It’s almost Mother’s Day and chances are you might just feel like you don’t make the mark as a mom. But I’m here to tell you, the little things matter and you are making the mark a lot more than you think.
The last couple of weeks I had the chance to read the sweet picture book, Once There Was a Mom by one of my favorite authors, Emily Watts. The sweet illustrations by Destin Cox make for the complete package. The first time I read through the book I was touched by the simplicity and the message that the little things do matter. A few days later it hit me with a little more power.
It is May, the busiest month of the year for a mom. It has always seemed ironic to me that Mother’s Day falls in May—the month I feel the most inadequate at my mom job. There are so many concerts, recitals, assemblies, sporting events and everything in between I always feel as if I’m coming up short. I’m sleep deprived, emotional and a little on edge and for sure consuming too much sugar and caffeine to keep myself afloat, which of course, makes the crash harder.
So back to my story. I was feeling sleepy last Tuesday when my 5-year-old climbed up on my lap with the cute pink, Once There was a Mom book. “What is this book?” she asked. “Will you read it to me?” Well, considering it was short and I had enjoyed it before, I obliged.
To add another layer to my feelings, just the day before I had received a sweet email from my oldest daughter who is currently serving an LDS mission in Sweden. She is one of those kids that did EVERYTHING growing up. She played soccer, she sang, she did plays, she ran, she was a school officer (every year) and she was good at all the activities too. She’s one of those kids that as a mom you look and wonder where in the world she came from and how you got a child so amazing. But there were hard days and busy days because I have five other busy, accomplished kids too! We spent what seemed like days in the car together driving to all her events when she was in junior high and high school. In my weekly letter to her, I was talking about busy May and how her younger sister seemed to be following in her footsteps with all her activities and I was wondering how I was going to make it all fit in.
She wrote back to me how significant the little things were for her, most importantly the car time. “I think I would be a goner without that time with you,” she wrote. She went on to say how much she learned about life and herself in that time with me alone in the car. Reading her words were like manna from heaven to me. To be honest, I always cherish the car time with kids because there is no escape for anyone. We have to talk, we have to be together, but I never realized that maybe my children felt the same. I can’t be distracted by other things in life, they have me and only me.
Most of our teens haven’t had free reign of a car during the driving years just because of some unforeseen circumstances of our life. It has made for some tricky and difficult scheduling, but to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the car time that provides much more than miles on a tired minivan. It’s a time of love, shared feelings, shared testimony and it really makes my life beautiful, as weird as it seems. It’s the memories and it adds to my patchwork quilt referred to in the book and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
So for Mother’s Day this year, please don’t be so hard on yourself, the little things—they matter. They become the big things. I will try to take my own advice as well. Pick up a copy of the book, read it a few times. Let it soak in. Read it to your little ones, so they know how you feel too. You won’t regret it. I know I don’t.
Rachel J. Trotter is a writer at Evalogue.Life where we tell personal and family stories that inspire, and help you tell yours. She has worked as a writer since her college days over 20 years ago. She loves telling people’s stories. She lives in Ogden, Utah, and is busy raising six children and loves working on family history alongside her husband, Mat.
For every mom who has ever wondered if all the little things she does in a day make a difference, Once There Was a Mom offers hope and encouragement. Take it from someone who, like you, has read story after story, sung lullaby after lullaby, and even taken the batteries out of the toys once in a while! The truth is, little things are much more important than we may think. With contemporary, stylized illustration by artist Destin Cox, this charming gift book will bring a smile to the face of mothers of any age.