When you stay at home with little children, life is a chaotic swirl of coffee, sibling squabbles, dirty dishes, smiles, diapers, and accidents. It’s wonderful and overwhelming and it speeds past you far faster than you ever imagined it could… even though there are many days spent counting down the minutes until Daddy comes home to help.
It’s a beautiful, sacred mess. Motherhood somehow manages to be simultaneously mundane and vibrant, both ordinary and extraordinary.
Yet I have realized that it’s much easier for me to see the beauty of motherhood when I’m outside of it, when I’m putting pen to paper or thinking back on the week. Much harder is the ability to grab the miraculous in the moments that they are occurring.
My phone camera has been an interesting lens on the issues.
When I look at my phone at the end of the day or week, I see the most adorable photos— kids smiling, kids covered in paint, kids building together, sister kisses, babies crawling, babies covered in squash and avocado. I see myself taking silly selfies, making hilarious faces with my toddler or kissing my infant on my chest. The photos I’ve taken are magical. They’re not professional or especially well-lit, but they capture the magic of motherhood— the small, beautiful, mundane but remarkable moments.
But— did it feel so miraculous in real time? Was I as swept away with my babies during the day as I am looking back at the day?
I don’t want the only time that I think motherhood is magical to be in hindsight as I’m looking back at pictures. (And perhaps shedding a tear or two.) I want to be able to enjoy it as it passes, to take in the moments as they happen.
Now, I am fully aware that cherishing every moment is impossible (and not the goal). But rather, I am setting a goal to intentionally cherish some moments every day. Rather than viewing my day through the camera at the end, I like to pretend that my eyes are a camera. And every day I have a goal to take a mental picture of something ordinary that is also extraordinary. In my mind, I click my mental camera and make a mental caption. (“Look at them playing so kindly together,” or “I want to remember the way his hand scratches my arm while he nurses.”)
Instead of saving the sweet remembrances for the end, I’m jotting it down in my head and enjoying it as it happens. Even if it’s just once a day. A forced moment to be present and be grateful, to recalibrate and exhale and enjoy.
What works for you to try and cherish a moment or two with your children throughout the day? What helps you to stay present and enjoy even just a small piece of the daily chaos?