Refining Moments

On Monday I fell while holding the baby. It was one of those things I had wondered about earlier, especially when going up or down stairs. If it happened, would I be able to fall backward?

When I tripped in that moment, I looked and there was nothing to grab hold of. I fell sideways, holding the baby on the other side of me. We went down together, and cradling him as I went down, I didn’t have a hand to ease the landing. The baby landed on top of me, surprised but unharmed. I hurt my hip, my elbow, my neck, and the cheekbone on the side of my face.

It wasn’t too bad, I was just sore. Ultimately, I was grateful that we were going to be fine. I put the baby in the swing, and I lay face down on the floor not wanting to do anything else.

I thought about the timing. You see, I had babysitting that day, and I know it sounds small but moms understand how valuable are those precious hours of babysitting. I was going to be able to sit at my desk with a few uninterrupted hours to get things done. I was going to be able to respond to emails without someone small who wants to help type. I was going to get things straightened up so that I could prevail over the mess. And I didn’t do any of those things, while I lay face down on the floor.

Tom hooks his arm around mine while I carry him around. I don’t want to spend my days looking for the next moment I can set him down so that I can do something else.

Since then, this week I’ve been considering the balance of what I want to achieve each day. Could it be enough to quietly sit and hold the baby and take care of the kids, or do I have a whole list of extras to do too? Because there is nothing wrong with those extra things, but I had started falling into a pattern of finishing my day with my thoughts heavy from all the things that would be carried over into the next day because I didn’t get to them yet. Resigned to it, but still frustrated.

I remembered how ocean waves wash over the beach, leveling rumples in the sand and filling in trenches and holes, smoothing it over. Ever since then, I’ve been praying that God’s grace would wash over all those details in my life, smoothing them over and filling in the gaps, making the details less distinct and noticeable.

It’s a continual process of refining my aspirations.

(Continued in Refining Possibilities: Making the Best Use of Your Time)

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. I’ve been asking myself similar questions recently… Why am I so frustrated? Are my expectations for myself and those around me too unreasonable. This week, I’m focusing on lowering my expectations, just to see if my frustration level decreases.

  2. I’m so glad that both you and Tom are ok. What a relief to read that! Talk about gripping reading in the first few sentences there. I loved your writing about the ocean waves at the beach. It was beautiful to read that.

  3. I always feel as though I’m not doing enough for the house. Why would I question that? I play with my baby constantly. I hope you feel better soon. I recently fell with my 17mth old in a parking lot. SCARY!!! She was not hurt, thank God!

  4. I’ve always been scared that I would fall with the baby. I’m so glad you are both ok. It is so easy to forget that my to do list should line up with His. When I finally stop and take a good look at my babies I remember that “only one thing is needful.”

    Praise God for the little things.

    shannon´s last post…Huge, but Easy Step Towards a Nourishing Diet: Don’t Change Your Meal, Change Your Ingredients

  5. thanks for this! A good reminder! Unfortunately I fall into this “need to this and that” rhythm quite often and my poor preschooler gets the brunt of my frustration when I haven’t been able to reach the end of my list . . . and he has to be patient while I tend to the needs of my baby too. Something to continually pray about.
    Glad you are ok after the fall! How scary!

  6. If there is ever a time when your to-do list should shorten (or disappear), it’s when you children are little. I had a really hard time with this until I had my second son and it became simply overwhelming to try to get much done. My to-do list felt full if I had only 5 things on it, and I was ecstatic if I got all 5 done! By the time my next son arrived I had 3 kids under 5 and gave up on the todo list. Instead I had priorities: Is everyone fed, clothed, healthy, happy, and getting enough sleep? Can we find the things we need in our home? Are we spending within our means? That was about it. As my youngest could sleep through the night, sit up on his own, be weaned, walk on his own, etc. I added in things. Now I have a todo list for the week, and work on it that way.
    Glad little Tom wasn’t hurt; hope your bruises heal up quickly.

  7. I loved this post–I identified w/ it in several ways. First, when I first had my baby I thought about how I would handle falling with him as well; and then I did–with him strapped in the front pack in a parking lot at night–miraculously I was able to get my arms down to stop from smashing him. He was scared, but unhurt. I also struggle with waiting for that free second to put him down to do “the next important thing” and have been thinking about that as well. But then, isn’t the most important thing holding and interacting w/ him? Appreciated your thoughts.

    Wendy´s last post…Hike on the Hill

  8. I could have written this same post. Last night as I was laying in bed, I tried to figure out why I seem to be struggling through my days. And I think I finally figured out that I was trying to do too much.

    I need to just be a mom right now, because that’s all I can do at the moment without driving myself nuts. It’s when I start to add in all of the extras that my days seem to be a lot harder.

    I’m glad the baby is ok. I have the same fear all the time, especially since my son tends to have the toys strewn about the floor. I hope you feel better soon!

  9. Bless you.

  10. Refining aspirations over here too. Thanks for sharing.

    Marla Taviano´s last post…giving what you’ve got

  11. I am so sorry to hear about your fall, but I am glad to hear you are ok. This is an excellent post. I have 3 kids, in 3 years, and my youngest is now 17 months. My husband went through paramedic school last year, so it was pretty much just the kids and me. That was the hardest year of my life. I fought with myself all the time, I just could not balance my kids and, well, everything else. Luckily, my hubby is now done with school so things are SO much better. I try really hard every day to do fun activities with the kids and get them involved with helping around the house. I still feel that I should be doing more with the kids, but does ever go away? Can we really ever have enough time with our kids? Just curious.

  12. Today I was in the ER with my 18 month old. Nothing big.
    Felling like if someone was waiting for me at the end of the day with to “supervise” my to do list; but no one, just our-self.
    This was a great post thank you

  13. With each child I would remind myself that a “baby year” only lasts one year. Savor every minute of it, they are only little for a short while. My baby is fourteen now! Where did that time go? It was spent with my children, playing, laughing, learning… and the dishes, but not the children, will always be there to take care of later.

  14. Oh, thank God you and the baby are OK. I fell down the stairs with my son and it was horrifying. I was able to get my hand under his head just before it hit and he was OK. I was very bruised and scared. It does make you examine your priorities. So glad you’re OK.

    Valerie´s last post…Fun in Mexico

  15. I am so glad you and your son are ok. I also fell with my 13 mo old in a parking lot . . .she was ok, but I wasn’t:) . . .yikes.
    I struggle with this daily, but also have the task of working 40 hours a week outside of my home. My kids are a little older (5 and 7), so getting to the “to do” list is always there . . .and while I think it’s important to spend time with my children, and they are my first priority, I do also have to teach them. Teaching them patience, teaching them how to take turns, teaching them negotiation skills, which I find that I do with them, while I’m trying to get to the “to do list”. Mommy, can I have . . . . Mommy, play with me . . . .darlin’ Mommy is cleaning and folding our clothes right now, please be patient, and I will play when I’m done, or help me fold these so we can play a game—these are conversations I have with them, although the topics may be different.

    Babies are different, and the under 4 crowd is different, too–in the time we need to devote to their care and nurturing:) I understand that, and that “to do” list just has to wait, and we all have to be ok with that . . sigh . . somehow.

    My children will always come first, but we also need to carefully navigate teaching them that the world isn’t centered around them. This is a life-long process . .every day, every night, every moment.

    Does that sound too harsh? Hopefully not . . . .

  16. Jenni at My Web of Life says:

    I have often wondered what I would do if I fell while carrying one of my children up or down the stairs. I have had many close calls that make my heart race but, thankfully, I have never had the experience that you did earlier this week. I was relieved to read that both you and Tom are okay.

    Thank you for writing such a thoughtful post about what really is important. Today was one of my babysitting days and your post definitely struck a chord.

  17. I really needed this today. Thank you for such a thoughtful post.

  18. Posts like these tend to pop up just when I need them. I am a to-do list making fiend, and I really dislike having anything on the list spill over into the next day. But then I remember that the boys won’t be boys for long. And my beau and I won’t be young forever. And that those things on my list are usually just things. And I’ve slowed down. And it’s helped. Thanks for sharing.

    Coach J´s last post…Little Miss Bottomless

  19. Oooh I have a post looming on this… I am saving it for next week!!! But be encouraged, with gorgeous kids like yours you are so not doing nothing… it really is more than enough to sit quietly!!!

    se7en´s last post…Se7en make Quiche in Se7en Steps…

  20. What a beautiful post. I love the way you communicate the quandaries of Motherhood. I tend to belittle them, and learn so much from your thoughtful exploration of them. Thank you so much!

  21. I fell with the baby once too and it was a big wake up call for me. In my case it was an adrenaline rush that intuitively I could take care of my child even when an accident or surprise happened. Sometimes these things have a way of clueing us into something else going on.

    I had kids younger, before having a career and now I spend a lot of time balancing working on my projects and career goals and being the mom I want to be. It seems to require my constant focus to remain balanced or I fall of that high wire ;)

    hillary´s last post…flowers13: @NelopeStar Thanks! I feel like I’m on fire!

  22. This was beautifully written. As others have said, happy to hear you and Tom are okay. Thank you for sharing this with us and for the reminder that nothing is more important than these moments with our little ones.

    Toni Turbeville´s last post…New Look Coming Soon

  23. I am so glad to read that you are both ok. I totally relate to the honest thoughts you shared with us today. I am noticing that it is hard to balance the family, work and fun. My goal is to get up an hour earlier than everyone else and devote that time to reading my Bible with purpose…to make me a better wife, mother and friend! Unfortunately, this is one of the first things that I let go of and always backfires on me.

    Seriously, thank you for your encouragement and sincerity! It is soooo refreshing!

  24. I am so glad you and Tom are OK!

    Sometimes, when my students are frustrated and overwhelmed we cup our hands by our mouths and blow our frustrations away. It works on me, too. And we also listen to “End of the Line” by the Traveling Wilburys and dance around. So, you know, whatever works.

    Keep being a good mama. You rock!

    liz´s last post…canned food storage

  25. Yikes. I’m so glad that you were able to shield him from the impact…but poor mom! I feel for you that you lost that “babysitting time” to nursing your injuries but sometimes that kind of thing has to happened to us to remind us to slow down and take care of ourselves.

    What a takeaway lesson you sure figured out as well. Enjoying the small moments (your kids, experiences, quiet moments to think, etc.) and letting the *stuff* (to-do lists, etc.) go is something that we do need to factor in to keep the balance.

    P.S. Did you see that I mentioned Small Notebook on my last blog post? If not, please do check it out. :-)

    Suzanne´s last post…TCOY Lessons From My Favorite Bloggers (Jan10)

  26. So glad you are both ok. I fell once with my 15 month old (and I was pregnant) and to avoid falling on the baby or my giant stomach, my knees took the brunt. I still have a faint scar, and it’s a good reminder to me to slow down.

    Being a mother is so hard. When I had 2 small children under the age of 2, I was so happy if I got a shower. I struggled with trying to get things done; now they’re 8 & 7 and in school, and time no longer presses on me.

    Your children are lucky to have a mother like you who contemplates these questions and is mindful of her time with them.

    mother necessity´s last post…I Am Weary, Let Me Rest

  27. Oh Rachel! I’m so glad you and Tom are both okay. How scary. But what a beautiful piece of writing born out of the experience.

  28. I think that being a mom can leave me feeling wholly confused sometimes. I believe that spending time with my children and reveling in their magic is one of the most important things I can do in this life. But, I also believe that there is a balance to everything – and I would likely lose the ability to appreciate all their gifts if I didn’t attend to basic household management, projects that interest me, and frankly, myself. While I don’t think you want to be always looking for that next “break” from Tom so you can get XYZ done, I also think it is OK to be okay with wanting to get XYZ done, even if that means hoping Tom will sleep for an extra 15 minutes. And, I’m glad you are both OK.

  29. this is the most beautiful post you’ve ever written. i am glad you were fine. i am glad that it brought you a moment of clarity and i am SO glad you shared it with us so we could all each have our own little moment too.

  30. That’s a beautiful way to think about. I’m glad you and your baby are okay!

    Lisa @ lists in my pocket´s last post…Key Largo, Montego, Baby Why Don’t We Go….

  31. I was so afraid of what would happen with our princess as her first winter approached. With my injuries, I am not supposed to lifet or carry over 20 lbs. And in the winter, on ice, with my cane, I fall regularly.

    God was looking out for us, because she started walking at 8 months and by Thanksgiving of that year, when she was only 11 months old, she was steadier on the ice than me. I know that if I had been carrying her, we would both have been at risk of being hurt.

    I’m glad both of you made it through your scary experience OK.

    Your great post helps put things in perspective.

    Your kids will never look back and say, “Wow, Mom sure did a mean load of laundry, remember how she used to fold the towels?”

    They will remember the time you spent together, just having fun, being goofy and sharing laughs. Those are the times that matter.

    Troy´s last post…A Good Deal Popped Up

  32. “Tom hooks his arm around mine while I carry him around. I don’t want to spend my days looking for the next moment I can set him down so that I can do something else.”

    That made my stomach lurch when I read it. I am guilty of thinking this more times that I can count about my little 9mo Sadie. She is this precious blessing, along with her big bro & sis. But I often find myself completely frustrated that I can’t get my to-do list even started….much less finished.

    I needed a big smack in the head to change my thinking today.



  33. Sometimes it takes those moments to help us realize we need to slow down. Living in the moment and cherishing those simple things become to buried in the craziness of life, don’t they? I completely relate, and try to be aware of this, but always a struggle… Glad you and the baby are okay!

    Shannon´s last post…A “little” winter playing

  34. Oh wow, so glad you’re both ok – albeit a bit bruised. I fell when my bub was only tiny, she was fine but I had jarred my back badly and had trouble walking and sitting for several days. Keeping her protected was worth every bruise…..

    Those frustrations of finishing the day and it feels like ‘everything’ is still undone? They’ll pass. (said by the mother of a 12yo) One day you’ll realise that you’re getting so much done – but the trade off is that the time for sitting snuggling the baby has passed as well.

    Melinda | SuperWAHM´s last post…Book Giveaway – ‘Book Yourself Solid’

  35. I held my breath till I read that you and Tom are both okay. Poor things! I had a couple of falls from dizziness before we knew I needed to be gf, and they were really scary. I’m glad you gave yourself the time to simply collect your wits afterward.

    Sally Parrott Ashbrook´s last post…Grocery Questions For You

  36. Isn’t the pure instinct of Motherhood such a beautiful thing? You subjected yourself to injury to save him. And you did it without even thinking. I love that.

    Meredith from Penelope Loves Lists´s last post…Penelope Loves Her Crock Pot: or closest thing to a clone I’m gonna get

  37. I truly understand how you feel! I’m a total type A personality with a need to administrate, accomplish, and organize constantly. A doer, if you will. But as my girls have gotten older (7, 11, 17), I’ve realized that Lord willing, I’ll have years to get my house in order and things done, but the years I have with my girls at home – fleeting FAST!

    There are seasons in life where less will be accomplished than at other times. The concept of a “drop in the bucket” has more truth in it than not. A little done each day, WILL add up over time. Before you know it, THEY will be helping with all that stuff IF you train them to work along side you. Model as you go, let them do the littlest thing. If you need to work at the desk, the high chair makes a great table a few feet away. My #3 child could sit for an hour and draw on a piece of paper ( child #2? No way – for her, I got a jogging trampoline!). Think outside the box, be creative and plan ahead You’ll be glad you did. My girls can now run my house – almost! (Not the 7 year old and the 11 year old COULD if she didn’t get derailed. What will I do when the 17 year old goes to college?). Before you know it, a new season in life has appeared on the horizon!

    Glad you are both okay. You scared me for a minute! Enjoy those babies while you can!

    Amy @ River Rock Cottage´s last post…Switching to Grass Fed Beef

  38. Wow, just have to say that what you have described here is such a continual struggle, and difficult choice . . . but you have phrased it beautifully. I’m going to think about the ocean now, as well, when asking God what to do with all of these things that never seem to get done. Thanks for your thoughts!

  39. Motherhood is all about refining moments. As our children grow and change, so do we. And if we let Him I believe God works brings out more of the person he created us to be through this process.

  40. Sounds like we’ve had the same kinds of thoughts recently. On Monday my 1st grader stayed home from school with a stomach bug. While praying for her healing and protection for my other kids, I found myself telling God she needed to get better and the others couldn’t get sick so that all of them could go to school on Tuesday, one of two days each week all four of my kids are in school. Really? What was I thinking?
    I, too, need to refine my daily aspirations…..

    Danielle´s last post…WFMW: Noisy Toys

  41. My kids are 6 and 4 and I have just this past year got to a place where I can not feel frustrated by what my circumstances prevent me from accomplishing. I do not even formulate the plans anymore. I feed everyone, I take care of the house and the cars, I’ll make a mask or a fan or help with spelling words or build with Legos and get them off to bed as sweetly as I can. That’s it. That’s all I ask of myself. You made your son such a beautiful blanket for Christmas. In my view, other than daily maintainence, you are off the hook till next year. They are only tiny and totally demanding for a short time. I wish I could have slowed down and enjoyed that time more.

    juliet´s last post…Hippo Birdie 2 Ewe

  42. I think you are being too hard on yourself! I don’t have children, so I don’t truly know what you are going through, but I will offer this advice from one stressed person to the next: Step back and think about the things in your day that are most important. If it is being with your kids right now while they are tiny, then focus on that. If you feel like they get enough attention, and your house is falling apart, hire some extra help and tackle that! Realize that you are only one person who can accomplish only a set amount of things in one day, so prioritize. Being stressed just means you are losing sleep which leads to clumsiness and unhappiness.

    P.S. Good effort on the baby-roll. I would like to think I would have done the same!

  43. I fell with my baby when he was about Tom’s age. It was so scary and a huge wake up call for me. I was carrying too many things (diaper bag, purse, baby) and in too big of a hurry and fell off the porch steps! Luckily, he was OK but I was pretty bruised and sore for a LONG time. I took a picture of my bruised and scraped up elbow (I realize while typing that that it is a weird thing to do :)) for my picture-a-day project, and every time I come across it, it reminds me to slow down. Now I make two trips to the car. One earlier in the day to put in my bags and one when we leave with just the baby. I am proud of you for admitting what happened.. I felt so terrible when it happened to me!

  44. Thank you Rachel, I needed to hear that today. It’s been one of those weeks this week.

  45. Thank God that you and Tom are OK. You are doing a great job Rachel, and if the “to do” list has to slow down so you can enjoy the relationships, so be it.

    angelvalerie´s last post…getting up to do it again…motivation for the hard stuff

  46. Oh man.
    I remember falling down the stairs while 37 weeks pregnant and also holding my 22 month old Daughter in my arm’s. The babe, and my girl were fine, I lucky was somewhat ok, pulled all the muscles in my tailbone. But it was that moment, right while falling thinking what can I do to land on my back to protect my babe in the belly and the one in my arm’s. Since that moment it did truely made me reflect and slow down, not take on so much. Being a mom is hard work, I don’t need to make it any harder by running around and falling….
    Glad you were ok, and this too made you reflect.

  47. Glad to hear that Tom is okay and hope that your bruise heal soon. My children are all grown now and for the first time in 25 years I don’t have someone to take care of. I had 3 babies in just over 3 years, a husband that worked long hours so much of the younger days it was just us and one thing that I learnt after a cancer scare quite young was that I don’t want my headstone to read ‘She kept a beautiful home’. These years pass so quickly, I remember thinking that it would never end at the time lol. Children are not going to remember that the house was spotless, they will want to remember the good times. My eldest now works with abused children and while having coffee with her and some of her friends the conversation came around to childhood memories. one of the girls, well a woman with children of her own, who used to live next door to us told of how she used to love to come to our house as she could play. Their house was perfect all the time and her mother, a lovely person was always cleaning, and their life was so scheduled that there was no room for playtime with mum and enjoyment. She remembered being turned away, as ‘mummy had things to do’. Our house was a little more relaxed and if the beds were made, the bathroom and kitchen clean, everybody was washed and feed, then anything more was a bonus. We did have days of a big clean up etc at least once a week. I think the biggest thing that is happening to young mothers was this unreal version of a perfect home, those magazine covers are not real, those TV shows are not real. A loving home that is clean and inviting, with a not so stressed mother is much nicer than a show home. Lower your expectations, and take the time to enjoy your time with your children and get some well earned rest. Your children will appreciate it later

  48. I love this post. It reminded me how gold is put through fire as it is refined and what comes out at the end is both beautiful and pure.
    Thanks for continually expressing how all of us feel at one time or another, but don’t know how to put into words.

    Holly´s last post…FEATURING…

  49. Sorry to hear about your fall! That’s no good ! But I wanted to comment to tell you that that happened to me a couple of times when I had my first child and it sure is scary. But the fact that we get hurt and the baby is completely unharmed shows we are great moms! :) So good for you, seems like you are on the right path, and enjoy that time alone when you get it! :)

    Chris´s last post…Bridgestone Motorcycle Tires

  50. This is so beautifully expressed. I’m sorry that you fell, but thankful that you shared it with us. Hope you all are feeling 100% soon.

    Juice´s last post…What I Did This Weekend

  51. God knew I needed to read this today. Thanks for being so transparent. Here’s to grace upon grace in our lives from the provider who knows exactly how much we need… not less…not more!

    Casey Chappell´s last post…little man Jack ~ 3 months old

  52. just wanted you to know that I linked you to my blog because some of your recent posts have really meant a lot to me and has helped me in thinking and figuring out this new stage I’m in in life. so I wanted to say thank you for being real, transparent, mommy, and blogger! * really the last paragraph is where I talk about what an impact those particular posts have had in my life.

    THANK YOU from the bottom of my musing heart!

    Casey Chappell´s last post…getting settled in….

  53. Thanks for the post. I fell too with my son, 8 now, when he was 6mos old. I was fearful of it the entire pregnancy and didn’t fall. But when I did, I cradled him too and hurt my knee and he landed softly on his bottom and slid under the piano bench. I freaked out and my younger sister, in the room, saw me freaking out and calmed me down. My mother said it was because I held onto the fear… I wholeheartedly agree now. Thank God in Jesus name we were both alright. And you also!

  54. jenelle says:

    This post was beautiful, thanks for this.

    When my daughter was two days old I fell asleep nursing her and she rolled off the bed. I was still in the hospital and was flipping out and screaming so bad they had to sedate me. Thank God she was okay, completely unharmed but watching her go into the MRI machine was probably the most scared I have ever been in my life.It really wakes you up and gives you perspective. Now she’s four and a half months old, rolling over and saying mama; I thank God every day for her and her brother.

  55. I feel so sorry for all young mothers. I just wanted to pass along a website that has helped my daughter, she has a newborn.
    I got her all the necessary items to start and she did and then she went to the control journal and things are doing better.
    Please at least take a look at it.
    Love and Prayers to all new moms or you that are already new moms
    FlyLady. com Good Luck

  56. I’m glad both of you made it through your scary experience OK.

    Your great post helps put things in perspective.
    ps3 wireless controller´s last post…Playstation Move Motion Controller

  57. “I was going to be able to respond to emails without someone small who wants to help type” Rachel

    Tell me about it! :)

    “I’ve been asking myself similar questions recently… Why am I so frustrated? Are my expectations for myself and those around me too unreasonable.” Deena

    You serious hit the nail on the head with this. What you saying is responsible of 99% of my frustration in life. The problem is that I can’t let go.

  58. I feel sorry for your fall and your baby but it’s glad to hear that you and your baby are now ok. Hugs and kisses to you both! It is not easy to carry a baby you have to be careful all the time and also you have handle it with care. Anyways, everybody fails and nobody is perfect we are committed to make mistakes over and over again.. Every mistakes you make you are learning of it.. Don’t feel bad.
    Natalie@CNA Training´s last post…Certified Nursing Assistant Salary

  59. Carrying a baby is not that too easy as everybody thinks. It is very scary, I feel pain when your baby falls. Hope you two will gonna ok right now.
    Mark Spencer´s last post…Woodworking Articles