yes day with the kids, a family date night, the list goes on.

What about you? What are you doing to connect with the people you love? How are you resisting the pressure to do it all? Please share your tips here, I sure could use them.

Read January 2020's Slow Living Entry: How to Practice Radical Self-Acceptance

February 21, 2020 — Lori Oster
How To Get Your Kids Out of the House On Time

How To Get Your Kids Out of the House On Time

In this post I will give you a foolproof method for getting your kids out of the house on time every morning.

Bahahahahahahaha! As if.

Sorry, it's just not possible. But, I do have a simple tool for bribing your children to move a teensy bit faster in the mornings. It's worth a shot, right?

I've been at this parenting thing for just over seven years now, and I'm doing pretty well with some of the typical challenges. Sleep deprivation? We bought a great coffee maker. Plus a backup French press, just in case. Lack of me time? I read this book and it helped me realize I have enough time if I spend it intentionally.

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But one thing I continue to struggle with is getting out of the damn house in the mornings. My son moves like molasses on an iceberg, and no amount of begging, yelling, nagging, or swearing, motivates him. I've tried. And of course little sister follows suit. And I need to get out on time. I have a job, and I need to keep that job, so getting there is kind of important. And there's also the small detail of it being important for children to arrive to school on time every day, for learning purposes and whatnot.

When my son was younger I made visual time trackers that worked really well for a while. (Seriously, try those first if you have a two or three or four year old.) But lately? Nope. My boy is seven now, and he does what he wants.

So I decided to tap into the deep well of child rearing wisdom from which we came, and to try the time-honored tradition of bribery.

And you know what? It worked.

So now, we track on time days. And for every full week that we get out of the house on time, every day, Monday through Friday, I promise my children a special treat over the weekend. And I don't feel one bit guilty about it. We eat really well at home, and the stress of rushing and hurrying costs us all more than a sweet treat on a Saturday morning.

So if you're like me, and you need some help getting out of the house on time, this on time tracker is my gift to you, my friend. In solidarity, from one tired parent to another. I'm pleased to report that using this tracker has significantly cut down on my morning swearing habit.

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So, how do you get your kids out of the house on time? Share your wisdom in the comments!

December 27, 2019 — Lori Oster