Kate Taliaferro ponders how busy moms can find a way to savor the present moment.
As this new year commenced, I have found myself grappling with the concept of living in the “present moment.” Both religious and cultural figures prize living in this present. Don’t dwell in the past, they say. Don’t allow yourself to be worried or consumed with what might come next. Just be. Be in this moment.
However, the two schools of thought, as it were, diverge here. If you are supposed to just be in this moment, how do you figure out what you are supposed to be doing? Society will tell us to do what feels good. Do what you want to do. Do what is going to bring you joy and happiness in the here and now.
To moms, this message sounds lovely, but unrealistic. There’s laundry, dinner, dishes, homework, work work, housework, oil changes and dirty diapers. There’s no time for what I want to do. I have found myself feeling rather resentful toward those who seem able to find time to do all the things I want to do instead of what I have to do today.
Then there is the religious perspective on the present moment. It also emphasizes leaving the past to itself and not missing God’s workings in the present while worrying about His plans for the future. I recently received a daily reflection from Chiara Lubich, the founder of the Focolare Movement, which said:
Don’t think about what He [God] wanted from you in the past or about what He will want from you in the future. Think about what He wants from you in the present moment. God is the eternal present and, in the present, He gives you the grace to fulfill His will. Make the effort to live in His presence. (Word of Life, October, 1987).
God wants for us to do His will, fulfilling the calling He has given to us. I am called to be a mom, a wife. This means that I am indeed called to that laundry, dinner prep, dishes and even dirty diapers. However, praise the Lord, I am also called to be a woman, a daughter of God. And as a child of God I am called to spend time in my Father’s presence. I am called to create in participation with God’s creation. I am also called to rest just as God rested.
This January has been a season of discovering balance. Laundry does need to get done. Clearly people need to eat and ought to eat on clean dishes. Children need tending; wounds need mending. I am living in the present moment when I infuse these moments of motherhood with love, peace and patience. But I am also living in the present moment when I make the conscious choice to let the laundry lie for an afternoon so I can slowly work through a Bible study chapter, or when I choose to play a game with my kids first and mop the floor second. The time to mop the floor may be consumed with our game play, or it all may time out. Asking myself, “Where do I feel God tugging my heart in this moment?” has been opening my eyes to a new peace about how my day is spent.
I am trying to listen to the needs of my family while also listening to the needs of my heart. God doesn’t want me to work myself so hard that I am depleted day in and day out. In order to truly flourish, there has to be a balance between work and play and rest. Letting God guide my present moment is allowing me to discover that balance in my daily life.
Copyright 2022 Kate Taliaferro
Images: Canva Pro
About the Author
Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mom of 6. She has a Masters in Religious Education and tries to find God's presence in all parts of her day, be it cooking, cleaning or just the everyday ordinary. She enjoys homeschooling, stitching crafts and finding cheerios between the couch cushions. She blogs at Daily Graces.