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You May Think I Don't Do Much All Day, But You Couldn't Be More Wrong

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Photograph by Twenty20

Throughout my day, I buzz nonstop. There is always something to do, someone to care for. At night, when I reflect back on what I did or did not accomplish, I always find it hard to summarize what happened. Because really, what did I do? Anything worthwhile? Anything that matters? 

It seems that my daily tasks can really only be identified as the forgotten things. The things that aren’t significant enough to remember, while still adding up to be a lot. This is what I mean:

Before afternoon naps, I made sure the dishwasher was loaded and running. I switched the laundry, too. That way everyone would have clean socks for school and their favorite pajamas at night.

I watered the house plant that's on its last leg and tended to garbage that had reached capacity.

I swept the Play-Doh that had fallen during our morning creation time and reminded my oldest to gather their library books.

Then the real juggling began.

My toddler quietly watched a show while I nursed the baby to sleep. The older two were instructed to keep the peace. Just for a few minutes.

Our routine proved successful as I laid the baby down and scooped up his big brother. Diaper change, stuffed Mickey, sippy cup of water, a whisper reading of his favorite book while we rocked. Soon, he was asleep too.

As I rocked and closed my eyes to lock in and remember his quiet and still toddler perfection, I pulled out my phone to take note of all the little things that still needed my attention:

Thaw meat from the freezer for tomorrow’s chili.

Email my son’s teacher about his upcoming field trip.

Return the dysfunctional blinds.

Purchase a cousin’s birthday gift.

Touch base with the friend struggling through her first trimester.

Choose a night to wash and blow-dry my daughter’s hair. (Such a task these days!)

Clean the toilets.

All the forgotten things are mine.

Organize the Tupperware drawer—again.

Make our weekly menu, then a shopping list, then grocery shop.

Mail a package.

Trim 80 nails and toes.

Wash the sheets.

Switch the kids' winter clothes for their summer ones.

Order Mother’s Day gifts for my mom, my mother-in-law, my sister, etc.

These are all the forgotten things. The things that fill my day and run through my mind and keep me insatiably busy. If I had a résumé detailing my job as a wife, mom, and homemaker, these are the skills I would tout.

It doesn’t seem like much. But together, it is often too much.

All the forgotten things are mine. Each day, I gather them up and prioritize them. Sometimes I delegate, but usually I stay up once everyone is asleep and fit in just one more to-do. I wipe the kitchen counters and pack my husband’s lunch. I pile the baby’s toys into a basket and set out each child’s coat for morning. I remember that it’s recycling day and break down the Amazon boxes that delivered the diapers we needed ASAP. I load the library books into the car, so they are returned on time, and then decide to squeeze in a quick face mask before I collapse into bed in the name of “me time.”

Tomorrow, I’ll begin again. I’ll pick up the forgotten things and give them a place and a purpose. I’ll care for the things that don’t really matter, but somehow make everything run smoother. I’ll do it again, with a smile on my face and joy in my heart, because this is what my people need.

Hopefully, when they are older and out of the house, they’ll look back and feel the peace brought by my remembering. Hopefully, they’ll recognize that their mama didn’t forget.

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