Running too fast

By Donna Howard
Columnist for the Journal

I probably did deserve that ticket.

It was the story of my life. I was going just a little faster than I should have been, trying to make up a little time. As usual, I was running late that day. With four preschoolers, everything took longer than I thought it would.

Silly me. I should have known by then that with children, everything takes much, much longer.

So as I came around the curve into the small town on the two-lane highway, I was still slowing down to the new speed limit. Unfortunately, the deputy was sitting right there, ready to nab anyone who came along that was unaware of his presence.

There wasn’t much I could do at that point. I instinctively threw a hand in the air as if to say, “Oh, brother,” as I rolled my eyes and hit the brakes. He saw it, though, and he flipped on his lights with a grin. I should have just pulled in right behind him, as I just knew he wanted to visit with me that day.

Fortunately for me, that young deputy was in a good mood and chose not to issue the ticket, probably because he was still laughing at my dramatics. But then, he was a young father. Maybe he understood.

But it made me think. It made me realize that as a mother, we so often try to go too fast and do too much. We try to be everything for everyone, forgetting to count ourselves in. We think we need to have the cleanest house, the fanciest dinners, and the prettiest flower beds.

But do we really need – or want – more hours in the day? Or do we just need to remember to put our time where it matters most? If we really think about it, our family is the most important entity in our lives. That is why we try to do all that we do. So why do we spend so much time trying to impress others?

Do our small children see all of our efforts toward perfection? I don’t think so. However, if we spend time with them having a tea party, or set up the baby pool and then play in it, or eat graham crackers with frosting on the porch step while the sun is going down, they will think they have the greatest mom in the whole world. And they are right.

We might not get accolades for being Teacher of the Year. We might not draw a six figure salary. And we might have to wash a few plates just so everyone can eat dinner. But nothing can top a fist full of dandelions accompanied with a kiss on the cheek, or rocking a sleepy toddler still warmly wrapped in the bath towel, or a grade schooler that breaks out in a grin when he sees his mom come in the door for an assembly.

If my children notice, then that is good enough for me.

Donna Howard has ten children, has had foster children, runs a business, is a musician and composer and teaches adjunct at BYU-Idaho. She can be reached at

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