Last night my son lost his white phone in the yard covered with three inches of snow.
He realized it as we trekked to the middle school for a concert that my other son’s 4th grade class was doing. I sat in the car trying to mull over what to do – risk going back on snowy slippery roads or hoping we’d find it in an hour. We stayed.
The inches of snow made that phone impossible to find when we returned.
But let me tell you – I tried.
I was the mom outside with a rusty green metal rake raking her snow covered yard. I was the mom kicking every inch of snow with my feet. I was the mom out there for twenty minutes more while everyone else went inside to warm up.
That’s just what we do as moms.
We show up.
We put ourselves out there.
We do crazy things like attempting to find white Samsung phones in thick wet last day of November snow.
We make countdown chains and sprinkle glitter and attempt to bake cookies thinking this year we’ll stay happy throughout the process and when the flour gets everywhere we lose it just a bit and wish for the clean kitchen.
We fold shirts knowing that they will be pulled from the drawers, thrown on the ground and we’ll hear words of I have nothing to wear.
We stop our kids from fighting over the silliest things that drive us crazy.
The other day, while the kids were in school, I climbed a tree to put white twinkling lights in it. I did it for them. The other week I drove my six year old to Children’s Hospital Minnesota for lab work. I did it for him. The other night I stayed awake with my eight year old when he had a bad dream. I did it because I love him.
Chances are you have these little things that you do too.
Chances are you could write your own list of all these simple things that got lost in the fabric of the busy that you do everyday for your family. And you do it without looking for gold stars or that’s awesome or any of it. Chances are most of it simply fades into the timeline of your life.
Chances are you are probably sitting in a house thinking that you haven’t done enough. Or that you’re messing up your kids. Or you’re worrying that you should have done that. Or you’re kicking yourself for responding too short. Or you’re just feeling overwhelmed. Or stuck. Or like you’re failing.
But, chances are that you, just like me have done some pretty profound motherhood things.
And sometimes those ordinary things take so much work. They take us counting to ten one hundred times. They take us trying to not get super frustrated over geography projects that just feel like a waste of time and we just want them to be done. They take us picking up toys again and again and again. They are times of us getting so frustrated about picking up toys that we throw them all in a bag to throw away and then find ourselves picking out favorites because we love them.
Chances are you have a whole bunch of ordinary things that add up to life things that you could share.
If only you wouldn’t dismiss them. If only you wouldn’t attach “just” to them. If only you wouldn’t think that it’s no big deal. If only you would let the tears fall when they need to. If only you would start to see again just how beautiful and extraordinary and wonderful a person that you are. In the midst of so often the most messy and un-beautiful life there can be.
Because life – life has a tendency to throw us curve balls. It can suck the wind from us and make us weep at night. It can makes us feel like we’ll never measure up. It just can hide us from seeing how powerful and brave it is when we do those simple things.
Like snowmen made mid-day just because.
Like notes in the lunch boxes. Sitting in the school pick up line. Making a favorite dinner. Drying the winter gear when they come in. Again and again. Rolling snowballs. Laughing when they laugh. Rocking babies. Taking temperatures. Reading books and skipping parts. Teaching how to put snow pants over boots. Brushing hair. Wiping tables. Going to bed exhausted. Waking tired. Loving when we don’t even know how.
We’re all flawed. I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect and our kids aren’t perfect.
But we’re all trying. Giving. Loving.
So tonight, today or whenever you’re reading this – you deserve to see you the way the rest of us see you.
As an extraordinary person.
A mom that shows up.
Day after day. Night after night. Good day after good day. Hard day after hard day. Ordinary day, normal day, just a day. Loving your kids.
That, my friends, is what matters.
So before you close this browser and move on with your life I want you to take a breath, to look at the hands in front of you and when you see them to be overwhelmed with wonder for all that you do. Those hands love. They button coats. They give. They wipe away tears. They write notes. They type responses. They hold hands in them until those hands grow. They mother.
Carry on. You are brave even when you feel small.
Thank you for showing up.
ps. We never did find the phone that night. But, I showed up. And that’s what mattered most. When the snow melted, there it was, next to the driveway, under the piles of snow pushed off. <3
Rachel Marie Martin is the founder of FindingJoy and author of The Brave Art of Motherhood - where she celebrates the power of showing up and provides moms with the steps they need to celebrate their stories and find joy again. The personal stories, coupled with real advice have motivated millions of moms to fight for their hearts and to dare to be brave. Click here to grab your own copy and reclaim joy in your life.