why motherhood is not about doing more.

I go to bed at night often thinking I should have done more.

More cleaning. More playing. More creative fun projects with glue and glitter and sparkles and paint and all of that stuff that makes a mess. More less caring about the mess. More healthy meals.  More exercise. More time unplugged. More math facts. More friend time. More making their rooms cool. More. More. More.

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Sometimes I will rest there, very very late at night, in the early hours of the next day, and I will listen to the faint clock ticking in the next room and it seems to echo the ticking off of more things that I feel like I missed.

You should have done this.
Why didn’t you do that?
You messed up here.

Tick. Tick. Tick. More. More. More.

Did I see?

Did I remember?

Do you see?

Do you remember?

Yes, you, the mother reading this right now. You, the mother, in your own home with your own never ending to-do list of items that you think you should have done yesterday. You, the mother, working hard for your family with expectations and should have done’s and moments spent racing inbetween. You, the mother, with the little babe up late at night and the toddler pulling at your pants that you slept in but work great for the day as you try to get Doc McStuffins on the tv.

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Do you remember?

Do you really?

This morning I thought about my yesterday. I thought about how I drifted to sleep worrying about all the things I didn’t do as well as I wanted. And I realized this -> I missed out on the being enough mom awesome things that I did do. For instance, yesterday I stood in my entryway holding a hair dryer while aiming it in my ten year old son’s dripping wet boot interior (have to love the spring thaw). I stood in the grocery store and got down on my knees and looked in the eyes of my six year old son, Elijah, and I told him how I was sorry that I was so rushed and hurried and frustrated and that I was so thankful that he came to the store with me. I made pizzas with the kids and tried really really hard to not get frustrated when the cheese got everywhere. I worked. Long, long, long hours. For them so that I can go to the store and maybe remember my two coupons and can put food on the table. I vacuumed, cleaned, and played a game late at night. I did homework, folded socks, and put clothes back in a dresser that once were folded but now were dumped every where as Samuel looked for the perfect shirt to wear.

You did awesome normal things too.

That is what you need to see.

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You need to see how pouring orange juice in cups and making sure that they’re equal makes a difference. You need to remember the moments when you stop with the busy and sit on the couch and read a book. You need to not be hard on yourself for the times when you have to be busy and you turn on the television for them. You need to let go of the world’s constant pressure of unrealistic mom expectations and just embrace what you do even if it feels small.

It’s time to be really real.

I mess up. All the time.

I lose my temper. And get frustrated over little things – even when I tell myself that the little things in life are the most beautiful – but somehow walking into a room that was clean and seeing everything messed up fourteen minutes later exasperates me. I feel guilty for having to work sometimes. I compare myself, my home, my kids, my success, my life to others.

And that doesn’t matter.

What matters are those moments, those sweet simple it’s just a mom moments that I write about. Somehow in the grading system of the day I’ve decided to give a higher value to the areas that I mess up versus the areas where I’m awesome or just am doing exactly what moms need to do. I’ll negate those moments with the it’s just a mom label and forget that those are the very moments that change and build and nurture lives.

You are building lives.

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You’ll mess up. Yes. We all do. So lets just get that out in the open. There isn’t a perfect mother. There is a mother who does exactly what you do. And that is a warrior of a woman. That’s you. Don’t go discounting this now. Listen, please. Your story may look nothing like the life story that you imagined. Your home nothing what you hoped for. Your days spent dealing with things and children and issues that you thought you’d never experience. Those things make you you. They are not negative things. They are the parts of you, the parts of your motherhood journey, that will make you the wise woman someday who can tell young mothers truth about time, children, and life.

You make a difference.

You have moments like me. Maybe you’re not holding a hair dryer in $29 boots bought at Target for full price in the beginning of the snow season because you forgot to buy them on clearance the year before. But you have your amazing moments too. Think about them. Right now.

Remember them. Not all the need to be doing more things.

You know what? Maybe you don’t hear how much you make a difference. Maybe you live in a world where you’re constantly being told you’re not enough. Maybe you feel out of breath. Maybe you feel like motherhood just wasn’t what you signed up for. Maybe you feel tired. Maybe you feel great. Maybe you feel like you’re on top of the world. Maybe, just maybe, maybe you need to remember the beauty in those little things that you do.

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Trying to dry boots matters. Rocking babies matters. Scraping dried off macaroni and cheese matters. Telling your kids that you love them no matter what matters. Sitting in the car picking them up matters. Opening fruit cups and getting juice spilled everywhere matters (especially if you’re late and it makes a mess).

Being a mom matters.

So, you, today, you with the list of more things that you could be doing, you, sweet mother, I remind you to see all the wonderful, amazing, beautiful, pull-up-your boot straps, giving of self, tiring, brave, and awesome things that you’ve already done. And that you’ll do.

Those are the moments.

That’s motherhood. Not more. Just you.

Unbelievably awesome you.

~Rachel

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12 Responses to “why motherhood is not about doing more.”

  1. March 12, 2014

    Jerra Reply

    Thank you, so much for this post. I happened across it on Pinterest and was just going to scan it over. I started scanning just as my son woke up from nap and my older son needing me to help him with something. I came back to this and the part where you said “we are building lives” … I sat down and immediately started over. Am I doing enough? Am I nourishing my boys enough? Am I being supportive enough for them and their dad (my husband)? Am I setting a good example/the right example for my boy’s to model? Am I being a good enough mom?

    These thoughts always riddle in my brain. I wish I could just push stop and enjoy the day. I’m slowly getting better with just letting things go and not worrying so much. Your post is helping me with this.

    Thank you again <3 <3

  2. March 13, 2014

    Lynn Reply

    No matter how much you do…there will always be more! Only thing to do is shake it off, head to bed, and get up the next morning. With more to do…
    These words are so amazing and comforting!! Praying!
    Psalms 62:5-8 My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.

  3. March 13, 2014

    julie Reply

    Wow, I sure needed this today. You made tears run down my face. I had one of those days yesterday where I felt I needed to be doing more…I was very hormonal and irritable. Everything my 9 year old son did was driving me crazy. All I remember all day was how I was irritated by him and not all the things we did all day when I was enjoying him. I feel so much that what I am doing is never enough. I’m always cleaning but never rewarded by my hard work. NOthing ever seems good enough…You helped me remember that I am doing so much if I stop and think about it. Our everyday is amazing and I’m so thankful. I need to focus on what happens daily that I don’t even realize. Thank you so much for this.. I thought no one understood.

  4. March 13, 2014

    Lynn Reply

    That pic of you reading to Samuel is so good! All the pics are always so good! Hmmm…wonder why?
    Know that you’re in my prayers!
    Psalms 61:1-4 Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.

  5. March 13, 2014

    Jessica Reply

    Great article! I needed this at the end of a long day & long week :) Thank you for writing & sharing

  6. March 15, 2014

    Rendi Reply

    Wow powerful!! The way you say things.. It’s like you’re speaking right to my heart!! Thank you!! Definitely printing and laminating this

  7. March 19, 2014

    Margaret Reply

    Truly fantastic. Thank you for putting words to this, for all of us.

  8. […] to get so worked up about all of this. Fortunately, one of my Facebook friends recently shared this wonderful post for exhausted moms, which allowed my guilt about not being a better mom these past two weeks to subside a bit. I […]

  9. […] Yes, you, the mother reading this right now. You, the mother, in your own home with your own never ending to-do list of items that you think you should have done yesterday. You, the mother, working hard for your family with expectations and should have done’s and moments spent racing in between. You, the mother, with the little babe up late at night and the toddler pulling at your pants that you slept in but work great for the day as you try to get Doc McStuffins on the tv. (http://findingjoy.net/why-motherhood-is-not-about-more/) […]

  10. April 3, 2015

    Charlotte Wise Reply

    And now I am crying…All over my work, late at night in the UK just starting now that my littlie is asleep. You have hit a spot so deep inside. It’s amazing. Your words are amazing. Just the greatest big thankyou for reaching out when I felt like I was going to drown on my own. You have lifted me up!xx

  11. You spoke straight to my heart! I on a daily basis will see everything I am not doing, even my 5 year old will sometimes complain, but I try my best and I needed to read your post this morning. This generation of moms is a whole new generation with the Internet, I never remembering my grandmother worrying if she did the latest cool activity with her 6 kids, but she made sure she prayed for them daily, fed them the yummiest food, and always snuggled them up when they visited. I want to be more like her.

    • April 8, 2015

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      You are most welcome, Alana. Thank you for your beautiful perspective as well.

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