Building the world a good human one humble step at a time.
Sometimes I think I should be doing something bigger. I should be ambitious. Driven. Isn’t that what all the badass ladies are doing these days? The fighters and fanners of the flame. The go getters and hustlers. All these wonderful people who think about their purpose. They are leaving their mark. Sometimes I wonder, what will I do? How will I leave my mark?
Now that I’m a parent in my mid-thirties, should I start my career as some dynamo doing it all? A godless goddess of entrepreneurial heights? A lefty live wire? A hip hot shot? The options for my life seem endless and fictional at the same time. I spy on parents who appear to wield their enterprising spirit by crafting an empire during the nap time of their 4 children. Meanwhile, I’m digging through the cupboard for a morsel of dark chocolate, getting lost at internet sea while trying to find a biscuit recipe, and taking my dog out for a poo in our neighbor’s yard (And, yes, I pick it up). When I’m disciplined I imagine I might write a blog post, stare at my screen for a long time and scrape out a sentence. If this is an empire I’m crafting, it extends but a third of an acre to the edges of my yard.
My footsteps most frequently rest in front of the kitchen sink and next to my child’s crib. The path I’ve worn between the kitchen counter and the stove must in some energetic way be deep and grooved, though the floor is flat and unmarked. Sure, I’ve made marks in this life. On a wall in my daughter’s room to mark her height. On the many pieces of paper I use to do meal planning and make to do lists of household tasks. On the notebooks where I record my daughter’s milestones, funny stories, and moving moments. And then there are the many marks I clean. The crumbs under the table from lunch, the oil splatters on the stove from dinner, the marker that went off the paper and drew across the table while my daughter was drawing, the small muddy footprints running down the hall. These are the many marks I sweep, scrub, wipe, and mop.
When I am done making my usual marks and removing marks from the day, I am tired. Not “ready for sleep” tired, but “sit and stare” tired. It’s my time to sit and gather some sanity, stillness, and rest in a brief hour and a half. I will not be putting my child to bed to then start a business or a movement. The only thing I am capable of producing is a steamy hot bath and a dirty wine glass. My days are small. Far from super hero. They are the humdrum maintenance of family life.
It is so easy to feel small. To feel as if what I do everyday is inadequate. To feel lazy and inefficient because I only accomplish simple, narrow tasks in a day. Tasks that seem to go no further than my kitchen and living room in their impact. The very content of my daily life is repetitive and tedious. Anyone can do what I do.
But, then again, no one else can do what I do. I have come to view that a significant part of my calling is to care for my wee house and all the souls that reside within it. I wish to raise a human who can feel tenderly and think critically. I can get my hustle on later. Now, I raise. Now, I nurture. I wipe boogers and butts. I boost dreams, grip hands, and welcome daring by being a safe, steady place for those around me. I may not be building my empire, but I am building the world a good human in all the ways that I know how.