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Motherhood – The Work That No One Sees

I had a fight with my shoes.

Well, not my shoes. None of the shoes I threw against the wall atop the bench with three large magenta baskets labeled SHOES belonged to me. Flip flops, play shoes, basketball shoes, soccer cleats, work shoes, shoes that no one has worn for 12 months, shoes with no matching pair, pretty pink boots that I wish were my size…. I launched them, one at a time, yelling louder and more forcefully with each word.


I probably, most likely, inserted some choice words. Each shoe ricocheted off the wall and into the baskets, and I took a big, deep breath. “Now how hard was that?” Dang shoes.

I wasn’t very nice to those shoes.

Yet, thanks to the shoes, I didn’t have to yell at anyone else.

The night before my shoe throwing tantrum, I welcomed the opportunity to stay up late, turn on Netflix, and enjoy the solace of a quiet and still house. A deep cleaning was long overdue. But my cheerful state of service was spent. My ego was bruised. I felt neglected and taken for granted. I somehow found myself in a never ending cycle of house keeping just for someone to rip off his diaper and pee all over it.

No one knows what this feels like. No one but me. No one but M-O-M!

At the park with my two littlest mess makers, just a day after my throw down in the mud room, my daughter squished her face through the hole cutouts of the tunnel slide and yelled, “Look, Mama! I see you!” It felt good to be seen. Even if only by a squishy faced three-year-old. I waved, smiled, and took a big, deep breath. Deciding to peer through the peep holes myself, I walked around to the playground steps, took only one step up, and froze. Before me, stretching the entrance of the playground, was the largest spider web I had ever seen.

Motherhood - The Work That No One Sees | Des Moines Moms Blog

“Brooklynn, come here, you’ve got to see this!”

Little Miss slid down, skipped around, and climbed up to meet me. “Look!” The wonder in my voice captivated her and together we marveled. “Wow!” “It’s Huge!” “Cool!” After twenty seconds of marveling, Brooklynn lifted her arm to smack down the web. Usually, I’d welcome such behavior as little crawlers really aren’t my thing, but this time, I caught her arm and scooted her off to conquer other parts of the playground. I was captivated, paralyzed even.

The morning was early, and although summer days grow sticky before lunchtime, you could still feel the dew in the air. I could see it, glistening in the corners of the spider web. If the sparkle hadn’t been there, I fear I would’ve missed it and would instead be scraping spun silk off my face. Never before had I cared to examine the intricacies of a spider web. Such a masterful design, with specific patterns both planned and purposeful. Tight corners. Straight edges. Perfectly put in place.

I bet this Mama Spider was up all night, I thought to myself.

Then, before I could catch him, my one-shoed, spirited little monster dashed right past me. Squealing. Arms flailing. Now, spitting and urgently wiping at his face. Just like that, the spider web, that perfect piece of craftsmanship, was gone. Obliterated.

Poor Mama Spider.

Welcome to my world!

Motherhood is a lot like building a spider web. It’s work. It is work that no one sees. It’s made up more of dirty diapers, grocery shopping, and scooping out the LEGOs from the air vents than it is hand holding, cookie decorating, and perfectly coordinating outfits and smiling children on a Christmas card. Motherhood doesn’t always sparkle.

So much of what we do as moms is invisible. Our work is intricate. It is planned and purposeful. We tighten corners. We straighten edges. We do it all while everyone is sleeping. And then they wake up….

I had a fight with my shoes. But it wasn’t really the shoes’ fault.

I went to the park and found a spider web. It was beautiful. My son wrecked it. I took a big, deep breath. And I smiled.

Motherhood is work. My children play, and climb, and have fun. My children need to grow beyond edges and corners. Without my work, there will be no web. I can clearly see that now.

While the web I weave will get trampled on, spit out, and peed on, weaving it is my purpose. Being their mom is my purpose. So I will spin on.

No matter how many shoes I have to trip over to do it!

Keep spinning, Mama. I see you.

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One Response to Motherhood – The Work That No One Sees

  1. Meg Z. September 29, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

    A great read on this topic. My husband got it for me. 🙂

    The Invisible Woman: When Only God Sees – A Special Story for Mothers

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