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Food for Thought for Busy Parents

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Elizabeth, I think I am going to print this out and hang it on our fridge. I try to remember many of these things as the days go, but having a ready reminder (having the little ones I am in the kitchen several times a day for meals and snacks!!!) is just what I need. Thanks for posting this!

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This goes on my fridge, too. Elizabeth, you find the coolest stuff and I love it.

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  • 1 month later...
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Thanks again, Elizabeth!

For us one of the blessings of being a bit older is that we have taken the time to talk about some of these thoughts over the years, and had (probably over-) analyzed our parents' parenting and made some choices based on that.

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  • 2 years later...

This article has gone around on FB, but I thought I'd share it here. I enjoyed it. I know as an adoptive parent that so appreciates my blessings, that sometimes it is hard to admit how hard parenting can be. The hardness doesn't take away from the joy, but it is one of the hardest (and yet most rewarding) experiences in life! I'm just pasting it so the link won't go bad:

Don't Carpe Diem

Every time I'm out with my kids -- this seems to happen:

An older woman stops us, puts her hand over her heart and says something like, "Oh, Enjoy every moment. This time goes by so fast."

Everywhere I go, someone is telling me to seize the moment, raise my awareness, be happy, enjoy every second, etc, etc, etc.

I know that this message is right and good. But, I have finally allowed myself to admit that it just doesn't work for me. It bugs me. This CARPE DIEM message makes me paranoid and panicky. Especially during this phase of my life - while I'm raising young kids. Being told, in a million different ways to CARPE DIEM makes me worry that if I'm not in a constant state of intense gratitude and ecstasy, I'm doing something wrong.

I think parenting young children (and old ones, I've heard) is a little like climbing Mount Everest. Brave, adventurous souls try it because they've heard there's magic in the climb. They try because they believe that finishing, or even attempting the climb are impressive accomplishments. They try because during the climb, if they allow themselves to pause and lift their eyes and minds from the pain and drudgery, the views are breathtaking. They try because even though it hurts and it's hard, there are moments that make it worth the hard. These moments are so intense and unique that many people who reach the top start planning, almost immediately, to climb again. Even though any climber will tell you that most of the climb is treacherous, exhausting, killer. That they literally cried most of the way up.

And so I think that if there were people stationed, say, every thirty feet along Mount Everest yelling to the climbers -- "ARE YOU ENJOYING YOURSELF!? IF NOT, YOU SHOULD BE! ONE DAY YOU'LL BE SORRY YOU DIDN'T!" TRUST US!! IT'LL BE OVER TOO SOON! CARPE DIEM!" -- those well-meaning, nostalgic cheerleaders might be physically thrown from the mountain.

Now. I'm not suggesting that the sweet old ladies who tell me to ENJOY MYSELF be thrown from a mountain. These are wonderful ladies. Monkees, probably. But last week, a woman approached me in the Target line and said the following: "Sugar, I hope you are enjoying this. I loved every single second of parenting my two girls. Every single moment. These days go by so fast."

At that particular moment, Amma had arranged one of the new bras I was buying on top of her sweater and was sucking a lollipop that she must have found on the ground. She also had three shop-lifted clip-on neon feathers stuck in her hair. She looked exactly like a contestant from Toddlers and Tiaras. I couldn't find Chase anywhere, and Tish was grabbing the pen on the credit card swiper thing WHILE the woman in front of me was trying to use it. And so I just looked at the woman, smiled and said, "Thank you. Yes. Me too. I am enjoying every single moment. Especially this one. Yes. Thank you."

That's not exactly what I wanted to say, though.

There was a famous writer who, when asked if he loved writing, replied, "No. but I love having written." What I wanted to say to this sweet woman was, "Are you sure? Are you sure you don't mean you love having parented?"

I love having written. And I love having parented. My favorite part of each day is when the kids are put to sleep (to bed) and Craig and I sink into the couch to watch some quality TV, like Celebrity Wife Swap, and congratulate each other on a job well done. Or a job done, at least.

Every time I write a post like this, I get emails suggesting that I'm being negative. I have received this particular message four or five times -- G, if you can't handle the three you have, why do you want a fourth?

That one always stings, and I don't think it's quite fair. Parenting is hard. Just like lots of important jobs are hard. Why is it that the second a mother admits that it's hard, people feel the need to suggest that maybe she's not doing it right? Or that she certainly shouldn't add more to her load. Maybe the fact that it's so hard means she IS doing it right...in her own way...and she happens to be honest.

Craig is a software salesman. It's a hard job in this economy. And he comes home each day and talks a little bit about how hard it is. And I don't ever feel the need to suggest that he's not doing it right, or that he's negative for noticing that it's hard, or that maybe he shouldn't even consider taking on more responsibility. And I doubt anybody comes by his office to make sure he's ENJOYING HIMSELF. I doubt his boss peeks in his office and says: "This career stuff...it goes by so fast...ARE YOU ENJOYING EVERY MOMENT IN THERE, CRAIG???? CARPE DIEM, CRAIG!"

My point is this. I used to worry that not only was I failing to do a good enough job at parenting, but that I wasn't enjoying it enough. Double failure. I felt guilty because I wasn't in parental ecstasy every hour of every day and I wasn't MAKING THE MOST OF EVERY MOMENT like the mamas in the parenting magazines seemed to be doing. I felt guilty because honestly, I was tired and cranky and ready for the day to be over quite often. And because I knew that one day, I'd wake up and the kids would be gone, and I'd be the old lady in the grocery store with my hand over my heart. Would I be able to say I enjoyed every moment? No.

But the fact remains that I will be that nostalgic lady. I just hope to be one with a clear memory. And here's what I hope to say to the younger mama gritting her teeth in line:

"It's helluva hard, isn't it? You're a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. She's my favorite. Carry on, warrior. Six hours till bedtime." And hopefully, every once in a while, I'll add -- "Let me pick up that grocery bill for ya, sister. Go put those kids in the van and pull on up -- I'll have them bring your groceries out."

Anyway. Clearly, Carpe Diem doesn't work for me. I can't even carpe fifteen minutes in a row, so a whole diem is out of the question.

Here's what does work for me:

There are two different types of time. Chronos time is what we live in. It's regular time, it's one minute at a time, it's staring down the clock till bedtime time, it's ten excruciating minutes in the Target line time, it's four screaming minutes in time out time, it's two hours till daddy gets home time. Chronos is the hard, slow passing time we parents often live in.

Then there's Kairos time. Kairos is God's time. It's time outside of time. It's metaphysical time. It's those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day. And I cherish them.

Like when I actually stop what I'm doing and really look at Tish. I notice how perfectly smooth and brownish her skin is. I notice the perfect curves of her teeny elf mouth and her asianish brown eyes, and I breathe in her soft Tishy smell. In these moments, I see that her mouth is moving but I can't hear her because all I can think is -- This is the first time I've really seen Tish all day, and my God -- she is so beautiful. Kairos.

Like when I'm stuck in chronos time in the grocery line and I'm haggard and annoyed and angry at the slow check-out clerk. And then I look at my cart and I'm transported out of chronos. And suddenly I notice the piles and piles of healthy food I'll feed my children to grow their bodies and minds and I remember that most of the world's mamas would kill for this opportunity. This chance to stand in a grocery line with enough money to pay. And I just stare at my cart. At the abundance. The bounty. Thank you, God. Kairos.

Or when I curl up in my cozy bed with Theo asleep at my feet and Craig asleep by my side and I listen to them both breathing. And for a moment, I think- how did a girl like me get so lucky? To go to bed each night surrounded by this breath, this love, this peace, this warmth? Kairos.

These kairos moments leave as fast as they come- but I mark them. I say the word kairos in my head each time I leave chronos. And at the end of the day, I don't remember exactly what my kairos moments were, but I remember I had them. And that makes the pain of the daily parenting climb worth it.

If I had a couple Kairos moments during the day, I call it a success.

Carpe a couple of Kairoses a day.

Good enough for me.

BY: Glennon Melton

Any thoughts?

Edited by RHSegura
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This article was good for the soul. Seriously... part of what keeps me from being a stay at home mom is that I fear I'm not good at it. That I don't have enough patience or that my child might be able to tell that I'm wondering how many minutes there are until nap time. The truth, just like this lady said, is that no matter how much I LOVE my child, "me" time is what I need to recharge my batteries - emotional and physical. Those "Kairos" moments are the ones that recharge my spirit, though, and I savor every single one of those I get and it really does feel like time stands still during those moments. It's not watching American Idol that enriches my life, but it is the detox I need to give me the energy to hit the ground running at 5:30am the next morning.

Good read, Hannah! Thanks for posting.

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i have answered prayers in this new part-time job and new experience we are about to have. and i have often wanted to stay at home full time. but then i have weekends (or a few hours before bedtime after a trying day) and i question my ability to be a full time at home mom. because i get so frustrated in so many of those chronos moments. (and i struggle with counting down to bedtime knowing i have missed my children all day). honestly i have fear about my ability to thrive with more days at home.

i am thinking about another forum member's facebook post sharing some FANTASTIC winter children's activities. and i realize that even though i don't feel nearly as creative, if i can focus that type-a planning personality aspect of myself towards home and do lots of internet research for ideas.....that eventually some innate mom creativity will surface. and i will keep reminding myself that i need to honor those (well-put melissa) battery-recharging moments so that i can revel in all the kairos moments that make parenting true magic.


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Thanks for posting this Hannah, just what I needed. It's so easy to feel guilty about the hurdles or having moments where you expect to spontaneously combust because something is so physically/emotionally taxing. And guilty for enjoying your alone moments SO MUCH. This article really puts the duality of parenting - the hardship/the rewards - into perspective.

Those Kairos moments really do have a way of pulling you through the day. For myself, if we're not having a few of those each day then it's time to slow down a little, smile more - maybe let a chore slide for the day and not get too worked up as we switch to fun mode. Of course there are just some weeks - think colds or teething or no sleep - that are just going to be harder. Eventually it eases up again, THANK GOD.

Can't wait to share this with a friend who's currently in the deep end...


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Thanks for posting. I often wondered what to call those moments. I have had several of them through the years and look back at them sometimes and think about those moments.

And often they were just times where I was still and took in the moment.

I had one the other day. Kevin and Alexander were sitting on the couch reading a story. I was packing up Christmas decorations and I just stopped for a moment and 'really' saw my family.

It was a 'Kairo' moment and I will cherish it forever.

Leah x

Edited by TexasFamily
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  • 11 months later...

Saw this on Facebook today and it rang true with me, I know that sometimes I get so caught up with trying to be the "perfect" mom and I forget that to Garrett I am the "perfect" mom and that I really need to enjoy these little moments because as someone said the little moments often are the big ones.

I may lose some friends over this post but here it goes: watching Kaden fall asleep earlier tonight I reflected on the disappointment I sometimes feel that I may never be the mom that makes cake pops for every holiday or hand crafts his Halloween costumes. . .. I can build a mean fort out of twine, sheets and 3m hooks and make an impressive Smurf city out of Legos but when he was a baby I did not ...feed him homemade organic baby food and sometimes wonder if he will be as healthy as the kids who's mothers did.

I have a friend who feels like a "bad mom" because she didn't send out Christmas Cards this year and another who is opening a new profit center for her business venture and feels "guilty"that she had to buy cookies at the store instead of hand making them for her son's school Christmas party.

Here is my point:

I'm Afraid that the pinterest era is turning us into wanna be Stepford freaks....I have friends who are pregnant with their first child and they are more overwhelmed with decisions like what kind of diapers the "best moms" buy than the things that will actually matter.

As mothers, the measures I believe we should judge ourselves on are actually simple: its not the size or "pinterest-worthiness" of their first birthday cake. It's the amount of unconditional love and affection we give to our children, the values and confidence we instill in them, the quality of the time we spend with them, the examples we set for them in our actions as their role models.....this to me includes how we treat others, the way we treat ourselves, the appreciation we show for family AND our demonstrated work ethic (whether its cleaning the kitchen, volunteering, or working on your next business plan) and lastly AND MOST IMPORTANTLY the effort we put into developing their faith in GOD. If this post makes even one fb mom think twice about beating herself up because she bought the cheaper brand of diapers tonight at Walmart; then it was completely worth posting what has officially been the longest fb status I have ever written.

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