I am trying to enjoy the beauty and the challenge that is motherhood for me. There have been several recent articles about balancing the chaos and exhaustion of parenthood with moments of realization that these early years are fleeting and precious.
I know there are other stages of my life still to come. Maybe there will come a time when I’ll miss the whining, the toddler testing limits, the waking in the middle of the night, the sore muscles, the complete lack of ability to put myself first. Perhaps when I’m old and grey and alone, I will yearn for these days full of activity and life. I kind of doubt it. (Note to that self: pick up a book or a journal or take a walk!)
I hear alternate viewpoints from my friends with children heading off to college or that just don’t want their company right now; I see nostalgic wonder in my grandparents’ eyes when they watch my daughter at play. Now that I think of it, almost anyone who’s been through this and already “crossed the finish line” seems to want to run the race all over again.
Still, this perspective, this knowledge of a vague ending point keeps me going. It keeps me looking for the beauty in every challenging moment. It keeps me present, trying to imprint mental snapshots to memory, even in the midst of unhappiness. Changing my way of looking at a situation really helps me. Positive thinking is the answer.
It seems rather unfair to me that the see-saw is almost always out of balance. Why must it be all or nothing? Tired/busy/worried OR nostalgic/sad/slower? So in the midst of a toddler’s tantrum, I will literally picture the situation from above, or even as if I’m at the very end of my life looking backward, and just smile or laugh. This is simply a moment full of emotion; my daughter communicating with me in a way I can’t say I enjoy.
Tears, yawns, potty training, testing limits… this is the stuff of life. It’s real, fraying edges and all. I can choose to live it or I can (unsuccessfully) try to escape it. Since the only thing I can truly change is myself, I am committing to changing my way of thinking.
I choose mindfulness. I choose life. I choose to remember and celebrate that this is what it’s all about.
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I’m seeing hearts everywhere lately.