Enjoy the Daze
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The days are hard, and yet they pass all too quickly. None of us is the mom she wants to be. And we all have regrets. So what do we do with them?
So often I wish I could rewind the clock and talk to 25-year old me. Or the 30yo. Or that chick when she turned 35. Sigh. It’s so hard NOT to say, If only I knew then….
But, you don’t. For some reason God makes wisdom a hard-won thing. We aren’t typically born with it and we often have to make a lot of mistakes to get any of it.
As you know, my eldest son is graduating high school this spring and starting at a local university in the fall. His life is passing before my eyes. How did we get here? I remember when he turned 9 and we remarked that his homeschool was half over. It went by way too fast.
I’m suddenly SO GRATEFUL for the big age gap between him and his younger brother. I guess God knew what He was doing in spacing them not the way I wanted them. I can’t tell you how thankful I am that I have three more years before the next one moves on.
Interestingly enough, it’s this second child, this one that we prayed so hard for, that is currently teaching me so much. They all do, of course, but it’s so fascinating to me that we’re in this season. My second son has often been the one I had the hardest time relating to — he’s also the most like me — and he’s now the one with whom I have the deepest conversations and wrestle with life questions with. And he’s only in 9th grade!
I guess some people are born with wisdom.
Anyway, recently, he and I were talking about life and how it was going too fast for my liking. I look back at his childhood and it’s almost a blur. That’s what happens when you have six babies in 11 years, but still. I regret not cuddling that little boy more or reading more stories or doing more.
It wasn’t just the new babies every other year. It was debt. It was immaturity. It was some really sucky church situations that hurt our family deeply. Those are the things that distracted me from that season. And if I’m honest, made me wish life would go faster.
Oh foolish woman.
I cry often that I didn’t savor those toddler and little boy years more. I thought I was at the time, but now I’m not so sure. I realize that I’ve always had something going on in my life to distract me from my kids, to pull my attention away from fully enjoying the season they’re in, to tempt me to use my energy someplace else.
Part of the a-ha moment I had recently was realizing that back in the day — back when I first started this parenting gig, I was not confident in my parenting, in my money-management, or in my identity in Christ. I spent so much time worrying about things or handling them the way other people thought I should.
Instead of resting in who God made me and my children to be, I worried about being someone else.
I’m so thankful for the last few years of stepping back and letting our family be us. And I’m slowly getting over my regrets of not having been a better mom.
My take-aways from all this?
1. The show’s not over. I can make some concentrated efforts not to get distracted from the season our family is in now. It’s wild and crazy, but it’s good.
2. I can help my kids become confident in themselves and in Christ so that they don’t make the same mistakes I’ve made.
3. I can do the best I can where I am now.
4. I can give myself some grace. No one’s born wise. I was bound to make some mistakes, right?
5. I can enjoy my life more.
I, too, am often guilty of wishing the day would go faster. My beautiful little ones are 3.75 and 1.5 years old (how’s that for being precise?). I am a public school teacher, my husband is an IT support guru, and there are mountains of dishes and laundry just past the screaming toddler! I did a big thing for myself this weekend when I skipped church (gasp!) and cleaned the house (gasp, again!). The day unfolded to give me time by myself (albeit cleaning or cooking), time with each kid individually, and even a few minutes with hubby! Staying home that morning was the best treat I could have given EVERYBODY.
In other “Enjoy the Daze” news, Spring Break is under two weeks away. After that school is out in six more weeks, and at the end of eight beautiful weeks of summer vacation, I’m not going back to my job! So right now what I really have to focus on is not wishing away the next nine weeks in longing for what’s to come. I might have to read this post once a week….
Yay for being home! It is a game changer. I’m so excited for you.
You are right, enjoy the last nine weeks of teaching. You play a big part in your students’ lives.
Your post really hit home with me! This last week I have especially been pondering how quickly my sweet little baby boy is growing up, and how I would have done things much differently if I could go back in time and re-do the last few years. My Son just turned seven last month, but it seems like it was just yesterday that he was a baby! I often ponder how I’ve been as a Mother, what I would have done different, and how to do better as time goes by…but the last few days I have been especially looking deep in my heart, and at my life. I’ve been feeling very remorseful of any time that I may have squandered with my sweet boy, and I also regret not being as active in our Church as I would have liked to have been. I, too, had a misfortunate incident happen at church about six years ago…and because of the ignorant words and actions of another Church member, I haven’t gone to church as often as I wish I would have/as much as I should have. I’m trying harder to focus on the here and now, and to do much better as a Mother and as a person…but it can be very hard not to dwell on the past. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, experiences, and the wisdom that you have gained. You are truly making an incredible difference in so many people’s lives! The Lord be with you always.
Thank you for your kind words, Kathy! I remember reading a saying like this, “If you didn’t worry about being a good mom, you’d know you hadn’t been.” Or something like that. I bet you’re a better mom than you think. Be sure to identify what you’ve done right and BUILD on that. Blessings to you and your little one!
You are right it is the noise, distraction and confidence that distract you from engaging fully with your kids. The past two years my older three have become more social, and I have enjoyed that, but it has brought to the forefront the need to connect more deeply with my middle set, and savor the babies. We have just gone through a “teenage crisis”, where one of my son’s good friends was in a dangerous situation. Because of the relationship my husband and I have fostered with our oldest kids he was more than willing to tell us his concerns, and trust us when we thought it was time to tell his friend’s parents what was going on. This situation has reminded me that my husband and I need to be sure not to get so caught up in the business of life and to make sure we are fostering those deep conversations with our kids, so they will continue to trust us as they grow.
My take away: celebrate & enjoy family life more, keep them talking, give them the tools to become healthy adults (emotionally, physicaly, spiritually and financially), lead by example, and always bring it back to God.
As our kids grow the situations definitely increase in intensity, don’t they. So glad to hear that your son could come to you for help. Such a blessing!
I wish I were closer to give you a hug.
You know what? You were there when he was little, like you were for all of them – but you were a little distracted – like you had to be, to care for everything you did. And he learned wonderful lessons and he saw amazing changes being wrought. And he had a wonderful batch of siblings to fill any gaps. You were there. He was there. You shared a life.
And it’s not over, and now you’ve got these wonderful talks and time together. Don’t waste more time mourning missed opportunities. Appreciate the gift of new ones.
I try hard to focus on these things too, not to rush through, to appreciate even as they irritate! To remember how I’ll miss them.
So hard – but so wonderful
Thank you for your encouraging words! I agree with you 100%. 🙂
Would love to hear your insights on how to think about yucky church situations (we have one in our past), how to move on, and how to handle with grace a good church because even a good church is full of imperfect people (like me!).
Hmmm…. I have struggled for seven years how to write about that. Ours was really, really bad. It’s definitely shaped how we interact with those outside our family. You ask some great questions. Let’s have coffee, shall we?
I appreciate your insight on more years than you wanted between your oldest boys. My boys are also further apart than I wanted and it sometimes makes me sad that they will be so far apart in school. We are at the beginning of the school journey. I love looking at it from the viewpoint of them going off to college more slowly though!
Writing this post was actually the first time I thought of it. God surely knows better than we do, doesn’t he?
You are a wonderful mother, Jessica! It’s hard when your kids leave for college, but they always come back! The years fly by fast and kids grow up. Please enjoy your kids every day!
God bless, Kathy in Illinois
Aww, Kathy. Thank you for your steadfast encouragement. I am a work in progress, that is for sure. 😉