Make sure you soak in every moment! It all goes by so fast!
You’ll blink, and they’ll be off to college!
Take it all in! Don’t miss a thing!
Sounds easy enough right?…wrong!
As soon as my first baby was placed in my arms at the hospital I tried my best to follow this advice. I wanted ever so much to be that mom that never took a moment for granted. I wanted to be ever-present all the time and truly take IT ALL IN!
Almost 5 years later, I’ve added two more bundles of joy to my life, but I was still finding it burdensome to even try to live up to those ideals.
Part of this difficulty may stem from my past. In college, I suffered through debilitating anxiety and agoraphobia. Although I have learned to change my inner speech to do myself good instead of harm, my personality is always prone to think one step ahead. And oh how many steps there are in the life of a mom. As a SAHM mom, the tabs that are always open on my browser include :: laundry, dishes, floors, homeschooling, exercise, dance, gymnastics, park, groceries, food prep, budgeting, shopping, and, the all important being a mom to my littles.
Of course, I know you know these things. As moms, we all share the commonality of being in various states of overwhelmed at any given time. What struck me the most though was the fact that I didn’t realize just how much this forward thinking was robbing me from being in the moment. Until I did.
A few weeks ago, I tiredly looked up from nursing my 4 month old at my toddler son to tell him where he could find his goldfish. Except this time, when I looked up he was gone. Some time in the last 4 months while I was busy listing and anticipating and fretting over my newborn, he was replaced by a little boy. How could it be that the same soft hair that I stroked and teared up over while singing “Baby Mine” one more time before I left for the hospital belonged to this little boy.
I realized in that moment, that I couldn’t stop time and I couldn’t stop them from growing, but I could stop myself, and I decided to challenge myself to do so with three steps.
Pledge to be Intentionally in the Moment
I’ve already said it, but being still with my thoughts is NOT easy for me. I am constantly thinking about my to do list and when I will manage to get things checked off of it. To stop this, I decided that I would turn to self-talk to quiet my own thoughts. When engaging in an activity with my kids, even if it’s just watching their favorite PJ Masks episode, I simply remind myself to be in the moment and that it’s the only activity I should be thinking about.
I am in the moment. I am watching PJ Masks with my kids and talking to them while cuddling. This is important. I am in the moment.
I am in the moment. I am reading Where Do Steam Trains Sleep at Night with my son. I am enjoying his reactions and watching his vocabulary build. This is important. I am in the moment.
I am in the moment. I am rocking my baby to sleep. I am watching her eyelashes bat. My to-do list can wait. This is important. I am in the moment.
Just calling myself out of my mind-racing has done WONDERS to help me soak in time with my little ones more. I cannot over-emphasize the transformative power of self-talk.
Disconnect from Social Media
Yes. The days are looooooong. Sometimes a trip into the magical forest of Pinterest makes you feel better in the moment. Sometimes that Newsfeed click bait story feels too good to pass up. I realized, however, after I read some obscure article about 10 ways to eat matcha and looked into the smiling eyes of my baby, that years from now, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what any of those ways were, but I would be able to tell you just how bright her brown eyes twinkle.
I’m not saying you need to go cold turkey on this, but just be mindful about putting devices down. I’ve started to put the ringer on, turn notifications off except for calls or texts, and leave my phone in the bedroom. Besides taking pictures, I try to leave my phone alone and check social media during naptime. This has helped me to not only be more in the moment with my kids, but also ironically, we get more done in the day.
Journal about Your Kids
My last life change that has indeed changed my outlook has been the daily journaling of at least one memory for each kid. Living the mom life, everything felt like a blur. I could tell you that my kids had done something, but rarely did I remember when it happened. I didn’t want to forget those moments, so I decided to write them down. Every night, I write one thing I remembered about each kid for the day, a challenge I pose to myself for the following day, and something to thank God for on that day.
It takes no more than five minutes, but it’s a perfect way for me to unwind in a day, and find positive moments even if the overall tone of the day was a difficult one. Looking back on a few weeks of journaling, the only thing I regret is not starting it earlier.
So here’s my new challenge to you :: be in the moment. It’s impossible to be in EVERY moment, but start to intentionally be in the moment more often. Because, before I was in the moment, I didn’t realize I could be thankful for::
eyes that smile before a grin begins,
little boys who excitedly chase dead bugs in the wind,
and the feeling of little hands that pat you on the back as you hug them.
You can’t stop time, but you can stop yourself.