Sometimes I look at my life and I see every single thing that isn’t right.
I see the mistakes. The dreams that I think are lost. I’ll look at my mothering journey and allow these hypothetical and much to hard on myself regrets to fill my mind. I’ll start to wish I had done this or that or slowed down a bit more. I feel like it’s too late, I guess. I know, we all read these words about slowing down and savoring the moments, but so often life, and motherhood, is like this gigantic marathon which is actually run at the pace of a sprint. I think when I slow down those are the moments when I realize whoa… I’m tired. And then it becomes hard to start again. So I just move.
Motherhood is life in constant motion.
The other morning I was sitting on my couch working as fast and efficiently as I could in the 45 minutes between when my oldest boys left for school and my little boys wake up. I know you get that – that time when you have a breath of space – and how crazy fast one can be knowing they only have limited moments. Well, my four year old Samuel woke up almost twenty minutes early. He wandered down the stairs, saw me, and came over.
Cuddle me, momma?
Well, I have a policy (yes, yes, my own policies that I’ve subconsciously written for my life) that when the boys wake up they get my undivided attention for those moments. Or at least the best I can do (don’t forget that – don’t ever forget the beauty in doing your best). So I shut my MacBook and pushed my phone over to the side and scooped up that sweet four year old of mine. Who, in case you’re wondering, will tell you he is actually four and a half.
The other day I told him that the days that he would fit in my arms wouldn’t last and that one day he would be a grown man. Ever since then every single day he wants me to hold him.
Because I’ll get big, momma.
That’s what he’ll whisper to me.
Because I’ll get big.
So I picked him up, nestled him in my arms, rested my chin on his head, and just held him.
And the he said in his sweet little still sounds like a preschooler voice if I put my head here then you can still work, momma.
A tear slid from my eye at that moment. In fact, as I type these words on that same MacBook Pro my eyes are welling with tears. Now, it would be easy to think that it was simply about me feeling bad that he recognized that I had to work. It could be easy to start to look at my days and wonder if I’m not good enough. But, it’s not – it’s instead this dichotomy of realizing that the moments are fleeting coupled with the truth that as moms (and dads – as I’ve found that there are many dads who read my site as well) there are realities that we must do.
It can be easy to live in regret. It can be easy to wish that we were better moms. It can be easy to lose the gift of grace. But, you see, our children, our children are blessed by us – whether we work, stay at home, do both, have perfect lives, or have lives that are messy. The thing is that it’s never too late.
I was reminded of that this morning.
Sometimes we think that age and time are definers of life being to late. But, that’s short sighted and misses the unbelievable success in all the joys sprinkled throughout life. The graphic showed many successful people who found success later in life.
Sometimes in my life I’ll put that qualifier of it being too late on myself. I’ll so quickly attach it to motherhood moments – like those seconds with Samuel – and instead of realizing that I took the time I’ll think about all the times I wish had done more and completely negate the movement forward in now.
How easy is it to think that we’ve messed up and it can’t be fixed? It’s easy to look at the moments and wish we had done more. You know that moment with Samuel? I could have been really hard on myself thinking that he only sees me as the mom that works. But, the truth? I work so that there is food on the table. I work because no matter what the work is – whether staying home or going to an office or typing words on a computer or traveling – it is for our families.
I held him. Told him I loved him.
And then the 84 seconds later when he decided he had enough cuddling and decided to go upstairs and dump out the blocks that we had just picked up the night before I picked up my computer and finished my emails. Well, attempted to finish them. Ha, who am I kidding? I get over 400 emails a day. I barely touched them. But, you get the point. I kept moving.
It’s never too late.
It’s not too late for you today. Maybe yesterday was the worst day ever (read to the mom who feels like she is the worst mom ever). That was yesterday. You have today. Maybe this morning you freaked out because the orange juice spilled and you couldn’t find the math sheet that you and your nine year old struggled through last night and there was crayon in your dryer and you’re late. That is in the past.
You have now.
Right now, this moment.
So what are you going to do?
Well, besides the dishes. Wait. Dishes matter. It’s movement. So does reading the same story over and over again and waiting to do the dishes. So does packing the kids in the car and getting groceries. It’s movement dear moms. Constant movement in the sprint of motherhood. Don’t let discouragement get you down. Don’t sit in all the things that you wish you could have done. Learn. Move forward. Give yourself grace.
The sweet motherhood moments are tucked in movement.
They’re the moments like the cuddle I had with Samuel. High fives after basketball practice. Smiles across the table. Tucking in covers up to the chin at night. Tying shoes. Working at the table while your kids color next to you. Mowing the lawn. Shoveling the walk. Folding shirts only to find them on the floor hours later. Brushing teeth and trying to help them floss. Watching them play in the backyard when spring finally returns. Little ordinary things that are the jewel moments in life.
It’s never too late.
So today, today rise up, dust off the discouragement, let go of the regrets, and be the best you can be. Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. Life, in fact, is a story written with moments of work and giving and many many many times of pulling up those boot straps and trying again. It’s never ever too late.
Brave mom. You have now.
Onward, brave mother. Onward.
Check out The Mom Confession for more truth about motherhood.
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All photographs used by permission and credited to Hannah Nicole.
Images and original content are sole property of Rachel Martin and may not be used, copied or transmitted without prior written consent.