The Little Way of Motherhood

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Mother and Children Reading by Arthur Boyd Houghton (1836-1875)

There is something beautiful and hidden about life at home with small children.  Everyday is a day made up of little tasks. Cleaning up, nursing a baby, changing a nappy, reading a story, washing, mopping, picking up toys. The list goes on. The myriad of small seemingly insignificant tasks that fill your day is endlessly cyclical.

“Do small things with great love.” The vocation of mothering little ones in a nutshell.  Mothering small children is made up of littleness. Little repetitive seemingly insignificant jobs, that the world outside doesn’t see and your then young children are unlikely to remember. But these are the building blocks of forming persons and relationships. Like popping a grain of rice in a jar every day for years. It doesn’t seem like much until you look back and that jar is full, relationships are formed, children have grown, and memories have been made.

Reading books, cuddling sick babies, spending long rainy days at home together are the calm before the stormy-world imposes on your life with school runs, deadlines, play dates and a relentless schedule of after-school activities and classes;  before time spent apart, before rushed mealtimes and packing everyone out the door and get to the intended destination at the aforementioned times, punctually and preferably with matching shoes on all children.

In those early days it might be tempting to live an online life, blogging, Instagramming and networking but that’s an artificial life. Life is unfolding in a myriad of littleness before your eyes. It is a precious time that only lasts a short while. What feels like a monotonous cycle of never ending housework, of “mammy,mammy mammy” “I need this”, “Read me that,” another drink, another hug, another cracker … sleepless nights and early mornings. Calpol, tissues, temperatures and lots of cleaning up after sick little ones. You look back and realise you weren’t just doing a whole host of little things but building persons and forming characters. So, do these small things with great love. When you look back you will see what a great feat you have achieved.

The littleness of motherhood is great indeed. This small monotonous unseen life is gargantuan. To the whole world you are just a mum, but to the small people in your home you are the whole world.