For me, this applies to early motherhood and the current routine of bottles, nappies and pram hassle etc.
Perhaps for you it’s your job. Maybe your kids are older and it’s the routine you currently have being a parent at this stage. Perhaps it’s the cleaning, driving. The tasks you have to do every day that’s now become what you could say, (dare you say) the mundane; boring, unexciting, everyday.
Even if I’m the only one, I’m raising my hand way up high. Before you secretly wonder how I could ever associate being a Mum with the word mundane, let me reassure you that I absolutely love our daughter more than words can explain. And just to clarify, I’m not in any way saying that being a Mum or indeed parenting is mundane. I am simply identifying that within those roles, there are tasks that come with being a parent, where sometimes, some days, I am definitely finding certain things mundane. I’m just being honest. Not everything of course, I’m talking about the same things that I have to do, everyday.
I recently had one of those days.
I took a deep sigh and rolled my eyes to the back of my head when I glanced over at the growing stack of bottles that needed cleaning and sterlising. Not only did I have a pile of bottles to clean, but Ava also needed changing and a bottle making. I knew my day ahead consisted of repeatedly doing the same thing over and over again. And as I rolled my eyes, dragging myself over to the sink, feeling overwhelmed as my days before had consisted of pretty much the same- I had a revelation.
Soon all this routine will change. The things Ava needs from me now, will soon begin to deplete one by one in exchange for something else. Time is escaping from my grasp and she’s growing up rapidly before my very eyes.
In that moment, I made a conscious decision. To choose (because we don’t always FEEL like it) to find JOY in the mundane. To find joy in what we could choose to see as unexciting tasks- mundane, and instead CHOOSE to find JOY in those moments.
Call me crazy, but I actually smile and sometimes laugh while doing these things now. I smile because I know they wont last forever. I know I need to do them, and that the way I’m feeling in that moment, is exactly that- momentary. Those feelings will soon pass, and so for now, I’m challenging myself and you, to find and choose joy in the mundane. In whatever format that looks for you.
Here’s an insight into the way I choose to look at things now, when I’m having a mundane moment.
Can I guess how wet it’s going to be? -Soaking wet? Woops! You clocked that bulging nappy 5 minutes ago and have resisted the temptation to change it, leaving it on that little bit longer because you just can’t face another nappy?! C’mon guys- be honest!
Pretty dry?! Yes! Best parent award!
Is it a poo? (or CODE BROWN as we like to call it.) Can you change without getting it on baby’s legs and clothes, better still, can you change it singlehandedly? Bonus points! (because as soon as you release those legs, code brown goes everywhere!)
How neat have I managed to fasten the nappy today?
Determined to scrub those bottles till they are crystal clear!
Have I rotated the newly sterilised bottles with the old ones? (we have them all lined up in our house!)
How fast can you get bottles in the steriliser – wait for it, while making another bottle?! Fast becoming the queen of multitasking!
How quickly can I bring up a burp…and how responsive am I to dodging a ‘projectile’ before my clothes (and baby’s) are drenched in milk?!
Can I make it out of the house remembering to clean my teeth?
Have I managed to shower, and wash my hair today- even if it is the quickest shower I’ve ever had?
How quickly can I get the pram and car seat in and out – all the while making it look effortless?!
Can I manage to get it out without knocking my knee, bruising my arm and scuffing up my boot?! (I own a three door car so this is a challenge!)
How quickly can I get ready in a morning? And actually get out?
How quickly can I get Ava off to sleep when she’s due a snooze? Testing my rocking and nursing skills!
…the list goes on.
I’ve come to the point where I choose to see everything that I once viewed as mundane, as fun and enjoyable, and when accomplished, an achievement! I choose JOY.
Do you see a pattern here though? Every day (in my life- choose your own) consists of those daily tasks. Tasks that could be considered mundane at times. Your tasks will differ to mine, maybe yours have nothing to do with parenting as I mentioned earlier.
Irrespective of what your daily routine and tasks are though, a visible pattern appears. How quickly can we get them done?
In a world where everything is instant, it’s all too easy to fall into a pattern of wanting everything to happen at speed. For things to be done as quickly as possible. The saddening reality of this though, is that we miss so many key moments and opportunities. Have you ever stopped and thought- where has that morning gone? Where has that day gone?
What about, where has that year gone? Thought provoking isn’t it?
My revelation has taught me a valuable lesson and one that I’m grateful has come so early on into being a Mum. I don’t ever want to stand and say, where has that year gone, and actually struggle to remember where it’s gone. Yes, I’m aware time does pass far too quickly. Years seem like minutes in a lifetime. But I’m challenged to change my outlook and attitude towards daily tasks and most importantly, those relating to my family.
There have been days (I’m ashamed to say) where I’ve wanted to hurry one of Avas nap times along so I can tidy, clean, wash, write, read- just get something done. Even, just have ME time.
Each time I feel this way now, I make a conscious effort to remind myself of how quickly Ava is changing and growing. I don’t want to rush anything along. I don’t want to take these moments for granted.
Rushing through the mundane tasks have robbed me of seeing the joy in being a Mum so early on. And in doing so, I’ve lost time with my daughter and the enjoyment of this all important role- being a parent.
So instead, I choose to enjoy and savor these moments. Smiling through them and seeing each one as a privilege in being a Mum. I choose JOY when the negative thoughts of mundane creep in.
I choose joy because, there will soon be a time where she will fall asleep on her own, no longer needing my rocking and nursing services before bed time. There will soon be a time where she can hold the bottle, even feed herself, no longer needing me to rock her on my knee or lovingly gaze into her eyes as I hold the bottle. There will be a time where she doesn’t need me to help her go to the toilet, get in and out of the car and doesn’t need the pram anymore. Instead, she will be independent, wanting to do things for herself. There will be a time where I will have more time than I know what to do with; to shower, do my hair and things for me (I know ‘me time’ is important- another blog for another time)
Granted there will be days I’m exhausted beyond belief and feel like throwing the bottles not scrubbing. There will be days I feel like cutting corners- doing a whip round wash of the bottles before sterilizing- only to find bubbles at the bottom of every bottle. Worse when your husband finds them and realizes what you’ve done- busted! And there will be days like that for you and your daily tasks.
But see the joy- choose joy! Don’t try to rush through them so quickly that you miss the joy in those moments.
So yes, I accept my own challenge- instead of feeling like my current daily routine is a chore (and acting that way) I choose, to find JOY in the mundane.
What about you?