Motherhood is not, at its heart, about getting things done. To be sure, there are a lot of things that mother needs—or thinks she needs—to get done. Meal preparation, homework assistance, chauffeur service, vacuuming, and dishes—not to mention employment, a necessity for many mothers—absorb so much of a mother’s time that it’s very easy to let getting stuff done preoccupy our thoughts, our plans and our lives.
Preoccupy is the perfect word here. Our thoughts and our schedules are pre-occupied—they’re already filled And what are they filled with? So often, it’s just so much minutiae.
It’s minutiae that I often let get in the way of true motherhood. Cleaning is important, but not more important than enjoying my son. Cooking is important—we all gotta eat!—but not more important than being patient with my son. Even if he does have to be constantly underfoot while I’m in the kitchen.
It’s my attitude of “just let me finish what I need to do, and then I’ll be right with you (if I don’t have something else more pressing to do)” that gets in the way of all my positive mother attributes. (And I’m almost positive that I have some.)
Motherhood isn’t about getting it all done. There are no gold stars for keeping your floors spotless and your sink dish-free. A pristine home; a socially-, athletically-, and musically-active child; a four-course gourmet meal,—even a productive career—are all good things. But they shouldn’t be the sum total of motherhood, or even, ideally, the bulk of it.
Motherhood is not, at its heart, about doing. Motherhood is about being. Because motherhood isn’t just something you do; it’s who you are.