It seems that a lot of us moms are looking to experience and appreciate the moment more. We want to move slowly, be present, experience joy.
In the daily grind of child-rearing, there is no harder task.
It struck me this past weekend, when I was temporarily liberated from my day-to-day reality, just how much of motherhood is, for me, about living in the future. I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about what I'm going to do next, who's due for a poop, who's going to be tired in 10 minutes, when a snack will become a necessity, whether I'll have to buy wipes when I go to the store later, do we have anything remotely edible in the fridge for dinner, and on and on and on.
I'm often so busy putting my mind into the future, into my refrigerator, into my kids' bladders, bellies, minds that I lose sight of what's happening with me, right here and now, and it all becomes a demanding, monotonous blur.
When we woke up in our hotel room last Saturday, CG and I had nothing we had to do until the wedding at 6:30 that night. We could eat what we wanted when we wanted, and take as long as we wanted. We wandered through boutiques with aisles too tight for a stroller and merchandise too tempting and fragile for little hands. We attended only to our own needs and whims, walked at our own pace. We went to the bathroom whenever we needed to, WITHOUT COMPANY.
I can't remember the last time that was my reality. Though I did miss my girls, I relished each moment of freedom like an exonerated prisoner. There were so many treats in that weekend, the whole thing felt like a true, blissful vacation.
In attempting to carry the feelings from last weekend over into my day-to-day bottom-wiping, tantrum-soothing, laundry-doing life, I keep thinking about a chapter from a book I'm reading called "Awakening Joy".
(I'll pause while we all retch at that title for a moment. I usually do.)
The authors suggest that we retrain our inner monologue so that instead of rushing from one thing to the next with the thought "Now I HAVE to....", we replace it with the more appreciative "Now I GET to...." .
Appreciating each moment of last weekend was simple; there were so many new, fun things I GOT to do. When faced with yet another sink full of dirty dishes and a toy and dog hair strewn living room, it's not so easy. But when I try to train myself to think this way, it really does shift my mood.
Now I get to do the dishes.
Now I get to nurse E.
Now I get to pick up Z from summer camp.
Now I get to make us all lunch.
Even if it sometimes makes me feel a little Pollyanna-ish, I'm learning to appreciate and be grateful for every part of my day to day life.
Even the laundry. (Well, okay, I'm still working on that one.)