There are dress-up clothes strewn across my living room, pencils under the table, books on the floor in the hall by the bookshelf. A princess is parading around the house with her horse and parasol; a castle is under construction with the MegaBlocks that haven’t been played with in months; and the stuffies are being organized for a picnic in the girls’ bedroom.
I should be happy for the creativity happening (and the happy play), but all I can see is the mess.
All I can think about is the fact that they just cleaned it up an hour ago…
…after a couple of hours of cajoling and reminding and direct instructions: “Pick up the aprons and put them in the dress-up bin. BOTH aprons. Over there—the apron on the couch needs to get put away too. Good. Thanks. Now pick up…”
Motherhood can be a monotony of repeated tasks. While the girls are trailing dress-up and MegaBlocks around the house, I have been doing laundry and cleaning bathrooms.
Just like I did last week.
And if I walk through the kitchen, I’ll see the dishes that need washing. Just like they did after breakfast this morning. After supper last night. After lunch yesterday. I love my dishwasher (some nights it feels like a magical machine: load up the dirty, unload the clean) but someone still has to load and unload it. Every night and every morning.
Speaking of meals, someone needs to plan supper, because the kids will be hungry soon. And my husband will be home from work, asking, “How was your day? What did you do today?”
Some days, I can get weighed down in the “again.” I want to yell, “I just did that; why do I have to do it AGAIN?” Why can’t the laundry stay washed? the dishes stay clean? the house stay neat for longer than an hour? the food stay, well, uneaten?
Because that wouldn’t be living. That wouldn’t be loving.
On these days, I have to remind myself of the sanctity found in the mundane. In my kitchen hangs this tile quote from Max Lucado:
It has hung in a prominent place in every home we’ve lived in. I often need that reminder, that call to something more than just the dirty socks on the floor and the overflowing garbage.
I also find inspiration in the saints who chose little ways. One of the girls’ Glory Stories is about St. Martin de Porres, who joined the local monastery—not as a monk or a priest, but as a servant, so that the monks could do more work. Another story is about St. Therese, who chose the “little way” of doing the tasks around the convent that nobody else wanted to do. And St. Josemaria Escriva talks about doing the work of God in our daily lives.
Motherhood calls me out of myself. It calls me to service and love of others and in that, I have found happiness. Picking up dirty socks can be a way to say “I love you” every day, just as cooking supper or baking bread is. Some days, yes, the monotony of motherhood can get to me. Other days, I am reminded of the bigger meaning behind each little chore I do.