Sometimes when people hear the title of my book, Slow Family Living, they get a little nervous, as if I’ve suggested something so far from their current existence that they couldn’t possibly get there. “Oh! We’re not even close to slow!” They apologize to me as if I am the queen of slow, lazing about with my family, feeding each other grapes and singing campfire songs (which we do sometimes—the campfire songs, not the grapes). But really, what I hope families will take away from the book is not more pressure to meet a goal someone else has set for them, but the understanding that slow living is about pausing just long enough to figure out what they truly want. Now, while their children are home and little. And down the road, when their children are grown and having children of their own.
Carrie Contey and I started Slow Family Living, the website and online community, not to add more stress to an already pressure-filled world, but to help families find ways to create more connection in their day-to-day lives. And more joy! Because we realized that what families really needed was the space to tune into their own needs and wants. In order to really see each other and fully connect.
Whether we are stay-at-home parents or single parents or parents of one or ten, in order to create deeper connection, we all can pause, take a breath, and find simple ways to connect as human beings and as a family.
Slow Family Living is not formulaic. What works for us when our kids are little might need to shift when our kids get a little older. And what works one week might need to shift the next week. And in each house, it can look completely different, too. All that matters is that it works for your family. It’s like a muscle, that needs to be developed, so that it can keep you connected for a whole lifetime as a family.
In our house the question we ask on a very regular basis is, “Is what we’re doing right now really working for us?” Do we need to stay in? Or go out? Do less? Or do more? Invite friends? Or go alone? Try something new? Or return to a favorite family tradition?
Once you get the hang of it, slow living is actually much easier than trying to keep up with the impossible pace of modern life. After all, enjoying time together is what family is all about. Now while everyone’s under one roof, and down the road when our children are grown and gone.