I was chatting with a friend of mine on Marco Polo the other day (if you love your friends, but despise talking to them on the regular phone, I strongly recommend, you get the Marco Polo app, now). It was 10 am, and I was telling her that I felt like a total badass that morning. I didn’t say it out loud, but secretly, I even felt like SHE should think I was a badass. Why? What had I already achieved by 10 am on a Tuesday morning that would make me feel so accomplished? Well I’m glad you asked. I’d love to brag yet again.
I had successfully gotten not one, but two kids off to school. On time. Fed. Clothed. All necessary items in their bags.
I had cleaned out all the Thanksgiving leftovers from my fridge, and taken out all the Thansgiving trash (it was a lot. We hosted 30 people) out to the curb.
I had GROCERY SHOPPED, unloaded the groceries..even bought fresh flowers at the store and arranged them in a vase on the counter…and was now moments away from being at yoga. ON TIME. Bam.
So I was telling her all of this, and was even slightly out of breath (from all the rushing around, or just from being enormously excited about my awesomeness, I don’t know), when all of the sudden I felt myself start to deflate. “Oh my gosh”, I said to her. “Isn’t it just pathetic…pitiable….the sorts of things that can make you feel accomplished when you are a stay at home mom?? Did I actually just brag to you that I’d taken out some trash and bought some food???”. Lord, lift me up. This is just sad.
Then, a few days later, a similar experience. I’ll save the crushingly underwhelming details of yet another “ass-kicking morning”, but they included finally remembering to sign my middle son up for gymnastics, AS WELL AS running my oldest son’s forgotten lunch up to him at his school, AND sticking a note inside it for him. Top that.
That, “I can take on the world” feeling, immediately followed by the “Gawd, this is pathetic, what am I DOING with my life?”, feeling.
After dropping off the lunch, I drove on to the gym (I realize with every word I write I’m sounding more and more like everyone’s stereotype of a Stay at Home Mom. Yep, I likely had on yoga pants, and likely stopped by Chick Fil A, as well as Target, on my way home), and while I was driving, starting thinking through all of this. “What AM I doing with my life? What does it mean that these actually ARE my accomplishments? How do I feel about the fact that MAYBE something more consequential/significant/exciting will happen today, but likely…VERY likely…it won’t?”
After a while, I decided….I felt fine about it. Good, even.
I decided that probably, these little things ARE the big things.
Driving my kids to school? That’s the time when we have some of our very best talks. Those talks matter, and they help to deepen our relationship.
Cleaning out the fridge and bringing out the trash? It matters that my kids grow up in a (somewhat) clean (kind of) well-organized house. It won’t set them up well for their day, or for life, if they grow up in a pig pen.
Buying groceries? I’m the one that gets to think through, pick out, and prepare the foods that will nourish their little bodies. Them coming home after school to find their very favorite snack or treat? It’s one way I can demonstrate to them…probably in the midst of my grumpiness and hustle and bustle…that i love them, and they’re special, and were thought about during the day.
Being active..being challenged..learning new skills…learning how to socialize, and follow instruction well…those are actually really important in life, and so remembering to sign my son up for gymnastics is important, too.
And for all I know, my son was having a really hard day at school, and opening up his lunchbox and finding a note from me was just the thing he needed to encourage him. Feeling supported by your mom…like she is on your team…that has to do a little boy’s soul well, right? He may not remember the note itself one day, but surely he will remember the feeling of being cherished?
I think sometimes as moms we are on a quest for Big Stuff…the Monumental Life Talk, the Huge Surprise that Will Knock Their Socks Off, The Perfect Gift, The Magical Moment….and every now and again those happen.
But if mostly all that ever happens on any given day is a whole bunch of little stuff…reassure yourself…that counts too. Maybe the most of all.