As a mom of three young kids, I feel like all I ever do is, well, do. I am always on my feet, making snacks, washing dishes, sorting laundry, wiping noses and faces and bottoms, pushing my kids on swings, tucking them in, shuffling through the papers in backpacks, putting on shoes, buckling car seats.
Sitting for any period of time is unnatural for me. Sick days are torturous. And when I do get a spare moment to myself, I’m not sure what to tackle on my to-do list first, so I usually just start unloading the dishwasher.
The other day, it dawned on me what my kids really want from me. Of course, the first thing is another snack, probably something we don’t have enough of or don’t have at all. So then there are negotiations and compromises. And just as I put a plate in front of the last child, the first one needs more water.
In April and May my daughter would arrive home from half-day kindergarten with one question.
“Mom,” she implored, “Have you had lunch yet?” My answer was always no. I just ate breakfast two hours ago, finally, after giving the younger two their breakfast and morning snack. She would then ask, “Then can you sit with me and eat?”
“Um, maybe honey,” I said. “But first I have to put the baby down for a nap and move the laundry to the dryer and call the doctor’s office.”
She looked at me, disappointed but not surprised, and ate her lunch in silence.
Mom guilt set in.
If you looked up my name in the dictionary, I’m pretty sure “move” would be written next to it.
I’m not sure when I decided to buy in to the idea that a mom who sits is a lazy mom. Because mommies, well, our brains never have dull moment, even if our bodies are a little more at ease than usual. I guess I just figured, sitting is time that should be spent doing “stay at home mom duties.”
I struggle, every day, with just sitting. Listening. Gazing. Resting. Smiling. Holding.
But I fight to do what I know is best. To put down the dirty dish, turn my back to the washing machine, set down my phone… and just do the simplest and meaningful things a mother can do:
Surrender to the simple request to sit.
To be present.
To nurture the moment, the child whose skin is pressed to mine, whose eyes implore me for guidance and love and security.
Motherhood IS ministry.
The dishes can wait.