As the mother of an active and mischievous toddler, the majority of my days are spent taking care of him, feeding him, teaching him, and cleaning up his messes. I try to keep my house somewhat tidy, but if I’m being honest, the majority of the time it looks like this. We are teaching our toddler to clean up some of his own messes. Still, often after he goes to bed, I will just sit for a few moments observing the chaos around me. Then I will get up and begin putting things to rights again.
Usually by then I will have a very different mindset. I will start out feeling tired and overwhelmed. But as I begin putting away the forgotten toys and shoes, I am reminded of the bright, sweet, little boy who played with them. I am reminded of his active imagination, his loving heart, and his kisses and hugs.
As I see the toy trucks left in their various positions of repose, I feel joy and thankfulness. Thankfulness that we have a healthy, happy little boy who can play with them. Our house was silent for a long time, and we didn’t know if we would have children who would fill it with noise and laughter and chaos. Seeing these left out toys are daily reminders to be thankful for the small inhabitant who lives here.
The truth is, I love my life. I am doing what I used to dream of doing: staying at home full time. Caring for the house and taking care of our child. I think back on the days when I had hours to devote to reading or watching shows. Countless minutes to use in any way I wished. Having a child changes everything. It forces you to become more selfless, it shifts your priorities, and it takes a great deal of time and prayer and thought and wisdom and effort. I think back on those other days, but I do not wish for them back. When I have free time now, it’s profitable and more precious. And though I have less of it, I find the work I do now more rewarding than it has ever been.