Enjoy ONE Moment (but maybe not every moment)

posted by Andrea | 06/20/2016
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one moment

The kids got me a watering can for my birthday last week and they were SOOOOOOO excited to give it to me. They basically unwrapped the entire thing for me. We also went bowling and out to Arby’s for dinner to celebrate my special day 🙂

As Dave and I shuffled our children around the bowling alley and scrambled to pick up all the food they were spilling at Arby’s, we got several “enjoy every moment” and “it goes so fast” comments from friendly onlookers.

I completely understand what they meant, and although these cliché phrases can get old after hearing them 583 times, I truly am not offended or upset.

They are sweet sentiments that are almost always said with affection and endearment… so I smile and nod in agreement because I know they are right — it DOES go “so fast”, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing in my opinion! 

For example, the 2 pictures above were taken in the exact same driveway, at the exact same parade, on the exact same day — just 4 years apart. A LOT happened in those 4 years, and although it’s fun to look back at old pictures, I’m SO happy to have 2 more little boys and my big girl Nora, who is much happier now than she was as a baby!

Yes, looking back it went fast, but although I enjoyed most of it, I did NOT enjoy “every moment”.

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There have been times when I’ve let myself feel guilty for NOT “enjoying every moment” — especially when we were trying to do something fun like take the kids to the water park, but it totally blows up in our faces and turns into a not-so-fun afternoon of hot weather and whiny kids in a chaotic park, leaving Dave and I way more stressed out then if we would have just stayed home (not that this has ever happened to us before!)

I think to myself, “Why didn’t we enjoy that? It was supposed to be fun for everyone, but no one had any fun and now all the kids are crabby.”

But then I usually snap out of it and remind myself that it’s essentially 100% impossible for anyone (no matter your age, gender, race, occupation, income level, or family status) to truly “enjoy EVERY SINGLE moment” of life.

Even the happiest, most positive, joy-filled, Jesus-loving, glass-half-full people I know still have weak moments, bad days, and rough periods of life that they definitely do NOT enjoy.

That’s life — and it’s normal.

They are not horrible people because they didn’t enjoy the moment they couldn’t pay their bills.

They are not missing out on life because they didn’t enjoy the moment their spouse passed away from cancer.

They are not grumpy mean parents because they didn’t enjoy the moment their child had a complete meltdown in the grocery store checkout lane.

They are not negative people because they didn’t enjoy the moment they missed out on a big promotion or a big raise at work.

Like I said before, it’s impossible to enjoy EVERY moment.

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I know I’m just barely 31 years old (and I don’t often say “never”), but I have secretly vowed to never say, “enjoy EVERY moment” to anyone… ever.

I do think we should all try to enjoy MOST moments of life — whether we have young children, older children, adult children, or no children… but I don’t think anyone should ever feel guilty if they don’t enjoy EVERY SINGLE moment of life.

I get so many emails and comments from readers asking about this “enjoy every moment” phrase, how I respond when people say it to me, and how I get over the fact that I DON’T “enjoy every moment”.

I don’t have a perfect solution, but for now, I think I’ll just keep smiling and nodding!

Also, one thing I’ve been trying to focus on lately is to simply enjoy ONE moment.

Enjoy ONE moment.

If I go to the library with all 3 kids, I want to make sure we have at least ONE memorable moment together — even if the majority of the time was spent trying to keep James from pulling all the books off the shelf or reminding Simon over and over again that we don’t shout “cheeseball” in the library.

If we play at the park, I want to recall at least ONE moment of enjoyment — even if the friends we were supposed to meet got sick, the toys were soaking wet from dew, another kid threw sand at Simon, and someone looked at Nora the wrong way 🙂

If we stay home all day, I try to think about ONE moment during the day that was truly exceptional and enjoyable — even if it felt like the kids were whining all day and I was scolding them all day.

If we go out for fast food, we try to enjoy at least ONE moment — even if food is spilled, children are sticky messes, our order gets messed up, and the fries are cold.

Now certainly, there are many times when I enjoy more than just ONE moment (some might argue that I should set my standards a bit higher) but I like the simplicity of searching for and remembering ONE enjoyable moment.

And honestly, it has been so “freeing” to push away any guilt I might feel for not enjoying every single moment because I know I am enjoying at least one moment within each activity or event we do in any given day.

It’s not a perfect solution, but striving for ONE enjoyable moment has helped me realize how much of my life I actually DO enjoy — and alleviate so much guilt for those times when I do get frustrated, annoyed, angry, or stressed.

What are YOUR thoughts on the “enjoy every moment” comments.

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51 comments

  1. Confine yourself to the present….. – Somewhat Awry

    08/29/2016

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  2. Kristen

    06/25/2016

    This post almost made me cry!! Such a great alternative to “enjoy EVERY moment”! You’re absolutely right about the guilt moms can feel if they aren’t enjoying every moment, because we all know time goes quickly. But finding (at least) one fun sweet moment is SO do-able and keeps a positive spin on even really tough days. Thanks for giving me an alternative mindset to this cliche that everyone pushes 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Well I’m certainly glad it didn’t actually make you cry!! and yes, no need to feel guilty for not enjoying EVERY moment!
    Have a great weekend!

    [Reply]

  3. Weekend reading: June 25, 2016

    06/25/2016

    […] Enjoy ONE Moment (but maybe not every moment) | Andrea Dekker […]

  4. Beatriz

    06/24/2016

    Happy Belated Birthday! I may not have kids but I completely agree with you, not all moments are great but I guess that’s what makes the good ones so good. That’s why looking back there are some amazing times in pictures. Good thing we don’t have snap shots of the bad times, those photo albums would be huge!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Beatriz! And honestly, I never really thought about the whole picture thing — we have pictures of all those really great moments so we can remember them… no many of the bad moments though! So wonderful when we can put the bad memories behind us and focus on the good!

    [Reply]

  5. Jennifer

    06/23/2016

    What a great perspective to take, looking for one moment to truly savor. Looking for that moment probably also brings more positive moments along the way as you’re in that mindset to seek them out.

    Another statement I hear so often that is not helpful is: “the dishes (or laundry, or whatever) will wait.” Yes, they’ll wait and PILE up and stress me out even more. Thanks.

    [Reply]

  6. Michelle

    06/22/2016

    Brilliant article.

    Honestly, who can enjoy EVERY moment? Especially with young babes. (Diaper blow outs … need I say more?!).

    I think the approach to find one good thing is positive and realistic. Is there good in every day? Yes! Is every part of every day good? Heck no!

    And yes the baby/toddler years are fleeting but the young child/tween/teen years can be pretty fantastic too!!

    [Reply]

  7. Lynda

    06/21/2016

    Thank you for this post… So well timed!! I was taking care of my sick child so therefore reading this a day late. Feeling frustrated because she has been sick a lot lately and trying to figure out if it’s allergies or adenoid issues… Anyway helps keep things in perspective! Thank you for helping me keep things right! Very eerily well timed post The one moment…. When she reached over to me and touched my face while I was lying with her, “you’re a good mama!”

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    awwww, that’s so sweet! You sound like a GREAT mama! And sorry to hear about the sick kiddo — that’s never fun!

    [Reply]

  8. Michelle

    06/21/2016

    Once your children are grown and gone you look back at the life you had while raising them. You remember the chaos, the stress, the frustrating moments, temper tantrums, hard times and such. Those are the things you certainly didn’t enjoy and wouldn’t want to do over.

    Then you think about things you feel you didn’t get enough of…the hugs, kisses, tender moments, fun times, funny events, watching them explore their world, and such. This is what you miss and wish you could get back.

    It’s natural, when you see a young family, to be envious that they still have those opportunities which are now gone to you and you end up saying things such as “enjoy them while they’re young”. It’s never meant to make others feel guilty for not enjoying every single moment but a reminder to cherish what you have while you have it. It’s also us expressing how much we miss that stage.

    You’ll notice when your kids are misbehaving or when they become teenagers you will no longer get those comments from random strangers. Nobody wants to live those days over.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Michelle, Thanks so much for your comment!
    Also, I do want to point out that what you say (enjoy them while they’re young) is completely different than “enjoy every moment”. Your statement is very encouraging, positive, and uplifting. It would make me smile if you said that to me — not feel guilty at all. However, when someone says “enjoy every moment, it goes so fast” I immediately feel like I’m missing out, doing something wrong, not enjoying enough, etc. etc.

    So please don’t stop saying “enjoy the while they’re young” — I truly don’t think most parents would take that as anything but positive encouragement!

    [Reply]

  9. Carrie

    06/21/2016

    At bedtime when the kids were much smaller, we used to talk about the worst thing of the day and the best part of the day……I wish I had made a list of the responses both worst and best as sometimes their remarks were quite comical. Once one of them was happy for nails…when we asked why nails? He said it was because I had put his drawing up on the wall….hysterical we thought but sweet.

    [Reply]

  10. Julie

    06/21/2016

    My son would be sitting in the grocery cart or the cart at Menards and say very loudly: “$5 make you holler”!!! So I would take your son’s cheese ball comment any day over my son’s.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    ha! yes, I’ll take “Cheeseball” over that any day!

    [Reply]

  11. Veronica

    06/21/2016

    Oh, Andrea, I love this post and I love you! Thank you for sharing!

    [Reply]

  12. Kristen @ Joyfully Thriving

    06/20/2016

    What a great reminder, Andrea! You are so right. We can’t enjoy every moment but happiness is a choice, and we can choose to find one moment to enjoy. Sticky messes, long days, noisy trips to the library or, in my case, a little boy who ran down the aisle (and back again) to be a ring bearer. Enjoying one moment. I love this!

    [Reply]

  13. Nina

    06/20/2016

    I think a friend of mine says it best, “the days are long but the years are short.”

    Few people will enjoy every moment but finding a moment to enjoy seems reasonable. I try to find 5 things I’m grateful for each day, similar theme, even it’s just a hot cup of tea on a cold morning.

    [Reply]

  14. Rachel

    06/20/2016

    Thank you for writing this and easing this mama’s guilt of not enjoying every infant moment.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    no worries Rachel — there were very FEW infant moments I enjoyed (especially with Nora). I promise, they get SO much more fun as they grow up!!

    [Reply]

  15. Chris K in Wisconsin

    06/20/2016

    My kids are adults now, and I was never a baby person. I enjoyed them much more when they could walk and talk….. at least up until they would stomp and slam. 🙂 It is all part of the process.
    When we reminisce now, it is funny, but some of what I thought were the worst of times are the funniest when we talk about them. My husband is a teacher also, and always was able to lighten the mood when I was stressing. That helped all of us tremendously!!

    It seems silly when people even suggest that all of those days are going to be/ should be wonderful. It is like that awful word “perfect”. I cringe when people say their vacation was perfect, or their trip to an amusement park or water park was perfect. I can’t begin to imagine how that is possible, and it just leads to others wondering why THEIR trip was not…. I don’t know if “perfect” makes memories, but reality ~the NOT perfect ~ surely does.

    So, ENJOY!! The time does go by quickly when we look back ~ but I remember it not going quite quickly enough when I was living it daily!!!! Don’t ever feel badly about that. I actually think that when we set our expectations a bit lower when little ones are involved, we all end up happier at the end of the day. It is going to be messy, it is going to be loud and chaotic at times, and it will very rarely, if ever, be perfect. Letting the kids know that is OK is a relief for them, as well. “Cheeseballs!!” Now THAT is perfect!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, Dave and I already look back on some of the crazy times with screaming baby Nora and chuckle about how stressed we were ALLL the time. Our babies keep getting easier and easier as we become more confident and relaxed parents!

    [Reply]

  16. Marsha

    06/20/2016

    Thank you!! You’ve said it so well. With a special needs child, I’ve spent the last 15 years not enjoying most moments, but the few moments we can enjoy are really good.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    so sorry Marsha! But I’m glad you are able to recognize and enjoy good moments in the midst of the struggles.

    [Reply]

  17. margo

    06/20/2016

    I agree, I think it puts too much pressure on a mom or dad to tell them to savor every moment, some yes, all…no. 🙂

    [Reply]

  18. Emily

    06/20/2016

    Great perspective! I don’t hear that comment often (it’s usually “are all of those children yours?” which is always fun) 😉 but I completely agree with you. Good post!

    [Reply]

    Emily Reply:

    Oh and the cheeseball comment made me laugh out loud! I had one who would say “hacka burfday” (happy birthday) to everyone we met. She was a slow talker as well but once she hit age 3-4 she wouldn’t stop! 🙂 Yay for Simon!

    [Reply]

  19. Mel

    06/20/2016

    Cheeseball!! Lol. I love this post, it is such a relief for someone else to say ‘actually, it’s ok not to love every moment’. Whenever I scroll through my Facebook feed there are so many memes about positivity and grasp every moment blah blah blah that sometimes I feel a complete failure for not living life to the absolute fullest (er when would the laundry get done while I’m out roller skating up a mountain??) with a huge smile on my face blessing every moment. But as you say, realistically it just isn’t possible. Also, the rubbish times make the brilliant times stand out even more. How boring would it be to have everything in our lives just the way we want it every second of every day? Human nature dictates that we’d only want more (look at Hollywood stars going off the rails just to get a bigger buzz because normal buzzy things just don’t cut it any more).

    Well done, another great perspective on family life. Often I have something on my mind (consciously or not) and when I look at your site your new blog post hits the nail right on the head.

    Also, I did the Myers Briggs test last year (INTJ) and ‘knowing myself’ has truly changed my life through my now self acceptance. All your comments about your introvertedness and how you ‘recharge’ on your own or with peace and quiet really reinforce that I’m not a socially awkward weirdo after all, I just like my own company and that’s OK. If only everyone was so self aware and appreciative of others’ personality types. Thank you x

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    ahhhh — I love this Mel!!
    I’m so glad that me being introverted has helped you notice your own introverted tendencies! Also, our personality types are VERY close (I’m an ISTJ)!

    [Reply]

  20. Amy

    06/20/2016

    I agree with this entire post! This past weekend, we had a beach weekend planned (6 hour drive there and back, so we needed to fit a lot of beach time in in a short period of time!). We reserved a campsite months ago (trust me, this State park we went to would have been booked otherwise!!!) only to experience awful weather for the first day and night! We wound up in a hotel by the beach and having a WONDERFUL Sunday morning and early afternoon, despite the day before events. We even kept our senses of humor during it all since we were all together on a trip! So no, we DID NOT enjoy EVERY moment of this past weekend, but there were several moments we DID enjoy; those are the moments that we truly will remember!!!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    wow — that’s impressive. I don’t think I could have been so cool, calm, and collected after a bad first day like you had. Dave probably wouldn’t have lightened the mood with his dry sense of humor though!

    So glad you enjoyed the rest of your short family vacation!

    [Reply]

  21. Barb

    06/20/2016

    Andrea,

    My first thought on reading this post was, yayyyyy, Simon is saying words!!! I know from personal experience how wonderful it is when a child you’ve been waiting for to speak finally starts talking. I also know how embarrassing it can be when they speak loudly in a setting that they are supposed to be quiet in. 😉

    I think you found a great alternative to feeling like you need to enjoy every moment. Obviously, no one enjoys every moment of life. But, if you’re focus is to find at least one moment to enjoy out of each experience, then you will succeed at underscoring enjoyable memories in your mind. Who knows, as your children become teenagers and adults, you may even look back on some of the things you don’t enjoy now because they happen so often, as things to remember fondly because it’s part of your family’s story. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — Cheeseball is one of the ONLY 2-syllable words he can say, so he says it ALLLLLLLLLL the time. It’s like he’s SO proud of himself for being able to say a 2-syllable word that he says it whenever he gets excited about anything. It’s pretty cute!

    [Reply]

  22. Karen

    06/20/2016

    Almost snorted my coffee over the cheeseball at the library. With my kid it was “truck”. Except he had trouble with the t-r combination and replaced it with his all purpose f. That was a head turner… We survived it.

    I think you have the right approach. Life has ups and downs. We have to deal with the downs, so focusing on the ups does help. I used to ask my kids every night before bed “What was the best thing about today?” Even on bad days, they always had something positive and it was always interesting.

    It’s not realistic to enjoy absolutely every single moment, but one enjoyable moment is almost always doable. Build on the small successes.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, we have friends with a little boy who LOVES trucks but also substitutes the “f” sound for the “tr” sound. It’s quite humorous since he’s not our child 🙂

    [Reply]

  23. Janice

    06/20/2016

    Oh my goodness, how I do remember hearing that same “enjoy every moment” comment from people and our kids are now in their early 40s. And as your kids grow older, some people will say, “Oh, don’t you miss having them as babies?” Well, actually “No,” I have replied a few times, explaining how I’m glad we all just lived through it. Then I always laughed so they wouldn’t think I was a horrible parent.
    You are so wise to be practical even in looking for that “one moment” of enjoyment and not weighing yourself down with the burden of thinking you have to enjoy EVERY MOMENT, then feeling like a failure when you flat out don’t enjoy every moment. i do believe that taking photos to save the joyful moment helps us and our children to look back fondly on times in our families’ lives. One of my favorite family pics is of our toddler daughter in her snowsuit lying on her back in the little red wagon being pulled around in the snow while she is howling like a banshee as she did NOT think we were having fun. We love to get that photo out and laugh and laugh, but it was not funny at the time and certainly not an enjoyable moment. It can take time to be able to enjoy some moments.

    [Reply]

  24. Debby

    06/20/2016

    Well written as usual. My MIL used to tell me that these are the best days of your life and I would say that is impossible because I have already had better days than this.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — so funny Debby! And such a good one-liner comeback too — I might have to remember that one!

    [Reply]

  25. Elizabeth

    06/20/2016

    Great article! I can totally relate. I just wanted to say how much I love your blog. I really appreciate your perspective on parenting and life in general. You truly come off as a very genuine person, and I appreciate that you do not do a bunch of sponsored posts. I have been turned off by so many blogs lately that are constantly selling products. Thanks again for producing such a high quality blog!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Elizabeth!
    And for the record, I turn down BOATLOADS of sponsored post requests every single week — so I’m glad people appreciate the lack of sponsored posts. Of course, we need to monetize our work somehow, but right now, I’m not convinced that lots of sponsored posts are the best option for me.

    [Reply]

  26. Lee Cockrum

    06/20/2016

    Very good post! Such s valid pint that all moments in life are not enjoyable, to be cherished ect!! And the cheeseball incident, made me laugh out loud!!! Kids, you gotta love them!!!

    [Reply]

  27. LoriB

    06/20/2016

    I am an older mom. Three sons are grown and married with children. Now at 56 I have a 17 year old daughter with special needs. When I was a young mother I never remember feeling bad when someone said enjoy every moment. The comment was not meant to be taken literally or cause guilt. Honestly, if someone told me to enjoy every moment at this point in my life I might feel aggravated or angry. I’d probably think that person has no idea what they’re talking about because they have no idea what my life is like. Maybe it would be better to take a deep breath and stop taking life so seriously. On the other side of all this I want my family to look back on a mama who didn’t take everything so seriously, who wasn’t impatient all the time, who actually enjoyed life.

    [Reply]

  28. Erin

    06/20/2016

    I have never thought about how no one tells an adult working at a job, “Enjoy every moment.” But we all know that jobs have good days and bad days, just like parenting does! I have found myself feeling guilty when I’m not having a good day with my kids, thinking I’m going to regret “not enjoying every moment.” But the reality is, we’re going to have great times and challenging times together.

    [Reply]

  29. Sue

    06/20/2016

    Yea don’t sweat it Andrea, YES.. enjoy them now..cause they grow up fast.. but it is not all sunshine flowers.. all the time.. I know I got grief cause when I as pregnant I was not all smiles and giggles.. or I did not cry when my children were born.. Whatever..

    Enjoy every day as it comes and don’t worry about every one else..

    sue in NJ

    [Reply]

  30. Lydia Senn

    06/20/2016

    Yup! My three year old screamed for two and half years. I am not even joking. And people would tell me that. And there were moments when I would wonder if they were crazy. Like when I am trying to go to the bathroom and my son was sitting on my lap screaming. Not exactly a cherishable moment.

    [Reply]

  31. Ruth

    06/20/2016

    I am in my early 40s and about to become an empty-nester and I wish I had a blog like yours to read when my kids were little. 🙂
    People would say all those stupid phrases and being a young mom, it would only fill me with guilt and confusion because guess what? I didn’t enjoy a lot of it! We were poor and struggling, my family was obnoxious and difficult and I had no friends who could identify since I married and started a family young.

    Now, people say things like “don’t you miss those younger years, blah blah”. And I say, “no, I don’t” and to rattle them, I say things like “if you knew what was coming, you would’t say that to me” 🙂 haha

    I love my kids dearly and homeschooled them all the way to college and I love the mature relationships I have with them now and look forward to many wonderful years…as adults!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wow, an empty nester in your early 40’s — you’ll have so many years to enjoy doing what YOU want to do. Yay!
    Also, I don’t think I’ll be one to miss the little years either. Yes, there are so many good and fun memories — but I have good and fun memories of EVERY stage of my life, not just when I had little kids at home!

    [Reply]

  32. Paulette

    06/20/2016

    You know the people who say “enjoy every moment” (like me) are the people who didn’t enjoy every moment and feel guilty about it. You have a good head on your shoulders, Andrea! I’m happy for you, because at such a young age, you figured this out. I look back and wish I had been more patient, wish I had known the little organizational tips and tricks I know now (that YOU already know, by the way), wish I had treasured the single moments,but somehow clumped it all together into one big stressful heap. Now the house is quiet. It’s easy to say “enjoy every moment” now. I get a healthy dose of reality when my grandchildren visit.

    The cheeseball shout was hysterical (at least from where I’m sitting).

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Well you certainly shouldn’t feel guilty about NOT enjoying every moment yourself — like I said in the post, it’s essentially impossible to enjoy EVERY moment!

    And for the record, my patience is VERY low, so I’m sure you were no less patient than me!

    [Reply]

  33. Mandy

    06/20/2016

    Best part of this post: your son yelling “cheesball” at the library. LOL.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, it was even funny to me at the time (which is probably why he wasn’t listening to my half-laughing-half-scolding efforts to shush him!)

    [Reply]