By Mara Spiropoulos
As I sit here writing, momentarily free of my children, I find myself reflecting on all that our family has recently experienced. My husband lost his job about five months ago, and because of this we have had our fair share of financial difficulties, which has stressed our marriage. Yet in the midst of chaos I find myself grateful, and happier both emotionally and spiritually. Since losing his job, my husband is home more. We find ourselves working together as true partners, truly communicating and becoming the parents we always wanted to be. We are becoming more and more mindful in our roles as first teachers to our children, two toddlers and an infant.
Through my first two weeks of training in the LifeWays program and my full-time practice as a mother, I have discovered that the key to life, parenting, marriage, happiness is living in the moment. When I start to reflect on all my lesser moments as a mother, I feel terrible guilt. When I look to the future and wonder how my parenting will affect my children, I worry. But when I am right here, right now, fully present with my kids, I find myself thinking, “Yes!”
For as long as I can remember, I wanted nothing more than to be a wife and mother. It was the main focus of my imaginary play as a child and I have vivid memories of playing house and school. Now in my real life as wife and mother, I sometimes think, “Hmm…this is much more difficult than I imagined!” There are moments as I rinse off the fifth poopy diaper of the day or help my toddlers through another quarrel or try to create something healthy yet appealing to my picky eater for dinner, I wonder if motherhood is as wonderful as I had imagined as a young girl playing house. It is in these moments that I’ve discovered I must push myself to snap out of it, get out of my head for a minute and realize how good this life is. Motherhood is trying, exhausting, and challenging, but it is also amazingly rewarding! To be mindful to me means being fully present with my babies, it means thinking before I react when one of my toddlers cries or hits, and it means giving love whenever I can while setting firm and caring boundaries for their growth and development.
When I came home from the second week of LifeWays and attempted to get back into the rhythm of our house and my role as mama, I struggled. It was a tough transition, for the time away with the lovely teachers and friends I’ve met is so refreshing. I came home to a teething baby and clingy toddlers and became a bit overwhelmed. But I got my groove back quickly as I stopped and silenced myself for a minute. Then, at that very moment, I heard my toddlers singing one of the many songs I taught them from the training, and I watched them play outside happily in the wooden fort we created together. These moments are so precious and fleeting that you must be mindful or you will miss out on true happiness. Try it, get out of your thoughts and just be there with your kids and you will discover how amazing life can be.