To the mama who thinks she did ‘nothing’ today

What seems to me like a walk around the block to get outside of the house, seems to my kids like a family expedition.

To the mama who thinks she did 'nothing' today

I had my wall up, prepared to cringe when my husband asks that inevitable question when he gets home from work: “So, what did you guys do today?

I wonder what I can really say about another day of changing diapers, playing outside, feeding the baby, feeding the toddler, then feeding the baby again. I wonder how I describe to him how satisfying it was to put away the dishes because that, at least, was something I could check off my to-do list. I wonder what he’ll think of me as he looks around and sees the books strewn across the living room and the matching stains on all of our shirts.

Before I can respond, my 2-year-old cuts in.

“Daddy, look at Frosty,” he says, enthusiastically gesturing toward our backyard at the saddest mound of snow that ever did pass as a snowman.

“Wow, bud,” my husband says, reflecting my son’s pride. “You sure have fun with Mama, don’t you?”

“Yep,” my son says without missing a beat—like this is an unquestionable fact rather than something I often feel like I have to work really hard at.

In that moment, I’m reminded just how differently my children measure our days. They (clearly) aren’t concerned with the tidiness of the house or how fancy the abandoned Pinterest craft was supposed to be.

They just see magic in our time together.

All through my life, I had assigned value to the tasks I was able to accomplish. It was a good day if I could check items off my list or get praise for a job well done. But creating magic? That had never before been the goal.

Amazing as it is, honestly, it often feels like hardest job I’ve ever had.

From the time these little people wake up until the time they go to sleep (and often lots of time in between), I am responsible for them. And that doesn’t just mean making sure they are fed and clothed, it also means finding the balance that allows them the freedom to be children yet offers them the support they need to grow.

How do I even go about measuring that? One day, soon enough, there will be parent-teacher conferences and sports events and holiday meals where I can look around and see how much they are achieving.

But today, I’m standing too close to see the big picture.

I’m just in it with them, laughing about the mischief Curious George got in, reminding them that food can actually stay on the table when we’re done, and tucking them into bed.

You know the amazing thing about saying good night, though? I’m also saying goodbye to a version of them that will ever be that small. As a kid, I remember being amazed by this thought: I’m going to grow in my sleep without even realizing it.

Back then, this was a mindblowing revelation. Now, it feels like a metaphor for parenthood in general: We’re always growing and learning, even on those days when it feels like we’re just biding time.

So what seems to me like asking my toddler to pick his own clothes, seems to him like the responsibility of a big boy whose mama has confidence in him.

What seems to me like a walk around the block to go somewhere, anywhere outside of the house, seems to my kids like a family expedition.

What seems to me like simply drawing pictures or listening to stories about the day, seems to my kids like a signal that what they do and think matters.

I’m not sure there’s any way to quantify any of this. But the fact remains this beautiful, exhausting, wonderful season of parenting young children is the greatest privilege I’ve ever had.

If that’s “all” I can say I did today, I think that’s pretty good.

You might also like:

Rarely is a woman more concerned with what her body needs than when she's pregnant. We start to question and research everything, right? From swearing off turkey sandwiches to diving down the rabbit hole of prenatal supplements that make up what we lack, the stress of overthinking is real, mama.

One of the main reasons we launched the Motherly Shop is to help take some of that stress away. We've tracked down the best brands and products developed by people (and in many cases, women!) that truly work to serve the needs of real mamas, especially throughout the overwhelming transition into motherhood.

That's why we knew we had to introduce mamas-to-be to the science-backed and expertly-formulated protein collagen for pregnancy from Needed. And as one of our bestsellers, it's clear you've been looking for it, too.

Keep reading Show less

These kids dishes don’t look like kids dishes

And that's exactly why my toddler loves them. ❤️

My 4.5-year-old is, let's say, spirited in his opinions. He very clearly knows what he wants and doesn't want (oh to have the confidence of a stubborn preschooler!). And what he doesn't want right now is anything that looks too babyish. "That's for babies," he'll say if I give him anything with primary colors or looks too miniature. He doesn't want the baby fork and spoon, he wants what grown-ups use. He doesn't want the baby plastic cups and plates, he wants the glass and ceramic ones.

Well, you can see where this is going.

I had to find something that would satisfy his "not a baby" opinions but still not shatter to pieces if he accidentally drops it on the floor. I had to find him something that's made for kids but doesn't feel made for kids.

Keep reading Show less

20 baby names that mean miracle—and will never go out of style

In these extraordinary times, we could all use some small miracles.

Meaningful baby names will never go out of style. Whether you decide to name your newborn after a beloved family member, or are simply searching for a name that reflects the journey that led you to parenthood, whatever you choose will stick with you for the rest of your—and your child's—life.

Almost every parent, at some point, refers to their child as a "miracle," though the meaning of the word itself might differ depending on who you're talking to. Miracle is a beautiful word that can double as a name, but there are many other thoughtful baby names to choose from if you're considering giving your baby a name that suggests an extraordinary event, a gift from above or a rare wonder.

Whether you're looking for a familiar name with a miraculous history, such as Aaron, or you're searching for a unique name that means "rare miracle," such as Ender, there are so many choices for both girls and boys that are equally as meaningful as they are interesting. Choosing a baby name with the special meaning of "miracle" is a signal of hope and optimism—and in these extraordinary times, we could all use some small miracles.

Putting a unique twist on a beautiful classic isn't hard with these baby names that mean "miracle."

Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play