Dawdler. Slow-poke. Space-cadet. I was called all these and more by my family during my childhood. Being called names didn’t actually bother me that much. What did bother me was the vast difference in perception of time between myself and those around me. I remember being in my room, “getting ready to go,” and the next thing I knew my mother was sticking her head in the room yelling at me to, “Hurry up!” sighing, and rolling her eyes. I remember feeling surprised every time this happened, yet it must have happened most days. I remember feeling like I was hurrying up, yet somehow my hurrying up didn’t seem to match everybody else’s. I remember feeling frustrated, and bad, and like I didn’t know how to fix the problem.

I understand now that I’ve got the kind of personality that feels drawn to exploring every option before making a decision. (I’m an INFP, for those who ascribe to the Meyer’s Briggs.) I’ve worked hard on time-management as I’ve grown into adulthood, to the point that many of my acquaintances would probably be surprised to hear that this was ever an issue for me. My perfectionism also can play a part in these issues, as I can tend to exacerbate problems while trying to execute a “perfect” solution.

I stumbled across this quote in my most recent read, The Blessings of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children by Wendy Mogel:

Let them dawdle
Often your children will have to do things much more quickly than is natural for them. Try to balance this high-pressure time with time that is leisurely. One day a week, give your child three hours to put on one sock, undress and dress all the Barbies, put on the other sock halfway, listen to a CD… This means starting far earlier than you may be in the mood to begin, but that’s not your child’s fault. He is entitled to this.

And it made me remember: remember how hard it was to focus on putting on socks when there were seven whole chapters of my books still unread; to remember how hard it was to find my shoes when I kept finding erasers from my eraser collection that needed to be properly stowed.

It made me remember that I wasn’t always a hyper-efficient, “productive” adult—I used to think it was worth the time to lay on my bed and watch the shadows play on my bedroom wall, or make up songs with my teddy bear and dolls.

And it helped me remember how important it is to remember and keep remembering these moments as I move forward into this big job of parenting. (Though I’m sure I will forget as often as I remember!) For my son is, indeed, entitled to this.

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