The Tides Are Changing: The New Message for Moms

The tides are changing. Can you feel it?

A few years ago, women took to the internet with a message: how to savor every moment of motherhood.

It goes so fast, they told us. You’ll blink and it’ll be gone. 

We licked up these writers’ words because the message resonated.

“Yes! I want to remember this!”

“Yes! I want my children to feel how much I loved raising them!”

We still do.

Only now, we’ve fallen flat a few times.

We’ve lined our counters (and our floors) with flour while we created in the kitchen with our kids. We’ve jumped in rain puddles and climbed under piles of blankets for snuggle time.

But we’ve also agonized over how the late afternoon could possibly pass any slower. We’ve chased and threatened our children to bed and reveled (albeit guiltily) in the silence at long last.

We’ve coveted our friends’ kid-free, tropical vacations like nobody’s business. We’ve had our day pulled out from under us by an unwitting fellow mom at kindergarten drop-off—all because she’s wearing heels and an effortlessly gorgeous top knot while we’re wearing spit up and stretchy pants.

We’ve been publicly shamed for the antics of toddlers we can’t entirely control. We’ve carried children in our bellies and on our hips at the same time.

We’ve yelled. We’ve wanted to quit.

In the recesses of our minds, we’ve concealed one thought: Is this it?

We’re not perfect.

And so we feel the shifting. The evolution toward a new message, one that encourages us to seek out the joy in it and yet accepts us for not cherishing every second.

Our mothers and grandmothers before us raised children like it was their responsibility. They moderated yelling matches between siblings and sewed Halloween costumes, just like we do. But they did it with a bit less pressure. They did it without the expectation that it would be as glamorous as sleeping on the trampoline in the backyard and drinking hot chocolate after the first snowfall; instead, they did it with a belief that the relationships they would form with those malleable little people would stay with them for the rest of their lives.

And so we offer our plea, a prayer, that the sting of our lowest moments will wear off with time but that we’ll never forget, because we want to be there—someday—for our sons and daughters, when it’s their turn to tread this path.

the new message for moms2

The tides are changing. Can you feel it?

Linked up with Grace at Home.

  • Andrea
    October 22, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Such a beautiful post!

  • Colleen
    October 22, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    The pressure (I put on myself) to “enjoy every moment” can really ruin some of those precious moments, because if I’m tired and don’t have the energy to put into playing trains with 100% enthusiasm I feel GUILTY. Thanks for writing this — it makes me feel like I (we ALL) have permission to not love every waking second.

    • Erica {let why lead}
      October 22, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      Thanks, Colleen – I couldn’t agree more. I think women (online and in real life) are sharing and hearing more of the “real” moments than we were a few years ago, because we’ve realized that the pressure to enjoy every moment is unrealistic. Motherhood comes with such steep ups and downs, and we’re all just doing our best to appreciate the ride!

  • Desirae
    October 22, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Perfection!! Erica, you are constantly saying exactly what I feel…but you say it way more eloquently than I think it! 🙂 My favorite statement from above: ” We’ve coveted our friends’ kid-free, tropical vacations like nobody’s business. We’ve had our day pulled out from under us by an unwitting fellow mom at kindergarten drop-off—all because she’s wearing heels and an effortlessly gorgeous top knot while we’re wearing spit up and stretchy pants.”
    Thank you!!

    • Erica {let why lead}
      October 22, 2013 at 3:47 pm

      Thanks, Des! I always love hearing from you on here – Seeing your name just brings a smile to my face! We need to get together again asap! (I will probably be at park day tomorrow, btw!)

  • Alaina
    October 22, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    I’m teary about the “carried children in our bellies and on our hips AT THE SAME TIME” bit as my baby turns 1 this week. Beautifully written Eck! I appreciate how both shifting tides have helped me appreciate more AND recognize that it’s not all glamorous and that’s ok.

    • Erica {let why lead}
      October 22, 2013 at 6:09 pm

      I did NOT realize O is getting that big! I can relate, though, because *my* two babies are, at this moment, both away from me, at school and preschool. It doesn’t feel like long ago at all that one was in my belly and the other on my hip.

      And I couldn’t agree more that both messages have made me a better mom. (I’m so excited to see you in just over a month, btw!)

  • alana taylor
    October 22, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Yes! I do feel it! I have felt the guilt of not cherishing every single solitary moment of motherhood. I love the line you wrote that talks about seeking the joy in it {the bigger picture} rather than cherishing every moment, because I think that’s the key: enjoying the big picture of motherhood and yes, trying to cherish as many moments as we can. But also to know: it’s okay to revel in the silence once the kids are in bed or to feel mentally and emotionally exhausted when our kids “push us over the edge”. To find the joy in something, we must learn to find the beauty in these hard moments… not to cherish them, necessarily, but to appreciate the fact that they’re apart of our responsibility as mamas. And the big picture is a beautiful one!

    • Erica {let why lead}
      October 22, 2013 at 6:20 pm

      Thank you, Alana! Your three words sum up my whole point PERFECTLY: “the big picture.” The big picture IS beautiful! And it’s worth it. We can look for joy in the moments, but there are so many difficult or ever just mundane moments thrown in there, that it can be hard to find the joyful ones in it. But the big picture? THAT gives me so much joy and peace. Thanks, dear!

  • Lisa- The Domestic Life Stylist
    October 22, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    This piece is a “must read” for every mother…a must share. As a matter of fact, I’m going to share on twitter right now.

  • Deb Hardy
    October 22, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Always so great to read your blog. My favorite late afternoon solution was always Coyote Point Museum. Even just for 45 minutes. That place saved me!

  • Katie E
    October 22, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    Absolutely love this. Every single word of it. Sharing 🙂

  • Yvonne @ Sunnyside Up-Stairs
    October 23, 2013 at 12:55 am

    When I was a newborn mother, I thought I had to educate and entertain my daughter every minute. It exhausted me: being her schedule maker, her “hourly game.” I received sage advice: give her quiet time, time to be by herself (even at 3 months old!)

    Now that I am a nearly 4 year old mom, I’ve learned to let my daughter lead the day. When I need to do something, she asks if she can help, so I find ways to include her. When she brings me a book, I know she’s teachable, so I stop what I can to teach her. In the evening, up to an hour at a time, she quietly goes to her room to play or read or sing without me, on her own. I let her have her self-time, just like I need it too. When she wants me or needs me, she calls and I stop what I am doing to guide her.

    My husband remarked, “Parenting is not as amazing as they say, but it’s not as hard as they say either.”

    In days since passed, children played alone frequently, most notably in natural places. I can’t let my daughter do that now, but that sage advice told me to apply the same principle: give kids their own time to explore. I’m sure with all I have going on, and even though my motherhood is so far from being perfect, I’d look at motherhood much differently if it wasn’t for my daughter’s quiet time. 🙂

    So, I hope to pass on the advice that saved my sanity: do what you must and include your child, teach when they’re willing to learn, and let your child have their space (in a safe environment) too.

    • Erica {let why lead}
      October 23, 2013 at 4:04 pm

      Hi Yvonne! Thank you so much for your sincere and thoughtful words! I completely agree about encouraging independent play. It’s healthy for both mom and kids, and I honestly don’t know how I’d make it if my kids weren’t similar to your daughter in needing that time. I especially appreciated your comment about pausing what you’re doing when your daughter brings you something, because she is teachable then. I think that could really help me act more positively when my boys come to me. Thank you!

  • Ashley Ponder Richards
    October 23, 2013 at 1:48 am

    You seriously take my thoughts and put them into beautiful words. You are so right. Oh the pressure us mothers deal have. Thanks for keeping it honest.

    • Erica {let why lead}
      October 23, 2013 at 4:04 pm

      You’re so sweet, Ashely. I love having you around here. 🙂 Have a lovely Wednesday!

  • Ashleigh
    October 23, 2013 at 5:00 am

    I love this! While I don’t have any kids yet, I read those messages of savoring every moment. And it worried me. I had internalized this message, that I need to be present in every moment, to really enjoy everything. But sometimes, babies are hard work. I felt guilty for not looking forward to midnight feedings and temper tantrums. I think you’re right – we should look forward to the relationship we’ll have with our children, rather than the things that we’ll do with them.

  • Courtenay
    October 23, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Yes. All of it. Totally.

  • Becky Kopitzke
    October 24, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    I get this, Erica. I battle it every day. I agree that there is more pressure today than mothers had years ago. I know many moms a generation ahead who have said as much themselves. Let’s have more grace for ourselves. God isn’t the one pointing fingers at us for being imperfect moms!

    • Erica {let why lead}
      October 25, 2013 at 1:42 am

      Hi Becky! I just wanted to say thank you for your comment. I love believing in a God who isn’t pointing fingers but instead wants us to be a happy and to simply do our best. Have a great weekend with those beautiful girls of yours!

  • Missy Robinson
    October 25, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I don’t think we’re supposed to treasure every moment – some parenting moments are just HARD! The treasure in in the perseverance, the bond that comes through the struggle and with the steadfast trust our children have in us that good or bad, we will be there.

    • Erica {let why lead}
      October 25, 2013 at 3:07 pm

      Exactly, Missy. I loved your words – “bond that comes through struggle” and the steadfast faith our children have in us. That really is the treasure. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, and enjoy you weekend!

  • Caroline
    November 1, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Yes! I absolutely loved reading this! It’s so easy to guilt ourselves into thinking that if we’re not enjoying it all there’s something wrong. But there’s not something wrong, it’s just normal. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this!

    • Erica {let why lead}
      November 1, 2013 at 7:22 pm

      Hi Caroline! Thank you – I’m so glad you enjoyed reading it. I’m definitely glad the online message is moving this way. Headed over to check out your blog right now!

  • Gabby
    November 2, 2013 at 6:49 am

    It’s amazing how great we are at heaping on the self-imposed mommy guilt when the Pinterest perfect craft ends up falling short, and the kids are cranky and so is mom. It’s about finding joy & contentment in our calling and in the big picture, even if the close up view is not so lovely all the time. Maybe motherhood is more like a Monet.

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