Mastering The Mundane

I am unashamedly obsessed with television. I secretly would love to work on the set of a TV show. My mom worked in television for most of my childhood, and it has always intrigued me.

TV writers are brilliant. I am amazed how they can create entertaining shows with perfectly timed comedy and drama plots that feel so very real.

And I appreciate when shows tackle real life issues and open up dialogue in a smart and engaging way.

Perhaps no show does that better than Blackish. With racial tensions at possibly an all-time high in my lifetime, Blackish does an incredible job addressing these issues in the most hilariously thought-provoking way. It also shows the funny side of marriage and family. It’s an all-around quality show!

On the most recent episode, Pops (played by Laurence Fishburne) is teaching his granddaughter karate in a dysfunctional Karate Kid style way. He says something to her that struck a chord with me…mostly because I weirdly love quotes…and because it’s a profound truth in motherhood:

“Master the mundane. Achieve the extraordinary.”

There is such a tension in motherhood between having so many daily tasks and obligations…and none of it really mattering in the scope of life.

Laundry must get done. But laundry doesn’t change the world.
Meals must be cooked. But food doesn’t leave a legacy.
A house must get cleaned. But cleaning doesn’t change people’s lives.

These tasks are never ending…must be done…and yet don’t seem to have any long term value.

For many years, this reality bothered me. I have big dreams of doing great things. I want to leave a legacy. I want my life to count. Life is so short, and I want to spend my life on what matters.

And yet I find myself folding laundry. Again.
Staying up late to mop the kitchen. Again.
Scraping toothpaste out of the sink. Again.
Running to the grocery store. Because my people need to eat. Again.

One night, as I was loading the dishwasher (again), I had the thought that changing the world looks an awful lot like little sacrifices of love. And perhaps those little sacrifices actually do count after all.

The very best kind of love is sacrificial love. Doing the mundane chores of everyday life will never be celebrated and noticed, but it matters deeply to children. Even when they don’t know it. Even when you don’t feel it.

Master the mundane. Achieve the extraordinary.

Pops’ words echo in my mind as I clean up spilled water. And run the bath. And drive to football practice.

A home cooked meal feeds the soul.
Clean clothes feel safe and warm.
A cozy home provides security and belonging.

My life feels very mundane most days. It feels very daily. It feels very sacrificial.
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Photo cred

But the mundane matters.

The little sacrifices may go unnoticed (gosh, do they go unnoticed), but they are invaluable. They count. And they will change the world.

Raising awesome children who know home to be a safe, wonderful place will have the foundation to do great things in life. My life matters.

My sons and daughter will see me loving them well and will, in turn, love their children well. I will leave a legacy.

And one day these precious little children who destroy my home, drain my budget, and take my energy will be grown.

And my home will be clean. My sinks shiny. My laundry pile small. My Costco membership canceled because the food expires before we can eat it.

And I will have plenty of time to achieve all of the big dreams I’ve sacrificed to love my children well and serve them with my whole heart.

In the meantime, I will create space for pursuing my dreams in the pockets of time I have. I am not waiting on my children to grow up for my life to begin. On the contrary, by investing in my own passions now (even in small ways), I am laying a foundation to enjoy the second half of my life as much as the first!

I will continue to dream. I will continue to make space for myself.
But I will not discount the mundane. And I will not see the dailyness of life as an interruption to real living.

“For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.”
– William Ross Wallace

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