Despite the magnitude of my daughter’s foot funk, I don’t think about it until those tiny toes are right in front of me. In fact, as a new member of the working moms club, I find myself so consumed by my hectic schedule and parenting duties that the little things in life like stinky 3-year-old feet completely escape my attention.
Since my return to work, I’ve reached new heights in multi-tasking. I robotically pack lunches as I return phone calls and add items to my grocery list. I cook dinner and mop floors while overseeing my son’s homework. I clean the bathroom while the kids splash in the tub. And if I manage to find the time to catch up on my nearly filled DVR, I miss most of the story lines of my favorite shows because I’m busy paying bills, folding laundry, reading emails, and preparing for my next day of work. All of my energy is focused on the necessities.
I didn’t realize how much of life I’ve allowed myself to miss in my quest to get it all done until a thunderstorm literally jolted me to my senses. It was 5:32 AM when a crack of thunder woke me up. At 5:36, I heard the pitter patter of my daughter’s stinky feet approaching my bedroom and her croaky half-asleep voice asking to crawl into bed with me. I attempted to soothe her back to sleep so I could squeeze in 24 more minutes of shut-eye before my alarm kicked off the chaos of another day. But a few minutes later, my son wriggled under the covers, and any hope of sleep vanished.
As we cuddled and silently listened to the heavy rain pelting against our house, I discovered I no longer wanted those last 24 minutes of sleep. I wanted to savor every second of the cozy warmth of my children as I snuggled them in my arms and felt their breath against my cheek. When those 24 minutes passed and my alarm sounded, I pressed the snooze button not because I didn’t want to start my day, but because I wanted to prolong this rare and precious moment with my kids, a moment that will some day be extinct because they’ll no longer want to cuddle with me.
I finally had no choice but to peel the kids off me and face the day. But as I got ready for work, something strange happened. Instead of the typical morning grumpiness and wardrobe protests, we were all smiling and giggling through breakfast. Instead of the frantic dash to hustle out the door on time, our morning routine was seamless and punctual. And instead of hastily shoving my daughter’s feet into shoes peppered with odor-fighting powder, I tickled those tiny smelly feet with my nose. Then we all piled into the car with silly grins plastered on our faces.
The start of my morning changed the entire outlook of my day simply because I took the time to appreciate the little things in my life. I’ll think about that morning the next time I find myself consumed by necessities. And I’ll remind myself that it takes only a fraction of a minute to stop and smell the stinky feet.