great ideas, small duties
“a soul occupied with great ideas best performs small duties” (Harriet Martineau).
How’s that for our life as mothers? It’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the mundane is insignificant, unimportant, uninteresting. The day can seem like a string of nothingness: wake up the kids, make breakfast, wipe the table, dishes, sweep, school dropoffs, laundry, make snack, pickups, make lunch, dishes, snack, prepare dinner, pick up the house, wipe the table, dishes, more laundry… And yet, amid those “small duties” is the space for the great ideas. The space to smile at our children. An opportunity to fill their love-tanks a bit. A fleeting moment during which we can be part of God’s work as He molds our children out of clay. God does not chip away at us as though we were a rock being carved, he builds us up. And our great ideas – ideas about mothering, about ways to love our children, about memorable things we can do together – these ideas might not happen if our lives were filled with huge duties.
This is not the time of my life to solve the problems of trafficking, poverty, equality for all, greenhouse gases, or infectious disease. This is the time for me to spend with my children, performing the small duties (that can feel ever so overwhelming) of keeping our home. And in the process, this is the time for my soul to be occupied with the greatness of raising children.
*As a quick note, I do believe that there is importance in our family taking a role in working towards solutions on the world-stage and we do a fair amount of volunteering to that end. But it’s more with the intent of modeling being involved, rather than completely immersing myself in an issue like I would have before having children. I’m not saying we should close our eyes to the entire world outside of our families!