It’s summer, and it’s the middle of the week, and it’s probably hot outside, and most of us go to bed at night replaying our biggest mistakes, regretting the moments we sounded less like Mary Poppins and more like Attila the Hun. But chances are you are not giving yourself enough credit. Here are five things you are doing right:
Your kids are fed: Now, your response may be, “Then why are they constantly telling me how hungry they are?” And that would be fair. But they never go hungry. You plan, prep, and cook meals; you grocery shop, and then you put it all away. You make dinner even when you know they won’t all eat it, and you do it because you love them. Sometimes you just order pizza or drive through McDonald’s, but hey, they aren’t hungry.
Your kids are clean and cared for: Now this doesn’t mean they are bathed every day or anything, but it does mean they look like children with homes. Their clothes start out clean, and you work hard to comb cowlicks, and brush through rat’s nests, and make sure most of the food is wiped from their faces. Granted, it’s summer, so bathing may be happening less frequently, but that is what swimming pools are for.
You think about your children more than anyone else in the world: Have you ever considered the sheer energy you spend on a daily basis just thinking about your children? You get them up, you feed them, you organize their time, you structure their goals, you care. At the end of the day this goes such a long way! Think of all the children who grow up without anyone thinking about them. Sure, you worry you might be failing them, but that thought never occurs to them, I assure you.
You aren’t letting them be tyrants: This one takes a lot of your energy and time, especially when you have children under five. And even if you are thinking, “I am not so sure about this one. You weren’t here today when little Timmy threw himself on the ground at Walmart like a child possessed because he didn’t get the toy he wanted, which he then proceeded to throw at my face.” But he didn’t stay there, and you made it home, and he probably did something redemptively beautiful later that same day. Every correction, every act of love in the midst of tantrums, is a moment when you are forming them to be beautiful members of the Kingdom of God. And let’s face it: haven’t we all wanted to throw ourselves on the floor at Walmart?
You are living a beautiful interior life: I know, you think this one does not apply to you, but I assure you it does! Maybe you can’t remember the last time you had a quiet moment with the Lord, maybe you feel like you don’t even remember how to really pray, but your life is a beautiful prayer of love and sacrifice every moment of every day. Your interior life is rich because you offer your life every day for your family. It is Eucharistic, it is selfless, it is beautiful, and your proud Papa in heaven sees it all, and he is so pleased.
Next time you think you should just pack up this whole mothering game and try for a new position, remember you are doing so much more than you realize. And regardless of how many times you lost your cool today or thought about opening the wine at lunch, your children adore you, love you, and would be lost without you.