‘It’s not about the moments you miss. It’s about the moments you make.’
Momming is hard.
It's joyful and hilarious and rewarding. But those same beings who fill our souls with unfathomable love can also test our sanity until they have sucked us dry and left us for dead (or at least alone in the bathroom with the door locked, because seriously, can't I just have ONE MINUTE ALONE?).
I had three amazing stepkids before I had a baby. So our little man was born into the jampacked schedules of two working parents and three busy siblings that included sporting events, school plays, charity functions and a lot of Jersey Mike's sandwiches.
Of course, like so many of us, I wanted to be perfect. I said yes to almost everything, from speaking engagements to attempting (albeit unsuccessfully) Pinterest-perfect party snacks for the preschool class. I never missed a deadline. I rarely missed a ballgame. I tried to create and savor moments. But we were moving so quickly—at work and at home—that we were, at times, just trying to keep our heads above water.
Suddenly, there were driver's licenses and ACTs and proms and college applications, and half of our six-person tribe was gone. There are so many good memories—and abundant joy. I know I wasn't perfect. But was I even good enough? Am I good enough now? I don't know if I'm alone in wondering this, or if we all do and just don't say so.
Either way, as I fight the seemingly never-ending battle to find balance between a career I relish and a family I love above all, it occurred to me that I have an amazing gift at my disposal: the insights of three now-young-adults. And I can use them to my advantage while Coop is still a child. So I recently texted the big kids—now 23, 23 and 19—to ask what memories stood out. “Share three moments with me that mattered,” I asked.
They responded. And while there was one Ohio State football game and one vacation memory (from our cheapest-ever trip, by the way), the things that mattered weren't big or expensive. They weren't even the soccer games I busted my tail to get to on time or the Christmas gifts I spent months carefully choosing. They were the moments that happened between the stuff I so meticulously orchestrated.
Lunch box notes.
Birthday party games.
Reading this alien book in first grade, and I could not figure out how to say refrigerator until you made me sound it out. Never forgot it after that.
One day you came home from work and were like, ‘You and I are going to see a movie and having a date night!' I was very happy no one else was invited, lol. It made me feel very special. We saw the movie ‘You, Me and Dupree.' Do you remember this?!
The first time I ever drove once I got my temp permit. I was too scared to ride with Dad, so you came with me to drive around the neighborhood. I'll never forget that experience.
I read their answers, and I cried.
Perfection isn't possible. I'm not convinced balance is, either.
But my takeaway is that it's not about the moments you miss, it's about the moments you make. It's about always having a minute. It's about knowing the little things are, indeed, the big things.
And not only will your kids remember them, they will appreciate them. They might even someday send a text saying they saved every lunch note you ever wrote.
They will make your eyes well and your heart swell.
And though you will know that you were far from perfect, you'll also know that perfection was never their measuring stick anyway.
Kristy Eckert is a Powell mom and founder of Kristy Eckert Communications. You can reach her at email@example.com.