Wanna play a game with me? I promise it does not involve any fort-building or play dough or any toys with lots of small pieces that you’ll be left to clean up or step on later. Let’s play a game and pretend we’re close friends who have similarly-aged kids (mine are three years and one year, but if we’re pretending, then my kids are the same age as yours. How cool is that?! We have so much in common.)
Can I confide in you, close friend of mine with similarly-aged children? Lean closer so you can hear me when I whisper that SOMETIMES BEING A MOTHER IS A TERRIBLY MIND-NUMBING ENDEAVOR. EVERY DAY IS THE SAME THING AS THE DAY BEFORE, AND I HAVE A REALLY HARD TIME FINDING A SENSE OF FULFILLMENT OR PURPOSE IN REFILLING SIPPY CUPS.
There. I said it. And as I scan your face for a flash of judgement and find none, I am grateful.
Maybe you even know what I mean? Maybe you also find yourself in survival mode where some days seem to amount to little more than a sprint to bedtime? Or you wake with some idea of how the day will look and the next thing you know, it’s 3:30pm, and you can’t say for certain that anyone in the house (you included) has brushed their teeth all day? Yeah. Happens to me sometimes, too. And it can sort of feel like aimless wandering, this “do the task that’s right in front of you,” “tend to the person who’s currently crying the loudest,” “pretend this is the dopest tea party in the history of tea parties” kind of life.
As a goal-oriented, task-completed, check-it-off-the-list kind of gal, this aspect of motherhood (among others) has been difficult for me. I want to feel like I’m accomplishing something. I want to be able to point to something tangible and say “See! Look! I did that today.” And when the only that I can find to point to is a full Diaper Genie…well…it’s tough.
Maybe that’s why I’ve been so inspired by something I recently saw on Facebook. A friend posted this a couple of weeks ago:
Well, there you go. It’s a manageable goal. It’s not too overwhelming. So far, it has kept me more future-focused and encouraged. It’s helped me feel like I’m headed somewhere besides around and around in circles. None of my “somethings” have been grand or terribly substantial (yet).
- Last Sunday, I woke with the goal of taking my kids to church. Right off the rip, the deck was stacked against us (in a totally first-world problem sort of way). We were running late. My son whined about not wanting to go. My pants were too short. Several times, I thought about bagging the whole thing and staying home. But I remembered the quote. I want my kids to have a connection to church, and that’s often not something achieved overnight. Instead, it takes years of intentional decision making to get the family to church. So I soldiered on and we made it to church. And I know my future-self saw my today-self and was grateful.
- Last night, my “something” was that I did the dishes before I went to bed. I really didn’t want to. I had to give myself one heck of a pep talk to motivate myself to unload and load the dishwasher. But you know what? I thanked myself this morning when I stumbled into a clean kitchen to fill up sippy cups. I really did.
I suspect there will be a day in the future when my “something” will be huge. Easy to spot. Monumental, even. Like when I buy a lottery ticket that turns out to be a jackpot. But I think there’s an even better chance that my “somethings” will continue to be small acts of self-care, short investments of time, tiny little sips of future-focus. If life or motherhood has taught me anything, it’s that little decisions and small sacrifices amount to some pretty amazing things.