A pile of dishes sat in the sink, toys scattered the living room floor, and if you looked at me in that exact moment, you’d think being a stay-at-home mom was taking it’s toll. I had a loonnnng day.
My hairstyle resembled a ponytail…sort of. There was a streak of mascara under my left eye. And tiny handprints made of food remnants and snot covered my t-shirt like it was trendy. I wanted to be a grateful mom.
And I was grateful…Except it was for the reason you’d least expect.
I walked to the front door, turned the lock a quarter-notch to the left, and as I melted into the couch with a glass of wine, I exhaled a sigh of relief.
I was grateful because they were sleeping.
Every part of me was grateful that my kids were in bed. These are the moments I was supposed to savor, and here I was…grateful…that they were over.
Grateful that no one was tugging at my shorts or accidentally pulling my hair. Grateful that no one was repeating my name ten times over, screaming underfoot or fighting about the toy that is always ignored until someone else has it. Grateful that I kept all the tiny people alive today and managed not to lose it (mostly).
As I sat there clutching my coveted glass of wine, I relished in the fact that I was alone.
Yet, I couldn’t help but wonder how and why my kids’ bedtime became the most savory part of my day.
My heart felt heavy.
I came across a post online from a mother who lost her son two years prior. She wrote:
“In one month it will be exactly two years since you’ve been gone from my arms. Today, your brother outgrew another pair of shoes and caught me off guard when he asked if we needed to send them to you so you could wear them now in heaven. I cried my whole way to work simply because we love you and we miss you and you are still my little boy.”
It took my breath away.
The same way it always does. Because we all know life can change instantly. That another minute with our babies is never ever a guarantee.
It’s something I talked about when my friend Sara lost her son Daniel over a year ago; it changed my perspective on everything happening in my life.
Despite the challenges and frustrations of raising a toddler and a newborn, I found the experience somewhat refreshing because of the incredible life lessons Sara and Daniel taught me.
I wanted to savor. Every moment. All of it. Second by second.
Then you forget how to be a grateful mom.
You find a routine and a rhythm–and unknowingly–the important lessons and reminders about savoring each moment start to fade.
When you’re in the thick of motherhood it’s like you’re constantly on the 25th mile of 26.2 mile marathon. The finish line feels so far away. The happy moments, the joyful moments…you can see them–vaguely–but reaching them sometimes feels impossible.
Some days are just plain hard. Tough choices. Overwhelm. Chaos.
How do you not feel frustrated when your kids don’t listen after you told them ten times to get. in. the. car?
Or when you do everything in your power to make your child’s day special only to be met with complaints about “never getting to do anything?”
Or when you try to take a few hours to yourself in the evenings to recharge your patience, and it’s constantly interrupted with “I need a drink” or “my pajamas are itchy?”
It’s hard to savor that.
Because no matter how hard you try, you cannot savor everything. It’s the same reason you can’t feel only joy and happiness or love every single aspect of one person.
And it’s the same reason the man, whom you fell madly in-love and could do no wrong, now irritates you when he puts the toilet paper roll on the wrong way.
Savor every moment?
It doesn’t exist.
But here’s what does.
Intentionally seeking and discovering gratitude in the little things.
Savoring the joyful moments between the frustrating moments.
Keeping a gratitude journal to help you remember those joyful moments.
Giving yourself permission to feel what you feel.
Releasing yourself from the mom guilt.
Remembering who YOU are as a person outside of motherhood.
Admitting that you need help.
Then hiring the help.
Eating Reese’s when no one is looking.
Calling your mom or dad on the phone when you’re having a bad day.
Feeling okay with the fact that your kids behave imperfectly…usually in public!
Knowing that imperfect moms are the best moms.
Getting up and trying over and over and over again despite lack of appreciation.
Finding peace and contentment with being “good enough.”
Breathing a sigh of relief when your kids are safely sleeping in bed.
Reaching for the glass of wine.
Knowing that life is short.
Saying, “I love you” multiple times per day.
Showing someone that you love them through connection, attention, honesty and trust.
And savoring as much as you possibly can without being inhuman.
You do the best you can.
There are days your heart will feel a love so enormous, it could burst at any moment. And then there are days when you will want to run away somewhere–anywhere–and hide from the world. Feeling all those emotions are what make you a real human being.
You’re not going to savor every moment.
And that’s okay because…
“You can’t appreciate the sun without the rain.” – Alisha Zalkin