I read these words one afternoon from The Magic of Motherhood, a beautiful book that I truly believe all mothers should read at least once. I was sitting around a campfire, Luke working his way through a crossword puzzle next to me, both kids napping peacefully in their camper bunks. As soon as I finished the chapter, I bookmarked it immediately – knowing these paragraphs were some that I would want to revisit.
“If I measure each day by my list, the days are not always very good, but when I look at each day like it is their day too, because it is their day, well, then most days are better. A lot better.”
As a business owner and work at home mother, I tend to get caught up in defining my days based on the number of checks on my to-do list. I allow myself to get overwhelmed easily, holding myself to sometimes insane high standards and feeling let down when I didn’t accomplish all of my professional tasks in the hours of a normal work day.
Recently, after an incredibly taxing day, I sat in the bathroom trying to soak in a few minutes of peace and quiet and thought back on those pages.
While my morning consisted of having a mouse scurry in front of me in the kitchen when I was on my way to make coffee (the first sign it was going to be a doozy of a day), theirs involved running outside barefoot and getting dressed in the camper before school.
While the rest of the morning seemed hectic and frustrating – trips to the home improvement store for mouse traps and the grocery store for peanut butter only to have the blue sky completely darken and drop down pouring rain in the midst of our errands – Huck got to enjoy a “breakfast french fry” from McDonalds as a special treat because mommy was in desperate need of that coffee I never got to brew.
When I was muttering under my breath while setting mouse traps at home, Huck played “mouse hunter,” whispering so the mouse wouldn’t hear him and hiding under the dining room table.
After we picked Marleigh up from her day of school, we ran to Target to kill time and buy some props for an upcoming project. While I was trying to keep the kids’ voices to a reasonable indoor volume, meandering through the store with the world’s most mammoth shopping cart, they giggled and played “I Spy” down the aisles side-by-side.
When I was frustrated that they wouldn’t fall asleep for nap time, they excitedly took the opportunity to play cars together in the play room after I threw in the towel and let them get out of their beds.
When Luke got home and had a video conference leaving me no choice but to wrap up my work day once and for all well before my to-do list was finished, they were excited to run and play, slide and swing outside before bed time.
And when it was time to tuck them in and I couldn’t wait to take a hot shower and not talk to anyone for a solid 20 minutes, they snuggled in, blissfully unaware… listening to their mommy and daddy singing songs and saying bedtime prayers like we do every night.
It was their day, too.
And even though mine wasn’t particularly wonderful (to say the least), theirs turned out to be pretty decent. It just so happened that those words from The Magic of Motherhood came in handy sooner than I thought they would. Although it can be difficult to realize it in the midst of all the craziness, if I measure my day by the happiness of my children, I will always be successful.
PS: We found the mouse.