Time is fleeting. We all know that but last week at the gym, I was reminded of that once again. I had stayed to enjoy a few extra minutes in the hot tub when I struck up a conversation with another mom. She was the mother of a 6 year old daughter and twin 2 1/2 year olds. She said that her career as a police officer did nothing to prepare her for being a stay at home mother. While she loves being home she said that her life does feel completely out of control most times with two toddlers wreaking havoc on her home and sanity.
I reflected on how my life has changed in the 12 years since we had children. I also chose to be a stay at home mother and while I didn’t have three children under age 5, my two certainly kept me busy. I remember eagerly talking to strangers, the postman, the UPS driver and any other adult I had access to in those early years when I felt isolated and like I was losing my sanity.
I also realize that now just 12 years later, with both kids in school all day, my time has shifted in enormous ways. There is still work to be done, a house to maintain, dishes, laundry, grocery shopping and lots of shlepping, but now I look forward to picking my kids up at school and hearing about what they are learning, who they are hanging out with and what new adventures their days are bringing them. There is much less physcial care for children as they reach school age and your care shifts to more mental care as they grow into pre adolescent and young adults. I can also see now that there will be bigger and likely more worrisome challenges than diapering and chasing when the pressures of sex, drugs and other things enter the scene.
As I left the encounter with that mom, I thought how quickly it all changes, and how weird it felt to say that having already lived through several stages of my own children’s life that won’t return. How do we live each and every day with a sense of true in the moment enjoyment? I remember how hard that was when I felt bedraggled and exhausted all the time, but I also remember dancing in the living room with my daughter while we waited for daddy to come home from work, long walks at a toddler pace stopping to pick up every rock or leaf she saw and running through sprinklers with or with out clothing (my children no me!) While it does go by those memories are what stand out for me as the most important reminders to breathe, enjoy and decide what is really important to you in you life. Honestly, the laundry, dishes and cleaning can definitely wait.