“But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.” – Anna Quindlen
Perhaps this now famous-among-mothers quote sums up the purpose of The Power of Moments best. Discovering the power of moments is about learning to “live in the moment” — to recognize and make meaningful those brief flashes in time with our families, especially our young children who grow up so fast.
What mother has not been so fixated on getting things done that she failed to stop and “treasure the doing” as Anna says? There really is great power in stopping to smell the proverbial roses, especially for work weary mothers who are all too often consumed with their to-do lists, being constantly “interrupted” by the cute little reasons for all their doing. Ironic, isn’t it?
It is equally ironic that by pausing to take in those passing moments, mothers can be reminded of why they do what they do and get the renewal (or power) they so desperately need for the work that will always be waiting for them — unlike the children who will in fact grow up!
Listen to some wise words from mothers who are learning to take advantage of this power:
“There is strength to be gained in soaking little moments in. Dropping everything and reading with your 9-year-old because you realize she’s more important than any other project you may be working on. Watching two of your children who are usually at each other’s throats on a day when they’re getting along. Watching the glow on your child’s face when his dad is praising him for mowing the lawn well. Letting yourself get caught up in the music your toddlers are dancing to in pure delight. I think it’s all part of the secret for enjoying and loving life as a mother of small children, a lassoer of chaos … cherishing and soaking in those little moments.” (Shawni Pothier)
“In one of those moments of feeling a bit overwhelmed today, I decided to pause and just think of what I love about being a mom. Just thinking about it did wonders for my spirit and perspective. Here are a few of the things that came to my mind:
* “I love those quiet moments just rocking my newborn, his head cuddled up against my chest.
* “I love how my kids get so excited for their morning ritual of waving goodbye to Dad as he drives away to work.
* “I love to see the creativity in my kids as they use their imaginations and play.
* “I love to see my kids’ faces light up when their little brother wakes up from his nap.
* I love peeking in on my kids after they’re asleep and finding the little toys and treasures they brought into their beds.
“When I think about how much I really love what I do, it makes me smile and gives me the needed boost to make this a wonderful day of being a mom!” (Christine Jackman)
CHALLENGE: If you’re a mother of younger children, carve out some designated time each day to just “live in the moment” with your kids, putting aside your to-do list. If your children are older and not clamoring for your attention anymore, think of ways you can make those truly fleeting moments with them more meaningful.
QUESTION: What are some of your favorite moments with your children?
I love this post! Thank you for the good quotes and insight. I’ve been personally giving this topic a lot of thought lately. You’ve hit it right on the head!
I totally agree with Laura! This is such an important reminder. I can’t stand it when mothers “wish away” their children’s infancy, toddlerhood, school years, … I have intentionally structured my life so that there is time for extra snuggles, stories, etc. But even I fall into the trap of anxiety during busy-ness, where I am rushing to get through it all. So I need these reminders!
Priscilla McConnell says
I also enjoyed the quotes. Our days are truly filled with little moments that we sometimes miss because of the hurried and busy lifestyle we all have or we simply forget that the journey IS the destination. If we could stop and just enjoy the very things we are working so hard for, how rejuvenated and better off we’d all be! Thanks for such a lovely essay. Made me think about all the sweet moments with my boys like my little 3 year old randomly telling his 4 year old brother that he loved him today. I had to take in that moment, I cried!