'Enjoy every moment...'
I literally cannot count the amount of times I've heard this from mothers as they watch me learning with my son.
I get it - I really do - and it's sweet, to a certain extent. I understand that these mothers have been there and done it and it went so quickly... and children are always changing... and one day you'll look back and wish for those times... I get it.
But sometimes, just sometimes, this very phrase can fill a new mother with guilt instead of gratitude.
When she's exhausted and covered in bodily fluids of some kind and has her outgrown greasy hair in a mum bun... In those moments, she will guilt-trip herself. 'Why aren't I enjoying every moment?' Then the tears may come. All because the world has unrealistic expectations of her. Because they have forgotten and romanticised what was. They have forgotten because their season has changed. It's not to say their new season is less difficult but it is different. I'm sure if a empty-nester told a mother of a teenager to 'enjoy every moment, you'll miss them one day...' then that wouldn't make those moments of rebellion any easier.
Yes, it is a lovely reminder... occasionally... and yes, we should enjoy our children at every age. They are a gift. They are so precious. And yes, my heart explodes over my son in ways I never thought possible. For instance, I only used to write poetry when I had emotions I couldn't express any other way. Since having my son, I have never written so much poetry. In. My. Life.
So yes, enjoy them. Enjoy as many moments as you can. The little ones. The big ones. Make moments with them to enjoy. Be creative. Get on the floor and play. Curl up on the couch and watch their favourite show. The dishes can wait.
And yes, occasionally, maybe remind a fellow mum to enjoy these moments, just in case she needs that subtle reminder to snap her out of her own head space.
Keep in mind that no one will ever enjoy every moment until we are in glory. Yes, we can try. We can ALL try to be joyous and live our lives more abundantly through Jesus.
But we're human. We're going to have off days. Children will have off days.
Please do bring joy into your home, by all means, but also bring grace. Because we all need it.
'Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.'
Elizabeth Chapman is the founder of Daughters of Love & Light. She lives in Adelaide with her husband and young son and she is currently studying a Master of Divinity. She's an avid tea drinker and Jane Austen reader. Her book The Battle for Harenburg Hill is now available.