So what’s the big deal about motherhood?

motherhood - 31 days of joy in motherhood from thishappymom.comMotherhood – 1. the state of being a mother; maternity. 2. the qualities or spirit of a mother

Not exactly a comprehensive definition.

Not exactly a job description that makes me excited to wake up and start being a mom.

Honestly, it kind of leaves me asking the question –

What’s the big deal about motherhood?

Earlier in the series 31 Days of Joy in Motherhood, I advanced the theory that you can’t outsource motherhood.  We can hire people to cook, clean, babysit, and even drive our kids around.  But we can’t hire someone to love our children.

But realistically, our jobs as moms extend beyond boo-boo kissing, confessional listening, child advocating, and cuddling.

Much of our work comes from the fact that, as women, we run a household.

Yes, my husband is the boss of me.  But he doesn’t manage the household.

We are household managers.

Even though he is perfectly willing to stop by the store and buy a short list of stuff, I am always the one who knows what to put on that list.

My husband is NEVER going to be driving home from work and spontaneously say to himself

hmmm, we need toilet paper and milk.

Realistically, he would realize we were out of toilet paper when he pulled the very last square off the very last roll.  At which point, he’d run out to the store and purchase a four-pack of toilet paper.  It would NOT be his preferred brand, and he would NOT have gotten a decent price on it.

The next morning, he’d realize we were out of milk.

I love him dearly, but he has no idea how many rolls of TP we use on an average week (6), or how many extra rolls we go through on a non-average week (add two more rolls for Aunt Flo).   He has no idea what I consider to be a “decent” price (under 50 cents for a double roll) or a “screaming good deal” price (closer to a quarter).  He has a vague idea what brand we like (double ply with a bear on it, unscented for preference) but not the actual brand (we like cottonelle, but i’ll take any of the majors at a quarter per double roll.  NEVER the aloe vera stuff because his mom is allergic to aloe vera.  i live in horror of the thought of her using that stuff.)

Yes, the toilet paper example is silly, but it’s real life.

My hubby looked over my shoulder.  He would like to make a point.

Please tell them that I don’t have an obsession with toilet paper like YOU do.  I see no need to panic just because I opened the last 4-pack of toilet paper in the house.

(he’s wrong.  i don’t panic about breaking into the last 4 pack.  i buy the stuff when it goes on sale.  when we break into the last case, i know it’s time to shop again.  yes.  case.)

When you’re done shaking your head, take a look at your own home.

Who can give a quick estimate of how much bread, chips, yogurt, etc is needed for an average week’s worth of school lunches?

You.

Who can give a quick recital of the times and locations of each practice, play date, after school activity, early dismissals, and upcoming field trips?

You.

Who knows within a month when the next scheduled visits are for pediatritians, dentists, orthodontists, eye doctors, and assorted medical appointments are for EACH member of the family?

You.

Who knows the names of all the teachers at school, the attendance policies, lunch programs, homework policies, and dress codes?

You.

Get my point?

Find JOY in your role as household manager.  It’s something you were uniquely created to do for YOUR family.

But take time to acknowledge how all those little details add up.  All those decisions can wear you out and stress you out if you let them.

We are keepers of tradition.

Since it’s two days before Halloween, I’ll use it as an example.

My kids were begging for Halloween decorations in our yard a month ago.   So, the first Monday in October, I dug out the few items we had and put them where they belong.

The kids informed me that they wanted scarecrows and spider webs.  So, I tracked down the cheap ones (big lots) while there was still a good selection at a good price.

I sat down at the computer and figured out what they wanted to be for halloween and then ordered the costumes.

I have the halloween treats by the door, the flashlights laid out, and their little buckets ready to go.  I even have some of those glow sticks to put on the kids to make them safer.

We have a tradition of sitting in the front yard with snacks and chatting with our neighbors while the kids trick or treat on our street.  I’ve got the snacks planned and the social plans worked out.

If it was up to my husband, he’d buy a pumpkin about 30 minutes before it gets dark – on October 31st.  The kids would be wearing sheets with some eye holes cut out.  And he’d be handing out whatever he found in the pantry (or was still left at Walgreens when he was there.)

(obviously, they wouldn’t be wrapped in toilet papers as mummys – because he’d be out of TP.)

Neither is wrong.  But I know my way is a wee bit less stressful for me.

Yes, I know the Halloween example is silly.  But think about Thanksgiving and Christmas and your child’s next birthday.

Take a look at the next two months.

Who is making the Thanksgiving menu and/or travel plans?

You.

Who already has mentally figured out when you’ll put out the Christmas (or alternate December holiday) decorations?

You.

(even if you hadn’t done it before i asked, you just did it.)

Who keeps the Christmas card list?

You.

Who knows the recipe for that one traditional holiday dish that just HAS to be part of dinner?

If it’s not you, it’s probably your mom (or his mom) or sister.

Who knows which of your kids actually still believes in Santa versus the one who just pretends.  Who knows where the nativity scene is going to be placed?

All you.

Who makes sure there’s wrapping paper, bows, tape, bags…

You.

If you’re lucky (like I am) your husband will work just as hard to make all that holiday stuff happen.  Mine is more than willing to help cook, help decorate, and help wrap stuff.

But he looks to me to know what’s on the to-do list for any given week.

He trusts me to negotiate the travel schedules and holiday logistics.

He knows I’ve got the holidays covered.

(no, I’m not going to contemplate what it would look like if i left all the Christmas stuff up to him. it would be a fiasco.)

Take JOY in your role as traditions keeper.  You are who make the holidays a wonderful and magical time for your family.  Without you, there wouldn’t be nearly as much jolly or holly or tra-la-la-lolly.

Just remember that the traditions for YOUR family are what YOU choose them to be.  Give yourself permission to take on only what really brings meaning and joy to the season.  Give yourself permission to cross some stuff off your list and just not do it.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://thishappymom.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/DSC_0036.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Houston Mom Blogger Susan Baker has a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood. She has two elementary school boys, one engineering husband, and one cat. She has a strange fascination for eggs, socks, and books. She spends far too much time on Social Media and at Target. She is crazy in love with her family. She serves an amazing God. She lives an ordinary life filled with wonder. [/author_info] [/author]

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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