Another Day on Auto-Pilot

auto pilot unsplash photo

I wrote the whole beginning of this post two days ago and somehow clicked out of the screen and lost it all. Curse the “save draft” button – of course I had been on a roll and forgot to utilize it. Then I was so mad about it that I couldn’t work any more and just put the computer away. Don’t you hate when that happens? Especially when you hit a good stride or feel like you’ve finally gotten in the groove of something. A total drag but, I decided, not worth getting too hung up on. It’s just that I have spent the last couple of weeks in a blur and I wanted that day to be a productive one. Between traveling and battling the first major fall sickness to plague our home this year, the days have started running together. I can’t believe it’s late October already.

Have you ever driven somewhere and suddenly realized you’ve reached your destination without any recollection of your trip? It’s like you’re going through the motions on auto-pilot.

This feels like an analogy for life recently.

The realization often sneaks up on me. As I sit down to write a check (haha yes, I still write checks!), the reality of the date smacks me in the face. Or I find myself losing entire days of the week – thinking it’s only Monday to discover that it’s actually Wednesday. One morning the toddler-sized pant legs I’ve had to roll up every time I dress my oldest, suddenly fit perfectly. Or the straps of the high chair have to be adjusted and what used to be breakfast chatter is just one day, clear conversation.

auto pilot hand of npb

Those moments when I realize it, I always get a little freaked out. How did we get here? Time is fleeting and the seasons are changing too quickly for comfort. How is it possible that the days are flying by so fast? Can I correct it? How do my children experience this period of auto-pilot-parenting?

And I also feel guilty. Guilty that I’m missing out on precious moments. Lacking the ability to find gratitude for all of the ordinary magic I’ve passed right over. There is such an emotional disconnectedness that I become painfully aware of in hindsight. I feel guilty because I don’t want to be this way.

I want to be the mama who soaks it all up and finds as much appreciation in the experiences as possible. The mama who has the ability to temporarily freeze time for my kids. To hold a moments of happiness of their childhood in their memories forever. Snap the photograph. Read the book one more time. Breathe in the of the days of this innocence and youthfulness.

I want to be the woman who finds balance between creativity and self and motherhood and embraces the chaos of it all.

The woman who remembers to send cards. Blogs two times a week as intended. Reads every night before bed. Gets those birthday packages mailed out on time (instead of months overdue). Keeps a tidy home, cooks healthy meals for my family. Exercises, enjoys extracurricular activities, prioritizes time for self care. Has date nights and girls nights and family game nights.

auto pilot mama i want to be

I want to be able to do it all.

I feel like that is a recurrent theme of my adult life. Several years ago I read Emily Ley’s book called Grace, Not Perfection and it’s days like today that I lean into the things that it offered me. I will give myself grace for getting lost in a few weeks of illness and traveling. Slowing down and stepping OFF the hamster wheel is key.


Somewhere along the way, we decided we wanted to do it all and do it all perfectly. We uphold the perfect image, raise perfect children, and chase perfect dreams on perfect journeys. But chasing perfect has left us exhausted and empty. By slowing down and making intentional choices to simplify, we can choose what matters and step off the hamster wheel. Grace Not Perfection is a life-giving standard that allows joy—real, flawed, messy joy— to find us in the beautiful mess of life.

Grace Not Perfection, by Emily Ley

I do not want to live my life on auto-pilot. The joy is in the journey. Each season holds it’s own wonders, I just want to make sure I’m not missing it along the way.

Today is a new day.

auto pilot joy in journey

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