Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Mar 29, 2022

I was at the gym this morning for a really tough HIIT class (High-Intensity Interval Training) when I found myself saying, “Don’t give up!” I really did not want to slow down and take a break.  I hear myself say that when I’m running too.  I’ve run several half marathons and have done several multi-day bike rides.  My “rule” was always that I could go as slow as I needed, but I did not ever allow myself to stop.  

REALLY MARIA??

The message I give to parents is to listen to what their body needs and if they need a break, find a way to give themselves some self-care.  And here I am telling myself not to give up! Now I know the situations are a little different.  I get that.  And the thing is, we often hear athletes and other “go-getters” say that they didn’t give up and that’s how they go to the top.  

WHERE AM I GOING?  

Am I trying to get to the top?  The top of what?!  Yes, when it comes to exercise, it does feel good to push through and keep going- sometimes.  But I tend to liken working out to parenting.  

When it comes to parenting, we put up with a lot on our plates.  I have many parents reach out to me and tell me they are exhausted, that they are screaming at their kids all the time, that they snap easily at their partner, etc.  And my answer is….slow down, take a break.  

One of the things I do with some of my clients is to help them identify things that trigger them to get angry, frustrated, annoyed or unsettled.  Once we identify those triggers, we then look at where those triggers “show up” from a physiological standpoint.  Sometimes we feel those triggers in our hands, our feet, our bellies or our chests.  We talk about these being early warning signs that we shouldn’t ignore.  These physiological signals are like big flags being waved us and if there were words on those flags they would say, “SLOW DOWN” or “TAKE A BREAK.” 

Sometimes we don’t listen, but when we do…we can keep going!  And that’s why I titled this post “Slow and steady wins the race”.  What I want to communicate here is that we’re not always going to be able to push through, nor should we.  Taking breaks and honoring our needs will help us get further.  There are even marathon training programs that use a walk-run-walk-run model.  We can reach our goals either way, but if there are some signs showing us to slow down, we really need to take action. 

It’s important we identify what we really need.  That could be in the form of getting support through parent coaching.  Even in my practice, I have some parents who want to sprint to the finish line…and I have to remind them….we need to take our time here.  These challenging situations aren’t going to change overnight, we’re not looking for a band-aid fix, we are looking to develop long-term solutions.  

When we slow down, take a breath, do some self-care, we are taking care of ourselves AND we are role modeling self-care to our kids.  So it’s a good approach for us and for them.  

Just a little reminder for you to check in and remind yourself that you can take care of yourself, you can slow down, and you can still develop all the parenting skills and tools you need to build that connected relationship you want with your child.