02 Jul 2013

When they ask you what you did today

“So,” someone will inevitably ask you by the end of the day.

“What did you do today?”

And you can tell them about lists checked off and conference calls and the crock pot you had to run through the dishwasher and still rinse out by hand. You can tell them about the chips crushed into the carpet that you vacuumed out or the four rooms that you swept clean. You can tell them about trips to the library and loads of laundry washed and folded.

You can tell them about diapers and changes of baby clothes and potty training sessions.

You can tell them about breakfast burned and abandoned for bagels or the temper tantrum that raged all the way to the car and down the school corridor and into the classroom. You can tell about Dollar store bows and arrows and the breakdown the minute they inevitably broke down after only an hour of use.  You can tell them about Skype calls and text messages and deadlines ticking ever louder.

You can tell them about packing and families far away and road trip preparation and those two Target runs from yesterday.

You can tell them about the gum you cut out of someone’s hair or the temporary tattoo that seems to have morphed into something permanent on someone else’s cheek that you’ve tried everything to scrub off.

You can tell them about that last frustrating call for one more cup of water or kiss or paragraph of the book that never ends.

You can tell them about the last hour of daylight before bath and bed and comatose sleep. And how slowly the clock ticks toward nine.

You can tell them all this and it will be true.

Or you can tell them, “I changed the world today.”

You can tell them how you fought back the dark and held back the tide of all the broken, upside down bits and pieces and jagged names that this world will tsunami at our children.

You can tell them how you ran miles in the marathon of raising tiny humans who can make sense of their own emotions, choices, wants, fears and passions.

You can tell them that you stood in the gap, that you shone a light, that you cheered the loudest and sometimes it sounded like a second helping of Nutella spread thick on a slice of toast with a cup of hot, sweet tea.

You can tell them that you saved lives and dreams today.

That you learned how to listen and cry and open your arms to people who just five minutes earlier were pushing and pushing as hard against you as they will cling to you five minutes later. That you bandaged broken hearts and super glued a tender sense of self and hope and purpose back together again. Gently. Deliberately. With a shaking hand and a desperation you can hardly swallow past.

You can tell them that you made executive decisions that were questioned and challenged and ridiculed and sometimes accepted with bad grace and tears. But that you kept your head and your temper and you double dog dare any executive to top that kind of drama and guilt and determination all rolled up into a half hour chunk of the afternoon.

You can tell them you practiced brave like your life depended on it. Because it does.

You can tell them that you were artist, doctor, psychiatrist, beautician, chef, and personal trainer all in the space of one spin around the sun.

You can tell them that you were broken today. That you need to find a way to put yourself back together again before tomorrow.

You can tell them that you were beloved today. That you need to find a way to remember all this glory that will be starting up again tomorrow.

That you learned to sing today. That it sounded like Andrea Bocelli. Or Sara Bareilles. Or Lecrae.

You can tell them that you are brave, weighed down, broken, and brand new all in the same breath.

You can tell them that you have bruises, but that you wouldn’t trade them.

Not today.

And not for all the tomorrows.

And that will be the truth too.




{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    Amen sister.

  2. 2

    I love this post!! A change of perspective can change this tired, stressed-out mom into a superhero! Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement!

  3. 3

    truth. thanks, Lisa-Jo

  4. 4

    Bravo, beautifully said/written!

  5. 5
    AineMistig says:

    Amen and amen. Thank you for writing this, it’s perfect.

    This is just the sort of thing I was talking about in my bible study group yesterday — were you hiding in the curtains?

    The timing was perfect for my life today. I know you’ve got the Tired Mother’s Creed,
    But I think THIS will be what ends up on my kitchen wall.
    Thanks chica!

    PS: I also got an extra smile when you mentioned nutella. I grew up on the stuff, before I ever saw a commercial on TV for it. I’m glad to have it in my house with my kids now. And right before I read this, I was sad to realize we were out because I had wanted some! Seriously, are you sure you didn’t write this just for me? ;)

    Have a great night girlie. I’m picking up some nutella tomorrow. Have a slice with some for me til then. :)

  6. 6
    AineMistig says:

    Also, on another note….

    When things get crazy in my house, I tend to refer to it as, “I was ready to run off and join the gypsies!”

    If I ever do this, does this mean I get to go over to your house, gypsy mama? ;)

  7. 7

    thanks Lisa,
    I have been following your posts for a while and I really feel encouraged every single time. Thank you so much for sharing your life, your love and your struggles too…thanks for your honesty! I feel less crazy as a mommy, more supported and understood. So much recognition!!!!

  8. 8
    Cristin says:

    Love, love, love. You always provide fresh encouragement. Thanks! And Nutella? Ha! My kids eat it up before I ever get it. It’s ok to put it on toast daily for your kids, right?

  9. 9

    Needed this tonight…so much. Thank you for getting it.

  10. 10

    Oh yes, so well said. Tell them that!


  11. 11

    Just found you and am thankful you blog.
    :-) Julie

  12. 12

    I say amen sister. Yes, being a mother is a hard but rewarding job. Because its unpaid in the monetary sense, others don’t always recognise the worth and importance of what mothers do. The world seems to judge one’s worth by the amount employers are willing to pay for your services. Also, even us mothers tend to get so drained by the relentless demands that sometimes we lose sight of the bigger picture, namely that we are contributing to the building of God’s kingdom. Thank you for always reminding us of the longere term and eternal significance of our work as mothers.

  13. 13

    {Kathy} The answer, “I changed the world today” is going to be my go-to answer from now on….I am sick of answering the question, “So, what did you do today with the kids?” I have a tendency to be a bit snarky with my responses, but you have given me some sweet, positive answers.
    Thank you for blessing me today and giving me a new perspective.

  14. 14

    Thank you, Lisa-Jo! I have been suffering with a little bit of Mama Burnout the last few days (maybe weeks?) and you have started my day with a renewed sense of purpose. Thanks so much for your beautiful words and some perspective!

  15. 15

    Wow, can you write! Thanks for starting my day off right … :)

  16. 16

    it is SO hard to raise the smalls. i know this. i’ve got two older-now boys. and i keep my small nieces and nephews pretty regularly. my house is TRASHED when they are here. and everything takes longer. and i hear my name called one thousand times in 10 hours. and i break up fights and wipe bottoms and and and….but let me say, i teach public school. and i have come to believe that the single most important job on. earth. is raising these kids. being PRESENT in the daily. listening to them. making yourself discipline them and teach them when there are so many easy ways out. hang. in. there. you bet you are changing the world.

  17. 17

    Once again Lisa-Jo, you are a rock star and hit the nail squarely on the head. I love this…and the Sara video!!

  18. 18

    Thank you for all the wonderful blogs that reassure me I’m doing OK as a mom. :) I look forward to your thoughts each week.

    P.S. for removing temporary tattoos or band-aid residue, the bath oil Avon sells (skin-so-soft) works every time for me!

  19. 19
    Stephanie says:

    Well said! Thanks for making me smile this morning.

  20. 20

    That was beautiful, thank you!

  21. 21

    Brilliant! Thank you!

  22. 22

    Tears. Happy tears that someone else understands and is brave and beautiful enough to say it to herself, to me, to us all.

    Thanks for reminding me that I am more than a dish-washer, butt-wiper, meal-maker, fort-fixer, floor-sweeper, milk machine!!

    I am hero. I am mama. All by God’s strength. His alone.

  23. 23

    Love this post, especially this line, “I changed the world today.” I must remember this. Maybe I need to frame your quote.

  24. 24

    Oh girlfriend. Yes, yes, and more yes. Wonderful.

  25. 25

    And this is why I want to wear a cape when I go out!

    I may have to memorize part of this…

  26. 26

    Love the Sara video – want to save it as a favorite to re-visit. And Andrea Bocelli – I absorb the sound of his voice – thank you for sharing your heart and the perspective, “sav[ing] lives and dreams today.” Great words.

  27. 27

    Thank you, brought tears to my eyes. Exactly what I needed to read this evening.

  28. 28
    Dee Dee says:

    Right on time!

  29. 29

    Your posts always seem to speak directly from my heart. You put into words things that I feel but can’t seem to say.

  30. 30
    Dayna Baldwin says:

    Can I tell you this is one of the best things I’ve ever read. I love it! Thank you so much for writing it. I love you!! WOW! Girl, you don’t need to do anything else the rest of your life. You are amazing. This is pure gold. You shine!!

  31. 31

    This is my first time pay a quick visit at here and i am truly impressed
    to read everthing at one place.

  32. 32

    This is perfect, and much needed.

  33. 33

    I love this :)


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