Finding Joy in the Everyday

By Megan Greiner

“Christian.” I sighed heavily at my middle child. “Not right now. I can’t hear anything but your sister’s screaming.”

My one year old had suddenly entered that challenging stage. You know that one where they go from this sweet little cuddly baby whose cheeks you could just eat up to this screaming, whining, flailing little person? Maybe it’s just my one year old.

And you know that tense feeling you get when your baby is screaming, and your other kids are trying to tell you every thought that enters their brain? And even though they may say really smart things, like “look at those beautiful cumulus clouds outside!” you’re just to tired and frustrated to really hear it?

That’s the kind of day this was.

But as I said the words, I glanced down at Christian, who is 5. And I saw, just for a moment, that look of disappointment, that look that says I just don’t have time right now.

And I thought, what kind of Mama doesn’t have time for their child?

Oh right….. this Mama. The one who is barely hanging on, exhausted, at the end of her rope, holding a screaming one year old while the five and eight year old rattle on and on, while her mind is wandering to when will Daddy be home and isn’t it past five yet?

That’s when it hit me.

I am too caught up in just getting through this thing called motherhood that I am neglecting to find joy in the everyday.

It’s hard to live like this, with the knowledge that this season is passing me by and soon my kids will be grown, when there’s oatmeal on my face (you guessed it! From the one year old. ) and a shirt on my body that hasn’t been washed in several weeks. Yes, I said weeks. Read now, judge later.

I get so caught up in the day in and day out-ness of mothering that I forget to find the joy. You know that joy when your first-born says his first word? Or when she takes those first steps? As kids get older, the big, celebratory milestones become less and less, but I want the joy like that to be back in my mothering.

Jen Hatmaker shares in her book Out of the Spin Cycle: “Keeping one eye on our kids’ tomorrow means we only have one eye on their today. We’re missing so much. Our kids are going to grow up with or without us, and once it’s over, it’s over.”

So in my rookie, nonprofessional opinion, here are some ways that I have tried to combat this “getting through” mentality:

  1. Get in God’s Word. God tells us that apart from Him we can do nothing, and I believe it. I know without a doubt I would not be doing this parenting thing with any sanity left if I didn’t cling to Him. When my frustration mounts, unkind things are pouring from my mouth, and my patience is down to zero, it’s time to run to God’s Word.
  2. A quick devotion. I love reading a page or two on parenting (because that’s usually all I have time for) and a lot of times it is just what I need to give me that dose of hope and God’s grace in my life. I love Out of the Spin Cycle by Jen Hatmaker and Devotions for Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas, just to name a few.
  3. Step away from technology. So often, my mind gets carried away with all the things I think I should/need to be doing – a craft I saw, a book I’d like to read, a new recipe. These are not bad things at all, but when I am consumed by all things internet (Pinterest, Facebook, iPhone) I am neglecting these little people that I am blessed to share this season with. So for today? Resist the urge to run to the computer and “just look something up real quick.” (Is that just what I say?)
  4. Get on the floor. Play with your kids. I’ve noticed the more kids I have, the more I tend to think that they are content just playing with each other. And while they do enjoy each other’s company, I know they still love Mama time. Grab some trains, or a puzzle or some nail polish and sit with your kids for 15 minutes. You will all be better for it, and I promise the whining will stop (for at least ten seconds).

How do you find joy in the everyday? I’d love to know! We are on this voyage of motherhood together, and I pray that each of you would be refreshed and energized for the journey today!

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