(Listen to the audio version of this article here.)
We all do it. The long-awaited moments of silence ensue, and what do we do after those crazy little humans are sleeping in their beds? Pull out our phone and enjoy a recap of our day.
We spend countless hours with these people, during which we dream of all the luxurious things we will do after bedtime. You know, like, eat a meal, take a shower, or complete a task such as the dishes, respond to a text, or RSVP to something without interference. But then, that magical moment arrives, and we do this silly thing… We stare at the compilation of snapshots and videos that made up our day: the morning smiles when everything is right in the world because we all had a break from one another, the blurry photos that one of the kids took (or we took without realizing it), the screenshot of the meme that made us LOL, the videos of us prompting our kid to “say it again” so we can catch it on camera (it’s never quite the same).
Our day is a whirlwind of meeting all the needs, and we don’t have a chance to take it in properly because of the constant interruptions. For example, after changing a diaper today, I went to throw it away and realized there was no garbage bag in the can because my son needed me to “HOLE-D’JYOU” as soon as I walked back inside from taking out the trash an hour earlier. Another hour went by and I realized that same diaper was now shredded all over the floor because our dog got ahold of it while I was making lunch… At times, motherhood feels like swimming upstream all day. With arms full of children and groceries.
Our day is a whirlwind of meeting all the needs, and we don’t have a chance to take it in properly because of the constant interruptions.
And why in the world does everyone—toddler, crawling baby, and oversized Goldendoodle—need to follow me into the teeny-tiny bathroom every single time? There is no personal space for moms.
The Snapshots Represent Moments
So, we snap photos of the good times. The moments when our kid was laughing hysterically over splashing us with water from the bath or ramming into us with their toy tractor to get a reaction out of us. (Can you tell I have a boy?) Whatever “it” was—it was a precious moment in the midst of the daily grind. These moments are special, even if they might not look like it to anyone else. But to you, Mama, they are your much-needed resets. We all need them. They diffuse the frustration that’s been mounting and are a quick shot of laughter that does more to your energy levels than the afternoon latte you’ve been dreaming about.
Sometimes we take photos of our Supermom moments. These pictures aren’t usually Instagram-worthy; our kid isn’t doing anything cute or exceptional, but we feel exceptional because we did something hard but good. Perhaps we made a healthy meal that our child actually accepted without complaint. Or we filled the water balloons and had a war in the back yard instead of suggesting a movie. Or we turned the music up and had a dance party and actually enjoyed it as much as the kids. We did something that we didn’t feel like doing for the sake of our children, and we feel darn good about ourselves as a result. So we take a photo to document it. It’s OK to have a little pride in yourself for these moments. You should be proud of yourself for trying your best when no one else is watching.
We snap photos of the good times. The “perfect” moments in the midst of the struggle. To you, Mama, these are your much-needed resets. It’s OK to have a little pride in yourself for these moments.
And isn’t that the thing? No one else is watching these little people grow and mature from stage to stage the way you do. The strange thing is that even though we are witnessing more of it than anyone else, it feels like it’s in super-speed. They really do grow up so fast, and this special time with them is slipping by. Some days that might feel like a relief, but late at night, during the scroll, it makes your heart both burst and ache all at the same time. And for whatever reason, we love it. Because we love them. Like crazy.
This Season Is for You, Mom
You might be fooled into thinking that motherhood is all about your kids and not at all about you. To a certain degree, that is true. But it is most certainly about you, too. Because motherhood is shaping you regardless of whether or not you realize it. It’s making you softer and stronger all at the same time.
It’s taught you the art of putting people above tasks. Every time you stop what you’re doing and listen to your child tell you about their school day or demand you watch how fast they are as they run across the room or accept an invitation to a tea party, you’re showing them that you value them above all else. You’re instilling a sense of worth into these people who you really do believe can grow up and do or be anything.
It’s taught you the art of perseverance. Every time you stop to listen, it means there is unfinished work. But you learn that not all obligations carry the same weight, so you learn to let some things go. You also learn to cling to the things that matter. And you keep pushing, little by little, toward their completion. You may not be able to follow your preferred timeline, but you will get it done. Trust me, this article was written in spurts of sentences that I dictated into my phone (probably causing me to leave another diaper somewhere). My kids are important to me but so are my hopes and dreams, and I am learning that they are not mutually exclusive.
Motherhood requires grit and grace, for you and for your kids.
So, sure, the pictures usually capture the best moments of our day. And so we scroll because sometimes we just need to look at our own highlight reel to remember how good the good really is. It’s our fuel for the next day (or the unfinished work we’re about to tackle). Or, maybe today was a complete bust and the only thing you want to do is delete all evidence of it. That’s OK too. Because tomorrow is a new day, and you could use the extra storage on your phone anyway.
For articles that will encourage you, Mama, start here:
Welcome to Holland. A Message Every Mom Needs
How to Make Memories With Your Kids When You Work Full-Time
Dear SAHM: I See You and Want You to Know These 8 Things
8 Things Moms Should Say to Raise Strong Kids
Why Every Mom Needs to Have a Meltdown
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