Quick, quick! Everything needs to be done quickly when you are a rushing mum. Quickly getting up to quickly prepare a bottle for the baby, quickly taking a shower, quickly getting dressed, quickly bringing your child to the crèche/nursery. Quickly running off to work to quickly finish some projects and quickly calling my beloved clients to offer them quick fixes in order to
solve their existential problems, which will be quickly forgotten.
Everything is quick, is fast
I purposely did not use the term rapid because there is no grace in what I do. In the savanna, the cheetah that runs toward its prey or for its life is rapid. One can admire the elegant movement, perfect coordination, and control. There is a sort of inherent calmness during the execution and after the activity.
There is no calmness when I quickly execute my tasks with my hair dripping all over my sweater and a rebel lock of hair covering half my face. My poise, my finesse – granting that I ever had these qualities, which I doubt – may be found in my past. Or else hopefully on my deathbed.
The terms quickness and rapidity are intrinsically linked to three notions which are: time, movement, and space. You cannot refer to them without alluding to these three notions.
Time has always been a predominant theme in philosophy, but the aspect of quickness is a sweet present from capitalism. Indeed, it has only been a trending subject since the late 19th century. Only from that time could we really control our space, our time and movement in terms of quickness, thanks to the inventions of cars, planes and phones, to name a few examples. Man has always desired to go quicker to conquer these 3
Quickness is everywhere
But, we had to wait for the era of the exploitation of men by men to see quickness enter our reality. And nowadays, our societies have brought the concept of quickness to another level. It is everywhere:
In how we get access to information: thanks to the internet it is immediate. Nearly everyone all over the world gets the same information and at the same time.
In how we behave towards one another, our values and our étiquettes have evolved: we quickly need to answer an email, a text, a whatsapp. Being fast is considered as politeness.
In how we follow trends: fast fashion, and how we consume food: fast food. It’s even how we watch a TV series: binge-watching.
It is quick, quick. It is globalized. It is in quantity. And have I already said it?
It is quick, quick!
We need to be quick, and this need to be quick gives us overwhelming pressure. Since, my baby arrived, there has been an extra layer of quickness added. And that means pressure.
Quickly I need to go to the bathroom – it is not sexy to mention this, but the new reality is that we need to be quick in there. Quickly I need to fall asleep and sleep – well, we never know when that opportunity will arise again as a rushing mum. Quickly I need to give attention to the rest of the world – one day, you will belong to that world again, so you cannot totally disconnect.
In the book Charmides, Socrates praised quickness by linking it to beauty, and by giving a myriad of examples on how speed is an ultimate proof of skill. He says: one who plays an instrument must be quick, one who excels in sports must be quick. Intellectual and physical prowess require speed. So following his reasoning, being a mother is being skillful.
A few years ago, I visited Auschwitz, and besides the horrifying quickness of murdering 1.1 million people in 4 years, another fact had stricken me: It was how prisoners went to the latrine. It was only once a day following a very strict and quick rhythm. They queued and once it was their time to go, the guard would yell: « one » and they had to drop their pants, then he would say « two » and they had to do their deed, and when he screamed « three » they had to put back their pants on. So basically, they did everything in three seconds. Three seconds…
Since I had a baby, each time I visit the toilet and hear her scream for me, I do not know why, but I always think of this story of three seconds…
Do you also feel like you suffer from rushing mum syndrome? Do share in a comment below.
Valerie Rafat is a French expat mum who has previously lived fourteen years in Asia (Hong Kong, South Korea, Vietnam, and Singapore), a few years here and there (in Croatia and Belgium), but who wound up eventually in the Netherlands.
She has launched a blog that is especially designed for time-poor mothers with a desire to learn more about the world and themselves from a philosophical perspective. She takes theories from philosophers, like Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Kant to name a few, along with those from the HR industry, and bring them to life in a simple and humorous way. Read more at her blog and connect with her on Facebook.