I wash the dishes a lot.
(((When I say a lot, I may mean world record.)))
Lately I have been listening to podcasts while I clean the kitchen, and I cannot tell you how happy I am to be in a season where my mind is really awake, and I am learning new things. It is easy for me to fall into cycles in my motherhood where I am just too overwhelmed or exhausted or hormonal to have the energy to seek out information that wakes up my creative mind.
I listen to podcasts about parenting and homeschool and blogging and writing. And I make notes of things I want to remember.
I feel so grateful for all of these voices that are giving me something valuable to think about while I am cleaning my kitchen.
A few weeks ago, I listened to a podcast about blogging with Sarah Mackenzie, who has an incredible site at readaloudrevival.com. I have been really touched by her writing and insight, but I was especially moved when I heard her in an interview say that before she took her blog to the next level, there came a point at which she wondered if she really had anything that was worth saying.
It was such a shock to hear her say this.
Because she has such an influential blog and podcast, and because she is truly a wealth of really great information for Moms like me. It seems like she would have always known that and never questioned how life-giving her message would be.
I have often thought to myself, “Who am I to think I have anything to say that is worth sharing…?” It can be so easy to get caught up in this little tiny whirlwind of a world that we live in. Some days, I feel like I am managing motherhood and doing a decent job of it. Other days, I am literally at the mercy of the elements. A storm can come from out of nowhere and leave me absolutely wrecked. And it feels so wrong to write as if I have something figured out.
But what I have learned from doing dishes and listening to podcasts from other Moms on similar journeys is this: I am not alone.
And the answer to my question–who am I think I have anything to say that is worth sharing???— That is an easy answer.
I am me.
My kitchen is currently a huge mess. There is laundry everywhere. I have no idea what we are eating for dinner. I am happily locked away in a small closet in my bedroom typing this blog post, where there is just enough space for a small desk, a journal, a couple of pens, and a pot of tea. There are clothes hanging all around me, because this “office” is mostly a closet. But it is just enough “office” to give me a huge thrill. I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, pretending that I have it all together as a Mother. If you ever see me out in public with all my little ones, you will know I am not being modest. I am doing the best that I can. I have weaknesses.
But I also have strengths. That is why I am writing this blog. Because somewhere, there is another Mother of small children crying in the closet, trying to figure out how to make her life work. I have been there recently. (See my recent post, This Is Not Working…) I will be there again. The practice of Mothering is deeply spiritual and the rituals surrounding our daily lives are imbued with meaning. But it is easy to see the dishes as nothing more than dirty cups and plates. And it is easy to see the laundry as a mountain we must climb and never reach the top. This is part of our season. And for all the frustrations of it, the joys are too many to be named. (Early morning snuggles. Little faces, little voices, alive with so much wonder at this beautiful world. Music, laughter, drawings that give me a glimpse into their secret lives. These little people are a deep well of inspiration. I want to draw from it, drink it in, savor it…) That is why people stop me every time I’m out with my children. Complete strangers. And they tell me, “Enjoy them while you can. They will be grown in an instant.” As mothers of little ones, our particular struggle is this: Living in the moment, appreciating as fully as possible all of this labor-of-love intensive work, and just being as fully present with our little ones as we can be. This season will not last. And we will miss it when it is gone.
This is why I write.
I want to be a part of the conversation that reaches out to people like me and tells me, “You are not alone.”
There are lots of ways to make this work.
Let’s talk about it.
Let’s figure it out together.