Time flies whether it’s fun or not
Life is a blur. It flies past at a dizzy rate and before you know where you are, your season has changed and the things you thought you would have time to enjoy have passed in a blink. I was chatting to a dear friend this weekend, who I haven’t seen in 6 months even though we live in the same city – terrible but just proves my point. We are both busy moms and she told me something that I plan to remember and just had to share. She said if you are able to enjoy each season of your life and be present, instead of looking forward to a future reality, when the time comes to leave that stage behind, you will be ready to move on without regrets. It’s when you are distracted and dividing your attention, that you allow opportunities and defining moments to slip by without embracing them.
Don’t get me wrong, there can be immense value in looking backwards to see how far you’ve come, to see what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown. There is also an argument to be made for looking forward to the future and dreaming dreams about what’s to come, but to do either of these at the expense of seeing, experiencing and enjoying your present will lead to life half lived and potentially filled with what-ifs.
Sometimes it’s hard work
My current season is filled with 4 darling children who are 7 years and under. I love being their mom. It is without doubt the most rewarding thing I’ve ever experienced but it’s incredibly hard work. My youngest 2 are 18 months apart and my day-to-day consists almost entirely of keeping them from doing major, irreversible damage to themselves (both are climbers and have no fear! It’s terrifying). Before the birth of my eldest, I never would have imagined what my life would look like now. My house is not tidy (even on a ‘tidy’ day), there is always laundry to be done, at any given moment there is a meal or snack to make, a nose to wipe, a nappy to change, a hug to give or a book to read. It’s fairly intense and not always pretty. There are moments when I look at my life and wonder if I’m ever going to drink a hot cup of tea, go to the loo alone (sorry, too much info) or leave the house looking half way human again? It’s seriously challenging but I wouldn’t have missed this for the world (even the cold tea!)
Don’t miss out!
My mother tells me that one day I will look back and miss this stage. I find it hard to believe at times but she’s been there and earned her stripes, so she must know what she’s talking about. There are moments (or days) when it does all feel a bit much, on those occasions I take consolation in the thought that this is just a season. With each day my children grow a bit older and a little more independent. In time I won’t be quite as necessary for more basic things and they will (hopefully) be well-rounded, wonderful human beings, but I don’t want to miss their ‘becoming’ because I’m too busy looking forward to what they will become. The danger in spending too much time wishing my children were older or remembering with rose-tinted glasses, my pre-child existence is that both scenarios will leave me yearning for something that isn’t my reality. I’m never going to be childless again (thank goodness) and I’ve learnt enough to know that even when my children are grown there will be new challenges to face and other situations that will demand my strength in different ways. The long and the short of it is that by failing to embrace your season, and looking forward or backward to different stage, ultimately you just become a frustrated mess!
What I’ve learnt
Having said this there are days I get it so wrong it’s not funny but I’ve learnt a few things in the last 8 years that have helped me embrace this stage and love it for what it is:
- Don’t worry about things that won’t matter in 12 months, 5 years, 20 years – I try to let things go that won’t matter in the long run. I don’t need to correct or fix everything
- Your children won’t remember how tidy/clean/organized your home is but they will remember how it feels – if it’s calm, welcoming and a happy place then you’re doing OK.
- Sometimes all they need is for you to play Lego, build a tent or sing Insy Winsy Spider and that’s it – it’s ok to let everything else go and keep it simple.
- No matter how hard your day has been, tomorrow is a new day – Everyone has bad days but each day your get a chance at a fresh start.
- Someone somewhere thinks you make this look easy – trust me, someone really does
Not in my own strength
I wouldn’t change what I’ve been called to, I am the only person who can be mommy to my children and I believe that no matter how drained I may feel at times, God has given me everything I need to do this season well. It’s His strength that I draw on when I reach the end of myself. Each journey has its beauty and its struggle but it’s how you walk, and whom you walk it with, that’s important.