Ask the Expert

How to Live in the Moment

By Aug 9, 2011May 13th, 201259 Comments

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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

Francesca has an extensive background in content marketing, public relations, and social outreach. She oversees all Operations at Sway Group, including our robust metrics capabilities. Prior to joining the online world, Francesca oversaw viticulture and oenology at various wineries in both California and Italy, and managed regulatory affairs and facility approvals at the biotech company, Genentech. Francesca has been featured on CBS Sacramento and Food Blogger Pro’s podcast. She has also hosted an AMA webinar and spoken at Social Media World.