When Mopping Floors Is Just Mopping Floors
How do you feel about that momma? Did you love that moment of motherhood in all it's gross glory? Was it a time of joy? Did you find the deeper meaning in your child using you as a human Kleenex?
What's that? No? You didn't like it?
What's that I just heard you mumble to your kid? "Not cool, child. Go find a real Kleenex. I think I might gag."
Tisk, tisk, tisk. What an ice-cold heart you have. How can you not find joy in that? Especially because right after, your baby looked up at you with their big, sand-filled eyes and said through bad Cheerio breath, "Danks Momma."
Doesn't that make your heart overflow and all the nasty worth it? Because isn't wiping boogers deep, meaningful, joyful work as a mom?
I mean, at the very least, isn't that how a good mother is supposed to feel these days?
I know the e-world of motherhood is telling you to look for joy in everything you do. It's full of sappy, sentimental adages about being a mom: "Measure your success by how many smiles your baby gives you that day." "Find your joy in the little things - the tiny hand reaching for yours, little eyes peeking at you in the mirror, and the deep, even breaths of your sweeties sleeping." "Embrace the crumbs on your car's seats, the drool on your jeans and the spaghetti in your hair - they're just reminders of your lovely angels." "If all you do is get up and survive and love your littles, then you're the best mom in the world."
Did you just cringe a little at that? Cause I sure did. Sure, there's truth deep in those sayings, but these days the message is so common, so frequent, so worn across the pages of the internet that all it does is serve to make you feel like you're a mom that doesn't care about her kids enough, love them large enough, or think about them deeply enough if you don't look at the mountain of poop-stain ridden onesies you need to fold with tears in your eyes and nostalgia in your heart.
Daily motherhood isn't like that. There are moments, of course. When even the most realistic, unidealistic and dare I say - callous? - among us feel those sappy, tender, mushy feelings that you read about online these days. They last a second, a minute - maybe 15 if we're lucky. Coming along unexpectedly, fast and furious, and disappearing as quickly as they arrived, dissolving into real life and the daily grind.
So here's the truth, from a fellow mother: Don't feel bad for one second for not liking the fact that you were just used as a human Kleenex. Normal moms are not super sappy 24/7. Normal, everyday, run-of-the-mill, average - the majority - of moms don't find motherhood one big ball of tender, touching, encouraging mom-moments. They don't look at the cheese in between the couch cushions and say, "Oh, little Sally must have been here - this cheese is such a good reminder of how lovely it is to be her mom!"
Nope. They're annoyed with the cheese. They're annoyed with their kid. And they're even more annoyed that their couch cushion has been ruined.
And I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that that's totally okay. You don't have an ice-cold heart because you don't like wearing boogers, you have a normal heart.
So if you don't connect with the super sentimental messages littered across the www, don't feel bad. Just because you don't view fingerprints on your newly cleaned windows as a precious gift of memories in motherhood, doesn't mean you're a grinch. It just means you're normal. Just because you woke up six times in the middle of the night, tired of walking back and forth from one bedroom to another and didn't look fondly back at the well-worn carpet the next morning doesn't mean you're not a mom who finds joy in her role as a mom - it just means your normal.
Sometimes, there doesn't need to be a deeper meaning behind mopping the floors, cleaning up puke in the car, or picking up crumbs on the table. Mopping floors can just be mopping floors. Cleaning up puke can just be - gross. And the crumbs on the table? Well, they're just crumbs.
You don't have an ice-cold heart. You have a normal heart.
Just because you're not a super sappy, sentimental mom doesn't mean you're not a good one.
For the majority of us, daily life is daily life. Full of tedious tasks, repetitious production and routine endeavors. But every once in a while, motherhood gifts us with a moment that stops us in our tracks. A moment that's made up of what every single mother has ever known: That this is all worth it. That there is beauty in the long hard days. That the sleepless nights, the sticky fingers, messy kitchens and yes, even the runny noses did in fact hold meaning.
Not because they have joyful meaning in and of themselves, but because all together, they represent and point to the important work we do. The joyful, meaningful work of raising a soul.
And maybe it is the fingerprints on the window that point us to that. Or maybe it is the crumbs on the table. Or the cheese in the couch. Admittedly, this gift is often given in the very small, mundane things. But this connection, this realization, is rarely at the forefront of our minds. Sure, it's always there, the engine running behind our daily tasks. And when we're blessed enough to have it jump front and center, it is a precious gift to be soaked up for all it's worth.
I do understand what the internet is saying. And it is a good, and rightful reminder. But it's also important to remember that it's okay if you don't feel that way every day, or even every week.
So as much of the internet would say, "Carry on warrior." You realistic, regular, every day, totally normal warrior. Rest easy, knowing your head doesn't need to hit the pillow every night counting the ways you made a difference in the lives of your family or finding the little moments that made your day worth it. Those are good things in theory and should often be done, but sometimes a day as a mother - can be just that: A day. A good day, a bad day - qualify it however you want. But it was still just a day.
Just a another day with your ice-cold heart; that's actually quite warm, filled with love and totally - totally - normal.