Today I held ice to a cut underneath the eye of my four year old while he held his head in my chest and sobbed over his lost battle with the handles on the television cabinet.
Today I worked, answered emails, designed graphics, made phone calls, and uttered in a minute to that same four year old. And then I stood up, found him, looked him in the eye, and told him that he was super duper important to me and that he can always come ask me a question even if it’s during the hours when I work.
Today I made dinner and washed dishes with food that had decided to form a permanent bond with the surface. I listened as there was grumbling over chicken with Italian seasoning and that no one really liked the broccoli even with extra cheese.
Today I found clothes in my washing machine that I forgot to move to the dryer. So I added more detergent and ran them again as I tried to find matches for socks that mysteriously seemed to have vanished.
Today I stood at the bottom of my stairs and surveyed the sea of legos that was covering the floor upstairs and wondered to myself why in the world so much money had been spent on items that at times drove me crazy.
Today I didn’t make my bed. I wore my hair in a ponytail. I forgot to get the mail until it was dark and it was so freezing outside and I slipped walking down my icy sloped driveway.
Today I had coffee. Two cups. Okay three.
And I’ll do similar tomorrow. Well, maybe not the three cups of coffee. But, you know, kind of the same.
You will too.
You’ll have moments like this. Where you wake up to a kitchen that you wished you had just cleaned the night before. You’ll walk into rooms that were spotless that now look like the aftermath of a crazy hurricane. You’ll get frustrated over towels on the floor and new soap dispensers that are pumped out by curious kids and spills and little things that you never thought would irritate you. You’ll teach math or read books or sing the ABC song and wonder why they always seem to forget L, M, N, O, P part. You’ll find orange peels in the corner and wrappers on the ground and stickers stuck to the floor. You’ll buckle up seats and do counts to make sure everyone is there and realize you left your purse inside.
You’ll work. You’ll give. You’ll do all these normal mom things and then, when the end of the day comes, just like it has for me, you’ll sit back and sometimes wonder what on earth did I really accomplish today?
I’ve done that.
In fact, I did that tonight.
As I sit here, in my room, with the door open ever so slightly so I can hear if there are kids escaping down the stairs who then immediately tell me I was just getting a glass of water, I wondered about my day. There’s the to-do list with three checks on it. One of them being for the laundry that I reran. And yes, I gave myself a check. There’s a kitchen that needs to be swept. Again. But it had to wait because we had rice and well, you know, you have to wait to sweep up rice until it dries unless you want a horrid mess. Hmm…. rice is like the legos of food, I think.
It’s easy to miss all we do accomplish.
It’s easy to dismiss all we do accomplish.
It’s easy to qualify all we do accomplish.
It’s easy to shrug off all we do accomplish.
It’s easy to not see all we do accomplish.
But I want you to see.
I want you to see, to remember, all that you accomplish in the twenty-four hours we call a day.
You care for kids. You love them. Zip up coats. Find mittens. Or flipflops for those of you who live where it is warm. Rock babies. Bandage knees. Read stories. Tuck in covers. Again. Wash hands. Stir food. Work hard. Help with reports. Rattle off spelling words. Listen to stories. Fold clothes. Braid hair. Wipe counters. Again. And again. And again (especially if they decided to add their own sugar to their cereal). You work away from home. You stay home. You do both. No matter what, you still get up, get yourself ready, and walk out of your room and answer to the cry of mom. And sometimes that cry is mom mom mom mom mom mom mom only to be repeated eighteen seconds later.
You do all that mom stuff. Here and there. Little things that are so easy to just dismiss as normal. And yet, those normal things matter. Just like the moments of me sitting on that bench holding that drippy washcloth with ice to Samuel’s eye and singing him songs.
Those are the cherished moments of motherhood.
Motherhood isn’t made up these perfect moments with sorted toys and perfect gourmet dinners that are shaped into cool shapes and all of this other stuff. Motherhood is a raw place of realizing that sometimes you don’t have any clue what you’re doing and yet you keep on doing.
It’s easy to get weary. It’s easy to go to bed and to look around and to simply miss it all.
Don’t miss it.
Don’t miss the outstanding in the ordinary.
Don’t miss what you’re doing.
Today, today, just for a moment I want you, too, to close your eyes and to breathe deep and to realize you are accomplishing amazing things in the ordinary. You’re mothering. You’re writing your imperfect motherhood story that looks nothing like what you imagined and yet, it’s yours. You’re discovering your strengths and weaknesses and the necessities of life and motherhood. You’re brave. Courageous. You make mistakes and learn. You pick up and try again. You’re learning to laugh when you probably wish you could cry. You are learning to just what it means to be a mom.
You are not doing something small.
It doesn’t matter that moms have done this stuff forever. That doesn’t mean we don’t celebrate moms. Do you know why? Because you are the first one of you that’s walking this road. It’s all new. It’s all a journey. It’s all a discovery in the beauty of the ordinary. It’s all in learning to embrace the little things in life. It’s not something we’ve always done. It’s you. Right now. In the midst of life, giving of yourself, and discovering just how amazing you truly are.
Remember that today.
Write your extraordinary beautiful ordinary story.
Those little things matter.
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All photographs used by permission and credited to Hannah Nicole.
Images and original content are sole property of Rachel Martin and may not be used, copied or transmitted without prior written consent.