I Want to Cherish Every Moment.

It’s a complicated turn of phrase that is seemingly thrown at mothers like confetti:

“Cherish every moment!”

“These times are so precious!”

“They grow so fast!”

“Before you know it, they’ll be grown!”

“They’re only little once!”

And how true it is. But as I sit here today, contemplating one of the most difficult months of my life, it seems to hit differently. As a mama whose eldest child is nearly grown at age 17, I know all too well how fleeting childhood really is. Where is that little roly-poly baby with his piercing blue eyes, anyway? Wasn’t he just here a minute ago? My heart physically aches to think of the moments I took for granted and the years which have passed in what feels like a blink. But today, scrolling social media, I came across yet another “don’t take it for granted, motherhood is a gift” post, and my eyes welled up with tears for a completely unexpected reason.

What hit me so hard is this: I want to cherish every moment SO badly.

It is my deepest desire, the thing that keeps me up at night. But amidst the chaos of daily life, and during a season where the hits seem to keep on coming, it feels impossible. By the end of the day, my patience is thin, my exhaustion is bone-deep, and overstimulation threatens my sanity. On these raw, difficult days brought about by circumstance, daily life with three kiddos, or even just my own mental health struggles, I plod along toward bedtime, when I can finally be “off the clock.” I count down the minutes until I can tuck my children safely into their beds and call it a night, feeling a sense of relief at having survived another day.

Today, when I came across that ubiquitous social media post, I realized that I haven’t been cherishing nearly as many moments as I would like to. I am, indeed, letting these days pass by without treasuring them. Without enjoying them. Without appreciating them. 

Immediately the familiar pang of mom-guilt hit my gut–but then I stopped myself. You see, I am 100% sure that I am giving my family all I have to give. I spend every waking moment thinking of them, how I can fulfill their needs, and how I can be a better mama. But cherishing it? Treasuring it? I just…can’t. In the past month, among other things, we’ve dealt with a totaled car, a flooded basement (twice), and a serious healthcare scare that has yet to be resolved. In the dregs of this practically daily bombardment of bad news, cherishing the moment just isn’t in the cards. Simply surviving the moment is difficult enough.

Of course my motherhood journey hasn’t always been so bleak, and there has been plenty of joy in our household. But the reality is, some moments aren’t meant to be cherished. In fact, I have come to realize that we moms, despite the well-meaning platitudes, are in fact NOT superheroes. We are just…human. Not only that, but we absorb so much more than we realize: every tear our babies cry, every stressful moment they have at school, every difficult day our partners experience–we absorb them all. And like a sponge, sometimes we are just too soaked to absorb anymore.

Do I have a solution for this sad reality? No. I’ll just keep plodding along until joy finds me again (and I have faith that it will). But I am here to tell you that it’s okay, mama. The next time a stranger or well-meaning friend admonishes you to treasure these moments, it’s okay to remind yourself that some moments aren’t meant to be treasured. Sometimes just finding strength for the day is good enough. YOU are good enough. Don’t forget it.

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