forever and just today

Parenthood is a deep responsibility.  Of course it is, this is not a new thought.  But every now and then it dawns on me what it is that I am doing here as a mother in the world today, what it is that I'm attempting to accomplish and I feel the weight of it.  I think about the years to come, the values to be instilled, the teaching of every important thing that must take place, the foundation that must be set in just the right way, the relationships that need to be nurtured, the introduction to the world that will forever shape their views of things both temporal and spiritual. 

Some days I feel successful, other days I feel like an utter failure.  Sometimes it's moment to moment. I feel like I'm constantly going back to the drawing board, coming up with new schemes to modify behavior, not just the boys' behavior but mine too.  It's a constant recommitment and something that is on my mind almost every night and every morning as I review the day (sometimes in despair, sometimes with satisfaction) and as I kneel in the morning, asking for help to be better, no matter what the day brings.  I gear myself up for whatever moods I may meet as my boys wake up.  Some days I get discouraged easily and those usually turn out badly unless I can regain my vision.  Some days I feel great and can handle just about anything, but the ups and downs of it all keep me from feeling too great about myself for very long=).  Just because I respond well to the roll of toilet paper that has been unrolled and stuffed in the toilet, it doesn't mean I'll be proud of my response to the next fiasco.  We'll have a wonderful stretch of time where it seems like I have everything figured out and the boys are thriving, then we'll transition into a new phase and I feel lost, discouraged, and the idea of these boys turning out well seems less likely.   

I think we're not meant to think about the future too much.  It is better to let go of expectations, of projections, of far searching looks in the direction of the unknown.  It is better to live one day at a time, with faith that the little things I do each day will all add up and good things will come.  There are so many factors we can't predict as mothers.  Like I have don't even have any idea if I will sleep a solid 8 hours tonight or if I'll be up 5 times.  I can feed all of my boys well, go through a good routine, and tuck them in soundly at a good hour.  I can do all that I can, but it could really go either way.  The way I respond is all I can control.  That I can choose.  If I can't with confidence predict the next 12 hours of my life, why trouble myself with five, ten, twenty years down the road?

But every day matters, I'm sure of that.  Sprinkled in to the living that goes on in this house are lessons, taught again and again in so many ways.  I'm not going to lie...sometimes it seems so daunting and sometimes it can seem so monotonous, the thought of doing this all day every day for the next 20+ years.  But then I just think about today, what it is that we're doing today.  Taylor drew a pear today, carefully cut it out, and presented it to me and for the first time, I knew exactly what he had created without having him explain it to me.  Jack sounded out the word "up" his first word ever.  Noah almost made it all day without an accident.  Austin laid by me on the couch for almost an hour watching Caillou and the Berenstain Bears when I wasn't feeling up to doing anything else, and he was just calm...it was heaven.  We said both morning and evening family prayers and ate all of our meals at the table together.  We read a book about Jesus' birth and had a fairly calm bedtime.  Austin didn't wake up within an hour of being put to bed, as he has often done lately.  I made it through the day without yelling and had a great conversation with my mom.  Kev and I played a board game together and we are getting to bed before eleven.

And although I can't see how it will all add up, I have to believe that even this small day will matter in the long run.


  1. It will. It will matter. I'm sure there are angels cheering you on. There is no greater work, ever, than what you are doing right now.

  2. Isn't it true that the most weighty, important things we do in this life are also seemingly the most simple, monotonous, and routine? I really love how you expressed yourself on this topic, and the honest yet hopeful tone. It just makes me admire you more. I think you are truly fantastic! Plus! Jack's word, Taylor's picture, and all other "little" things, that are simply laying a foundation for good little people that you are guiding! I really love you, Natalie. You are an inspiration.

  3. This is one of my favorite posts ever! Thanks for taking the time to write down your thoughts and for "keeping it real". I too get overwhelmed if I look ahead at all the days ahead and all that there is teach my children. It is so true that we cannot control what will happen 5 or 10 years down the road, so why waste energy worrying about it?? But we can control how we respond to our kids each hour of each day. It is helpful just to to take it a day at a time.
    It is so relieving to know other mothers have the same worries and challenges that I do. Keep up the good work!

  4. You did a great job capturing the myriad emotions of motherhood.

    Good luck in the next few weeks!

  5. This is a great post, thank you for sharing your thoughts. It's so easy to get discouraged with feelings of inadequacy as a mother. I like your suggestion of taking things one day at a time!


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