We moms often talk about the importance of living in the moment.
Appreciating each minute we have with our children, without looking back at what could have been or looking ahead at what may or may not be.
I try to embrace this. As a matter of fact, I’ve learned that the more I live in the moment, the less angry I find myself at my kids.
If I’m not worrying about what is going to happen, or if I’m not clinging to emotions of things that have already happened, I can be present with my kids right then without all the baggage of past and future.
But let’s call it what it is – a coping mechanism. Moms have a lifetime of years with her kids that are so filled with minutae and details and schedules and activities and emotions (theirs) and issues and school and grades and, and, and . . .
How is there really room for anything else?
One of the ways I cope is by letting something go almost instantaneously after if happens.
Never is this more evident than when I’m visiting my parents.
My parents, who have reached that golden age in their lives where if something good happens, they can embrace it for days, maybe weeks afterward.
Because they’ve gone through 6 lifetimes of raising children, they successfully came out on the other side of it, and they no longer have to live completely in the moment just to survive.
For example, I took my Dad to a movie for his birthday this December. We had a great time. Great.
But the moment it was over, I had to take a business-type call in the car on the way home and when we got back (my kids being watched by my mom), I walked into a screaming tug of war over a Happy Meal toy that resulted in one person winning and one person getting rocketed backward into a bookshelf by losing.
While I was still on the phone.
And my poor mother. Just mortified, trying to explain that it really hadn’t been such a debacle the entire time we were gone.
Good time with my Dad? Immediately became a thing of the past, because I had to jump right back into the moment.
My Dad was able to bask in the good feeling of the movie for the rest of the day. And even after.
That made me happy for him, but sad for me that I could only enjoy the movie during the time we were there. And yes, I can still look back fondly occasionally now and say, “I’m so glad we did that,” but it’s different. It’s a fleeting feeling I have. It doesn’t consume me.
So living in the moment? It’s a must-do when we’re parents.
But I do look forward to the day when I can dwell on good feelings a little longer than the time I’m actually experiencing them.