Mom’s Beautiful Post Encourages Parents at All Stages: “Today is Not Forever”
If there is anyone who knows, very keenly, how the years can be short but the days so, so long in parenting, it has to be Danielle Bean, a writer, editor, speaker, and mother of eight–yes, eight–children.
I know, I'm trying to imagine it too; my body is quite literally, falling apart after four babies and six pregnancies, so I honestly can't imagine having 8 children, but apparently, some women are just capable of amazing things. Bean is the author of several books, including the most recent, “You Are Enough,” an encouraging book for Christian women based on female figures in the Bible, and her message is one that is always focused on encouraging women and mothers in their paths as parents.
No matter what your particular religious affiliation may be, one of her most posts on social media may speak to you as much as it spoke to me, in encouraging mothers to find peace in the season of parenting they are in right this very moment.
In her post from last month, Bean talked about her family's annual tradition of hosting an “Oktoberfest,” their 23rd year of hosting family and friends over for fun, food, and games to celebrate the fall season. But this year's gathering, Bean explained, look a lot different than previous years past. Why?
Well, because her kids have all grown up.
Unlike the years of past, Bean noted, this year's gathering was decidedly devoid of the complete chaos that had characterized Oktoberfest in the past, even with 60 people joining in on the festivities. She reflected on the feelings of sadness that came with her “orderly” party because, as you might imagine with 8 kids, she had grown accustomed to a lot of noise, a lot of mess, and well, a lot of what she dubbed “joyful chaos.”
As a mom of four kids close in age who are all fast becoming “big kids” all between the ages of 4 and 10, her words struck me, because I can't help but imagine a time in my life when my house will be empty, my hallways quiet, and my floors totally clean. If I'm being honest, I'm already dreading it. Sure, my kids drive me crazy sometimes, but I also live for the chaos. I live for that evidence that we are living a very full life, bursting at the seams with love and laughter and um, laundry. I can already picture a day when my own joyful chaos gets replaced with orderly calm, and I have to say, I'm scared.
But Bean went onto provide some comfort to moms like me, who are afraid of who they will become when their little ones grow and their lives settle down and her words may be exactly what you need to hear today:
“When you train to gain speed as a runner, some of the workouts you do are called ‘tempo runs,' where you run at an easy pace for a bit, and then for short periods of time you run faster, and you hold that harder pace for several minutes before slowing down again.
When I have done “tempo runs,” I have discovered that, more so than anything physical, the key to succeeding is mental. You need to mentally “settle down” in the pace you are in, even if it is uncomfortable, knowing that it is for a limited time. You need to accept the pace you are in and allow yourself to find peace there.
I used to think of tempo runs sometimes when family life was extra challenging, and I found a similar approach applied: I needed to allow myself to “sit down” in the pace I was in, to settle in and accept it, knowing that life changes. “Today is not forever” used to be my mantra.
My mom tells me that my current phase of family life truly is just a pause. When kids grow up and begin families of their own, a new kind of chaos reigns she assures me. I look forward to that.
But for now? For now, I am settling into the pace I am in, accepting it, and finding peace right here where I am. After all, my wise younger self once told me, today is not forever.”
Today is not forever, mamas. Good or bad, joyful chaos or orderly calm, we can remember to look for the peace in the moments we are living today and appreciate that we will have the chance to love on tomorrow.