It often seems as if I have spent my entire life in search of a specific moment. A moment when all of my goals are met, all of my tasks are completed, all of my obligations are met, and I can sit back and rest in perfect peace knowing that I am, indeed, good enough.This pursuit took on different faces in the various seasons of my life.
When I was a student, I believed that peace would come when I finally had all of my work done, all of my reading finished, and all of my exams prepared for.
As a young wife, I believed I would earn my peace when I had created the perfect home for my new husband and myself. When our windows sparkled, our meals were gourmet, and guests always felt welcome.
And then when the babies just wouldn’t come no matter how much we desperately wanted them, I believed that this goal, the achievement of motherhood, would finally bring me that elusive moment of peace.
But I think it’s in this newish role of mother that I am most clearly defeated by this attitude towards peace. I have three little girls, five and under, and I stay home with them all day, every day. Nothing is ever perfect.
Toys are never put away. Fingerprints always smudge our windows. Food always accumulates in nasty messes under our couch cushions. There are always dishes in the sink, more sippies to wash, more food to prepare, more clothes to be laundered. There is, quite simply, always more to be done.
And for years, I had that belief stuck in the back of my head that if I could just get it all done, then I would finally have earned my moment of peace. I would finally be able to call myself a good person. I would have finally earned the right to feel content and competent and appropriate to the situation.
And you know what? That moment absolutely never comes.
But do you know what moments do come?
The moment when I look down at little Mae enjoying her last nursing session of the day. The moment when I see her eye lids fluttering, slowly giving way to slumber as she rests peacefully in the arms of the woman she calls home.
The moment when amidst all the mess and chaos and noise, my five year old and I get to cuddle on the couch and snuggle under a blanket as she reads her favorite book to me. The moment when I catch the words pouring off of her tongue, in awe of her budding intellect and imagination.
And that moment when my two year old has been having a tough time with life, and I drop her into my Moby and all of the tension leaves her little body. The moment when she puts her head on my chest, twirls her hair in her tiny little hands, and lets the world and its tensions go on without her as she finds solace in my arms.
The more of these moments that I have, the more I realize that peace isn’t found in the accomplishments of life, not in the big, life changing ones or in the smaller day to day ones. Instead, peace is found when we take a step back from all of that and allow ourselves the grace to see the beauty in what we have been given. It is found when we allow ourselves space for gratitude and for savoring the moment.
Peace is found when we finally, once and for all, stop doing and start living. When we stop running and start breathing. And when we stop tasting and start savoring.
These are the moments that were made especially for us mamas. They are the rewards for all the doing that we cram into a single day. They are what keep us going. And they are what may finally help us find true and lasting peace.
Amanda Knapp, M.A., is a stay at home mom to three little girls. One day she looked around her life and realized that it was all going by much too quickly for her tastes. She wasn’t finding the time to savor the moments and the lessons they had to teach. So she started a blog to document it all, and she realized that through sharing these stories, she was finally able to really savor them. So she continued to write. She shares these writings on her blog, Indisposable Mama. She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.