If you’ve ever heard the song “Seasons of Love” from the musical Rent, maybe you recognized my reference in this post’s title. And if you haven’t heard the song, go give it a listen. It’s all about the different ways you can measure the year, and how it can ultimately be measured in love.
The song came to my mind because at the beginning of any new year, I find myself reflecting on the previous year. I always think about how fast it went, how much my children grew, and how many things changed. I love looking back at photos to be reminded of all the memories we made. I try to quantify the year by personal goals I reached or goals that we reached as a family. Some years, those accomplishments are big things like buying a house or going on a trip we planned and saved for. Other years, it just looks like just surviving (hello 2020).
I think moms measure the years a little differently than the rest of the population. We can’t always tell you what exactly we did for those 365 days, and we can never seem to figure out how the time went so quickly, but we know we put in work for that whole year.
So how do moms measure a year?
Moms with young children can measure the year in diapers, in pumping sessions, in bottles made, in spit up, in outfit changes, and in sleepless nights. Time is marked by growth milestones, wake windows, inches grown, lullabies sung, new foods tried, naptimes completed, and formula bought. We make sure to mark time with all the monthly pictures and to carefully document all the “firsts.”
When kids enter school, time becomes all about semesters and school breaks. The calendar takes on a whole new meaning. The year can be measured in school projects completed, viruses caught, socks lost, homework finished, report cards received, lunches packed, tardy slips earned, hours spent in the school pick-up line, and PTA meetings attended. And when kids start playing sports, time is also measured by games, practices, injuries, wins and losses, and hours spent shuttling in the car.
Moms with kids of all ages can measure the year in groceries bought, dinners cooked, doctor visits, fevers, Band-Aids used, laundry folded, tears wiped, and lessons learned. Sometimes we make the mistake of measuring our year by looking only at our bad days. The times we yelled or lost our temper. The number of days we weren’t our best selves, and we weren’t as patient or as kind as we would have liked.