I Need the Mundane

(Source: mamakatslosinit)

I’ve been forgetting about the mundane, lately.

I consider the mundane to include doing the every day tasks that keep life out of chaos: doing the dishes, the laundry, cleaning up bedrooms, dining rooms, bathrooms, and living rooms, writing grocery lists that contain healthy food, doing the grocery shopping, preparing educational lessons, crafts, and all such tasks that I would much rather not do.

If I had my way, I would spend my days writing, spreading ideas, soaking up the sun, reading, and basically focusing on my needs. But that life certainly wouldn’t lead to a life of integrity or character or sacrifice. And what of my children? Who would train them or teach them in the ways of truth, goodness, discipline, and the importance of not leaving clean laundry unfolded in the laundry basket?

I could raise my babies on TV and “mommy’s busy” or I could raise them with play and “let’s clean up together and then read some books.”

I could spend bits of time with them here and there and hope/pray for the best.

Or, I could do the work.

I really want to do the work because I really don’t want to look back on my life and regret the decisions I made.

I don’t want to look back and say, “why didn’t I just turn off the TV?” “Why didn’t I play with my babies more?” “Why didn’t I teach them how to pray?” “Why didn’t invest in their minds when they are little sponges?”

I know I’m not going to get this “do the work” thing right, because I’m selfish and tired and some days, just bored. But I’m going to keep looking at my mama-resolution and keep trying. One day at a time.

I’m going to keep trying because the souls in my care deserve intentionality from their mama. If I don’t train them and teach them, who will? If I neglect my responsibility, they will be taught, by TV, the culture, their peers, but will the teaching be things that are beautiful and good and true?

And mundane?

Because I want my children to know how to scrub a toilet and hang their clothes and take a hurting friend or a new mama a meal.

I want them to serve, to be humble, to have self-control, to be patient, and kind, and mostly…

to love.

I think I will teach them the most about love if I give myself over to the “mundane” of life. If I give myself to the tasks that make a home, a home they will want to tuck into their hearts and hold on to. A home that offered them life and and an overflow of the kind of love that leaves the comfortable and lends a hand.

A home that I will look back on, Lord willing, in my old age and say, “I chose the beautiful mundane, and I don’t regret it one bit.”

What do you want to look back on one day and be able to say about how you lived your days with your children?

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  • http://www.savingyoudinero.com/ Janell Poulette

    I go to bed every night and think that I should have spent more time with my kids because they are growing up so fast.  They are 6,3, and 18 months. Some days I am so busy doing things just to keep the house in order that I have no energy left. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://thechuppies.blogspot.com/ Kara @ The Chuppies

    It’s a little scary…
    How clearly they see what really matters most to me.
    And it’s not my words…
    It’s the actions, the time spent.
    They know what really grabs hold of my heart.
    I want it to be the right things.
    The right people.
    And Him.
    One of my favorite posts from you :)

  • http://www.jennstaz.com Jenn Staz

    This is a beautiful post. (Although the top image totally freaked me out, and I don’t even have kids yet.)
    I constantly struggle with blogging time vs husband time, and I totally hear you on this. I don’t want to have regrets on the lack of quality time spent with him.
    My future children thank you!

  • mamakatslosinit

    I once complained to my mother about the fact that I’m not naturally a great cleaner or organizer like she is and that I spend more time writing about my kids than I do cleaning up after them. My home is not a mess, but it certainly is not as tidy as it could be. Sometimes I let the dishes sit in the sink over night, and I can’t remember the last time the windows were washed. My Mom smiled at me and said, “Kathy, when you die you will leave your kids with a testament of your time together and beautifully written stories filled with the moments you shared with them and your love for them. My clean rooms are just clean rooms…they’re not going to
    follow me from here.”

    I appreciated her words because it allowed me to let go of the guilt I was carrying over not being able to ‘do it all’. I do recognize the importance of  balancing both some of the mundane you describe, but also the need to nurture my own creative spirit as well, and I strive to maintain that balance. However, if the creative side beats the mundane side at times I’m okay with that. I think the kids will feel that overflow of love no matter what.

    When I look back one day I want to be able to say that I succeeded at creating an environment for my kids that made them feel safe, nurtured, protected and happy.  Not just happy like “I get to eat ice cream for dinner” happy, but the kind of happy that makes you forget any insecurity you might have had at the door. I hope when I look back I’ll remember a time I cherished their individual spirits and loved them in a way that never leaves them…regardless of the dishes that were left in the sink

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Kat, I agree! After I published this I wondered if it would come off as though I was saying cleaning is more important than adventure, creativity, art, etc, and I’m NOT at all. I’m allergic to cleaning. But I realize that if I don’t do the mundane things, I don’t feel free to do the others, because the mundane in life needs to be done-not perfectly of course-but so there isn’t chaos (hoarders seriously inspires me!).

      “I want to be able to say that I succeeded at creating an environment for my kids that made them feel safe, nurtured, protected and happy.” Beautiful. 

      • mamakatslosinit

         Remind me to sleep at 1am instead of writing monster post responses! I’m allergic to cleaning too and I know you’re right, it is important to make it a priority and when it IS done? It feels SO good. I say that I strive to balance both, but it’s not something I’ve mastered. Why is achieving that balance so hard? Is it even possible? I’ve actually started adding chores to my Google Calendar in hopes that it will keep me on top of the never ending cycle of mess that occurs in this house! Here’s hoping it works!!

  • Erin6579

    Thank you Sarah Mae for the great encouragement today.  :)

  • Beth Williams

    Iti is gettingh very very hard for mom’s to work in time with their kids.  I beliee that if every mother would spend quality time with their kids teaching them good values–truth, justice, helping others, how to be a good Christian, etc.  then God will bless you and the rest.

    Raising children in this day and time can be scary, but with hard work it could bring huge rewards and blessings.  A clean house is nice, but if done in lieu of time with children it could result in some problem children–living not for God, but for world.

    Keep on doing the mundane and God will bless you!

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Thanks Beth!

  • Alexismacphee

    This was beautiful Sarah.  Thank you so much.  “I know I’m not going to get this “do the work” thing right, because I’m
    selfish and tired and some days, just bored. But I’m going to keep
    looking at my mama-resolution and keep trying. One day at a time.” Amen.  You spoke right to my heart with this one.  A fav for sure!

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      It helps to remember that I’m totally going to botch this, but that I don’t ever have to give up!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=666555285 Elisa Pulliam

    Great challenge and powerful perspective. 

    I want my children to remember that I looked them in the eyes, listened to their hearts, leaned into their lives, laughed with them often.  God’s impressed this mission into my heart more and more with the M.O.M. Challenge I shared at http://www.moretobe.com a month ago.  Living it out is making such a difference. It is requiring boundaries with a purpose and the blessing is pouring forth.  I’m happier.  My kids are happier.  My hubs is happier.  And that’s goodness all around!

    Blessings,
    Lisa

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Yes, yes, yes! Love this!

  • Melanie

    this is where my heart is too, at the moment. your description of life “your way” sounds just like mine … and i have found myself longing for that kind of life lately. but i know where, and to WHOM, i have been called to spend my energy and my gifts and my SELF — that “greater love has no one than this, that He lay down His life for His friends,” and that i am called to love and serve my children in just the same way.  thank you for encouraging me and all of us with your honesty and purpose.

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Melanie, and I remember, in everything there are seasons. I’m in the season of little ones, and this season will end, and onto a new one, etc, and Lord willing, one day I will be writing more, but also serving and helping young moms. 

      • Us2walls

        As I’m sure you’ve heard before, it passes more quickly than you can imagine.  The new season has “babes” who have “babes” of their own, but you still want to comfort, encourage and love your own children when they’re 20, 30 or 40.  It goes with the territory, and if you’ve developed that open communication that you so intentionally are striving to achieve, it will happen.  God knows your heart and I firmly believe He will bless your efforts as you seek Him and His wisdom in your endeavors.  Love you, Sarah.  Keep encouraging other moms to keep on.

  • Jessi

    I love that ecard at the top. So funny! This is exactly right. And what’s interesting is that kids tend to love the “mundane” they don’t know that chores are chores yet. At least my 2.5 year old doesn’t. They are fun games when I actually involve him in it and don’t mind that it takes twice as long. We do it together and that’s what’s important.

  • Stacey Friesen

    Sarah Mae, you always seem to say what’s on my heart :)  I think we’re pretty alike, though I don’t have your gift for words :)

  • Lily Langman

    Excellent!!!

  • Rachel

    Yes, yes and yes. Well said.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in self. I too, have to discipline myself to find JOY in the mundane.  Also- taking steps back and away from the blog/twitter had created a much more lovely attitude in my heart in reguards to mothering.  I needed to stop the comparisons and embrace who I am in my mama-heart.  :)

  • Collettaskitchensink

    I love that I’m able to be at home for my children.  My youngest goes to school next year, but I still want them to know that I’m home and available.

  • 4collinscorner

    I’m in those looking back days now.  And looking back there are days that weren’t perfect, and I didn’t do everything right.  Some days I spent too much time on the phone or checking email (those days were BB days, Before Blogs and much of the other social media…I can’t imagine how great the temptation would be for me w/ all there is out there now).  But there were good days and even great days.  Because through my husband’s leadership, we said “NO” to busyness.  Activities that would keep us on the road and not home.  I can look back and see the majority of our days were blessed days, giving our gals a relaxed home to learn in.  Days filled w/ learning, training, playing, and tons of memories of pouring through books with one another.  We always made time for library trips and came home with all 6 of our arms loaded to the max.  You are being wise Sarah, making this a priority now, while your children are still so young.  I know too many whose children are grown, and their hearts are filled w/ regret as they look back and wish things had been different.  God willing your looking back will be a blessing, your heart is in the right place, in His hands.   

    • Mrs. C

      Could you please remove this one too, I don’t want this email address a part of public domain.  I tried to fix this before posting my comment, so sorry to bother you with this.

  • http://thepurposefulwife.com/ Rachel

    The picture you used made me laugh.  Instead of t.v moms we are becoming computer moms. One of the most important things to me is that my daughter’s main memories of me don’t involve me staring at a screen. Even though she is still a baby, I have to keep reminding myself that it starts now. Now I need to discipline myself for godliness. Now I need to put down the smart phone and pay attention to her. So important. Thank you for the encouragement!

  • 4collinscorner

    I’m in those looking back days now.  And looking back there are days that weren’t perfect, and I didn’t do everything right.  Some days I spent too much time on the phone or checking email (those days were BB days, Before Blogs and much of the other social media…I can’t imagine how great the temptation would be for me w/ all there is out there now).  But there were good days and even great days.  Because through my husband’s leadership, we said “NO” to busyness.  Activities that would keep us on the road and not home.  I can look back and see the majority of our days were blessed days, giving our gals a relaxed home to learn in.  Days filled w/ learning, training, playing, and tons of memories of pouring through books with one another.  We always made time for library trips and came home with all 6 of our arms loaded to the max.  You are being wise Sarah, making this a priority now, while your children are still so young.  I know too many whose children are grown, and their hearts are filled w/ regret as they look back and wish things had been different.  God willing your looking back will be a blessing, your heart is in the right place, in His hands.   

    • Mrs. C

      Sarah Mae, could you please remove this one for me.  I didn’t want my email address to show and tried to fix it.  So sorry for the hassle.

  • Mrs. C

    I’m in those looking back days now.  And looking back there are days that weren’t perfect, and I didn’t do everything right.  Some days I spent too much time on the phone or checking email (those days were BB days, Before Blogs and much of the other social media…I can’t imagine how great the temptation would be for me w/ all there is out there now).  But there were good days and even great days.  Because through my husband’s leadership, we said “NO” to busyness.  Activities that would keep us on the road and not home.  I can look back and see the majority of our days were blessed days, giving our gals a relaxed home to learn in.  Days filled w/ learning, training, playing, and tons of memories of pouring through books with one another.  We always made time for library trips and came home with all 6 of our arms loaded to the max.  You are being wise Sarah, making this a priority now, while your children are still so young.  I know too many whose children are grown, and their hearts are filled w/ regret as they look back and wish things had been different.  God willing your looking back will be a blessing, your heart is in the right place, in His hands.   

  • http://becky-alittlebitmore.blogspot.com/ Becky Hall

    just what i needed to hear today.  thank you.

  • http://blog.therustedchain.com/ Beki – TheRustedChain

    Toes officially stepped on. Well done. :)  

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Trina-Holden/515132083 Trina Holden

    And this is why I’m SO GLAD you fit blogging in with all your other tasks and goals. Because you have great vision, and lead us higher with these awesome posts…awesome ’cause I’m RIGHT THERE TOO – embracing the menial, finding balance in my passions, and, hopefully most of all, loving my kids. Oh, and my husband. he, he. :)

  • http://theplaceofstory.blogspot.com/ Kristal

    Oh wow, God really works in mysterious ways. I just wrote my first blog post ever today. All about internet addiction and not spending time with my children. I wrote about needing to hold myself accountable for my actions and being more intentional in my mothering.

    As it is naptime, I am allowing myself to browse the web. One of my frequent blogs that I read led me to a promo of your new book, which lead me to your blog. I’m blown away that today (of all days) you have written about the very thing that has been weighing so heavily on my heart. It feels good to know I”m not alone and that we mothers can band together and resolve (as your earlier post described) to be courageous mothers.

    I look forward to my own journey as a courageous mother growing and changing. I hope to continue to come back and find encouragement and inspiration from you.

  • http://candelierious.blogspot.com Lis

    Beautiful!

    Really, I want the same thing you want.  For my son to remember the simplicity in our home–and that it wasn’t boring.  That mommy made it fun with fun they had.  I want to show him there is a time to work hard, but nothing beats cuddles on the couch and stopping what we are doing to go out and enjoy the sunshine.

  • http://thisisthedayletusrejoice.blogspot.ca/ Jamie @ This is the Day

    Great encouragement & challenge. Thank you.

  • Hippie4ever2

    Oh, how I needed this post today!

  • http://www.mercyfoundme.com/ Jacque Watkins

    Beautiful truth here, and I’m so thankful for your reminder!

  • Sarah

    I recently came across your blog via Money Saving Mom’s mention of your ebook. This post was such a great reminder to me, as a mom of a young family and as an aspiring writer that it’s ok right now that I’m not making much progress on the writing front. It’s great that God makes our mundane tasks into holy work, isn’t it? When we change diapers, fix scraped knees, and teach our children, we are allowing ourselves to be His hands and feet caring for the kiddos He’s given into our charge. When I manage to remember that, the mundane suddenly seems transformed into so much more. So thanks again for the reminder. :-)

    ~Sarah
    <

  • Amy Dunsmore

    My heart exactly, thank you for the encouragement today

  • Heather Adams

    I love this. You have really encouraged me to be more intentional with my parenting. And it’s beautifully written too!

  • http://profiles.google.com/lindsey.m.bell Lindsey Bell

     I needed this today. Thank you, Sarah:)

  • http://www.momsinneedofmercy.com/ Cheryl

    Ha ha, had to laugh at the card. I think those of us who are writers could easily dedicate our days to writing. But, I’ve had to think long and hard about what honoring God with my writing looks like in this season of also raising little children (four, six and under). It means I write less and mother more. The years will go so quickly…and then I’ll have plenty of quiet time for all the writing I want. But I’ll only have them here with me, and impressionable, for these years.
    I blogged about this once, here: http://momsinneedofmercy.blogspot.com/2011/11/im-mommy-not-mompreneur-part-1.html

  • April Del Rosario

    funny, i started a little blog and called it meaning in mundane!!  http://www.meaninginmundane.blogspot.com  ….thanks for the reminder
     not to make my little blog my top priority.