I think we all have those times. You know the ones, when you are so ready for [fill in the blank frustration of your current season] to be over that you start longing for the next season to be here JUST to be done with that frustration. (And all the threenager Mamas said amen). We can all agree that motherhood is exhausting. And that’s an understatement, right? It is hard, hard work raising these little people to turn into well-functioning adults and healthy members of society. And sometimes, I think it is really easy to find ourselves acting out of exhaustion and survival mode.
As someone who has lived in survival mode more often than not over the past nine years, I get it. And hear me, it’s ok to be there. It’s ok to pull your clothes out of the dryer (or the pile on the floor) for a little while and to feed your kids chicken nuggets for dinner. And it’s ok to not remember the last time you washed your hair. I’ve been there I get it. Rest assured friends, this is not a “Carpe Diem” sermon. I know that’s not realistic advice and not the least bit encouraging. It’s too much pressure to try to not miss anything. Because it’s not possible. We’re going to miss stuff. Thankfully that’s not the point of parenting… to not miss stuff.
Now, all of that being said, I think it’s really important to fight to be present. To fight to notice. To see them through the fog and the haze. Why? Because it helps us in our goals to raise adults. It helps us to see what’s working and what’s not and it helps us to know what’s going on in our people’s world. Also, let’s just face it… the longing for the next season doesn’t make it get here any faster.
Here are some suggestions to help you be more present in your current season:
– Watch your screen time
You knew this one was coming, right? I don’t think your cell phone is the devil. I just think the key is moderation. Don’t just sit in the same room with your kids and scroll, use it to take silly pictures with them and laugh together. Also, sometimes you do need to say bye to your BFF on the other line and pay attention to the little people around you.
– Hug each of your kids, really hug them, as often as possible
You know what kind of hug I’m talking about? The kind that makes your heart skip a beat? I collect that kind of hugs from my kids. My favorite time to get them is in the morning when we all first wake up. Sweet sweet sweet way to start the morning!
– Strive for a good belly laugh every day
This one can be difficult. Especially in those hard seasons. But when it happens, it’s so worth it. Find what makes you laugh and giggle with your babies. Snap chat filters will get me every time. Love em.
– Take memory snap shots
This is kind of cheesy but whenever I have sweet moments throughout the day, I actually pretend to take a picture of it in my mind. It happens every time I hold a tiny hand in mine. I never ever want to forget what it feels like to have their tiny chubby fingers in mine. So I take a memory snap shot. Same for those cheeky grins and the baby winks when they end up blinking both eyes. You don’t have to do this with every little thing. Just choose those special things for you.
– Spend 10 focused minutes with each kid every day
Only 10 minutes really focused on each kid and maybe letting them choose what they want to do. “Mommy, will you play with me?” Say yes. Just for 10 minutes. I have four kids. If I spend ten focused minutes with each of them a day, that’s only 40 minutes a day. Yall. If I can’t spend 40 MINUTES out of my day focused on them, then to be really frank, something needs to change. Something is seriously wrong. I can do that and you can too.
– Review the day with your spouse
This helps me in so many ways. It helps me regroup. It reminds me that I’m not alone. It brings in more ideas and just saying it out loud helps.
– Take notes
So during those really hard seasons, I have a little trick. I keep a note for the difficult kid(s) on my phone. And when I’m having a particularly difficult day with them, I open that note and list out all the things I can think of that I love about that kid. Sometimes just reading through the list can totally turn a day around. I have never not been able to think of at least one thing to add to the list, even on the hard days.