Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It Will Be Over Before You Know It & Soli Deo Gloria Link-up

I'm so glad you are back.  All through the week, I so look forward to this day, to catching up with you and seeing your sweet faces on my blog!  If you are new to Soli Deo Gloria, please click "here" to read about the heart behind this meme and to get the guidelines.   Don't forget to grab the button so that people who visit your blog will know where to find us in case they would like to share their hearts, too.

Treasure every minute.
Take in every milestone.
Don't think about the future, but enjoy the present, for it will be fleeting.
It will be over before you know it, so don't wish the time away.

I've heard these and similar phrases for over six years now.  They usually come after I have been complaining about my children -- their demands, their behavior, the playing, the cleaning, the whole Mommy kit-and-kaboodle.  Upon the words falling on my ears, I usually politely nod, or give a cursory Oh, I know and I DO enjoy every  moment so that to whomever I am speaking does not doubt my motherly love, my devotion to my children, or my sanity.  But the truth is that what I really wanted to hear was that IT'S OKAY TO HAVE MOMENTS WHEN YOU DON'T LIKE BEING A MOTHER.

Frankly, I'm not a little kid person.  I mean, I know HOW to interact with children.  I can teach them, I can play with them, but to be completely honest, it's not my favorite thing in the world.  It takes effort sometimes for me to want to play Barbies or Polly Pockets or Littlest Pet Shop.  I have a hard time keeping my cool when my daughter walks in from school and immediately starts picking on her younger sister.  I often neglect to pray for them everyday.  Sometimes I let them watch a little too much TV on a day when I just. need. some. time. alone.

This season of young child rearing has challenges.  Truthfully, I cannot wait for the day when I can spend hours talking to my daughters about what is really going on in their lives.  Meaty stuff.  Spiritual stuff.  Boy stuff (yikes!).  Because I am the queen of serious conversations.  I know how to have them and I know how to have them well.  So of course, I am going to look forward to the time when I might be able to do more things right than wrong in the rearing of my children.  (By the way, if you have older kids and feel the need to tell me that my teenagers will have nothing to do with me at that time in their lives, please don't.  I need my coping mechanisms.)

All of this is spewing from my fingertips because of the revelation that I had yesterday.  Hannah turned five.  We were finishing up hanging the Christmas decorations.  There was some loud clamoring over whether Hannah should have to share her brand new birthday toys.  And then, this thought popped into my head:

It will be over before you know it, so don't wish the time away.

All of the sudden, there I was in my old(er) age.  The house was quiet.  The girls were away at college.  There was no one to clamor about toys or Santa.  There were no red and green glass balls crashing to the floor.  There was no discussion of who was going to hang "Leon," the prized Christmas tree ornament.

The Empty Nest.

I realized at that moment how much I love being a mom.  Honestly, I cannot treasure every minute because some of them, well, stink.  But I think that this was God's little way of slowing me down and reminding me that maybe I'm not as bad at this gig as I thought I was.  So, especially during this Christmas season, I am going to try not yearn so much for the day when I can be master of my own scheduleTo not want to retreat as often into total silence.  To just live and let the days come as they may.  To cherish the good times and not lament the bad. To not feel guilty during those times when I just don't want to be "mom" at the moment.  So, to you, I say, it's okay to not treasure every moment.  It's okay to not love being a mom at every turn.  You are doing the best you can and God fills in the gaps with grace.


  1. Awesome post! I totally relate as I think any mom can. I had a trying night and morning with my tween daughter and all I can say is...parenting, if it isen't hard, you're probably not doing it right.

  2. Wonderful, beautiful, SO real! Love it! I found myself nodding at so much because I'm in the same season as you - bickering, meltdowns, attention-seeking. I also don't enjoy Littlest Pet Shop play and must force myself to do it then I feel horrible because my daughter loves it so much. My children also watch a little too much TV on those certain days and I too love a good conversation. And yet, like you, I know I will someday miss it.

    I love the part about how God fills in the spaces with grace. SO beautiful and SO true.

    Blessings to you sweet dear one...

    Natalie at Mommy on Fire

  3. You know, I don't play those sorts of games with my kids (the dolls, the littlest pet shop). Maybe once in a while but not on anything like a regular basis. I can't do it. It's too boring. I'd rather be doing anything else (including the dishes) and they can always tell. So I let them play that stuff on their own and I find activities for us to do together that I don't hate. I'm not really going anywhere with this thought.

  4. Thanks sister. I love your real-ness...I do love these little ones, but I don't think I'm as real about the hardness of these days...thanks for doing that and you are right and every mama needs to hear this and Lord knows we can beat ourselves up enough for an army:)

    Well, you have a faithful! Here I am the first to comment and link! hugs:) Well I was! ha! But the comment didn't post and I started doing other things...well, still:) your faithful, abby

  5. Jen, this is so good! I just wrote about 'changes' and how recently it has dawned on me how different things are, how things change, yet He is in it all! We do need to cherish every moment. I think I have been kissing on my baby a little more just thinking about the fact he is not going to be baby forever. I want to just HOLD on to it! Love the post Jen!

  6. I *used* to feel guilty for not being the playful Mom who gets down and plays on hands and knees. My husband convinced me that this was nonsense b/c God creates all as unique individuals who fit together and complement one another in the Body. So, I'm a "read a book to you with different character voices"-type Mom with full tea and cookies most afternoons, and one who gives them craft supplies and tells the kids to just create while I stand aside and do the dishes. I tend to read or write or crochet while they play. I have serious conversations with my kids about good and evil, the necessity of forgiveness, honor and character--even when they are little. It's amazing how much these concepts stay with them and grow as they grow, though my goodness they're still fallen and need lessons over and over just as I do.

    I've found that though I'm not always what my kids want me to be--my daughter would love for me to do more arts and crafts but then there are never enough art projects for her--I am who I am. I do my best, and I love them for who they are. I can't fill in all the gaps for my kids; that's God's job! :) And yes, it's full of grace.

    I was in a whimsical mood when I wrote yesterday, and alas it is where I am. :)

    God bless you, Jen! It's obvious that your daughters feel loved! You're doing a wonderful job! :)

  7. I can tell you, Jen, my "boys" are now 20 and almost-24, but I still remember how stinky some of those early-childhood times were! I too needed alone-time, and tried to at least supply edifying videos for those AWOL moments. I also recall asking God repeatedly to erase my parenting mistakes.

    But I enjoyed playing some of their boy-games with them, too, though like Emily (above), reading-with-the-characters' voices was more fun for me. Now, even though the house is very quiet without them, my hubby and I still savor the fun memories. We also find delight in being both counselors and friends to our grown-up sons, and our beautiful daughter-in-law.

    I guess what I'm saying is, no season is perfect, but every season comes with its own perks. Love you; thanks for posting!

  8. dear Jen, yes, i know what you mean too... i used to tell them that the day after high school graduation i would have their bags packed and out the door they would go. they are 11 and 7, and this is what i said to my precious babies???i understand now how that must have hurt their little boy hearts. i dont say these things any longer, even if i did say it in a joking (or frazzled) way before. children dont know jokes like that really. being a mom is hard sometimes, scraping boogers from the unlikeliest places, talking about other grosser things, and noise and fights and not sharing and complaining...
    and now, i have decided that I will miss the boogers, when i find no more.
    and i love your honesty, i always have! :) xoxo

  9. I LOVE your honesty here, Jen. And I hear you. I think I grow as a mom as my boys get older. I was NOT a good baby/toddler mom, but I am getting better as we grow together. I'll never forget the day my church's Director of Children's Ministries called to ask if I would teach Sunday School. Before I even knew it, I'd blurted to her, "I don't think that would be a good fit. I don't even like kids!" I think she was slightly horrified, but really, I was speaking the truth. Young children are not my calling. And I think that's okay -- it's good to know your strengths, as Emily so wisely pointed out in her comment above. Not that I don't love my children at all times (well, almost all times!), but still, there are times when I thrive in my mothering and times when I am simply grunting my way through it!

  10. oh how i love this/need this kind of honesty. i can relate, and unfortunately, even more so on the "just not enjoying" it end. it's hard work and really pulls out the ugly side of me more often than i like. thank you so much for this. really, thank you!

  11. As one who just celebrated her first Thanksgiving as an empty nester, this post hits home. It is so true that the time passes all too quickly; it's also true that none of us will live up to our heart's deep desire to cherish each moment. It's all process--learning, growing, failing, receiving grace to get up and try again and to fill in the places that were lacking.

  12. I can't believe Hannah's five. For some reason, reading that in your post made it hit home. I started crying!!! I'm sort of in an opposite place than you: while I agree that many days are hard, hard, hard, I actually spend more time thinking about how I want the time to slow down rather than speed up. I love the baby/little kid phase and fear that I will FREAK OUT when it's gone. But, reading your blog and these posts has helped. I will have what I need when I'm in it. In other words, God will fill up my heart with the present if I let Him, not let me sit in regret or grief for what's lost. There's hope in that. Amen, let it be.

  13. I can totally relate...even to the littlest pet shops, barbies, and polly pockets! Those are my daughters favs as well :) But yes it goes by so fast, watching my baby Lauren have 3 -yes 3- parts in the Nutcracker this year and act like such a big girl has hit me hard (you can't tell i'm proud of her or anything - ha). And then my son being 8, holy cow, that's 2 years from 10! It does go by way to fast! And I can also relate to being the queen of serious conversations, it takes practice for me to be silly :) But when i do I find I have soooooooo much fun! Blessings to you, you awesome amazing mamma! Your kids are so blessed to have you!

  14. I'm 2 years away from the empty nest. Part of me is very excited to get a 'break', but part of me is so sad to lose that part of my identity. I really relate to your words. Being a mom is hard, fun, crazy, tiring, and wonderful.

  15. Jen, You spoke the truth and there's not one thing wrong with that. I think it is totally normal for a Mom to just not like being a Mom sometimes. Hey, I still feel that way sometimes and my children are 31 and 34. :o) I use to live for Moms Day Out when mine were little and that didn't mean I didn't love them, I just needed some "me" time.

    And, I LOVED having teenagers!! It was some of the happiest years of our lives and our kids loved us throughout those years.

    Always, always enjoy stopping by. You refresh my soul! Hugs!

  16. Jen,
    Always excited to read some of the writing on the link up!

    It's weird, everyone always comments about how hard it must be because my kids are 8 years apart. I guess that does seem like a long time, but it has truly made me realize to take it in...even when like you, I'm not loving every minute of it!

    Forced LPS play. Oh, I get that. How can all of those creatures have different names? And really? I'm suppossed to remember?

  17. Thank you so much for sharing. I really need to work on remembering that it will be over before I know it. I need to remember that when my kids are doing things like playing with my fragile ornaments or wanting to play with my sewing machine, getting things out of the food cabinet....that they are just being kids and they want to be just like me. I shouldn't get impatient, it's not always easy, but I won't have the curiosity running wild around me for very long. I need to nurture it and appreciate that they want to be with me and helping like they are the big kids.

  18. We are a lot alike....I am not good with the little kid stuff but the convo stuff I love. I do spend time with my niece playing and things and love watching her as she achieves milestones (sitting up and now getting ready to crawl!) But I do look forward to conversations one day. :o)

    I adore your heart my friend.

  19. You are an awesome mom. Even if you don't enjoy every moment, you make the most of every day. No mom enjoys every moment (I mean, cleaning up vomit or having to discipline when they just won't stop fighting are not anyone's ideas of moments to enjoy and treasure). Every moment shapes our children, though, and they are watching. It is important for our kids to know that not everything is perfect and wonderful and we don't always enjoy everything in life. I have days that I'm really into playing with my kids and other days when I just get annoyed by them. That's just life as a mom, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I do look forward to when they are older, but I'm also trying hard to treasure the moments now while they are still young. Having almost 10 year olds has made me realize they are not little kids anymore. :( Carter just turned 5 as well, and I'm realizing it won't be long when no one is here during the day. I wonder how that is going to feel? I know I'll enjoy the time, but it sure will be quiet around here.


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