You're Always With Your Kids. But When's The Last Time You *Saw* Them? - by Emily Cretella for MotherHustle
“For the first time that day, I was here. I was present, in the moment, looking into my daughter’s eyes. How did this happen?”

It hit me last night when I was tucking my daughter into bed, as she wrapped her arms tightly around my neck and pulled me down close.

I had been with my girls all day, but I hadn’t really seen them once.

My face pressed against her mess of curls. The hint of her rose-scented shampoo. Her hot, sleepy breath on my cheek. For the first time that day, I was here. I was present, in the moment, looking into my daughter’s eyes.

How did this happen?

I had picked them up from school … while my mind thought about the work I still had to do when we got home.

I had brought them to the playground … where I talked to other parents while they played.

I had let them run around in the yard … while I sat on the step and browsed through my phone.

I had set them up with their homework at the kitchen island … while I had rushed to make dinner.

I had given them showers … while running from the bathroom to my office to answer emails.

I had left them downstairs with their dad as soon as he came home … while I went back to my office to work.

I had been with them all day. But I couldn’t even remember really looking at them.

The realization knocked something loose in me. Something I had been feeling, hovering at the edge of each day, but something I had successfully tucked away, like the daily clutter I was constantly organizing:

I’m missing it.

I’m missing it, and I know it. I’ve known it. And it makes me scared, and sad, and uncomfortable.

Because it’s so easy to take it for granted. This blur of energy that surrounds us. The presence of their little, energetic bodies, pulling at our sleeves, handing us their backpacks to carry, calling for our attention.

“Mom.” “Mom.” “MOM.”

It’s so easy to forget to look. To focus. To really see them as they are in this exact moment.

Not the babies they were, or the visions of the women they’ll become. To see them right now. To focus on the feeling of having them this close, this loving, this yours.

Because there’s always so much else to do. So much else to think about. So much else to clean or to work on or to try or to call or to make or to hustle through. It’s so easy to miss what’s right in front of us when our minds are always somewhere else.

In that quiet moment, when I saw my daughter for the first time that day, I felt guilty.

Of letting the day go by without taking a moment to recognize how magical, how beautiful she is, and how insanely special it is that she’s part of me. Of missing the little things she did as I toiled away on tasks and mental muck.

But then, that feeling slipped away. And it was replaced with instant peace. Gratitude. Heavy, all-encompassing relief.

Recognizing the moments I missed is what allowed me to hold this exact moment so dear.

I think sometimes, we simply need a reminder. Not a guilt trip, but a spark that breaks us from the daily to-do and allows us to see life. To experience moments. To feel it all, right now.

And that’s what children do. They’re our anchors, our beacons, our lone stars. They’re our connection to what’s important in a world that makes it so easy to lose our focus.

That quick moment in my daughter’s bedroom will stay with me forever.

The way the nightlight warmed the corners of the room. The way her comforter rumpled around her little body. The way her books and toys were strewn across her bed, as she fell asleep reading. The way her hair smelled. The way her tired eyes gleamed. The way she said, “I need a hug, mommy.”

It was nothing special. But it was everything special.

Emily Cretella is the founder of, as well as the copywriting and content marketing firm, where she helps clients create + share stories their audiences love.

She adores being mom to her two little ladies and drinking obscene amounts of coffee from mugs with pithy sayings. Find her on Instagram, and learn more about ways you can collaborate with MotherHustle.


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  • Monica

    Yes! I had this exact experience one day when my twins were 3. I still recall what that moment felt like and often go back to it in my mind’s eye. Powerful moment you just put into words for me!

    May 1, 2018 at 2:17 pm

  • admin

    So glad it resonated with you, Monica! I think it will be something I go back to often as well. 💕

    May 1, 2018 at 6:11 pm

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