How to Live in the Moment

Joining us today is Mary Lauren from My 3 Little Birds.  She is talking about how to slow down life’s frantic pace and live in the moment.

live in the moment

As moms, we’re trained to rush. Breakfast to backpacks. Drop off to dentist. There is lunch to prepare (How quickly can you get those apples sliced?) and work to be done.

There are times I feel like I’m competing in an imaginary race to bedtime. My opponent is invisible and trash-talks me all day.

You’re not moving fast enough, she says. She tells me one hundred ways I’m not measuring up, not working hard enough, not being good enough at this motherhood gig. Are you competing with her, too?

Today I want to talk about how really winning the race requires slowing down. After all, when we’re moving that fast we miss the good stuff.

The way your daughter admires her brand-new pierced ears in the hallway mirror.

The smell of the bread as it bakes (it reminds you of your grandmother).

The light, falling in slats through the blinds in the bedroom, making the walls glow yellow.

The sound of his voice on the phone, telling you he loves you with the same words he used when he was 25.

What happened to the 25 year old girl? She grew up, had a baby. Then another. She focused on a career, focused on the kids, focused on him. And somewhere along the way she began to see life as a race and stopped really living.

So how do we slow down, live in the moment?

1. Look at the Life You’ve Created

On lunch breaks as a working mom, I’d look at a picture of my baby while I used my breast pump. The books all told me this would encourage let-down. I stared at his face, the tiny cleft in his chin, the eyes that were blue but would turn to brown. I felt myself relax. Breathe. I could do my job for him. I could produce the fatty milk, ounces and ounces of it, enough to fill a freezer and then some. Looking at his face slowed me down. Is there a way we can look at our families now as a reminder to slow down, to take it all in?

2. Focus on the Big Picture

When you look at life as a series of items to check off a never-ending list, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But guess what? You’re living the life you dreamed about for all those years of broken hearts and doodles on a notebook page. You have it all now. Take a deep breath and enjoy your family.

3. Make a Happiness List

Just for one day, instead of staring at a page of to-do’s, record the moments that made you smile.

4. Play

Do you know what happens every time you get on the carpet with a four year old and succumb to the pressure of playing with Matchbox cars? You have fun. And so does he. Incorporate play into every day.

5. Soak It All In

This summer I found myself impatient for the routine that fall brings– the regular rhythm of the school year. And then I realized that this is the last summer that she will be two, that he will be four, and that my oldest will be eight. They will never be this young again. Will she curl up in my lap at three? Will he need even need me to read to him at five? And nine- that is the hardest one of all. Nine will bring big-kid challenges that I cannot begin to imagine. So I decided to relax. Soak in the summer. Enjoy the season with everything it means for our family.

Slowing down really just means being present. Available. There will always be tasks to complete and chores to be done. But in the end, what’s most important is worth slowing down for.

And that invisible opponent? She’ll have to wait.

About the Author:

live in the momentMary Lauren is a social worker turned mother turned blogger. Long before she was any of these things she was a writer. When she’s not writing at her blog, My 3 Little Birds, you can find her drinking too much coffee, pretending she’s crafty, and finding excuses not to exercise. She’s a contributing writer at She{hearts}It and is developing a career as a freelancer.

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About Francesca

One of two behind The SITS Girls and Bloggy Boot Camp. Believer that this community is a movement, and not just a website. Currently on a quest for unending free WiFi & stronger caffeine. I'd love to get to know you better: Find me on Twitter @FranBanducci and on Google+.
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  1. says

    Without lists I am barely able to function. If I don’t have them for a few days it seems like everything falls apart. But I do have to have those times when I just let go and live in the moment. If I don’t stop, have faith, and live in the moment there is no creativity, no excitement, no spontaneity in my life. I have to have both for balance. Great post.

  2. says

    I love this post. I am often guilty of moving too fast, and for making life a series of to-do items. #4 really hit me. I don’t remember the last time I actually played with me son. We cuddle a lot, there are hugs throughout the day, I think I’m going enough (and maybe on most days I am), but I don’t play. I think today, I will. Thank you.

  3. says

    Really like your blog! Just subscribed via Google Reader. Love that “Mom as a Case Manager” post.

  4. says

    LOVE this post!

    “winning the race requires slowing down” :)

    Your explanation under Looking at the Life you created really made me smile. :) So beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing and for the much needed reminder!

    SAHM of twins

  5. says

    Mary-Lauren, it must be in the air…I just wrote about the same thing. Being present & happy where I am in my life instead of always racing forward. Great post!

  6. says

    Mary Lauren, I have only found you so very recently, but I adore you already. This is perfect; I had an epiphany like #5 the other day. This is the last month that my oldest will be home with us all the time (she goes to preschool in September). I want to remember every moment, and I don’t want those moments to be garbled and rushed in the everyday tasks that aren’t really as important as I sometimes think.

  7. says

    I love this post. I am all about enjoying the small moments when the kids, especially when things get stressful. You are right, this is the life I wanted, and I try my best to enjoy it as much as possible.

  8. says

    Not sure how I missed this, ML, but it’s wonderful. Just the beautiful words of wisdom I’ve come to expect from you. You are one talented lady with some beautiful insight. Thank you for sharing these thoughts! I especially love the Happy List idea. :)

  9. says

    Wonderful and poignant. Now if we can all put that into effect, it will be a happier world. I’m for trying! Thanks for the lovely advice!

  10. says

    I think we all need the reminder to slow down. I have to work hard for these moments, because my job isn’t going to give me any.

  11. says

    What a fantastic post! I love the idea of the happiness list. I have clients do this sometimes, and the revelations that come from
    It are pretty amazing.

  12. says

    a beautiful and poignant post – I’ve been on a journey of simplifying and slowing down these past two years…soooooooooo glad I did…keep shining sweet bellas

  13. says

    Thanks for the reminder – so often I rush home from work and feel I have so much to get done. I get annoyed as my husband hangs out in the nursery with the baby while I run around cleaning or trying to “get things done.” I need to remember that what he is doing is probably more important than emptying the dishwasher.

  14. says

    I love this post! I find myself in a race all the time, even though I don’t have children yet, I need to focus on enjoying my life right now, instead of racing to get somewhere else. Thanks Mary!

  15. says

    What a beautiful post this is and a wonderful reminder that we need to take advantage of every moment. Far too often I find myself rushing through life and then I wonder at the end of the season where the time has gone.

    Thank you for this :)

  16. says

    I love this blogger and never am I at a point where I don’t need to be encouraged to slow down and enjoy the moment!

  17. says

    Seriously, I was not intending on shedding any tears this morning but as a Momma of two, 5 and 8 months, it made me a bit weepy. So true and thank you!

  18. says

    This is EXACTLY what I needed this morning. I was reaching Berning over at One Mixed Bag and she recommended your post – I’m glad I came by and read it. Even tho my kiddo is well grown and out of the house, I can still apply a lot – and he still likes Matchbook cars – just not getting down in the floor and playing with his mom anymore (hoho).

  19. says

    GREAT post… great list. I think this needs to make it to the top of my to-do list now :) Like all of us, I feel the pressure of our lives being too busy, with too much to do. But I always strive to enjoy it, enjoying all the small moments that make a great life great. Thanks for the post this morning!


  20. says

    Mary Lauren, this is lovely. I think that it applies to everyone. We are always rushing around to hurry the moments up. I love the idea of a happiness list. Great post!

  21. says

    Mary Lauren is such a wonderful writer and sweet, fantastic person. Loved this post!

    p.s. Go check out her blog and follow her. She always brings light into my day.

  22. says

    I love this. I am going to start making happiness lists instead of stuff that pissed me off lists. Wonderful!

  23. says

    Mary Lauren, so good to see you here! Love your post, you are right. We are constantly in a mad rush to do this, that, trying to fit it all in, and accomplishing little. Thank you for the reminder to slow down and be available.

  24. says

    A lovely post that applies even to those of us who aren’t mothers, it’s easy to get bogged down in the to do lists and forget about all the good stuff going on too.

    I’ve been feeling this a lot lately and it inspired me to start my weekly ‘happiness is…’ linky posts which have really helped me focus on the positives.

    Have a lovely, stressfree day all!


  1. […] I was a brand-new blogger when I first came across the SITS Girls. I learned so much about blogging there: how to build a community, how to approach and attract blog sponsors, and how to generally improve my own site. I even shared a “how-to” piece on SITS, How to Live In the Moment. […]

  2. […] on their education channel this month, and this week’s “How To” idea is “How To Live In The Moment“ written by Mary Lauren who writes the blog My 3 Little Birds. I need to print this post and frame […]