Ordinary is a word I would use to describe my typical day. Dishes. Laundry. Toys everywhere. This is the state of my house. Of course, there are special activities that I try to do with my kids, but those aren’t the “every day.” We typically engage in simple activities: trips to the park, visits to the library, playing in the snow, and drawing with sidewalk chalk.
Several months back, during my run, I started wondering how these ordinary days were actually impacting my kids. Was I making a difference in their tiny lives? I felt like all they saw me do was wash dishes, pick up toys, vacuum crumbs (although my four-year-old daughter would LOVE it if she could have some pet ants), and wipe poopy bums.
But within the ordinary, the extraordinary has room to develop and shine through, too! For example:
1. I have a messy kitchen because I chose to “let it go” (cue Elsa) so I could build a puzzle with my daughter.
2. Changing yet another diaper gives me opportunity to sing to my one-year-old as he learns to recognize songs and find comfort in the familiar.
3. Meal times (which can be so stressful with a toddler!) provide a chance to read stories that help build imaginations, teach character, and shape their minds.
Often, I wonder if my daughter pays attention to what I am trying to tell her.
Every time I put sunscreen on her, she tries to pull away. I explain to her the importance of it and why she needs it to protect her skin. One day at the playground, my daughter engaged in a full discussion with another mother about why she needed to wear sunscreen and why she wears it every day. While I was amused by this simple example, I was instantly reminded of the fact that our children are listening. They are absorbing.
Those ordinary tasks that we do day in and day out have the opportunity to be made into extraordinary memories.
- Take advantage of these moments. Use bath time to teach your kids a new song. During meal time, introduce faith. On cleanup days, talk about kindness, compassion, and love.
- Instead of judging your day by how dirty your kitchen is, reflect on how you displayed love to your child from breakfast through bedtime stories.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Did you kiss a bump or scratch? You showed them comfort.
- Did you feed them peanut butter and jelly for what seemed like the millionth time? You provided for them.
- Did you snuggle with them on the couch to read them stories? You showed them security.
- Did you apologize to them for raising your voice? You modeled forgiveness.
Motherhood is no ordinary role. We are shaping, teaching, and raising world changers. This is no small task, so make each moment count. Every moment–whether big or small, ordinary or extraordinary–is shaping our children for who they will be as adults.