A dear friend told me the other night to not worry about six months from now but rather to simply live now only thinking about tomorrow.
I laughed because I like to plan. And this felt like the antithesis of planning.
I like to wake up and know exactly what I’m doing the whole day. I like to look at my life and know, and hope, that when the last days of my life roll around that everything worked out the way that I had planned and envisioned.
Life isn’t like that.
Motherhood isn’t like that.
Life is fickle.
Life is full of bumps, bruises, times on the top of the mountain, and toddlers screaming at bathtime.
Today could be the last.
I know, I know, you’ve read that a zillion times and you know it in your heart, but do you live that way as a mother? And not with the crazy guilt of grabbing every single moment and loving that the toddler dumped out milk onto the floor and ripped their diaper off and the phone is ringing and the macaroni and cheese is boiling over kind of faux loving the moment kind of feeling.
I’m talking about simply being grateful for the now.
Even if the now is rather messy.
Because lets just talk frankly right now – most of the time the nows are messy.
You clean the living room and they get the great idea to make a mess of the living room. The stack of bills on the piano need to be opened and paid. And there are all those motherhood things that you’d think you’d be immune too – the tantrums in Target because you didn’t get the right kind of goldfish crackers (wish they made those gluten free) or the kids who won’t go to bed and you’ve been trying for the last hour and your patience is shot or the fact that sometimes the only bit of sanctuary and quiet you get is the 42 seconds when you switch the laundry that you forgot to switch early in the day. Those simple things that when you started motherhood you didn’t think could bug you.
Motherhood is beautiful. And hard. And a gift.
So we need to live.
You need to live.
We need to live today like it’s our last.
And that doesn’t mean boarding a plane and heading to Mexico to see the ocean wash ashore. It doesn’t mean living in sadness. It doesn’t mean living in panic. It doesn’t mean living in regret. It doesn’t mean not planning for the future because, after all we must plan. It doesn’t mean throwing caution to the wind. It doesn’t mean not being wise. It doesn’t mean not being afraid of taking a risk.
It means fighting for your heart.
It means being proud of the things that you do. And you know what? It also means not living worrying about things that don’t need to cloud our worry as mothers. Those are the things that can zap our energy, can make us feel like we don’t measure, and can suck the joy right out of the motherhood journey.
It really doesn’t matter when your child potty trains. They’ll get there. Trust me, they all do, and even though it’s torture right now they’ll figure it our. It really doesn’t matter how perfect the nursery is decorated or what minivan you drive or if your kids have cool shoes or if you have them in every extra curricular possible.
Do you know what really matters?
That you are present.
Loving your kids.
Fighting for you.
Loving your kids when you’re absolutely exhausted. Making that dinner of macaroni that boiled over and simply trying. Folding the laundry again and again. Dealing with the kids who won’t go to bed and counting to a million and sighing that blissful sigh of relief when they finally fall asleep.
Picking up the phone and telling your friend that you’re grateful for them. Smiling at your kids when they show you their project. Putting your phone down to listen to your teenager tell you about their day. Counting to ten a zillion times (or at least it feels that way) and still looking at those kids finally sleeping in their beds and being grateful. Putting your feet up at night and having ice cream with chocolate sauce and sliced bananas and thinking that you did well.
Driving back and forth and back and forth. Reading facebook and not comparing your life. Picking up the pillows that the kids threw about the living room and putting them back knowing that in the morning they’ll get messed up again. Walking into work with your head held high. Dropping them off at school and waving goodbye and loving them. Teaching math facts. Rocking your toddler to sleep even though they should be in bed. Kissing the tops of their heads goodnight. Remembering to say I love you to those that you love every day even if it gets redundant.
Those are last day living kind of things.
You have today, dear mother. Today.
And I am telling you to hear me – today is an absolute gift.
Even in the mess. The craziness. The chaos. The screaming three year old because you can’t find their favorite shirt.
Do you ever have those moments that jolt perspective into you? Those moments that make you walk into your eight year old’s room at night and stare down and them and cry because you are so grateful for life? Those moments will punctuate our lives – they happen and when they do we are all reminded of the absolute gift of normal. (Read Why Vacuuming Should Always be Beautiful) The beauty is being able to live awake, aware, with that jolt of perspective in our posture in the everyday.
Today is your day.
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