When my kids were little and I was new to this stay-at-home gig, there were many moments when I felt inadequate in what I was doing, as well as inferior to others around me. I was sure I was coming up short in many mothering arenas, and on top of that I felt out of the loop amongst other women who were still in the workforce. They were stimulating their minds with jobs that took them beyond deciding if there was enough time to squeeze in a grocery run before nap time or if a shower was possible before the baby began to cry.
Yet somewhere in all of that, I was also pretty satisfied, and yet even as I was satisfied, I wondered if I was selling myself short with being satisfied in what sometimes felt like a small life. I felt peace in walking my kids to the park to play whenever we wanted, and sometimes frustrated that I felt a level of accomplishment when laundry was done and dinner was made.
I wish I could go back and whisper in my ear that what I was choosing to do with that portion of my life was incredibly valuable. If I could, I would go back tell myself to breathe more deeply, to step back more often, to trust in the process of mothering more.
Looking back, my favorite moments of that season of my life were the walks to park, the tea parties with spilled pop, the cars made out of boxes and the tables that transformed into spaceships upon being turned upside down. I relish the time on the couch reading books and the joy that a toddler pool and sandbox brought for an entire afternoon.
I didn't know it then, but I was doing some of the most important work of my life, and it was much more valuable and scientific than I ever dreamed possible. I know now that I was laying down wiring within my children; I was teaching them how the world worked and what they could expect. In the beginning, I was their world — so how I interacted with them was literally affecting their brain's wiring system. I thought I was just gently wiping jelly off my toddler's face, but it turns out I was helping neurons form connections called synapses, which made up the wiring of their brains. I was doing so much more than I ever understood.
If you are in a stage, whether you are working outside the home, or within it, and you are wondering if what you are doing matters ... it does.
I wrote about that yesterday, over here and it seemed to be just what some needed to hear.