Significance is built in the small things 4

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“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.”

Gretchen Rubin

I stand in the kitchen and I do the dishes, again. I wash the clothes, again, and I tidy the house, again. And I feel the never-ending role of motherhood weighing heavily on my shoulders.

As I remind my girls, once again, to use their manners. Or to be kind. Or to talk to people nicely. The unceasing repetition of instructions can feel physically exhausting.

In these moments of repetition of tasks and of instructions, the significance of my role as a mother can be called into question.

I can be tempted to give up, for there seems to be no progress. What does it matter if my girls use their manners? What does it matter if the dishes don’t get done?

There are many moments (often daily) in my role as a mother that the constant repetition of the little things can seem useless, for no one listens and the task will be there again all too soon.

Recently we had a family holiday down in the beautiful South West of our state. Around lunch time we decided to try a restaurant that had been recommended to us. As we entered, we realised it was fancier than the usual wineries in the area.

We were worried about how it would be with our girls.

But a number of times during the meal our children were complimented on their manners. The waitress actually went above and beyond, as she was so impressed with our girls’ behaviour.

I am not telling you this to brag, (although I am proud of our girls), but rather to relay the context for the conversation after.

For, as we drove back to our holiday home I turned to Mr and said, “This is why. This is why we remind and instruct and remind again. This is why we repeat ourselves over and over onto what we think are deaf ears. This is why we continue in the face of (seemingly) no progress.”

For it is in the little things that the parenting gets done. It is the little reminders of manners, the little notes in the lunch box, the little chats about being kind. All of these things seem insignificant, but by being faithful in the little, even in the face of seemingly deaf children, significance is built.


About Jodie McCarthy

Jodie is a writer, speaker, poet and mother. An unashamed words girl who writes to process the myriad of experiences of life. In her writing and on her blog she investigates the journey of life: the beautiful; the painful; the everyday; and the mundane. She has a heart for encouraging women on their life journey, particularly when that journey traverses the harder places of grief and pain. On the days when she is not writing you will find her in her kitchen, usually licking the beaters from a chocolate cake. You can find her books and follow her journey at

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