Some years ago, there used to be a young woman. She lived in an isolated outpost with two, then three, then four small children. All day long, she took care of her kids and the household. She cooked and homeschooled, herded and milked goats, made cheese, fed chickens and gathered eggs. She took care of all the dishes, laundry, diapers, and other humdrum chores.
In between, she took her children for walks, played with them, read to them, baked with them, and sometimes even did creative things like making soap and candles.
And boy, did she fail to appreciate herself and the magnitude of work she did for her family.
As you have probably gathered, I was that woman. At the end of an exhausting day, I would sit down, wipe my brow, and tick off on my fingers: “Well, that’s two loads of laundry done, soup cooked, cheese made, baths done, floor washed, and little ones in bed. Whew! I guess I’m not completely useless.”
When I look back, I just want to give that frazzled young mom a hug and tell her, “You’re far more than adequate. You perform a staggering amount of work. You deserve a lot more recognition for all you do, as well as a long bath without anyone pounding on the door.”
Despite the financial struggles, logistic difficulties, and overwhelming loneliness of those years, I wouldn’t trade them for anything. They were precious, and children only get to be little once.
There was something magical in living in the middle of nowhere and having my children run around hills with goats, sheep, and horses. And while I hope I will never have to struggle financially and emotionally so much, I will always cherish these strolls down memory lane.
If someone out there is reading this and is in a similar situation – small children, lots of work, not much money, not much external appreciation – please value and love yourself. You deserve it and more.