May 282013
 

Sisters and brothers- summer is coming. Momotony (doing things all day that just get undone and then doing the same things the next day and the next and the next and…) is on its way. Let’s prepare…and let’s remember how our Momastery got its name.

 

 A new monk in a monastery had just finished his breakfast. Finding the master alone, he approached him and said, “What is the meaning of life?”

The master replied, “Have you had your breakfast yet?”

“Yes,” the monk said.

“Then go wash your bowl.”

Part of my work is writing. I write to tell my truth and it’s a calling and a privilege.  I’ve been told that the most revolutionary thing one can do is introduce people to each other. This is how walls are broken down, prejudices are shattered, and peace is slowly built. That is why I feel honored and grateful to be a writer. By sharing my truth through my writing, others have felt inspired to share their stories with me, and that exchange has helped us to see that we belong to each other.

But the other part of my work is the work I do as a mother and that work sometimes makes me feel isolated and lonely. A mother’s work is the application of a thousand unnecessary Band-Aids and the sweeping and re-sweeping of the same kitchen floor. The folding and creating of little laundry piles. The refereeing, and car-pooling, and dinner burning, and constant cheering on the sidelines at soccer games. Being a mother is a little like Groundhog Day. It’s getting out of bed and doing the exact same things again, and again, and yet again—and it’s watching it all get undone again, and again, and yet again. It’s humbling, monotonous, mind-numbing, and solitary.

It’s a monk’s work. Mothers are like monks. We do manual labor. We serve others. We nurse the sick. We feed the hungry and comfort the sad. We sing. We teach. We pray and practice, practice, practice patience. The work of a mother is repetitive. We fold the clothes, we wash the bowls, and we sing the same song and read the same bedtime story night after night.

But that work is our prayer. We express our love through service, so that service becomes a spiritual discipline. As mothers, we devote our lives to love and ask for nothing in return but peace and joy for our children.

So, mothers, the next time someone asks, “What did you do today?” Please take the time to answer accurately. You did not “clean the bathroom.” This response would be like Annie Leibovitz saying, “Oh, I stood around and pushed some buttons.” No. Today you did the holy work of raising human beings. With each word spoken or unspoken, with each offering of forgiveness, you show your children what it means to be brave and kind. The mundane becomes holy, the ordinary extraordinary.

Whenever I feel all alone in the work of being a mom, I think of monks in a monastery—living in community, doing their holy work together—and I picture all my fellow mother monks in their own little monasteries around the world. I imagine us folding together, wiping bottoms together, drying tears together, scrubbing toilets together, sweeping together, spraying together, scrubbing together, and blowing kisses together. And I imagine us all together, after a long day of holy mother monk work, relaxing on the couch and watching some quality television—like “Wife Swap” or “Real Housewives.” Because really, we don’tactually live in monasteries and TV-watching might also be a spiritual practice.

So moms, the next time you feel lonely in the work of motherhood, remember, we are all in this together. Together, we are doing something beautiful: the sacred work of shaping humans and creating the future.

 

*thank you to the brilliant Monkee who coined the word “momotony” a few weeks back. PERFECTION!



Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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  110 Responses to “On Momotony and Sacred Work”

  1. ” Holy mother monk work, the sacred work of shaping humans and creating the future! Imagine us folding together, wiping bottoms together, drying tears together, scrubbing toilets together, sweeping together, spraying together, scrubbing together, and blowing kisses together. ”
    Thank you for such encouraging and comforting images! You rock!!

  2. […] and then today, for some reason Momastery posted a link to her post from last May.  again, so in line with my theme lately…. On Momotony and Sacred Work […]

  3. Excuse me, G, are we the same person?

    I would just bet that on the Enneagram you are a 9 and on the Myers-Briggs you are an INFP…everything you write screams of me, and no one loves or hates herself more than I do! I am the absolute best and worst…joy and pain…

    What you describe is the sin of sloth, not laziness, but sloth…if you have not read about the Enneagram it’s so darned cool!

    We are who we are…we have to deal with it and so do the people who care about us…and we care about everything!

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  6. I wanted to tell you that this post has truly been life changing for me. When I find myself grumbling, “I can’t believe the WHOLE kitchen is full of dirty dishes AGAIN I just washed them!” or anything else along the line of the never-ending cycle of dishes, shopping, cooking, diapers, etc that is motherhood I can stop and breathe and I can know that the work I’ve been charged with is sacred. I give thanks for my family and the blessing of taking care of them, for my beautiful home and the privilege of being a steward of so many lovely things and so on and so forth. It has made me calmer and happier. It helps me be a better mom and wife. It has been an amazing blessing to me. Thank you for helping give me such a clear perspective!

  7. What a blessing this is….such a kind reminder that we are doing God’s work in the purest sense. On those days that I grow weary I will remember this post and of course share it to comfort other new moms. Thank you.

  8. I needed this today. Thank you.

  9. I really love this post – thank you. When I’m getting too caught up in things I love to come and read your posts and strip back life. The simple things are important – I need to get caught up in those x

  10. […] The days are monotonous (or momotonous) sometimes. With four children under seven and homeschooling, the days can blur together. So can the hours. But it is nice to be reminded of our lofty goal. Of God’s hand in the ordinary. Have a read for yourself. […]

  11. Right on! Thank you for this reminder! I have to print it out and post it on my fridge :)

  12. After weeks of feeling “just not quite myself,” this post brought a rush of tears as self-imposed weight lifted from my back. I so often feel frustrated by the momotony and guilty for my frustration. Thanks for your message.

  13. I had no idea I wasn’t alone. I thought I was just a bad mom who didn’t love her son enough, didn’t try hard enough, or just wasn’t good at this mommy thing, because I think it’s super hard. And lonely. And I didn’t know anyone else who talked about the same feelings. Thanks for being honest.

    • Lindsey,
      You are never alone! Whatever you feel is real, and you can be sure there are other’s feeling the same way. Perfection is an illusion, you are loved just the way God made you!

  14. This is such a powerful message. I have always felt like I was doing God’s work in raising my children, but I had never likened my simple daily tasks to a type of prayer. Your words are going to stick with me for a very, very long time.

  15. […] Speaking of work and finding joy in it, how about the work of Mom?  Glennon shared a fantastic perspecitive on the work of the mother based on a word one of her readers coined-”Momotony.” Do you know this kind of work? As summer days stretch out long before you, the momotony may threaten to take away your joy in the purpose and heart of mothering. Take a minute to read this: “On Momotony and Sacred Work.” […]

  16. I am inspired and recommitted to finding the holy in the simple, monotonous things of life. I comforted by your words that I am not alone, even when I feel lonely so often. I teach (a lonely field sometimes) and help raise our sweetie of a 7 year old guy with special needs (very lonely) with a over worked husband (also lonely). Just about finished with “Carry on Warrior” and felt like I was listening to myself. I am so grateful that your book on CDs called to me on the bookshelf!

  17. Thanks for writing and for your holy work.

  18. Thanks…I really need this today. :)

  19. […] Glennon: On Momotony and Sacred Work […]

  20. Great post. But it makes me wonder if you are a fan of the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise? Yes, I know it is shallow, but I love it!

  21. […] other day I read and re-posted Glennon Melton’s excellent screed on the sacred monotony of parenting. And it got me thinking about how I respond when people ask me […]

  22. […] read this post on Momastery and was screaming, “Yes!” (in my head, of course). The work that we do as […]

  23. This post reminds me so much of my favorite singer/songwriter Carrie Newcomer’s song “Holy as a Day is Spent.” My favorite line from that song is “Folding sheets like folding hands. To pray as only laundry can.” Beautiful.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qZyoRiBteI

  24. I hadn’t read this last night, but as my husband and I were picking up toys at 8pm as usual I started singing, “So put your little hand in mine.”

  25. Oh, God, I needed this post. Summer vacation starts today and I can’t seem to get out of bed. I know why, of course. Here, in my comfy bed, I am alone. Probably for the last time today. Being at the beck and call of three kids is a burden that is hard to manage sometimes. Today I will shift my perspective and see it as the holy work of growing human beings. It might work. Today I do battle with the momotony knowing I won’t win, but loving my kids anyway.

  26. Glennon,

    I read your post about momotony this morning. I read it, enjoyed it, pondered over it for a few seconds (that’s all the seconds I had before the whirlwind day started blowing around) and I went about my normal professional workday and Mommy routine.

    By the end of the night, after the last pajama was on, the last book read, and the last cuddle time of the evening was done… After the last dish was not washed (I can’t always do all the dishes!), as I sit on my bed with my laptop, finishing off some work and Mommy volunteer emails, as I finally get ready to sleep, I realized that today was a much “better” day than usual. I say “better” because, it wasn’t much of a difference from the usual routine, yet it was very different. Why and How was it different? you ask…. Well, after some introspection, I attribute it to this post from you this morning. I didn’t even know it during the time, but I was operating on a different level today. I was operating with a different pair of “perspectacles”. The monotonous routine I’ve got going day after day is priceless. I work hard, serving my community, being an example to my children that my professional responsibilities and the families I serve is important and valuable. AND the stuff I’m doing for them, my three lovely children: the PTA volunteering, the fight mediating, the helping of the using the bathroom duties while I am yet to finish an entire meal is… for each of them.

    The momotony of it ALL is helping to “build” and “create” my children into big children/citizens of this brutiful world. So thank you for sharing your words that led me to this revelation! =) On that note, this tired Mama is going to bed with a victorious smile on her face versus a frustrated, mad at the world face.

    Goodnight Monkee Loves!

    ~ Anne

  27. I now work from home around the kids (very lucky) but before that when I was asked what I did, sometimes replied, “I run a small boutique hotel.”

    Mothers (and dads) do an amazing job. If I could change anything about that time it would be to remember that even small boutique hotel managers occasionally need a break!

  28. Well you just made me cry. Now back to the HOLY laundry. ;)

  29. “Momma Zen” by Karen Miller. Check it out. Helps keep the groundhog days on perspective!

  30. This makes me feel less lonely today. It is holy work, isn’t it.

  31. Glennon,
    You make me think maybe, just maybe, I can do this. Thank you.

  32. Love this post, but then I love them all! However, I found this particularly inspiring. I read it today on my lunch break at work, and picked my kids up from school after with a renewed sense of purpose in my role as mom. If mothering is like being in a monastery, then my “meditation” time with my little monkees is reading to them at night before bed. Just makes all the rest fade away and ends the day on a peaceful note. However, I’ll be working on appreciating the cooking, cleaning, refereeing and the rest as well since they are part of the whole that is our work. Thanks for your inspiring words, now back to carpool…

  33. Here’s a little secret: I’m terrified of summer and almost every day I want to post on Facebook, “I love dropping my kids off at school!” I have four littles, two school-age and two boys at home, and summers for us have a history of being difficult because our eldest daughter craves routine, structure, predictability, intellectual challenge, and so many things that summer doesn’t easily provide. Anyway, this post is a great reminder. Our work is holy. It is for the good of the world. It is for the good of each other. It is for the good of our children and for us. I love reading what you have to say, and I appreciate your transparency Glennon!

  34. First of all, I am new to your blog. I found you because (you aren’t going to believe this) but our school counselor (!) directed me to your book because my daughter reminds her of you. That’s a compliment, because my daughter is awesome.

    Second of all, thank you for this. The other day my husband asked me what I did and I actually said, “I raised humans…what did you do today?”

    And this, even before I found you.

    It was meant to be.

    Looking forward to much more–and for your book to arrive from Amazon in 5-7 business days.

    Blessings,
    Sandy

  35. Um, am I the only mom who doesn’t pack lunches for the kiddos and lets them eat the school lunch??! I ate the school lunches and turned out to be a healthy adult. I think if I had to pack lunches every day I’d DIE. A slow and painful death. I conserve my resources for cooking nutritious meals most nights. Baby steps…

    • I convinced my boys that I didn’t know how to get out of buying them a school lunch to let them bring in their own. By the time they were old enough to question the logic of that, they were also old enough for me to insist they could make their own if they wanted to. The older one graduates from high school this weekend, and he doesn’t carry any grudges or show any signs of malnourishment. ;)

  36. Thank you for this today. Perfect timing. After spending 10+ hours in a vehicle this weekend to attend a family wedding, and at the wedding/reception/dance, not being able to visit with anyone because I was constantly running after a 1 1/2 y/o, I was feeling a little lonely amongst all the people. If I’m totally honest, I was feeling a bit sorry for myself. My parents reassure me that one day I will have a social life again. I’m crossing my fingers!

    On the other hand, I danced the night away with, probably, my favorite dance partner ever, my daughter.

  37. My sweet friend Diane preached this often. She lost her battle with bi-polar disorder 18 months ago, and though the end of her life was a dark place, I know that deep inside she always knew of her sacred work as a mother. I pray that her son knows that she truly believed that.

  38. This was the perfect post for me today. My husband told me today that he got a raise and if I want, I can quit my school SLP job in two weeks and stay home with our little ones. While I really do want to spend these years with them, it scares me a little to give up my career (temporarily) and the feeling of accomplishment that comes from finishing tasks that won’t be undone as soon as naptime is over!

  39. I need to read this every day.

  40. Looking back as a mother of grown-children, with a 22-month-old granddaughter, and a grandson on the way any day now, I say, “Bravo, Glennon!” Only when Mothers realize the sacred importance of their job of raising children to be loving, giving members of society, will the rest of the world credit them with doing important work as well. There is no more important job anyone can do than take part in creating the people who will create the future of our world. As the country song says, “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” I feel my most enormous sense of accomplishment about raising my daughters to be the loving, caring, contributing young women they are. I did holy work and cannot imagine anything more important.

  41. Loved this!! thanks for the reminder as we gear up for summer :)

  42. Oh, so true. As I sit here instead of doing all those things I should be doing, I can feel somewhat accomplished because of this enlightenment. I’m one of a whole doing sacred work. Thank you Glennon, yet again, for making things a bit more beautiful.

  43. Thank you for all you offer the community of moms. I appreciate and agree with what you’re saying. I only wish our home were more like the atmosphere of a monastery! Our youngest child cries and screams A LOT. He’s almost four but cannot cope with his emotions and frustrations. I, too, get bored with the same old, same old. But, with our other two children I was able to handle it and try to get through the mundane quickly (I drink lots of coffee and have a hyper disposition! LOL) so I could move on to more exciting things that fulfill me. Our youngest started this behavior at 18 months old so we’re going on about 2 1/2 years of very draining, extremely discouraging and upsetting days, weeks, months, years….. We have no family to help us out and give us a break. Sorry to be the sour puss – I truly used to be a positive person and could see any glass at least half full. Just thought I’d share a bit of my story. Thanks again.

    • Dear Lorri
      That sounds incredibly draining. No wonder you are struggling! Can I ask if you have had your son checked by a doctor? The timing of his behavioural change & the challenges you are coping with remind me a lot of my friend’s little boy, who has been diagnosed with autistic spectrum problems. I’m not a doctor but it couldn’t do any harm, just in case x

    • Lorri, feeling for you, sweetie. I can FEEL your struggle. My son was really high-strung and tantrum-y as a two and three year old. He outgrew it once he turned four, and is a very settled, calm five year old now. I know sometimes it’s something more, but I also think some kids just have really long, drawn-out Terrible Twos periods. For what it’s worth, just wanted to share. Big hug.

  44. I love this! Please do remember to include all parents, however, not just mothers…my stay-at-home husband does all the same stuff you listed above for our son. I’ll tell him tonight that he’s a monk :)

  45. […] coughs.  During that quiet time, I also read a nice reminder from Glennon that in all this “momotony” I am not alone.  I needed that too.  A little bit of ordinary extraordinary to get me […]

  46. “But that work is our prayer. We express our love through service, so that service becomes a spiritual discipline.”

    Yes! Breathing in the truth of these words.

  47. Today this could not be more relevant – i am home with one sick child and the other one still little so she stayed home from pre-school in sympathy, after a very loooong weekend of squabbling. Thanks for the lovely post and the reminder why we are doing this. x

  48. […] is a slow moving, snotty nose, and never ending demands kind of a day. I read a beautifully written essay by the incredible Glennon Melton. Please read it if you get a chance. It is such a powerful way to […]

  49. I now experience this in a different way. I have an appreciation for both homeschooling and institutional schooled mothers and how each deals with the monotony differently or based on their personality.
    My real job is showing up to life- in whatever form I am…mother, wife,commentator, teacher, or simply just me.
    I have my children home everyday because we homeschool…but in a very unconventional way…I mostly love it. They help with the monotony because each of them has jobs too. We run the household together. It’s not perfect and sometimes I long for the quiet, but most days it is so enriching to just witness their growth, their play, their imagination, their hard work, and their chores improving with pride. I have found new appreciation for cleaning the bathroom by watching my 8 year old son proudly tell me how to do it “properly” and with joy… I probably sound the opposite of what I am – a 29 year old, mother of three (the eldest ten), very unconventional, stylish (id’ like to think so anyway) and I don’t homeschool for religious reasons. Moms say to me, “I could never do it…homeschool my children.” Or “You are so lucky to be able to have that choice.” We each have choices…a smaller home to be able to do what we do or a bigger home with less flexibility…or sometimes it is not a choice. When we crunched the numbers it is cheaper for me to homeschool my children and get provincial aid and government subsidies than to go to work and have children in school…that was part of our choice….but it was never about luck. I did not think I could do it…and I am NOT strictly pro homeschooler. I see many benefits to my friends choices of school. Simply for our family it was a conscious choice for many reasons…and it makes my life easier in some ways and tougher in others. The first year was aweful. It was a whole new way of parenting and mothering. It felt like I entered the work force at home. but then we found our groove and became the household that suited our personalities. Even when they are home though the monotony does get to me. Not as much as it used to because they make me laugh, cry and share the household load with me. I teach them how to pay the bills, take out the trash, load the dishwasher properly ect ( the boys get the same responsibilities as my daughter) but I remember what life was like when they were in school, and just like the mothers who admire me for homeschooling (there is a bit of contempt too but lets just ignore that:) I ADMIRE mothers who put there kids in school. I did it for two years and it ran me ragged. Picking up, packing lunches, adhering to other’s rules for my kids, carpooling, signed forms, playdates, feild trips…oh my! So much running. I could not do it. Homeschooling was a desperate attempt (at first) to get some control…(not a truly admirable reason for starting but I needed it) I have lived both…and in different ways I admire both sets of mothers (schooled and unschooled) for doing what they need to do to survive the monotony and raise different types of children based on family needs, personality and individual and collective responsibilities.

    • Delete this one…I don’t know why half of it came up again. I must have pressed twice while writing? Sorry:)

  50. I now experience this in a different way. I have an appreciation for both homeschooling and institutional schooled mothers and how each deals with the monotony differently or based on their personality. Sometimes I feel we as women divide ourselves between “working and non” or “homeschooling and non” when in reality it is varied for each person in every situation and also similar in each situation. We need people who belong to the same category to encourage us and women who are not in the same category to encourage with a different perspective. And we can only speak from our own stories and experiences. Could our real job be showing up to life- in whatever form I am…mother, wife,commentator, teacher, or simply just me?
    I have my children home everyday because we homeschool…but in a very unconventional way…I mostly love it. They help with the monotony because each of them has jobs too. We run the household together. It’s not perfect and sometimes I long for the quiet, but most days it is so enriching to just witness their growth, their play, their imagination, their hard work, and their chores improving with pride. I am not lonely most days. I have found new appreciation for cleaning the bathroom by watching my 8 year old son proudly tell me how to do it “properly” and with joy… I probably sound the opposite of what I am – a 29 year old, mother of three (the eldest ten), very unconventional, stylish (id’ like to think so anyway) and I don’t homeschool for religious reasons.

    Moms say to me, “I could never do it…homeschool my children.” Or “You are so lucky to be able to have that choice.” We each have choices…a smaller home to be able to do what we do or a bigger home with less flexibility…or sometimes it is not a choice. When we crunched the numbers it is cheaper for me to homeschool my children and get provincial aid and government subsidies than to go to work and have children in school…that was part of our choice….but it was never about luck. I did not think I could do it…and I am NOT strictly pro homeschooler. I see many benefits to my friends choices of school. I fit in less with the local homeschooling community than the schooled. Actually, I probably fit into neither yet I appreciate both. Simply for our family it was a conscious choice for many reasons…and it makes my life easier in some ways and tougher in others.
    The first year was aweful. It was a whole new way of parenting and mothering. It felt like I entered the work force at home, but then we found our groove and became the household that suited our personalities. Even when they are home though the monotony does get to me. Not as much as it used to because they make me laugh, cry and share the household load with me. I teach them how to pay the bills, take out the trash, load the dishwasher properly ect ( the boys get the same responsibilities as my daughter)

    But I remember what life was like when they were in school, and just like the mothers who admire me for homeschooling (there is a bit of contempt too but lets just ignore that:) I ADMIRE mothers who put there kids in school. I did it for two years and it ran me ragged. Picking up, packing lunches, adhering to other’s rules for my kids, carpooling, signed forms, playdates, unnecessary homework, field trips, teacher interviews…oh my! So much running. I could not do it. Homeschooling was a desperate attempt (at first) to get some control…(not a truly admirable reason for starting but I needed it) I have lived both…and in different ways I admire both sets of mothers (schooled and unschooled) for doing what they need to do to survive the monotony and raise different types of children based on family needs, personality and individual and collective responsibilities. I also admire both sets of teachers- the mothers who know their children and are natural teachers of them, and the teachers who do not know the children but get to know them with many other students. Both are admirable in completely different ways. I just wish we could have more understanding communities where women can talk about their choices and non choices based on individual BEING and needs instead of feeling defensive or compared to. I find it admirable how with a few paragraphs you sponsor that noble goal. I loved this post. Thank you for BEING:)

    • Thanks for writing this Kmarie. I am so with you on this. I will be homeschooling my son next year and can’t wait. I too, find that the more time he spends at school, the less influence I have at home and the less we are all our best selves. I love our time together at home. I am very much like you describe yourself and will be homeschooling for the same reasons. Our REAL lives are here, everyday, our home, the world, that is REAL life for me. School is a complication really for us, thought I know this is not true for lots of families and lots of people are very happy with school and believe it to be the best choice for them. But once I realized it was a choice, I listened to my heart… my choice is home. My choice is freedom to show my kids the whole world on a schedule that works for US. I know it’s going to be hard some days especially as my sensitive, complicated son has some challenging moments, but I truly believe we will all be happier in the long run and that he will find himself again once he no longer has to conform to the culture of school, where he is so clearly unhappy. I love lots of the things you say about would love to talk with you more about it all. can you message me on facebook? shannon caldwell. Thanks!

      • I don’t have facebook ( That sounds so pompous and backwards doesn’t it? It’s only because I tried it and could not handle it…) But You can get a hold of me here and we can email ([email protected]) My children also had sensitive needs and two are on the high functioning autism scale. I LOVE having them home (after I adjusted) and their issues have gone down from extreme to mild…they needed to be in a safe environment at home where sensory issues were controlled a bit more. A book that really helped was Monoculture by F.S. Michaels (It changed my perspectives on school ect.) Anyway we can chat more on email:)

        • Not pompous or backwards at all – just makes me like you even more because it is a constant trap for me which I can’t seem to pull the plug on! I do seem to be able to just skim it a few times a day now, so that’s a good thing. It was bad at first. In terms of sensitivities, I suspect my son may be on the mild-end of the spectrum as well (we are having an assessment done next month) and seeing how intense things have become over the past year has been really unsettling and disconcerting. My son once said to me about school “I can’t be myself there.” which pretty much says it all. I will e-mail you. Thanks!

  51. I love this. I also wanted to add – please don’t forget about the dads! My hubs has two of the most precious kiddos from another marriage, and he does these things EVERY DAY. He plays soccer in our living room while checking over homework and untangling a necklace and he loves every minute of it. I try to be helpful, but he’s just so darn good at it…and he SMILES while he does it. I can’t really live up to those standards. Soooo I just smile too. And kick the ball here and there when it’s offered. My time will come, but I’m in awe of him right now. And all of the moms and dads whose kids have NO IDEA how tired they are.

  52. I read this as I made what I feel confident will be the first of many single-serving microwave Rice Krispie treats today. I don’t know if there’s any scientific backing to my sugar equates patience theory, but I’m willing to go with it if it helps me be a slightly better person today than I was yesterday. Feeling less alone, though, I’m more sure of. That helps. Thank you for that.

    • Wait – what? The recipe please! What proportions do you use to make a single serving Rice Krispie treat? All this other stuff, Glennon’s post and the comments, it’s good too, but a single serving RK could be life changing for my family….

      • You are right on the money with the life changing but. Check it – two handfuls of marshmallows in a bowl, microwave for 30 seconds, stir in two handfuls (feel free to play with this measurement) Rice Krispies, and shove into your face without sharing. The marshmallow hardens up pretty quick and I guess you could add some butter to stop that, but that’s too much work for me. Enjoy!

        • This is a beautiful recipe. I know what I am having for dinner tonight! YUM!!

        • I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the “shove into your face without sharing” part. As moms, I think we’ve earned that right every now and again. :-)

  53. and some days, we keep the kids out of the temple til almost bedtime so it can stay a bit clean longer. :)

  54. LOVED every bit of this post. It was the perfect read for my Tuesday morning of feeling over-worked and under paid as a…(you guessed it) mommy and wife. Sometimes we just need someone to say “Hey, I get it. I’m there too.”

    Thank you for sharing your gifts with us all. You are a huge blessing Glennon.

    Humbly,
    A new monk.

  55. This monotony is a struggle for me. While I am resistant to change and enjoy routine, the idea of making lunches AGAIN stresses me out! Taking your words to heart this morning, means that making lunches for my children to take to school is my way of nourishing them when they are out of my care. It’s my way of making sure that they feed their bodies with something nutritious each and every day. Thanks for the perspective…I needed it!!

  56. I just had this same thought this morning as the washing machine beeped, letting me know the load was done. As I was putting the clean clothes into the dryer, I thought “let that beep be like the bells of the buddist monks, or the bell of the church, calling me to remember the worthiness of my service, that what I am doing is as important to the daily lives of my children/husband/self as any other thing. Clean sheets to sleep on tonight, clean undies in the drawer, all matter too”. It reminds me of Gandhi trying to show people that the person who scrubs the toilets is as valuable and worthy and sacred as the one who runs the country. We all matter, What we do matters. When we remember that and see each person as important, from the deli clerk to the cleaners at the mall, to the doctor and the lawyer and the president, we can see the connection of all things. Maybe it’s hard to believe some days after being bossed around by a 4 year old non-stop, but in this moment, I remember and feel a little glimmer of joy! Thanks for putting it so eloquently G.

  57. Your words come, once again, with the most perfect timing. As I prepare for the end this school year and send my 4th graders out into the world as soon-to-be 5th graders, that ugly “mom-guilt” starts in with the . . .”have mercy, what am I going to do with my own three crazies all summer long” panic session. And, don’t even get me started on that disastrous inner voice . . .that’s a whole other session where I’d like to kick her tail. How in the world can I spend more waking time with other peoples’ children all year long, teaching, mothering, caring for, etc and have an absolute anxiety attack over the three I brought INTO this world. Heaven help me. Silly, isn’t it?!?!?
    So, yes.
    WE can do this. It is hard.
    And we might even raise our voices.
    But, we CAN do this.
    And the best part of all of it? We’re sooooooooo not alone.
    Love you, your words. . . . so crazy much. xo

  58. The repetitiveness…the way that the laundry gets folded, but never gets put away; or even more likley, the way it goes from dirty hamper to washer to clean pile on the floor to being worn ONCE, and then back to dirty hamper again…and on and on. Momotony times infinity – I’m there! And I wouldn’t change it for the world, because I love my kids more than anything else that exists.

    But here’s the thing. Full disclosure; I’m going to whine now. I have been feeling especially sorry for myself as a full-time-working mom lately, and having a hard time pulling myself out of it. For me (and, I believe for the vast majority of working moms with young kids), working is not a choice as much as a financial imperative – work, or don’t pay the mortgage. But while we’re out at work, there’s no-one at home doing the laundry and the dishes and the toilet-scrubbing and the groceries and the cooking and the keeping track of permission slips – on and on. Coming home from work just means starting Shift #2. And then there is the guilt of having to say “No, mommy can’t come to your field trip, I have to work; No, mommy can’t come to your 1:30pm Christmas program, I have to work; No, mommy cannot volunteer serving pizza on hot lunch day, I have to work”.

    I love Momastery and the lifting-each-other-up vibe, and Glennon’s take on so many important (and also less than important :) life issues – I’m here every day. BUT, I don’t feel like I see my unique struggles represented in Momastery and most of the other great “Mom” blogs out there that I often follow. I am surrounded in my little bedroom community by SAHM’s who I hang out with on weekends, and I love them and I hear and understand their struggles and I am not suggesting that their lives are easier than mine; I don’t want to add to the toxic female in-fighting that we all know to well. But I want to see MY situation reflected back at me a bit more, and see and hear and know that I’m NOT alone in feeling like in having to do everything, I’m FAILING. AT. EVERYTHING.

    Maybe I just need to give my head a shake and soldier on and stop feeling so sorry for myself – I realize that EVERYTHING I’m complaining about are First-World Problems, at the end of the day. But this all just came to the surface for me, reading this post right now, because going into summer – for me and I’m sure for many of use – is not a change from the usual; we are still going to work five days a week and the kids are going to an expensive childcare program, and life goes on.

    Thanks for listening :)

    • Me too. I work because of the financial realities, and also because I would not be a good mom if I was at home all day. I know that about myself. But there are days, especially days over Christmas break and the upcoming summer when I would really like to just be at home to play with my boys. And other days, I am glad to have somewhere to go other than home :) I am lucky to have a cirlce of “real world” girl friends who all work outside of the home and having them is a life-saver for me. Jeanette, maybe you could seek some out somewhere in your little community :) Being a mommy is hard, but having someone who understands your particular details of what is hard is important. Carry On Warrior!

    • SISTER. I KNOW WHAT WE NEED.

      we need you to write us a guest post about this. we need YOU reflected here because YOU are so many of us.

      whatcha think, mama?

    • me, too, Jeannette! I can’t be at home without being consumed by thoughts of what I have screwed up at work…I can’t be at work without being consumed by the guilt of not being at home…I am everywhere and nowhere with no effective positives at any one place. You are welcome to email me and I will be your real life girlfriend. Instead of working, we can use our office phones to commisserate and then add the slacking off time to the list of things to feel bad about later. :)

      paige (dot) laine (at) comcast (dot) net.

      • Me, too!! This full-time working momma thing is HARD.

        I’m so afraid that when my kids look back on their childhood, they will only remember the rushing and the yelling and how momma was always tired. I hate having to say No to the field trips and school concerts, and I hate that I have half an hour in the mornings and maybe two hours at best in the evenings to do all the things that have to be done every. single. day.

        And I get that “failing at everything” feeling, too. Ugh.

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jeanette, and I hope you take up Glennon’s offer to write a guest post :)

        • Ditto Jeanette and Kristyn! I work because I have to, we need the money. EVERY DAY, as I am rushing out the door, practically pushing the kids out in front of me, I wonder how I am ever going to make it through another day like this…and will my kids make it through another morning of me yelling? Is this how they are going to remember me when their school years are over? I am basically waiting for the other shoe to drop, where I just. can’t. do. it. anymore.

          PLEASE write the guest post!! PLEASE!

    • Jeannette, I’m right there with you. I’m the breadwinner in our house and know exactly what you mean by the “2nd shift”. I also am sad reading mom blogs focusing on summer knowing that I’ll still be at work Monday through Friday. You’re NOT alone.

    • AMEN JEANNETTE! After my first comment ever on the “persepcectacles” post, I was feeling pretty lonely. (Full disclosure: as I mentioned in my earlier comment, I don’t “have to” work, but oh boy, the family and I have found it takes a lot of funding to sustain our earthly desires!) Whether you’re a want-to, need-to or have-to, it’s nice to know there are other moms like me out there.

    • I’m right there with you Jeannette! I have a 6 yr old, just coming off kindergarten for our first full summer of me working and her in summer camp. I’m sad thinking about all the time I’ll be missing out on with her. And then I think….I have 12 more years like this!! ARGH! And the whole “2nd shift” thing is ridiculous sometimes. I’m beat down, tired, and feel I’m failing at everything too. I really wish I could not work, but can’t right now because of finances. Actually, one of my favorite essays in Glennon’s book was the one about when they sold their house and everything. I feel so much lately like my house and my stuff OWN ME! I hate it. I love my house and my neighborhood, but wish I could have less bills so that I could have more time. Unfortunately, my husband is not on board with that idea. So, for now I soldier on. Solider on to all of us. I’m happy to connect and think some guest posts by those of us working outside of the home mom’s would be great!

    • I definitely hear you, Jeanette! I am a single, full-time working mama of one. I may have only one child, but the responsibility of absolutely everything falls on my shoulders. Every. single. thing. I plan my week out (lunch hours, spare minutes between when I get off work and when daycare closes) as best as I can because each minute counts. It’s exhausting but I wouldn’t change a thing because my daughter is absolutely the best thing that has ever happened to me. I would love to stay at home to raise her, but not only am I the sole caregiver, I’m also the sole breadwinner. I wish things could be different, but they aren’t, and I’m just going to try to enjoy the moments I have with her…

      • Working mothers are a very special breed of women. I stand in awe of my children’s teachers, my dentist, my vet, and the incredible women who have worked along side my husband in his practice for the last twenty years. I think all the time, when I am overwhelmed or tired that my kids teachers, or my husbands surgical assistant did all the same stuff that I did today, and then tomorrow they will have to get their behinds going at 6:00 am whether they feel like it or not. I know that these women take great pride and pleasure in their working lives, but I am also keenly aware that not a single one of them works just for their own rewards.They support or supplement the family income in ways that are often not about choices. My hats are off to all of you. I really do not think that I could do it with the grace and commitment that I see in their lives on a daily basis.

    • Jeannette-I’m with you!! Thank you for your post!!

  59. sweeping the temple…

  60. After a brief vacation to the beach with the kiddos and hubby this past weekend and coming home feeling more tired, piles of laundry, an empty fridge, etc. I needed this post! I need another vacation too, sans kids – but, I remember the looks on their faces the minute their toes hit the sand and even got a little teary when my 6 year old made a fast friend and I got to watch them squeal in the ocean together as they approached the crashing waves. Makes it all worth while. Thanks for the reminder.

    PS – I finished your book while on the beach and I am forever grateful to have found it/you. It spoke to me like no other book has. Thank you for your words, your gift, your honesty. I am not alone ….or crazy:)

  61. we have a scripture that says “by small and simple things are great things brought to pass”. i like to think that applies to motherhood. a thousand small drinks of water= a well hydrated child; a thousand teeth brushed = healthy teeth; a thousand hugs and smiles= a child who knows he is loved. the small and simple things add up to great things.

  62. Thank you…..You totally get it!!

  63. SO helpful (challenging, encouraging, uplifting) as always.
    Your one line regarding “…work as our prayer…” struck me. I just wrote a post with a similar thought on practicing prayer through life/action with our children http://wholedei.com/2013/05/20/pray-always/

    So thankful you are here, and that we can be here with you.

  64. Wow – I needed this. Thank you so much. I think I need to print this one out and keep it handy. :)

  65. Thank you Sweet G, for putting into eloquent words, what I feel.
    It helps me to understand myself, which is important. {hugs} from Winnipeg.

  66. thank you for your beautiful words and the important reminder. As a new mom to twins (!) I sometimes lose sight of what’s important in the midst of chaos. Have a blessed day

  67. I love this vision! I need this! Yes! Yes! And thank you for making me feel not crazy for feeling a lonely in this job.
    Grateful in Seattle…
    P.S. I loved meeting you at third place books. I was nearly too choked up to say anything and you wrote “what you do matters too” thanks love.

  68. So glad you posted this here on the blog. (I know some missed the facebook share of it)
    This has helped me adjust my mindset multiple times since I first read it.

    The other day, because of reading this, I also found myself feeling a wave of connection I never would have felt before while doing something mindless. Just think, if we all sent out little waves of love to each other when we remember we are all doing this sacred momotony TOGETHER.
    Imagine the love flowing like a soft blanket wrapping around the planet. <3

    Thank you again for this

    • Agreed! This connection is so comforting and in some ways energizing. Blowing kisses from Seattle!

    • btw
      I didn’t realize my ipad only had a “K” in the name field until after I hit submit

      Monkee love wave from Maryland :-)

  69. Love this reminder. I have a friend (a mom who stays at home) who, when asked what she does, answers, “I’m a civilizer.” I’m also a “stay-at-home-mom” and sometimes despair of knowing just what I did do all day …. one day I kept track and was greatly entertained by the results (http://buretachi.blogspot.com/2013/04/what-did-you-do-all-day.html); maybe some of you will be, too.

    Best of all are the words of Helen Keller (“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble.”) and Mother Teresa (“We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”)

    To Momotony, with Love!

  70. You are so amazing! I am constantly in awe of your ability to inspire and encourage! Thank you! Thank you!

  71. […] On Momotony and Sacred Work: I love this blogger, and her new book! One of the few mommy bloggers I can relate to… […]

  72. I love this image! Here’s a statement to go along with it:

    “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was duty. I acted and behold, duty was joy.” (Rabindranath Tagore)

    I thank the LDS prophet President Thomas S. Monson for bringing this statement of truth to my attention.

  73. Yesterday felt like forever being home all 5 of us! When I should have felt grateful for the time, I felt like the Screaming Neemy most of the day. I can only hope my children’s memories soften as we move further away from this time in their lives. Today is a new day and while I was short this morning with my teenager, tonight is a new night. I will try harder. Thanks for the encouragement! Love you!

  74. Thank you. The work of mothering as a constant prayer…oh how I love that image. Just as I was trying to figure out how on earth I was going to tackle the disaster that is my house and laundry baskets, you gave me the image I need to keep going. Bless you, sister.

  75. Ha- I just said a few weeks ago that the work I do at home is like “Groundhog Day”! It does help to remember that I am not the only one doing these things, and that all the seemingly mind-numbing tasks are part of the larger, important work of raising 4 kids. Thanks! *hug*

  76. Thank you! Needed this one especially today…been feeling very under-appreciated in my work as a working momma. This vision will help me this evening as I get home from and see the house torn apart, although the Mr. was home all day with the kiddies, and he leaves to go play sports and I am left with messy house and errands to run. Thank you Glennon for reminding me what I do is important and I’m not just a housekeeper on top of my ‘real’ job. :)

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