When my husband comes home from work, he gives me a hug and often asks something along the lines of “How was your day? What did y’all do today?” Sometimes something obvious comes to mind like taking Noah to the park or to a doctor’s appointment. However, most days I am not really sure how to respond. I know that I am exhausted and have been busy all day, but I can’t exactly put my finger on what I accomplished.
This morning after I finished nursing Noah, I went to change his diaper. I noticed that the wipe container was empty so I found the refill package, refilled the container, put away the remainder of the refill, and began changing Noah’s diaper. Afterwards, I laid him down so that I could begin stripping the sheets off the bed that were several days overdue for a wash. All of a sudden it hit me: this is it. This is what I do all day. The invisible work of a mother.
When my husband comes home this evening the house will probably look the exact same as when he left. To the untrained eye it might seem as though nothing has been done. However, it takes hard work to maintain everything. Noah will have been fed and changed and played with all day. The dirty clothes will have been washed, the floors swept, the bed remade with clean sheets and the dishwasher unloaded and then reloaded with dishes from the day. I most likely will have even taken a shower, brushed my hair, and put on real clothes. No time will have been wasted. This work can often feel taken for granted. Even more frustrating is the fact that your efforts only become visible when you are unable to do everything. Unfortunately, dishes piled in the sink will always be more obvious than the absence thereof.
So to the other Moms who work hard all day to simply maintain everything: I see you. I want you to know that you are appreciated. When your spouse gets a clean shirt to wear to work the next day, your baby goes to bed with a full tummy and clean diaper, and some semblance of dinner was prepared, know that those are all fruits of your labor. As you hit the pillow exhausted tonight, remember that you spent your day taking care of the people you love the most. The work you are doing may not always be visible, but it is important.