Mama, what you "just" do matters.
That was the whole point of my last post, which I was honored to have up over on Her View From Home. (In fact, I'm thrilled that HVFH has let me in as a monthly contributor. In the works for February: "Chocolate Cream Pie: A Love Story." Oh, the research.)
What you "just" do matters because small things make a big difference to the souls of the people who live in your house.
But since we're all about reality motherhood here at Guilty Chocoholic Mama, I'm going on the record and saying that a lot of the jobs we "just" do are jobs we would be happy to "just" not do.
Dusting comes to mind.
Still, there are some mom jobs* I wouldn't trade for any 401k or travel expense account or over-the-top performance review. Namely...
1. Waking my girls up on a snow day to tell them they get to go back to sleep. (Re: #4 on this winter to-do list.) If you're wondering why I don't just let my girls sleep in and deliver the happy news when they get up, I'll tell you. (Actually--clearly--I'm going to tell you whether you're wondering or not.) My daughters want it this way. If there's any chance they might have a snow day (but we don't get the news the night before), they set their alarms as usual and hope I'll come in ahead of those alarms to tell them their prayers have been answered with a "yes." Their reasoning--which I cannot argue with--is that they'd rather set an alarm they might not end up needing and have me wake them up to tell them good news rather than not set an alarm and have me wake them up to tell them school is on and please don't cry about it.
2. Being the privileged sole member of the audience when my daughter plays her clarinet in competition. My high-school junior clarinetist has taken part in Solo & Ensemble every year since 7th grade. When she performs her solo, she allows a viewing gallery of just one: me. Last year, I told the crowd of supporters clustered around her performance room, "Sorry, but other than the judge, you only get to be in this room if you've given birth to Lydia." Which, on account of her birth being facilitated by The Supreme Evil of All Evils (a.k.a., Pitocin), seems only fair.
3. Feeding my family. I could do without making school lunches every day, and I absolutely can identify with my own mom, who got to the point where she said if she never had to come up with another family dinner idea the rest of her natural life, that would be just fine with her. But in general, cooking--fine, BAKING--for my family feeds my soul because I know it feeds theirs. When my girls get home from school after a tough day, and I have homemade secret-recipe chocolate-chip cookies waiting for them, it makes things better. It just does. I know the "experts" say you're not supposed to use food for comfort. But I'm going with THE Expert on this one: "Then she ate something, and her face was no longer downcast." (See 1 Samuel 1:18.)
4. Vacuuming. The instant-gratification queen of household chores. Plus, I just like sucking stuff up and seeing it disappear. Although, note to self: when the current vacuum cleaner bag needs emptying, don't forget to pick through it for whatever shiny thing that was that was hiding in the rag rug upstairs, which may or may not have been a piece of heirloom jewelry.
5. Taking care of my girls when they're sick. Of course I don't want them to be sick. And I'm not talking about the, er, yuck-type stuff here. But I love the chance to hold my girls, smooth their hair, comfort them, say "poor baby," and know that, like most kids, what they want most when they're sick is their mama.
6. Going to parent-teacher conferences. I am beyond grateful that my girls have healthy minds and that they are capable of doing well in school if they work hard. I well understand that going to conferences is a torment for some parents, and my heart goes out to them. I do not take for granted that generally speaking, my girls like their teachers, and their teachers like them, and so conferences are usually a mutual exchange of pleasantries. I tell my girls' teachers the nice things my daughters have said about them, and their teachers tell me nice things about my daughters, and it's all quite enjoyable.
7. Counseling. I've written in bios for guest posts on other blogs that I'd be able to afford the farmhouse sink I want for my kitchen if I got paid psychotherapists' fees for the emotional support services I provide for my children most days. But from after-school updates to bedtime chats, I have the honor and privilege of hearing the deepest parts of my girls' souls. This means I get first crack at the bad and the ugly...but also the good.
8. Brainstorming and buying gifts. Whenever I wait in anticipation for Lydia and Anna to open a gift I know they'll love, I'm hit again by this truth: "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" (Matthew 7:11, Holman Christian Standard).
9. Dishwashing. I have and use a dishwasher, but I still do plenty of dishes by hand because this is how I get my reading in. Give me a novel on audiobook and a sinkful of suds, and I'm pretty relaxed. Really, I am. A study in the journal Mindfulness says so: do dishes by hand and reduce your stress level by 27%, apparently. Mercy. Think what more of a mess I'd be if I let the dishwasher do everything.
10. Chauffeuring. Now that I have a responsible teenage driver (see "7 Reasons I Love Being the Mom of a Teenager), I don't do this as much as I used to, which is probably why I like it more than I used to. Car conversation is a thing, plus Lydia and I learn most of the duets we sing together in church while we're en route somewhere. Multitasking, music, and movement, mama.
So these are the mom jobs I most love to do. Of course, there are plenty of mom jobs I'm not crazy about and, in fact, do not do. For a list of those, head over to Lose the Cape (which had me at their name...love it). Thank you, oh capeless moms...I feel right at home among you.
Boxes of dark chocolates with none of those weird jelly centers to my fellow Facebook moms who shared the jobs they wouldn't hand off...besides showing me I'm not alone in my favorites, you added some I hadn't thought of: spiritual life-coaching; boo-boo kissing; and being your kids' biggest cheerleader. Yes to all!
This post may have been shared at some of these blog bashes.
*I know: these don't have to be mom jobs. Someone living in this house other than me could do most of these. But I do them here, and I'm the mom, so in our family, these are mom jobs.