Dear Moms Like Me,
I am writing this letter at the risk of sounding a bit cliche, but I am recently returned from a brief family getaway and was confronted once again with how quickly time passes. I came home saddened by that fact and wondering where time so steadily goes? Sometimes I feel like time marches ahead so rapidly that I cannot keep up. I see everyone around me changing and I feel left behind, especially when my shortcomings, mistakes, and inexcusable failures seem to be on repeat mode.
Where does time go? It is in the newborn who is suddenly holding up his head, sleeping through the night and ready to exchange the bassinet for the crib. It is in the baby girl who doesn’t need me to hold her hand anymore as she toddles around on her own; it is in the toddler who initiates “I love you’s”, puts on her own shoes and sleeps in a big girl bed. It can be found in the handsome little boy preparing for preschool in the fall who can do oh so many things, “all by myself, Mom.” And it can be spotted in our own ageless siblings and parents who are transitioning from one season of life to the next when you subconsciously thought they would be the same forever.
So dear Mom Like Me, snuggle that newborn for one extra long moment longer before laying her down because she won’t nestle on your chest with all her limbs tucked under her forever. Time passes. Breathe in his smell, embrace the exhaustion, study those curled up toes and tiny fists.
And while you’re at it, hug that toddler tighter, even if you have to fight her for that moment of slowing down. Savor her indomitable spirit and laugh in the midst of those tantrums because no one else will love her through them quite like you will. Time passes. There will come a time when you will no longer have to remind yourself to go to the bathroom, brush your teeth and get dressed before noon but in the meantime, study his chubby toddler feet and look at the world from his perspective.
And Friend, pull that preschooler close to your side for an extra chat about life. He has such a unique outlook on life, fueled by a fantastic imagination. Soak in the life advice that he is unwittingly offering you. Time passes. Enter into the constant presence of another human next to you, especially in the bathroom, because there will never be a time quite like this when she will be so willingly influenced by what you have to say. Your attention, your presence, your time will never be quite this satisfying to her again.
And to you, Mom with older kids and teenagers, I respect you. You have said farewell to these little years. You understand that while it’s a relief to not have to do everything for your kids now that they’re self-sufficient, you also miss it because now time has really picked up speed. You can have rich discussions with their critically thinking minds, but they are also making decisions that can make you cringe. You don’t have to tuck them in at night, but you probably still have sleepless nights knowing that soon they’ll be driving, going out on dates, heading to college, getting married, and becoming parents themselves. Your children are so close to being adults and you wonder if you were a good mom and if they are ready for adulthood and if you’re ready for them to be adults. All I can say is, yes. Yes, you were a good mom, especially if you are telling them no sometimes. Yes, they are ready for adulthood, especially if they think they aren’t ready for it. Yes, you are ready because moms are always ready for the next challenge God is calling us to face.
In closing, I am challenging myself to do a few things to help me keep up with time. I may not be able to change its pace, but I can at least walk with it and not feel so sad when I look back. One thing I have decided to do is limit my screen time to three times a day when my kids are not around. I don’t want to miss out on the life that’s happening while I’m looking at the screen. The second resolution I have made is to take no more than 5 photos a day, as a general rule. I am often trying to capture that perfect shot and end up being a bystander to the fun of living rather than a participant. Finally, and most importantly, I’m rising an hour earlier than everyone else in my family so that I have time to collect my thoughts in the quiet of the day to determine how God and I want the day spent. It might mean that the dishes are only done once that day or the laundry doesn’t get folded, but if the results are a peace-filled house with lots of laughter than it’s absolutely worth it.
I hope you are encouraged by these thoughts and resolves from,
A Mom Like You