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Saturday, January 07, 2012

Enjoy every single moment!
Really? Even this one?

I just read an article entitled Don't Carpe Diem by Glennon of Momastery.com.

It's interesting to me that this article should come my way today (via @Deb_Bryan), having recently posted my One Word that I will focus on this year:

Moms, you've probably all experienced this. You're out with the kids, doing a little shopping, possibly looking a little frazzled - something to do with child A tormenting child B while child C empties the contents of your purse into a bin of rice in the bulk foods aisle. A nice (or perhaps not so nice) elderly lady looks at you knowingly and suggests that you, "Enjoy these moments. Enjoy every precious one. They'll soon be over. They grow up so fast!"

When this happens, I tend to recognize the comments as a wistful look back by the speaker. I try to see them as a gentle reminder of what is so wonderful about my kid at this age, and I try not to think of the millions of ways in which I am not Supermom and sometimes not as grateful and calm and patient and engaged and perfect as I might like to be. 

But... there are also days I would rather someone just commiserated with me than tell me I should be enjoying myself. It's wonderful - for these ladies - that they seem to remember only the joys. However, if they remembered at least some of the challenges perhaps they would be more considerate and more careful with their words. Glennon says: 
Being told, in a million different ways to CARPE DIEM makes me worry that if I’m not in a constant state of intense gratitude and ecstasy, I’m doing something wrong.
That really made me think. I do a lot of talking about gratitude myself, but the reality is sometimes reality just plain stinks.

I need to remember this when I am at that stage - when I pass through any life stage and feel the urge to give advice to someone at the beginning of it. I need to remember what it is like for me when someone else seems to know what's best for me, having 'been there'.

I just love what Glennon will say when she reaches that stage of reminiscence - when she sees a mom in the grocery store struggling to maintain order:
“It’s helluva hard, isn’t it? You’re a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. She’s my favorite. Carry on, warrior. Six hours till bedtime.”
Take the time to read Glennon's article. It's brilliant. She has some great suggestions for a modified version of the elderly lady plea to treasure every moment.

I also loved this comment from "Rachel":
yes, yes, yes!

I will never forget the time an older woman came over to me after I had left my grocery cart where it was and was physically manhandling my screaming, limp toddler out the door. She said (and in hindsight, she must have been yelling!!!), “one day, she’ll be all grown up and you’ll miss these days.”

REALLY??? this one? you think?

As I replied to Glennon: "...I have wondered if I am doing a good enough job – not just of parenting, but of life in general – if I am not enjoying myself at least most of the time. In fact, I’ve felt enough pressure around that sentiment that I selected REJOICE as a word to focus on this year. It can’t hurt to try to rejoice a little more in the glorious things that happen... [but]... while rejoicing more where there are things to be joyful about makes sense, reacting in natural ways to the things that aren’t so great is no failure."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Do you enjoy every single moment of motherhood? 
How do you respond when people tell you that you should?
(I could use some witty retorts in case what happens to Rachel ever happens to me!)


  1. Oh this is good. This is very good. I am going to read the article after I comment.

    Isn't it just the truth that these days we are told to enjoy every moment, to be glad for what you have, to cherish this and enjoy that. To the point that when you are having a crap day and you are locked in your room while your kids bang on the door (I'm not talking about me of course;) you think wow I should feel love and gratefulness right now, but all I want to do is scream. Then the guilt starts or does for me. And I think I should be better. I should have more patience. And the list goes on. I am not sure what the answer is, but there is something to think about for sure.

  2. Oh I am with you there sister, some days I can't remember when I last enjoyed a day. But those old ladies and men who look at my girls with a look of remembering and laugh under their breaths or coo about how cute they are at this age, they remind me that it doesn't last forever.

    I'm glad people remind me, feels like it's God's way or the world's way of gently saying, relax, one day at a time becomes 10 years later and you'll wish they'd still go to the grocery store with you.

    So, no, I don't always enjoy it, but I love it. And who doesn't need reminders to just ENJOY!

  3. This is a wonderful post. After 34years of teaching but not having children of my own I feel as though I have raised hundreds of children; especially these past 13 years at the elementary level. Those momments when someone projectile vomits among of group of children during storytime, or when a fourth grade child tells me there is brown gooey puddles all over in the fiction section because a kindergartener in the previous class had the Hershey squirts with Ninja like silence or when a student tells me that one of the animal pillows smells like pee or when the inevitable squabble breaks out, at the quickest opportunity I check to see if a full moon or a weather front is coming. Those are the days when its all you can do to not run screaming from the bulding (figuratively speaking of course) but those times are balanced by such equisite moments of their childlike wonder at making a connection, discovery or revelation (I should have written every single one down)that it nearly brings tears to your eyes. They are so unclouded by the prejudices of life, so truly giving. You Moms are raising miracles, our future and you have my upmost respect. It's hard and getting harder but oh so worth it each and every day, even on those days you can hardly wait to get over.

  4. Lisa, so true. The guilt can be pretty destructive. I suppose it can motivate us as well, to do better/be better, but it's a fine line and probably requires that we are aware of where the guilt is coming from. Must keep in mind that bliss is never a constant state.

    Cynthia, that's generally my attitude as well. Probably depends on the day and my energy levels how successful I am at it, but I do tend to see these interjections as a helpful reminder.

    Xena, thanks for your sweet comment. This is how most of us moms feel about the job as well. It's a gift each of us tries everyday to express our gratitude for, despite the sacrifices it requires. THANK-YOU for what you do. You also are raising our future generations. I have more respect for teachers than I can really express here.

  5. Love this post my friend. I do not. I never complain about it out loud, but there are times I just want to scream. You cannot like someone ALL the time. It is unnatural. The love remains the same, but it is totally fine to dislike moments or even personality trades. And don't get me started on husbands...

  6. Stasha, I won't get you started on husbands, because that would get ME started on husbands, and... well... we love them so that's that. I agree, it's not natural to act like you are enjoying every single moment. We have all sorts of experiences and a range of emotional reactions is normal and healthy. Bottling things up is far worse for the world than accepting what is and allowing it to have a place in our lives.