Life as a stay-at-home mom of young kids is demanding and often thankless, but our role as mothers is more important than we sometimes give ourselves credit for.How are you today, mama? What has filled your day? Because I’m sure it has been full. If you’re like me, it’s been a smorgasbord of grocery shopping, laundry, wiping runny noses, changing diapers, more laundry, picking up toys, and million other little things.
You likely feel like you’ve been running full throttle since the moment you heard that first, “Mom!” way too early this morning, and you still feel like you have yet to accomplish anything meaningful today.
You’re not alone.
But that’s how motherhood works, right? It’s an endless round of a million mundane tasks that seem to get undone as soon as you do them.
But, wait a second.
Hold that thought, mama. Because even though a lot of motherhood is repetitive and unglamorous, it is NOT meaningless.
Don’t believe the lies that swim around in your head when you’re running on too little sleep and too many minutes left until bedtime. Don’t listen to the voice that sneaks in just before dinnertime, when your energy is lowest, and everyone’s patience is gone. You know the one.
The one that says maybe you weren’t cut out for this, that surely someone else could do this job better than you.
The one that longs to do more with your college degree than stare at old textbooks on the shelf while you rock a baby…again.
The one that says you could be out there…traveling the world and making a difference.
And you could be out there. You are smart enough, hard-working enough, capable enough to do anything you set your mind to.
Like you, sometimes I ache for more time in my day to pursue things that really matter. I want to contribute to the world outside my four walls. I go crazy playing Candy Land for the 578th time, and I know I’m gonna scream if someone complains one more time about what I made for dinner.
But you want to know the truth?
Our job as moms is so much more than we often give ourselves credit for. Motherhood isn’t about the endless laundry, the grocery shopping, the vacuuming, or the overflowing diaper pail. Yes, those things fill a lot of our time. But that’s not why I became a mom, and it’s not what my children need most from me.
I didn’t choose to be a stay-at-home-mom because I love sweeping pulverized Cheerios off the floor. If that’s all motherhood is, then I may as well out-source the job and cut my losses. But that’s not the case.
I chose to be a stay-at-home mom because I wanted to be the one to teach my kids—to raise them from helpless babies into competent adults. I wanted to see their first steps, to instill in them a love for reading, and to wipe their tears when life gets hard.
That’s the core of motherhood: the teaching…the loving…the guiding these crazy little people for years and years until, hopefully, they’ll be able to thrive on their own.
That’s the big picture that sometimes gets lost in the minutiae of day-to-day living. But it’s the picture we need to keep in our minds.
This doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t pursue interests and goals outside your home. There are times in life when it’s possible to be a mom and work, if that’s your dream (or necessary), whether inside or outside your home. And there are always ways you can continue to develop yourself, even without working. Do those things!
All I’m saying is that if you’re currently in a season of life where your family needs you most at home, you don’t have to go outside your front door to find a meaningful way to spend your time.
There is essential work to be done right here at home, and being “just a mom” is more than enough.
The early years of parenting are hard, mamas. I know. These little ones demand so much from us, and when we spend so much time at home with them, it’s hard to see the significance of what we’re doing each day.
Sometimes I’ve wondered if I’m doing any good as a mom. No matter what I do, how many parenting strategies I try, my kids still misbehave. Some nights I want to pull my hair out because I have NO idea how to get my child to stop turning every toy into a weapon.
But then a little, wise voice whispers to me, “Just be patient, mama. They’re learning more than they let on. You’ll see. Just keep loving them–one day at a time.”
Listen to that voice.
And the day comes where they go out into the world. First just a little—to preschool and play group—then eventually they’re away from us for more waking hours than they are with us. When that day comes, it becomes easier to see the effect of all those years of feeding, playing, managing tantrums, and trying to tie shoes. Now that my oldest in school, I’m beginning to see what I’ve been doing the past five years. And it’s wonderful to watch.
Because of what I’m now starting to see, I’m trying to make more time for the important parts of motherhood. I’m trying to simplify my daily tasks and commit more time to truly mothering.
I’m more than a housekeeper. I’m more than a cook. I’m more than a nurse. I’m a mom.
More than they need a clean house and fancy meals (which, let’s be honest, they won’t eat anyway), my kids need me. They need love, they need guidance, and they need to be taught how to make the best of this wonderful adventure of life.
It’s still hard. The work of raising little children into competent kind adults is so, so exhausting. But I’m finding that it’s a good kind of tired. I’m finding that on those days when I refocus myself on my real goals for motherhood, I go to sleep at night satisfied. I even start to see how some of those mundane tasks really are working toward a greater good, and I can find just a little more joy in them. But just a little.
Our job isn’t small, mamas. It’s bigger than we ever realized when we started down this road. It’s not a job to be taken lightly or just muddled through. On those days when I begin to ache for something bigger, something flashier, something…different, I’m trying to remind myself that these children are a gift; they were entrusted to me.
A man I much admire, Neal A. Maxwell once asked: “When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses?”
Some days it doesn’t feel like it, but we are making a big difference in the lives of our children–and consequently in the world.
Don’t underestimate your influence, mamas. You’re doing more good than you know.