Keeping a steady pace?

In my life before children, I hardly ever saw the moms walking with children and having great difficulty. There was mom and there was child in stroller, and everyone looked fairly content. I used to imagine my own walks out with kids in the nice weather or skipping with my child to the playground. Why does my journey out with the monkeys always end with frustration?

When Alex was an only child, I struggled with the stroller. He despised it. I nearly croaked when he fussed about riding in the $350 Mountain Buggy, but was happy as a clam in our $30 cheapo from the discount store. At some point along the way, he decided walking would be better, but would never hold my hand. When Anna came along, I got strict about the stroller rules. Alex was required to ride in the stroller while she hung in the sling or Baby Bjorn. That definitely slows the pace even though everyone is fully strapped in. When they could both ride in the stroller, I spent time stopping to break up fights or feed them snacks to prevent the fights. For quite a long while, our trips in the stroller moved at a snail’s pace. The day Alex was set free of the double stroller, I quickly had to readjust the pace to one of a triathlete – sprinting ahead, running down the street, darting between cars and splashing through water—just to keep up with him all while maneuvering the most awesome Mountain Buggy. (I knew that stroller would eventually work out for me). On the days I set Anna free from the stroller, I just lose my mind with the North/South or East/West direction they both take.

Today, on our way to the pool, I realized our pace has slowed again. Alex straggles behind with sticks, rocks or picking stuff off the ground. All the while I kept trying to hustle him along to our destination—the cool pool in 100 degree afternoon heat—and frustrated that he couldn’t keep up with even my slow pace. Then I stopped and thought. Slow, fast, slow, fast. All this time dreading the stroller trips because my kids can’t keep up with me or I can’t keep up with them. I should feel lucky I get to spend this time with them. In 10 years or less they won’t even want to walk next to me for fear everyone will know that I’m their mother.

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