With Mother’s Day being this past weekend, there’s been a lot of reflection on mothers and the advice they have given over the years. I find this rather timely since my mom and I were talking about the advice she gave me, when I was pregnant, just last week.
You see when I was pregnant, my mom told me two things she wished she had been told when she had me and my brothers: 1. Don’t wish away a moment and 2. It never gets better, only different.
While that may seem like strange advice what she was saying was not to waste time worrying about the future. You see so many parents lose moments because, let’s be honest, raising kids is hard work. Parents are tired and the one thing that keeps them going is this idea that it will be better later – it will be better when they sleep through the night, it will be better when they are walking, it will be better when they are potty trained or going to school or old enough to not need a babysitter. While there are great advantages to each stage, that doesn’t eliminate the challenges. A walking child is a busy child, potty training means lots more laundry and accidents, so on and so forth. If you spend your time waiting for it to get better you will miss all those wonderful moments that are happening now.
About two months ago, my mom had a stroke. It’s been a crazy time while the doctors try to figure out exactly what happened because she doesn’t have the typical symptoms (in fact they only confirmed her stroke last week, prior to that they weren’t even positive that was what happened). Her eyesight was affected and she can’t process information like she could before she got sick.
The other day, we were in the car and she said “it will be better when my eyesight improves.” Being her daughter, I couldn’t help respond “it won’t be better, just different.” We talked about that for a moment and the advice she had given me. It was then I realized that her advice was bigger than either of us had realized. While she was talking about being a parent, she didn’t know she was giving me a great foundation for living my entire life.
It’s easy to wish away the moments and “know” life will be better when but it’s not true. Life can be great right now if we take the time to live in the moment. That doesn’t mean sitting back and accepting your fate – it means being completely present.
Over the past few months, I have found myself deeply unhappy. I had decided that if we could move, then I’d be happy. I fought against that idea for months until last week when I realized it just wasn’t going to happen. I broke down and cried. All my chances for happiness were over. While that seems overly melodramatic, it was how I felt. I mourned the loss. It was the next day, mom and I had our conversation. It took a little while to sink in but I did realize that my decision that my happiness depended on moving was only holding me back. I couldn’t identify the problem or the solution while I was holding on to the idea that my happiness was set in the future.
So what was my problem – mostly cabin fever. I’m sick of the winter and the feeling of being stuck. It’s sad to say that this past week’s of sunshine really helped (because I can’t fully take the credit for breaking myself out of the slump). My whole family has hit that slump. Our house has gotten cluttered and messy – not so bad that you look at it and say wow what a mess, just enough that it was blocking our ability to function. Clutter is terrible. We haven’t been active or taken any time to do anything that felt productive.
So in honor of myself on Mother’s day, I deep cleaned my living room. It made a huge difference. I went over and made dinner for my mom. At the end of the day, I felt wonderful. I can’t say the slump is 100% over but I can see the reasons for it and the solutions. I can reclaim my happiness and enjoy the moments in my life again. That’s the best advice my mother could give and I thank her for it.