I’ve had an epiphany over the last couple of weeks. And, if you know me at all…you know I love my epiphanies. Here it is: most of the time, we mamas measure our worth by the fruits of our labor, instead of our intentions. You know, we focus so much of our energy on the END RESULT of our work. Ummmm…we need to ditch THAT measuring stick. For good.
Wait. What do I even mean by that?
- If dinner turns to s*it while we’re helping our third grader with her homework, we are a #momfail.
- If we scream at our kids to brush their teeth, put their shoes on, and pack their lunch bags while we are squeezing in 25 minutes of exercise, we commiserate with our friends about how we want to yell less.
- When our son’s handcrafted Valentine’s day box doesn’t even look good enough to be called a Pinterest fail, we laugh about it with our friends so they know that we wouldn’t have decorated it that way.
I’m done with measuring my worth by the RESULTS of my hard work and intention, especially when most of those results involve other living human beings. Human beings that, mind you, are growing, developing and learning their own way right alongside me.
That whole judging our worth based on results might work in a traditional job. But in the job of being a mama, our intentions should carry far greater weight than what they often do. We are doing hard work, real work, and, in the end, our work at home, with our family, is far messier than the work we do….at work.
Recently, I reached out to my community of mamas, those women who have joined together in a Facebook community to support and share with another in an effort to get dinner on our tables in a simpler fashion. I asked them a simple question. ‘WHY is sitting down at the table together as a family so stinkin’ important to you?’ I know why it’s important to me, but I wanted to hear from other moms.
As I read each and every response, my heart swelled for a couple of reasons. One, because I know I’m surrounded by like-minded women. The women in this community that I’ve helped create have such incredible intent and love driving their actions. Secondly, it was so apparent that even in the busy-ness of our lives, many of us still value quiet family time and are working really hard to make space for it. Even when it’s not easy to do so. ESPECIALLY when it’s not easy to do.
Here are a couple of the statements that stood out to me:
I make sure we do it because a few nights a week we are running around to sports. The kids are too busy trying to be on electronics, I feel like it’s all they do. My kids don’t get off the bus until 4:30. So, it feels like the second they get home, we’re rushing to do homework so that way I can hurry up and have dinner finished so we can hop in the car. That little bit of time sitting down together is what I look forward to.
From a surface level, it’s a money saver and teaches my boys about eating healthfully. It’s an opportunity to discuss manners and teach responsibility. On a deeper level, I think it’s a time for informal family rituals/traditions and connection.
I make such an effort to have dinner at the table because I remember eating that way when I was young. I was part of a “blended family” with 4 kids and I still remember some of the dinner conversations we had.
Because I, admittedly, am on my device so much that this is one of the moments I can actually connect.
Because my hubby works so much that of he’s home he’s either eating or sleeping. At least if we eat as family, the kids get to see him awake and will maybe talk about their day.
Because if it’s a regular habit, then you will always be able to say to the friend who’d rather be at your table that day than go home to whatever is bothering him, ‘You’re welcome to stay for dinner.’ Every single human being’s deepest desire is to belong. When we come together for the evening meal, no matter how different we are, we belong to each other.
Growing up, we always ate at the dinner table. Now that I’m an adult looking back, I really appreciated that time sitting with my parents talking to them.
- To the mama whose dinners get thrown out because they stayed in the oven a bit too long, 3 cheers to you for getting it in the oven.
- To the mama who’s trying every meal delivery service available to see which one might be the magic bullet, props to you for not giving up a long time ago.
- To the mama whose kids eat EVERYTHING, God bless you. And, I don’t think you’re just lucky. Own and be proud of the fact that you did something, no matter how big or small, to get them there.
- To the mama whose kids only eat chicken nuggets and mac-and-cheese…I see you. Buying the baked chicken nuggets made from only white meat chicken and fixing organic mac-n-cheese. I see you still valuing their health with the hopes that one day, something’s gonna give.
- To the mama making 3 different meals each night just so there can be some peace and quiet. You are sacrificing a big piece of you for the greater good of your family. I know why you do it. It’s not because you’re lazy, or because you’re weak. It’s because right now, at this point in time, you’d rather spend your energy around the table with your family than teaching other life lessons. You’re picking your battles, lady and I applaud you.
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