Several years ago, I sat in a Mothers of Preschoolers meeting and the guest speaker asked us to write down our favorite childhood memory. My mind flooded with silent giggles as I recalled mixing water and dirt, then filling the aluminum pans. I would create a make-believe oven from bricks and bake the brown, gooey pie. Finally, the most exciting part of all … when the mud-pies were finished “baking,” I would throw them at the largest oak tree in my grandma’s backyard. This simple activity has become etched in my mind as my all-time favorite childhood memory.
The speaker challenged us to put that piece of paper in a visible location as a reminder each day about taking time to enjoy those small precious moments with our children. So, I put the small leaf-sized paper on my fridge and saw it every day. It helped, and I remembered.
Years after hearing that speaker, I was having one of those extra-chaotic days. The to-do list was overwhelming – there wasn’t a clean towel in the house, lots of unanswered emails in my in-box, bills to pay, class party to plan – my plate was full. I was overwhelmed, grouchy and found myself lacking patience. That was it, I give up! I slammed the fridge shut and then I saw the leaf with the life lesson.
My children and I went into our backyard and made mud-pies! We used the back of my son’s monster truck as our oven, then threw our messy creations at the fence. We giggled. We had fun. We made precious memories! Their enthusiasm and energy were contagious. I relished in their smiles and the muddy handprints on my clothes. I became appreciative again.
After our adventure, I had a whole new perspective and was blessed with the attitude adjustment I needed. After that boost, I knocked out the to-do list and finished the laundry. Then, I sat down with my daughter as she wrote in her take-home journal about her favorite weekend activity. It had been busy – a few hours at Six Flags, seeing friends at church, a good friend’s birthday party, those were my suggestions. She sweetly said, “Mom, the most fun I had this weekend was making mud-pies with you.”
Life is busy. Motherhood is crazy and unscripted. No matter what is going on, take a moment and simply enjoy your children. Laugh and have fun. Record the memories on your heart. Your children will treasure it, and you will gain a fresh, new perspective.
Psalm 127:3 says, “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him.”
 MOPS is an international organization for mothers who have children ranging in ages from birth – kindergarten. If you are interested in finding a MOPS group in your area, please go to www.mops.org.