Being on Mom Duty

Scouting a photo spot with my nephew for an upcoming photo shoot. I imagine if he could talk he would say something like, "Aunt Ashley, why do you take so many pictures of me?  Let me just eat my lunch."

Over the last month we have been having my 12 year old sister in law stay with us for about a week at a time while her family tends to some extended family needs.  Between getting her off to school, helping with homework, and chasing around my one year old nephew, I cannot help but feel the true work of being a mom.

There are definitely and usually most days where I feel drained and about some serious birth control going on! 

But there are the few and occasional days where something out of the ordinary happens, and I have to step in as a temporary mom replacement.  And that is when I get that sense of greater purpose.  That I have been trusted and chosen to fully be in that moment to care, love, support, and encourage.  And suddenly nothing else in the world matters but being in that moment and being that comfort needed by a child {and even preteen!}. 

During this time of transitioning from being at home by myself to having a child running around a couple times a week, the house has gotten messier.  I no longer have consecutive days of working on projects before I have to put it all away so little hands will not get into it.  Things take longer to get done and laundry gets cleaned but rarely folded.

It would be an understatement to say that it drives me crazy!

This often gets to me and I wonder how mom's do it.  How do they function?  How do they keep a clean and orderly home? 

I used to think that being home with my nephew would allow me to still get stuff done around the house instead of being gone for the day to substitute teach.  But instead we are home, dirtying dishes, living and making the house a mess. 

I do get things done while being at home, like throwing in a load of laundry and starting dinner, but my time is no longer used to the same efficiency because the child's needs sometimes puts my to-do list on hold.

This has been something I have been struggling with and trying to figure out...until today when I caught a moment to dwell on it all and to consider some of the experiences I have had.  I have a choice in how I react, how I speak my words, and how often I get down on the floor to play.  Some of these small moments are life changing and I have an opportunity to be there to experience it with that child.

And suddenly I realized that it was okay that so many other things are being put on hold.  That this specific moment was more important than my agenda for the day.  Finishing up a project or redecorating no longer held the same value. 

Along with my goal for more simplified living and having less stuff around the house, I am seeing that being at home with little ones fits so much with this new mentality.  By having less projects and less things to worry about, I am able to live in a simple but still pretty home...but instead of always changing it up and making it perfect, like I have been used to for the past few years, I am learning that I am content with how things are. 

I am learning to be okay with less than perfect decor.  As long as I find it pretty and it allows us to function in a way that fits for our family, than on a day to day basis I am happy.

It is so easy to compare our homes to others.  But we often forget how our specific living situation differs from those that we see beautiful pictures from. 

 Me and my SIL

In this season of non-mommyhood but still a caregiver, I am learning a lot.  My attitude and desires are changing.  And I am finding a greater sense of contentment and purpose in my home.  I feel so thankful to experience and adapt to this way of living now, before we have the blessing of starting our own family one day. 

May we always be encouraged by the people who come in and out of our home, and be less focused on all the stuff.