Last night as I was crawling into bed finally at 12:00AM, utterly exhausted from the day, I said to myself “Now my workday is done.”
My work day starts around 630AM and ends anywhere from 9PM-12AM typically with a small break in the afternoon sometimes. All the work I do though sometimes feels meaningless… a waste of time… unnoticeable… pointless… undervalued and underpaid… useless…
Sometimes as a parent who is home 95% of the time with small children it is hard to know that what we’re doing is important. It’s hard to remember it through the blur of what our days look like — that the little things we do mean the most.
I want to say before someone comments or rolls their eyes at me, this isn’t just for stay-at-home parents even though that’s the perspective I now write from. I too was a full-time working AND traveling parent for several years. I know how hard it is. It will ALWAYS be harder to leave your children in someone else’s hands for a majority of the day. But this post isn’t about what is harder, staying home versus working. They are both equally hard in their own rights. And I can say that now having experienced both. What working parents pay someone else to do during the day, stay at home parents do for free and without a paycheck coming in. Again, they’re both hard.
Anyway, I digress….
Whether you’re picking up your kids from school or daycare, or whether you’re with them all day, everyday — this is still relevant to you.
Because I know that every parent has moments where they finally get to lay down in bed after endless house chores, laundry, making meals, wiping butts, helping with homework, kissing boo boos, comforting meltdowns, consoling sibling wars…. that you think “Did I do enough today?”, “Did I read to them enough today?”, “Did we talk enough today?”, “Was I too busy with my to-do list to sit down and play with them?”, “Am I doing a good job?”, “Will they remember that mom/dad only got to sit down to eat quickly with them before rushing to get bath time ready and pajamas for bedtime?”
One of my closest friends is in a different season of life than I am. Her children are older (teenager and pre-teen), she is past the diaper changing, toddler phase. She no longer has to plan out babysitters for her kids just to sneak in a couple hours of alone time with her husband. She’s already done this and often shares her wisdom with me and encourages me.
Nearly every time she calls or texts to ask, “Hey what’s going on? What are you up to?” My answer is 99% of the time the same. I am home. With my children. Doing all of the mundane things like making a meal, getting them dressed, getting them bathed, reading to them or cleaning the house. Nothing exciting or particularly interesting. And it bums me out sometimes. I always give a sarcastic response of, “Well, I’m home. As always.”
She’s quick to remind me this: You’re doing the most important work. You’re doing God’s work. You’re raising your children and there’s nothing more important that you could be doing right now.
And isn’t that the dang truth????
I tend to just brush it off like okay, okay. I know that. Yes, I know it’s important. But sometimes? I just don’t feel very important as she tells me she’s off on another work trip or creating a new program at her job. And what did I do today? I changed about 157 diapers, delivered 362 snacks and cleaned up about a million toys.
I do feel eternally grateful that 2 years ago we listened to God’s calling when I left my comfy corporate job and salary, made extreme changes in our lifestyle, in order for me to be doing this very important job full-time.
However…. it’s so easy to forget that what we’re doing as mothers, as parents, whether you work or not, truly is the most important work you’ll ever do in your life.
You are raising little humans to become hopefully great humans. The meals you make, the laundry you do, the toys you pick up again and again, the diaper changes, the nighttime feedings, the after school activities, the block building you do on the living room floor, the Matchbox car races you have with your little boys, the dress up time you play with your little girls, the endless snacks and “What can I eat now?” requests or answering for the hundredth time “Well, why?”. — these are the most important things you’ll ever do.
So as you lay down tonight likely completely exhausted from this parenting gig remember that all the little things that make up your day are more meaningful than all the other things you think you SHOULD be doing.
For me, it’s remembering that from sun up to sun down I am their #1 source for everything. They need me to do all the things for them and with them. And while sometimes I miss the feeling of being productive and getting out into the world (thankfully I have this blog to keep my creative mind from going crazy and provide an income for my family) I need to remember that I am doing God’s chosen work for me right now in this moment. It might not be what I ever thought I’d be doing, but He has lead me here for a reason. And I need to take every day as an opportunity to continue to do the best I can, even the small mundane things that may seem minuscule to me, but are very, very important.
And for you that may be getting your kids to school or daycare so you can make it to work on time. Getting home after a long grueling day at the office to make a quick dinner so you can spend some quality time with your children before you do all of the bedtime shenanigans. Soaking up every moment of your weekend with them and squeezing in all of the things because this is the only uninterrupted time you get with them and continuing to remember that all those little things you do every day are still important.
So for all of us, we’re doing all of the little things that make up a child’s life and while they may seem small and mundane at a glance, they’re important things that we need to revere above all things. More important than our jobs. More important than anything we could be doing out in the world. These little people need us to do all of those things so they can go on to do great things one day.
You’re doing it momma. Keep raising those little humans even when it feels like your work day is 74 hours long. 😉