This special cross-stitch picture still hangs in our home. It serves as a daily reminder that I have the privilege of being a mom.
When my children were little, I lost sight of what was important—their music.
Between the mountains of laundry, the dirty diapers, the crying, the spit up and throw up, the whining, the constant chatter (I did have a girl ☺), the toys that replaced my carpet each day, the dishes in the sink (no, we didn’t have a dishwasher in those days), I got lost.
One day this beautiful gift arrived.
Sent by a woman who had been there. Handmade especially for me as a gentle and sweet reminder that my children are precious. This time of utter chaos was going to be very short. The music of this day would soon fade. That woman was my mom. She’d reared four children…and survived! I could do this!!
But how did I maintain my sanity in the midst of all this? How did I take care of me while still being a wife and a mom?
In a conversation with Mom — or maybe it was several knowing how long it takes me to get some things through my head — she reminded me of the importance of caring for me.
“When the kids are napping, you rest too!”
What?! Are you crazy?! Didn’t she know how much I could get done when the kids weren’t under my feet undoing everything I’d just finished? What do you mean rest when the kids are resting? I don’t need a nap every day! My kids do, but I don’t.
But Mom knew something I hadn’t yet learned: a mommy who takes the time to take a break during the day is a much happier mommy the rest of the day.
And so I began to take Mom’s advice. Not every day, but slowly, until it became more days than not. I didn’t necessarily take a nap, but I rested.
I refused to look at the pile of dirty dishes in the sink.
I refused to look at the clothes that needed to be folded or the ones still hanging on the line or the ones that needed to go in the washer or the dryer.
I refused to balance my checkbook.
I refused to do ANY of the myriad other tasks that screamed for my attention.
Instead, I took the time to restore my mind, my heart, and my soul. Some days it was just sitting in a chair letting the sun stream over me. Some days it was quietly listening to beautiful music. Some days it was reading a portion of a book or even a whole magazine! Imagine that! I finished a magazine that was gathering dust. Some days I created something new at my sewing machine. Some days I did take a nap.
And I learned.
A rested mommy—one who daily restores her mind, heart, and soul—is a healthy, calm, patient mommy who hears the music of her children.
I learned to hear the music of my children and capture those quickly fleeting extraordinary moments.
I was able to fully embrace the extraordinary beauty of the trumpet sounds of laughter, the drumming of those little feet running to give me a hug, and hear with joy the words, “I love you, Mommy!”
Babies Don’t Keep byRuth Hulburt Hamilton
Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.
The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.
Kirsten D. Samuel
Aftershock Recovery Coach
8-week Program, Custom-paced Coaching, Remote, or In-person Sessions
Kirsten, this is beautiful. Thank you for reminding me to look at the joys of motherhood, and not the stresses that tend to overtake my mind most days. I love you and the role model you continue to be for me.
Nikki T. Thank you for your kind words. You can do this motherhood thing! You’re a beautiful momma who dearly loves her kiddos. Love you, too, precious one!
Kirsten, I loved reading this! I can’t wait for that day when I get to be a mommy. I know it will be hard, but it will be so fulfilling. Thank you for your wonderful perspective!
Alyssa – thanks for reading and for your comments. Being a mom is so fulfilling…and the hardest job you’ll ever have!