A few months back, my friend and I were talking about some of the bad advice that is given to new mothers. She mentioned that one of the ones she hated the most is when people tell her to enjoy every moment. I had to agree with her. I would even wager that it is a complete impossibility to enjoy every moment of parenthood. Being told to enjoy every moment ends up leaving you feeling like a terrible parent when you aren’t enjoying the hard times. You feel even worse when you know some of your friends are infertile and want a baby so bad it hurts, yet you get caught up in a rough moment with your child and lose it. It has left me feeling guilty on many occasions and at the end of the night, once all the kids are sleeping peacefully, I am always wanting a redo. WHY didn’t I enjoy every moment of today? My family is the greatest blessing I have so why did I just sit there and glare at them for half an hour when they were overwhelming me?
It’s because I am human, and that means I am imperfect.
I’ve started getting small glimpses how quickly time is slipping away from me. My oldest just started middle school and my youngest is well on her way to 4 years old. The other day I was looking at their baby pictures I have hanging around the house. I stopped and had a small freak out when I realized, IT’S GONE. The baby years are gone from my house, most likely forever. The toddler years are gone. The preschool years are slipping faster than I imagined they would.
Despite all of that, sometimes life is just hard. It was hard trying to get my boys to sleep when they were babies, especially Zack. I don’t miss the times I cried from exhaustion and the times he screamed just because I was holding him. I don’t miss worrying if Connor would talk and the long process of helping him figure it out. I don’t miss Quinn’s years of food texture issues and the gagging and complete freak out moments. It was hard even just writing about it! I don’t miss the times of worry and fear as we sought answers for Abby’s medical questions. I don’t miss holding her down to have blood draws and the years she only wanted Dad because of it. I don’t miss the years of poopy underwear, Can I say that? I don’t miss having to ask for help when our power was shut off.
I could list plenty more, but I think you get the point. I don’t enjoy every moment of motherhood. We have to experience the pain in order to feel joy. We have to have hard times with our kids to truly understand that the sweet times are worth treasuring.
Elder Eldred G Smith said, “So it is with us today, we must also have the bitter in order to know the sweet. Sometimes some of us think we have the bitter and not enough of the sweet. This is normal. We all have our trials of life to strengthen us. Each thinks he has the hardest or most severe trials. It may be that they are the most difficult only because they are the hardest or most difficult for you. The diamond is enhanced and made more valuable with polishing. Steel is made harder and more valuable through tempering. So also opposition builds the character of man.” Full Article
I want the hard times to polish me as a mother and as a person.
One thing we did, as a family, to enjoy the moments of our day, was to write them down. At dinner, we each share the high part and low part of our day. At one point, I used to write them down. This has become a treasure for our family to go back and read. When I was writing them down, Connor was talking minimally and Quinn was a year old, so he wasn’t talking either. We asked them their high part, and then I wrote what they did. One day Connor would say his high part was “bun bowling” which was a phrase he said frequently that meant “fun bowling”. For Quinn, one night I wrote, “He smiled and then stuck his finger in his nose”. It was fun to go back and see which friend Abby liked at the time, and to even remember my high parts of the endless days, years ago. One of our treasured entries is when my mother in law ate dinner with us, who has since passed away.
I am setting out a spiral notebook again and we are going to start this again. It doesn’t take much of my time, and the little time it does take, is worth the effort for all of us. This is one thing we have done to ENJOY A MOMENT. Take a few minutes each day to remember and enjoy something that happened that day.
What do you do to enjoy the moments in your life?