I’m the mom with just one more thing to do on the to-do list. I’ve got that running tally in my head of items to check off that seem to roll over to the next day and the next and the next and the next until I’m left with a gigantic pile of dirty laundry that’s broaching on becoming the highest point in the house.
From here to there and back to here and then there and up the stairs and down and to the kitchen and out the front door and to the bedrooms and that laundry room with the pile of clothes and all over again back to here and there and then I rinse and scrub and repeat and do it again.
So often I live out of breath.
Motherhood is so full of living out of breath.
We look at magazines, books, blogs, and pinterest boards full of serene moments and yet, oftentimes, the only serenity we get is the 4.5 minutes where we race to shower while the cry of mo–o–oom is heard outside the door. Savor those seconds. For real. It’s okay to condition your hair twice when you really need a break.
I’ll look at my home and all the things I could, should, should have, and could have been doing all scream at me in the brief moments where I think I want to pause. I’ll mull over slowing down and then the mom cry is heard again and the racing starts up.
It’s tiring. Exhausting.
And yet, somehow, sometimes it is beautiful.
It’s beautiful when you strip away the layers of exhaustion and fatigue and out of breath moments and look at the amazing power of what one is doing. That would be what you and I and mothers have been doing since time began.
Did you hear that?
We give of ourselves for our children. And so often that leaves us in that out of breath posture place for years.
But, it won’t last.
There will come a day when we are sitting in our homes – our homes with the throw pillows exactly where they are meant to go, with a table with no crumbs underneath and no marker stains on the top, with walls absent of handprints, bathtubs without the piles of toys, laundry rooms without the missing Captain America socks, cars without carseats, cabinets without fruitsnacks, bedrooms lacking toys to trip on, and we will miss today.
You and I will look back on these out of breath motherhood days and we will miss them.
Sure, we probably won’t miss the exhaustion or wishing for the freedom to roll over and just get five more minutes of sleep. Nor the time with a puking two year old who has absolutely no concept of aim except for your shirt. Or when there is mass chaos and all the kids need you at once and you’re late and you’ve lost your keys and no one can find their shoes and your phone is ringing. That stuff? Well, that’s just normal frustrating motherhood stuff.
We’ll miss the little things, the little moments, that are woven into the normal.
Those rooms with the legos that you step on will be so quiet. There won’t be little ones racing into the kitchen wanting just one more cookie or snack or asking and asking and asking what’s for dinner? There won’t be towels left on the bathroom floor or socks under the bed. No milk spilled in plastic Ikea tumblers. Little things.
Those out of breath things will probably become the beautiful nostalgic moments we remember.
It doesn’t make the out of breath times any easier. It doesn’t add hours of sleep. But it does serve as a reminder, a deep breath in a world of shallow racing breathing, that what you’re doing, what I’m doing, right now, today, in your home or at work or in your car or where ever you are is an incredibly beautiful, brave, noble, and amazing thing.
You may not see it.
I miss it so often.
I see my mistakes – where I was too short, too impatient, too worried, too comparing (oh my is this a trouble one for me) – and forget to give myself grace. I look at the out of breath posture and I think if only I had this or could do that then I might not live out of breath.
Truth? Until the day when our homes are quiet we’re probably going to live rather out of breath.
So rest when you can. Take care of you in the midst of mothering.
And celebrate the astonishing beautiful normal things that you do now.
The kisses. Hugs. Smiley faces drawn. Sandwiches cut just right. Soup made. Carseats buckled. Covers tucked. Prayers whispered. Juice pouches where it takes only one try to get the straw in. Books read at night. Rocking babies. Texting teenagers. Stirring sauces. Wiping tables. Picking up legos. Driving here and there. Telling I love you’s. All of those things. Those life matters even in the out of breath moment things.
You are doing just fine.
And if you need a break – take a shower and enjoy your 4.5 minutes of semi silence.
After all — little things matter.
breathe, momma, breathe.
Want to read more letters to moms? Grab my ebook with 21 original letters.
I absolutely needed this today. I did take a moment yesterday with my babies. I told them that they are the most beautiful “you” and that no one was a better “you”. I got smiles from my eight year old. My three year old just said, “Mommy, I love you.” That is his thing, lately. Thank you for your blog and your reminder that it is ok to be who we are as mothers and as women.
I simply could not love this any more. Thank you.
Tears are rolling off my cheeks as I’m smiling at the same time. My son is growing up….a “tween” now. It seems to go so fast. Thank you for reminding me of the little things that put a smile on my face! Your writing is beautiful, I really appreciate it.
Thank you all. I appreciate your words – I just really write my heart – in those moments of breath in the busy.
Thank you. Simply, thank you.
This is absolutely beautiful. And so true. And so certainly something any mom could relate to. I’d love to share it in my FB account but I’d need to translate it into Spanish because most of my friends are Spanish speaking people -we are from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Do I have your permission? Thank you for sharing these thoughts. They are what we, racing moms, sometimes don’t see in the middle of the rush. 🙂
As a soon-to-be step mom of a 4 year old princess, it is really nice to take a moment to read these words. Sometimes, she makes me want to pull all of my hair out, but there is nothing more satisfying than kisses and ‘I love you’s…’
I loved this. Such a wonderful reminder–thank you. I sit down at night, when my 1 and 3yr old are in bed, when it’s quiet and when I’m alone on the couch with my husband and I feel like I can finally breathe. FINALLY BREATHE. Thank you for the reminder to take it all in and stop racing, and start breathing deeply. Enjoy the moments.
Thank you for the reminder. I forget to breathe. Many times I feel overwhelmed and in tears. I just have to remember to just breathe.
So this one made me chuckle…you should see my house right now. Dipes in the diaper genie, toys still in places they shouldn’t be and come morning it starts all over again. So if you’re really, really blessed and get to have a major roll in your grandkids’ lives…maybe, just maybe that house won’t ever be all that empty!
Continuing to pray!!!!!
Psalms 31:5, 7-8 Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth (7-8) I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities; And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a large room.
This was absolutely lovely. Thank you for the reminder that all of the mundane, rushed parts of mothering add up to something much bigger!
This is so beautiful. I’ve really been feeling out of breath lately. Thanks for putting things back in perspective. I needed that.
Love your blog as always, could you do one for the “my kid just had a melt down so bad in the check out line that I had to drag them out of the store, Mom”
-barely hanging on Mom.
I actually have a Dear Mom letter for the little one crying in the store – here it is -> http://rachelmariemartin.blogspot.com/2012/06/dear-mom-with-little-one-crying-in.html
Loved seeing the interview!
Praying in Seattle!
Psalms 31:14-16, 24 But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me. Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies’ sake. (24) Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.
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Thank you – after our usual stressful morning getting dressed and out of the door in time for school, this was just what I needed – a reminder that we’re actually doing just fine and that one day they’ll be gone and I’ll miss these mornings. Thank you x
Oh my – this totally had me in tears this morning. Tears of joy – tears of yearing for time to not stand still but at least slow down just a bit. Yearing for these moments of pure wonder from my 5 and 2 year old to last forever. This post makes me want to book the rest of the day off of work and just RUN to my kids, scoop them up, and stare at the clouds with them while hiding in the leaves.
Love.Love.Loved this post! Thank you. 🙂 I shared it on FB.
Know that you continue to be in my thoughts and prayers! Look to the Lord for all things!
Hebrews 12:1-2 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
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Beautifully written, Rachel. You have captured what so many of us are feeling in such a thoughtful way.
This is beautiful. I am not a Mom, but I’m a Dad and this made me cry.
I couldn’t have written this any better. Being a parent is quite overwhelming. Sometimes I do so much, I literally feel like I will pass out from exhaustion because there is always one more thing to do… laundry, toys to put away, bottles/dishes to wash….. This post was a nice reminder to “let go” and appreciate the fleeting moments with my daughter. Thank you!
Thank you for this! It was necessary for me to read this today as I’ve been struggling with things that don’t get done vs. Things that do. Happy easter!
This is lovely. I am 60 and the only one who leaves toys around my home now is my dog. It is too quiet and too clean. My fav days are when the grown sons and their families are here and stuff is EVERYWHERE. 🙂