At certain times in our lives I think we get caught up in our busy day to day routines and don’t pay attention to the special moments that make our lives special. I recently had my third child and experienced one such occasion. After I had the baby I felt like I did the same thing day in and day out.
Wake up (after being up half the night with a newborn), clean, breakfast, laundry, clean, play, lunch, clean, naps, school, clean, dinner, clean, kids bedtime, laundry, clean, sleep (for about an hour until the baby wakes up to eat)…. Day after day after day….
Did I also mention that I have a very stubborn five year old daughter, a very rambunctious two and a half year old son, and a very fussy newborn son? Having the third child has not been a huge adjustment for me, but what has been hard is that he is so fussy. If he’s awake he’s crying! So, with no sleep and a crying baby, I have been very frustrated. I have been stuck in my mundane schedule and not happy and excited about my life.
Feeling this way I found myself sitting in my family room watching General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Elder M. Russell Ballard was speaking about the essential role of motherhood. The following quote he shared really touched me.
“First, recognize that the joy of motherhood comes in moments. There will be hard times and frustrating times. But amid the challenges, there are shining moments of joy and satisfaction.
Author Anna Quindlen reminds us not to rush past the fleeting moments. She said: “The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. . . . 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 [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. 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”(Loud and Clear , 10–11).”
I related to that quote so much. I focus most of my attention on getting things done and not on the shining moments of joy and satisfaction in my life.
A few weeks went by and one morning I was making dinner for a sick friend. The kids were helping me make cookies for their dessert. They love to help add the ingredients and stir in the chocolate chips and of course, eat the cookie dough! It takes so much longer when they help me but they love it. About an hour later I was feeding the baby. I rubbed his forehead as he was eating and I felt something sticky. I peeled off a layer of goop and smelled it. It was cookie dough! It made me laugh because I could just picture Preston (my two and a half year old son) rubbing Brennen’s forehead like he loves to do, with cookie dough all over his hands. This reminded me of the above quote. This was one of the moments I wanted to remember. I decided at that time, as I was scraping cookie dough off my newborn’s head, that I wanted to focus more on the moments in my life that make me happy, and less on the getting things done.
As I continued to think about this for the rest of the day I recognized more shining moments that made me happy.
I spent the afternoon outside with the kids in the sun. Ella and Preston played and ran around while Brennen and I lounged on a blanket in the yard. How refreshing that was after being cooped up in the house all winter.
I gave the kids a bath and as I was dressing Brennen he started fussing. I picked him up and all he had on was a onesie. His skin was so soft and he smelled wonderful. After only holding him with long sleeves and pants it was wonderful to feel his soft newborn skin.
Instead of getting ready for bed like I asked my older two kids to do, they turned on music in the family room and decided to dance. Instead of getting angry, I decided to dance with them for a while. What fun we had making up dance routines together and singing the oldies music Ella picked out.
And best of all, my baby Brennen smiled at me for the first time! He stopped crying for several minutes and was content and happy. He has cried for his entire newborn life and for the first time in over a month he smiled and was content! It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.
I have promised myself that I will continue to try to pick out those shining moments in my day to day routine that make me happy. I want to focus more on them and remember and cherish them.