As a busy analyst, author, and speaker my days are full so it can be easy to lose track of time. As a wife to my husband, Jeff and a mom to our two great kids, I have to protect my precious time and be careful not to let it flash before my eyes. My kids may be teenagers at the moment, but I feel like I’m going to wake up tomorrow and find an empty nest!
Many of you know exactly what I’m talking about. See if this also rings a bell: From the point when my kids were toddlers, I’ve had hundreds of women stop me in the grocery store or at my speaking events (since I often bring the kids with me) and say, “Oh, enjoy every moment of this phase while they are little. It goes so fast.”
It reminds me of something that happened when Jeff and I got married. What a day that was! After months of planning and dreaming and working long hours to get it all ready, the ceremony seemed to pass in a delightful blur and soon we were facing cheers from the crowd and being introduced as husband and wife. A few weeks later, Jeff mentioned seeing a particular couple who hadn’t been able to attend the reception, but made it to the ceremony. I said, “Really? I don’t remember seeing them. But then, it all seemed to go so fast — I don’t remember much about the ceremony itself.”
Jeff smiled sideways. “I remember everything about the ceremony.”
I looked at him, surprised. He continued. “One of my groomsmen told me to enjoy every moment. He said it could either rush by quickly, or be soaked in. So I was purposeful about really enjoying every moment.”
Six years later, when our daughter was born, I started to hear echoes of those words from all the women who told me to enjoy the time because it goes so quickly. I found that every one of those women knew exactly what they were talking about, as I watched my daughter’s babyhood flash by at warp speed. So I figured that following their words of wisdom would be a really good idea. As a result, in these past years I have soaked in every possible bit of delight that God wanted to bring me in my kids. My awareness of every passing day is made all the more poignant by the fact that I’m a working, traveling mom – and because there are times that I can’t bring them with me on the road, I know there are times when I am missing things. It makes me appreciate all the more the times that I have – and my desire to be extremely purposeful about enjoying them, instead of letting the days slip by and wondering “here did the time go?”
I’ve found it is so vital to be purposeful about our lives as moms, as wives (for those who are married), as workers (in whatever we do) and simply as women. Being purposeful and intentional doesn’t mean taking everything super-seriously, or reading every book on the shelf about parenting or marriage. But it does mean that we glean wisdom wherever we can and take every opportunity to grow into the women God created us to be.
Helping people thrive in life and relationships is Shaunti Feldhahn’s driving passion, supported by her research projects and writing. After starting out with a Harvard graduate degree and experience on Wall Street, her life took an unexpected shift into relationship research. She now is a popular speaker around the world and the author of best-selling books about men, women, and relationships. (Including For Women Only, For Men Only, and the groundbreaking The Good News About Marriage).
Her newest book, The Kindness Challenge, demonstrates that kindness is the answer to almost every life problem, and is sparking a much-needed movement of kindness across the country. Visit www.shaunti.com for more.