Mothering in the Moments
I was discouraged.
I was standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes one day when my kids were small. Their noises were a blur in the back ground. I stared, eyes glazed over and mind a million miles away, out the picture window into the back yard. I was looking at the pond but not really seeing it. Warm water was running over my hands and then a trickle of cold. I noticed. I looked down and noticed what I was doing and felt the cold water and it brought me joy.
Seems dumb to remember the cold water, but it was really at that moment that I noticed it and in that moment that I felt present.
For those of you who’ve never experienced discouragement, let me tell you that some days can seem flat and for lack of a better word, “unfeeling.” Numb. You hardly recognize pain or joy. You’re too overwhelmed to notice. You just rush and do the next thing. Like an assembly line, you do the work over and over again until you do it mindlessly.
You are productive but not present.
You feed your kids, but it’s all efficient instead of nurturing and relational.
You clean your house but it’s all form and function instead of praise and thanksgiving.
You go about your schedule, never missing a beat, and all the while you are actually missing everything.
You don’t notice your daughter’s excitement when her bubble blows up big and she cups it in her hand un-popped. She tries to catch your eye, but you don’t see.
You miss your son’s slumped shoulders, a sign that he’s discouraged.
You miss real relationship because you half-answer the kid’s questions instead of really engaging them.
Have you been there, too, in this stint called motherhood?
I wonder if we get discouraged because we don’t know what we are doing, or how it will all turn out, and we fear we are investing our lives into a pursuit with no guarantees.
I don’t know much but I do know this: mothering that is not done in the present is a waste of time, energy, and LIFE. It’s thankless and devoid of thanksgiving.
How you live your days is how you live your very life.
When you mother in the moment you notice, and feel, and discuss, and teach, and enjoy. (This is where grandparents excel!)
I really think that every mom can be a good mom and increase her own joy
if she would just be all there in the mundane mothering moments.
I know it’s hard and seems tiring.
I’ve done it both ways and my kids are older now, but having come out the other side, I think it’s MORE tiring and draining to not be all there.
Mothering in the moment looks like
- noticing the birds singing outside enough to mention it to your kids.
- pointing out the beautiful cloud patterns outside your window.
- being happy just to share in the happiness of others. To have the mindset that all goodness is a reason for happiness and I can be totally happy to share in your joy because I saw “goodness” and goodness is a gift whether it was my possession or blessing or not.
- taking interest in what interests your child
- looking them in the eyes when they talk to you
- talking to them. Relationship, relationship, relationship.
- teaching them to notice. Really notice life around them.
Peter used to ask me the same question every night: “What did you do today?” He honestly wanted to know. I used to answer with generalities:
“Oh, we did school.”
“I took the kids to Suzuki lessons.”
“Went to the park.”
The truth is that many days I felt like what I did was hardly worth mentioning. The moments felt insignificant and I was tired, like I was on a treadmill that was always moving but never progressing anywhere.
But mothering in the moment changes your perspective. It takes you off the treadmill and plants you firmly in a time, a place, a moment.
In the moment you can notice the ducks, clouds, warm sun. You notice the smell of the freshly cut grass. You taste and enjoy the ice cream.
You don’t just acquire, you possess. You don’t just do, you enjoy. You don’t just plan, you partake.
In short, you notice and appreciate and give thanks to God for these mundane moments that you can never recover and can never relive..
Are you in the middle of the mundane today? Notice the moments. Do one thing at a time. It will increase your joy!