The everyday things of life often seem just that- everyday. Days can be full of mundane things like preparing meals, cleaning, correcting, getting from place to place, washing clothes.. all everyday occurrences in our lives as we care for those around us. Savouring everyday life as a mama isn’t always that easy. Our everyday lives are usually not momentous, each day a collection of little moments and actions that lead us from morning to night as the sun takes an arc in the sky. There are days which seem filled with sunshine- holidays, special outings and ones which feel so filled with joy and wonder- but each one can’t be that kind of mountain top experience. How do we make sure as mamas that we are able to enjoy our normal day to day living, to make the most of the time with our children? Whilst many of our waking hours are filled with the same jobs, chores and actions, can we find meaning and joy amongst it all?
How do we go about savouring everyday life as a mama?
I know that for me (with three little ones) my days are largely normal, not momentous, with lots of ordinary things filling the time. We eat meals, we play, we go out to groups and on the school run, see friends, try to keep the house tolerably tidy and clean, eat more food, deal with bedtimes and bath times… I imagine that whilst the details of your individual life and children change, there are lots of similarities in our days too. Whether we have children at home, at school, or even without children in the home the same responsibilities of working at life apply. There have been times when I have allowed myself to be more bogged down by the groundhog day, especially when it has felt like the same activities but with a different set of children as we have been through playgroups and preschool but with another child. Yet, the freedom of finding the joy in our everyday, uneventful lives can be transforming.
Notice the everyday
The simplest way for me to savour my everyday life since becoming a mother has just been to recognise those everyday things. Instead of becoming overwhelmed by the fact there is always laundry to be done, food to be made and places to be- just stopping and noticing little ‘quotidian’ things. Quotidian just means daily, everyday, commonplace- but it is the commonplace things that add up to make the substance of our lives. The summer sunshine slanting over the garden fence, the sound of the microwave pinging every morning as the porridge finishes. Really tiny details about our days, if we look for them can bring us to understand the beauty of those ordinary things. One day, my children will make their own breakfast and I will not get a chance to help them with it. One day they might sleep late and I might miss that morning light. Everyday elements of our lives add up to make our lives what they are right now, and these little things shift and change along with our children and our lives.
Recognise this season
If there is one thing that really impacts the way I see and savour my daily life, it is knowing that this is just a short season. That brings both hope and a mournful feeling. Each time my children change, my stage of mothering changes. I’ve been through lots of different seasons as I had first one daughter, went back to university, then added a newborn baby boy, travelled through finishing a degree and moved across the country. There are big shifts when we add children, change jobs, decide to stay at home or our family situation changes. (That’s exactly the reasoning behind the ‘season shift’ pages that you’ll find in the journal! You can get a shorter version to try for free on the resource page.)
In amongst those big shifts in my motherhood were smaller, almost indistinguishable changes. When my oldest stopped napping, as my youngest started walking, and slowly shifted from being the baby to being a toddler. Although they don’t wake up one day and start walking, the change to our season as a family has taken us from having one school child, one toddler and a baby to having one school child, a preschooler and a toddler. Subtle shifts but ones that take us that next stage. When we are in trickier stages or ones that present challenges which I don’t find easy, I know that it’s just for a short while before something changes again. And when we are in a sweet season just full of things I love about our daily life- I know that I need to stop and enjoy it before it passes to the next.
Being thankful for things is a great habit to get into, as it changes our thought patterns and helps us to see everything in a more positive light. I definitely find it easy to fall into a trap of finding housework in particular tiresome and weary, but if I find small things to be thankful for as I’m doing it my whole mindset can change. Remembering that laundry means I have clothes to wear, cleaning means we have a house to enjoy living in and picking up dirty socks means I have people to love! I also love to think about things big and small, at the end of the day that I have particularly enjoyed or that I’m particularly grateful for. Sometimes it is quality time with one of my children, sometimes a spontaneous cuddle, something they have said, or a fun day out. I will write these down in my journal and it is really great to be able to flip back through and see that whilst everyday life doesn’t always feel exciting, there are so many good things about this life. Use a notebook, post it notes or you can download a printable ‘count the joys’ sheet in our resources.
I’m not naturally inclined to do more housework than is necessary- but there are jobs that need to be done, particularly when our dishwasher has decided to stop working. Between that and getting ready for the school run, fitting in meals and all those ‘need’ to do’s, it can be easy to go from thing to thing. Slowing down, both to recognise the little things and to be thankful for the daily life we are living, makes a big difference. Even if I just sit and watch my little one splashing in the bath intentionally for a little while without letting my mind wander to other things I can see the difference that slowing down makes. They are only the age they are right now once, and I don’t want to forget what it was like for Amelia to be 18 months, because I was too fast, too distracted, too busy. Slowing down doesn’t mean that our whole life has to come to a halt, but to have intentional pauses and times of quiet and concentrating on being truly present is very helpful. If you have a tendency to over-pack your schedule and your week, try blocking off a chunk of time specifically to slow down, whether that’s for your whole family to have some unscheduled down time or just for yourself in an evening.
Whilst daily life often presents us more challenges and more responsibilities than we would choose, we can find joy, purpose and fulfilment in our everyday routine. Sometimes big shifts need to be made to cut things out which are unhelpful, or to work towards your family’s goals- but often the smallest changes can add up to make a big difference to the way you see and savour your everyday life. If you are tired of rushing from thing to thing, or wondering how all these repetitive days could be more joyful, there is hope. By focusing on the positive things, slowing down and just noticing our season and those little things around us, we can live lives which are more aware, more grateful and more intentional. We need to savour our everyday, because one day it will look completely different!
PS. Remember to go to the resource page to get a season shift and a count the joys printable. They are free for you to print and use, and I hope they will help to bring you joy in the same way they have me.