A mothering attack

May 05

A mothering attack

Tonight I breathed them in.  We played outside and felt the wind in our hair.  (Yes, I have a tiny little bit of hair!)  We read and re-read all of the recent birthday mail they have received lately.  Greta traces her finger along and makes up the words with a surprising amount of accuracy.  Maren bounces as she reads aloud and lisps through her missing teeth.  We dressed up dolls in Hawaiian outfits and made them hula.  We all hula-ed.  We sat down and watched a television show–all twenty-three minutes, me with an arm around each girl.  (I never do this.  TV time equals productive time for me.)  I only diverted my attention from the show for kisses and tickles.  We giggled.  I made dinner and we sat and talked about the day.  Maren’s highlight was when Greta and I came to eat lunch with her.  Greta’s highlight was when we shopped for her ice cream social birthday party.  My highlight was all the moments (and tonight, there were many) that we laughed together.  Our collective low was when SuperGramma left to go back to her house.  After dinner they wanted to paint.  I said yes: Maren did a watercolor of she and I in New York City, and Greta did an abstract sparkle paint blob with polka dots.  After painting they danced.  They talked me out of baths.  And then they danced in their pajamas.  I prayed with Maren and admired the glow-in-the-dark stars we hung today under her bunk bed.  I read Miss Mary Mack and Brown Bear, Brown Bear with Greta.  I caved to her request and laid down with her while she fell asleep.  I tiptoed in their bedrooms and prayed over them while they slept.  Tonight I was yes mama, happy mama, centered mama, grateful mama, and I. Love. Them. So.

I have twenty-six items I did not do on my list.  My suitcases are still (still!) on the family room floor.  My mail and the pile of last weeks school papers is un-sorted.  I still can’t find my four single shoes.  Don’t even make me think about my email inbox.  My thank-you’s are unwritten and the list is looong.  (I hate being behind on thank-yous because I worry it implies a lack of gratitude.)  I am unprepared for hosting two birthday celebrations and a baby shower in the next five days.  (Gulp.)  I have returns for five six seven stores.  I need to go to the bank and the post office.  I have birthday presents to wrap buy and wrap.  I have two friends who are in the thick of cancer-fighting whom I’d like to reach out to.  Blog.  I have piles from pre-vacation that rank in my mind as urgent, but I can’t remember what is in the pile nor why it is urgent.  Laundry.  Dishes.  Vacuuming.  Dusting.  (Who am I kidding?  Dusting schmusting.)  I am out of milk.  Email.  (I’m so behind it merits two mentions.)  My car is dripping oil.  I have a dozen people with whom I’d like to have coffee lunch quality conversation.

Tonight I ignored everything that clamors for my attention except for Maren and Greta.  I behaved as if I had all the time in the world, and it was probably the best choice I could have made. I now know can tackle the To Do’s tomorrow knowing that my most important priorities are feeling happy and loved.  Rarely do I attack mothering with such focused attention and allow everything else to slide.  The smiles on their faces tonight tell me I need to do it more.  Coming home from vacation and missing them terribly motivated me to see them.   Sometimes moments are enough, and sometimes I need to roll moments into hours to really soak them in.  More than anything else, playing with my children is good for my soul.  This is a lesson that they teach me, not the other way around.

Yes, I need to attack mothering more often.  It’s a win for all of us.

I’ll leave you with the one productive thing I did today: I went to the oncology office for my shots (more about that in a later post), and the nurses brought in faux margaritas for the patients.  Fun Monday in the Chemo Room continues–happy Cinco de Mayo!




  1. Lisa Smith /

    Jen! What a perfect way to end my day! I LOVE every word. You are the Perspective Queen. And so cute too. Love this pic. Love YOU. xoxo

  2. I am confident that you have made the right choice. There will ALWAYS be email waiting for your attention. There will not always be little girls who want to snuggle. Dusting schmusting indeed! Farm out what you can, ignore the laundry for another day, and continue to “Do Today Well.” I love your perspective!

  3. Rachel /

    I love all of this. You embraced the mother attack wholeheartedly and inspire me to do the same. Thanks!

  4. Bonnie J /

    Welcome welcome HOME !!! You’re home earlier than I thought. Your attack is what I love most – dusting can wait until tomorrow 😉 Welcome Home Jen..

  5. Peggy /

    You made ALL THE RIGHT CHOICES today. After all, you only have about 16 more years of day to day hands-on mothering and at least 48 more years to dust!!! You definitely have your priorities straight! ♥p

  6. Meg /

    Hawaii brought out the red in your hair!

  7. Ami /

    Once again you have summed up such a powerful aspect of life in just a few words “Attack Mothering”. I so often attack other things in my life: work, meditation/exercise, cleaning, planning parties, staying connected to family. I address these things with fervor and a “Gotta get it done!” attitude.

    But mothering is what I relax into the chatter, the snuggles, the teaching moments, the daily to do list of meals, getting dressed, homework, activities, bedtimes, and “Sure we can…” or “No please stop…”. I enjoy Mothering more than anything else yet I never approach it like a goal. I love how you just did a 180 switch on my mothering experience. The concept of “Attacking Mothering” is so refreshing and will be great “goal” to pepper into more routine daily Mothering. It allows me to bring a different set of skills and focus to it once in awhile. Thank you for being such a light in my life and so many others!!

  8. Megan /

    Jen — Your blog leaves me inspired…..today’s especially. Thank you for highlighting what is TRULY important and what can wait for another day. I struggle so much with “getting it all done” (working FT, cleaning, lists, kids, etc) but I know SO much of it can wait. My kids….and these wonderful moments, are so fleeting!! Thank YOU for your writing!!!