It was always right around the potty training phase of motherhood, that I would begin to temporarily question the meaning of my existence. When would my life stop revolving around poo? Would it ever? I was an educated woman. I had hopes and dreams. I used to be able to speak in complete sentences. But here I was, spending each day trying desperately to reason with a toddler. Friends, there is no dictator alive that can compare with the defiance of a toddler who has learned that they can control their own bowel movements. I remember, so vividly, falling into bed every night like a felled tree pleading silently, “Oh- PLEASE let everyone sleep through the night!”. Then I would get up the next morning and begin again.
The mothering of little ones is exhausting and can feel seemingly mundane as you strive each day to take care of so many needs, both large and small. Meanwhile, you, a once inspiring and empowered woman, now liken alone time in the bathroom to a day at the spa.
And lets just be honest, little ones at this age can be rather selfish little beings. At times it seems like such thankless work! It’s not as if they are wrapping their arms around your neck to say, “Thanks mummy, for teaching me that it’s rude and unkind to knock my sister in the head with my Leap Pad” or “Thanks Mama for not letting me plummet to my death from the shopping cart today. I’m really sorry for screaming so insistently (and for SO LONG!) about standing up in the seat.”
My 3 children are all grown, and I am here to offer encouragement for moms of little ones: You’re doing it right.
This is part of what the mothering of little ones looks like. It’s made up of a million tiny moments. And although it can feel both overwhelming AND underwhelming, it really is only for a season. I’m here to insist that you not underestimate, even for one second, the absolute importance of your job.
Acclaimed british educator Charlotte Mason said, “It is upon the mothers of the present, that the future of the world depends……”.
All of those little tasks that you perform day in and day out, are shaping another human being. Society should fall at your feet and shower you with gratitude.
- When you clean a mess, wipe a nose, kiss an “owie” or run interference in a sibling squabble; you are teaching another human being, to be released into this world, what kindness and sacrifice look like.
- Each time you get down on your knees to meet eye to eye with utter, steel-willed defiance, to explain something for the ten thousandth time; you are teaching the future that there are guidelines in this world that must be obeyed for the good and flourishing of society.
- When you let your little one try something new that they may not succeed in doing the first time; you are teaching a one-day adult to be confident and to keep going in the face of possible failure and adversity.
- As you stop and allow your child the time to really soak in the awe and wonder at experiencing something for the first time; you are teaching someone to be curious and adventurous about the world they live in.
- Every time you allow your child to go ahead and splash in the puddle, play in the dirt, pick up the rocks or pluck the flowers; you are allowing creativity and curiosity to blossom and flourish in another human being.
Of course, life must go on and we have things that must be done and bills that must be paid. Some days can seem like they are only a whirlwind of car seats and never ending errands. But there are moments. Tiny moments happening all day.
You will be tired. Your patience will be tested and oftentimes it will fail. You will hear yourself utter absurd sentences, sometimes with made-up words. And yes- for a time, your life will seem to revolve around poo….a lot. But I am here to tell you that this is only a season. This too shall pass and when it does, you’ll be amazed at how quickly it vanished.
So take heart Dear Mom of Littles. You’re doing it right. Seize every tiny moment that you can, keep your sense of humor and store in your heart the incredible importance of your role. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for so carefully shaping our next generation.