Good Mama: Savoring the Salty Moments of Motherhood

Monday, June 13, 2016

I see you, mamas. I am you. And I gotta say - I see a lot of gratitude out there.

I constantly see and hear reminders about savoring this precious time of having little children and babies. Not a day goes by without some comment or status update about time moving too fast and kiddos growing up at lightning speed. Most of all, if you're like me, you get the "awww" glances from other parents who are reminiscent of their own children and can't help but utter "enjoy it now, it goes too fast" as they take notice of my young crew.

It's inevitable. Someday that will be me. Someday I will longingly look at a baby and fight back tears in my eyes at how fast this all flew by me. I will yearn for these times of physical exhaustion in exchange for the more emotional toll their teenage years will undoubtedly take on me. I will wish I could go back in time and relive the moments of nursing, getting up at 3am to comfort them through nightmares, or have my biggest worry be related to diaper rash and wetting the bed. I know I will crave these concerns over the great, big, monster ones that await me.

I see you doing the same thing, mamas. I see you hugging your little ones closer as you hear about loss and grief in the world. I see you posting photos of the good, the bad, and the ugly, taking pride in your work (and it is WORK) as if you've just completed the Mona Lisa or the Boston Marathon. I see you reaching out for connection among other moms in the thick of it, clinging to the hope for bedtime and quiet with relentless drive as you muster through the laundry and dishes yet again.

Just because it's hard, just because we complain about it and need to vent together and post updates about cringing at our children's antics and barely making it through another day, just because we get all worked up with anxiety over things like sharing and snacks and bath times, don't think for a second that you don't appreciate the here and now. You do. I do. It's all part of it.

I'm savoring the moments NOW. So are you, I see it. I'm thankful RIGHT NOW for this mess! For these naughty children who yell at me to get them their sippy cup two feet from where their sitting, for the tantrums in the grocery store that require me leaving my cart and carrying out my screaming child back home with no milk or bread in tow, for the stupid, stupid bickering over who gets to sit in the middle seat on the drive home today [insert rolling of eyes here] - all of it. I'll take it. It's hard, way harder than I ever imagined, but it's exactly what I signed up for.

I have always shuddered at the passage of time. Believing that my soul is not of this world, my heart has an eternal longing for all beautiful moments to coexist within the present. Heaven will consist of something like this, filling us completely with awe and gratitude of what IS, with no concern of what has been or is to come. But until then, all I can do in this very moment is my best and pray for the rest. That's it. So, while I brace myself for the nostalgic stares of others who remind me yet again how these moments pass to quickly, I know I'm doing all I can to hold on to it for what it is: beautiful, awful, messy, lovely, endearing, sweet, salty, and temporary.

We ALL know it's going to fast. And it's killing us inside. What's more, it's racking us with unnecessary guilt over wanting to just get through the day in the midst of wanting it to last forever! We can't have it both ways, mamas. Yet, it is what it is. It's okay to love it and hate it at the same time. It's okay to want to fast forward through poopy diapers and hit the pause button on the storytime. That's motherhood. It fills us up with extraordinary wonder and love, while draining our brain cells, patience, and energy all at the same time. Gratitude is not contingent upon our perfection. Our appreciation of this sacred life phase can transcend even the craziest of tantrums (ours OR the kids!)

Good job, mamas. Keep holding on. I know that you are grateful for these hard days too. It's okay to grieve the present as your heart prepares for the future. It's okay to be sad about the past we can't relive. It's okay to look forward to bedtime every night even though you miss them the second they drift off to sleep.

All we can do is our best. All we can do is pray for the rest. And someday, all too soon, we'll be the one looking at other young moms holding babies and get that lump in our throats (yes, the one you feel there right this second) and remind her how it all goes to quickly. Remind yourself now, you didn't let it go by without appreciation. You loved it, and you savored it in the moment when you could. Good mama.
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