Sunday, May 19, 2013

'love, mama' series | andrea jenkins

this month i'm celebrating motherhood with some sweet words from some of my favorite people. today my dear friend andrea is here with some beautifully excellent wisdom.

"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

and this, my friends, my fellow mamas, this is what I have learned. to not be in such a stinking hurry. if there's one thing motherhood has taught me, it's this. to slow the heck down. time (that odd, mercurial thing) will trick you into thinking you have it at your disposal, to wield as you see fit. the truth is that there are no guarantees. one minute, you're up to your elbows in messes and the next, the mess makers are out the door. 

I realize that this is nothing new, nothing that hasn't been said before at least a thousand times. and I will admit to cringing every time someone said it to me when my kids were babies (my kids, who are now 8 and 12). don't wish it away, they'd say. treasure these times! it will be over before you know it! but you don't know, I'd think to myself. you don't remember how hard it is. you don't remember what it is to be tired like this.

I'm on the other side of it now, just a little bit. and I'll tell you, I DO know. I do remember how hard it is. I do remember what that kind of tired is like. I will never forget. but still, I wish (oh I wish I wish I wish) I could go back, do it all over again. I rushed through so much of it, I know there were times when I was in such a hurry to get on to the next thing. I know there were times I secretly wished for a magic fast forward button. 

this is not an easy thing to admit. I'm not particularly proud of this part of who I am. I can't turn back time but I can acknowledge this painful piece and make the necessary adjustments. I still struggle with the daily grind but I savor it just a little bit more now. I stop everything (when it's possible) to play four square with my son. I sing to him every night, even when I'm so tired I fall asleep during the last song. when my daughter talks to me, I shut the computer, put the phone down, put my book down, put the laundry down, turn off the tv, give her my full attention. I throw the schedule out the window every once in a while, let go of deadlines. I try to turn off that part of my brain that says 'dinner, bath, book, bed', the part that says 'on to the next thing, go go go'. 

I'll tell you, I treasure the doing a little more. and the getting it done a little less.


  1. I agree. The time does go by so fast. And it's so hard to be in the moment, even when you are trying to mindful of it! Mine are 11,13,16, and 20 and I recently cut back to 32 hours at work. I can feel my time with them slipping away. We could use the money, but the time together is priceless. Thanks for reminding us to slow down and enjoy the moments!

  2. So very true! I didn't work at all for the first year of my children's lives. Then I worked two days a week. The time flew by and now I have four grandchildren. As Cher's famous song says " If I Could Turn Back Time". It is a balancing act though. We have to cook , clean, do laundry , bookkeeping etc. but we should savor so many moments more and not rush to the next trivial job. Which is more important, playing a Facebook game, or reading to your child? I've done better as a grandmother. I lay down with them sometimes, read books, snuggle, etc. but I have the luxury of getting my " work" done when they aren't around. I think that's why I've turned into such a shutterbug. I try to capture those moments and treasure them. I started a journal right before Adam was born, almost 33 years ago. I LOVE looking back on little things I would have forgotten such as when he discovered his heart beat. I'm not as good at keeping a journal about the grandkids. I have two blogs and a nice new blank journal Adam gave me for Mother's Day. I better get with it!

  3. thanks so much for the kind comments, all! and thank you so, so much for having me, hannah! xoxo