Lessons in Motherhood: Find pockets of joy

I read this fabulous post the other day from the lovely Stephanie Nielson about motherhood and it really reached out and grabbed my heart. Motherhood isn’t for wimps. It is hard. And there are days when I think every mom feels like throwing in the towel. But we don’t. We keep going. And hopefully we find little pockets of joy. I wrote a bit about this idea over on Becky Higgins blog a few weeks ago for a cultivating a good life entry about choosing joy with Eli. And how I am trying to do that.

I feel like that is a great idea. In fact it’s a wonderful idea. But some days it is still hard. When you are overtired and your kids are having an off day. When you burn your supper or your hand on supper. When everyone cries at what you made for supper and every interaction between the kids seems to end in someone crying or yelling. When your head hurts or your back and you are totally in survival mode.

On those days it can get hard to just be positive. For me at least. And I don’t think I’m alone. I was thinking about this last week during the day. About choosing to see joy and finding it in this most important thing we are doing. I know that motherhood is what I was meant to do. It is a divine role that I luckily get to live in. And I am blessed to be able to do this and be this. They are my greatest accomplishment and creation. My heart walking outside my body. I know all that. And still some days it is hard to do it. To be here in this overtired overworked under appreciated place.

Dancing on the Table

Last week I had a moment. A spiritual tapping of my mother heart as Stephanie Nielson called it on another occasion. It started with a little play list we have on our computer called Oliver. It has exactly three songs in it. Happy from Pharrell Williams, Barnyard Dance from the kids book by Sandra Boynton and Jingle Bells by Barenaked Ladies. It is frankly an annoying play list. Especially since we listen to it on repeat…. for most of the morning. (Unfortunately I could sing you all of these songs……)

It was a very regular day really. I was cleaning up the kitchen and the two littles were playing around me. And “Happy” came on and even though they have heard that song a lot (the play list is currently at 392 times….) they just really got into it and were dancing up a storm. And then Oliver climbed on to the table and they were dancing up there. My first reaction was to get them down. I actually hate seeing kids on tables or counters. It just annoys me. But they were having SO much fun. And they were eating it up. All of it.

Dancing on the Table together

I stopped what I was doing, got out my camera and just enjoyed them and their energy and their love for that overplayed song. It was a total pocket of joy. They danced and  played and even tried a few break dance moves. I could have not noticed it. I need to stop what I was doing and stop trying to do my list of things. Just for a few moments I did. I ate it up and they did too and my momma heart was filled up with joy.

It was the briefest moment. It ended just as quickly as it started. (In fact I think it ended in a fight over the witch hat Norah was wearing.) But that little pocket of joy was something. It was there in my day. And it wasn’t the only one. It was the only one I took a picture of that day but there were more. Filling up my heart all day long. As long as I stop and notice them they are there.

I found this lovely quote from Love, Play, Learn a few ago when preparing a talk I was giving on motherhood.

“Motherhood can often be monotonous. Days can blur together and you really can get bogged down in all the stressful and boring aspects of caring for your home and children. However, if we stop and start to pay attention in our day we find these small moments that make all the hard parts of motherhood worth it. It is the giggles between your children behind close doors as they play happily together. It is the random I love yous. It is the slobbery open mouth kisses from your baby. It is the gleam of pure happiness in your child’s eyes when you introduce them to something new and exciting. It is their uncontrollable laughter when you are tickling them. It is the way your baby leans their head on your shoulder if only for a second. It is your baby’s first step. When they first learn to ride a bike. These are the moments that make motherhood. That make your heart fill with such love that you didn’t know existed. That make up for the sleepless nights and the messes and everything else that make it such a difficult job. When we are deliberate and conscious in our days to stop and really recognize these moments, we can find the happiness and joy in motherhood. I am not much of a journal writer but I have started writing in a notebook just a few minutes a day thing that I want to remember. Every entry starts out with “Happiness Is…” and I fill it with moments that brought me happiness in the day. It is simple and I literally spend 1-2 minutes doing it but it really helps me see that my days are filled with happiness. I just need to stop and enjoy the moments.”

Yes, Yes, Yes. I love this whole idea. The looking for these moments or as I’ve started calling them the pockets of joy is essential. And so is writing them down. Document them because of their fleeting nature they are over just as quickly as they start. And humans are forgetful. We need to remember. (Which is also an important word, but that’s a whole other conversation!)

These little moments are what matter. The pockets of joy in our everyday. Stop and notice them. And document them somehow so that when you are having a day when you just can’t seem to see them you can go back and relive those joy pockets.

I’d love you to comment and tell me a pocket of joy you noticed in your home in the last few days.

Just Rhonda Footer

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