"What's new in your world?" asked my love the other day.
Well, let's see. I tried adding flax to a loaf of banana bread. And, T discovered the car on the shopping cart at Albertsons. That was pretty exciting.
Used to be that when faced with that question, my answer would be something about conflict coaching somebody in Uruguay, or planning a trip to Lebanon. A satisfied sigh would escape my lips after I completed three days of teaching in Paris for a group of people from a dozen different cultures. A marathon day was packed with strategic planning meetings or running from workshop to workshop at a conference.
Now, my conflict coaching is trying to figure out if I discipline the boy for hitting his sister since I want him to be honest, and he did fess up. Major trips are to Costco AND Target in the same outing. A huge accomplishment is not only getting a load of laundry started, but also getting it transferred into the dryer before bedtime. A marathon day is surviving from 4:00 until dinner time, and then from dinner until bedtime.
If you are a mom, this is not news to you. It is probably more typical than not. And so, probably, is the struggle to feel fulfilled and useful and, well, human on a day-to-day basis.
If you were to ask any of us, of course, we wouldn't trade this for anything in the world. Of course we're grateful that God ordained that this be how we spend our days. Of course we're grateful (if you, like me, stay at home) that God provides for our families through our husbands so that we can spend our days with our kids. As I swept my kitchen floor this afternoon (holy cow, I got something done above bare survival!), I reflected about how infrequently the house needed to be cleaned when it was just me and Migo. The grass may seem greener when there are less mouths to feed and bodies to clean up after, but of course I'd never go back. I will say all of this when you ask me, but I don't think it much when I'm in the thick of it.
I think it's okay to recognize that contentment is a struggle, especially when you're a stay-at-home mom whose kids' ages dictate that you do a lot of staying at home. I think it's also important to recognize that contentment is a matter of the heart, and it can be struggle no matter where you are and what you do.
So I spent yesterday afternoon asking God to help me be grateful for the little things. Grateful that Albertsons is now so much more exciting with a toddler driving his shopping cart-car around (and making other mid-morning shoppers smile). Grateful that I have money to spend at Albertsons. Grateful for the chance to prepare wholesome and delicious food for my growing family.
Surely, my cup runneth over. Even when I have to wipe up the sticky mess on the floor.