Inspiration Motherhood

But Mommy, You Were Too Busy

Written by Lauren Eberspacher

A couple of weeks ago I was vacuuming my kitchen floors while lunch was cooking in the oven. I looked up to see my two little girls walking down the hallway towards their rooms, so I figured I had a few extra minutes to get some other things done while they played.

After I had finished vacuuming, I went into the laundry room to switch the loads out and get some towels folded. My oldest called out to me to come and help her with something in her room. “I’ll be there in just a minute!” I hollered back to her, as I kept folding. “I’ll go as soon as I finish folding these towels,” I told myself. Once done folding, I brought a few of the clean hand towels into our bathroom and noticed that the bathroom needed a quick pick up. As I started tidying, my daughter called for me again. “Mom, are you coming? I really need you!” “Yes, honey, just give Mommy one more minute. I’ve got to get this done.”

A few more minutes passed and I quickly ran to the oven to make sure my casserole wasn’t burning, stirred my gravy on the stove, and started to walk down the hallway to my oldest daughter’s room.

“I wonder what it is she needs my help with now. I wish she could just start to do some stuff on her own so I could get a little more done around here,” I thought to myself.


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I walked into the room just in time to see my daughter whip her little body around on the floor, a look of terror on her face. She quickly stood up and hid a towel behind her back, “I’m sorry, Mommy,” she said as the tears began to well up in her eyes.

She stepped to the side to reveal just why she was sorry; blue toothpaste covered the floor and vanity. You could tell the poor thing had tried to clean it up, but you know what happens when you try and rub out that blue gel toothpaste, it just spreads like wildfire.

My initial reaction was harsh. “How in the world did this happen?”

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But that girl of mine… Her response took my breath away. “I had some strawberries in my teeth and I just wanted to get them out. I kept calling for you to help me… but Mommy, you were too busy.”

My heart sank. I knelt down and hugged her. “You’re right, honey. Mommy was too busy. But I shouldn’t have been. I’m the one who is sorry.” We stood there and hugged a little while longer. “Come on, let’s clean this up together.”

So there we sat; mother and daughter, side by side, scrubbing away. She at the floor, but me, I was scrubbing away at my busy mama heart. And I knew in that moment that there was a lot that needed to be cleaned out.

For those of us who are the keepers of our homes, it’s a fine line between scratching things off our to-do list and constantly being available when the little people need us. I mean, we all have to have clean underwear, right? But the thing that my daughter taught me on the day of the blue toothpaste is to be available as Mommy first and list scratcher second. Because the last thing that I want my kids to call me is “too busy.”

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About the author

Lauren Eberspacher

I’m Lauren and I’m a work-in-progress farmer’s wife, coffee addict, follower of Jesus and a recovering perfectionist. When I don’t have my three kids attached at my hip, you can find me bringing meals into the fields, dancing in my kitchen, making our house a home, and chatting over a piece of pie with my girl friends. I’m doing my best to live my life intentionally seeking all that God has for me and my family.
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laurenspach on Instagram


  • Why does this have NO comments? This is amazing. Very well-written and sweetly heart-breaking. Mine are grown and gone, but YOU are so right! <3 K

  • I loved this story. I am a working mom who often lives as a single mom because her husband works out of town. I am to busy most days. I missed a great deal of my oldest sons childhood because of this. This past year i have started to realized i am passing through the lives of my two youngest the same way and i don’t like it. So i have started letting the little things around the house go and instead of always making sure the house is perfect on my days off, making sure that they know that i am there for them. It has improved our relationship tremendously. Thank you for your words.

  • Thanks so much for writing this. I to am a farmers wife who gets caught up with trying to keep the mud in the fields, not our living room. My mother sent this to me after watching Me make my daughter, whose 1, wait till I finished vacuuming for the 4th time that day, before picking her up to cuddle before bathtime. You’re right, things do need to get done, especially when running a large grains and animal farm, with waterfowl guide hunting this time of year. But nothing should come before being mama to my daughter. And hearing, I was too busy for her, I never want to hear. Thanks for the perspective

  • Well this just made me super emotional…I try so often to tell myself not to overwhelmed by the little things that can be done later but when you’re staring at a pile of dishes so high it spreads to the counter and a mountain of laundry, it just gets to you. You are truly amazing for everything you do, and even if it’s a stranger who is saying this, I hope you realize that it is true.

  • Give yourself a break. We all have those moments, and it won’t warp her for life; in fact, this episode will help show her that even mommies can’t be perfect. And that’s okay. We don’t need to be superhuman to be loved and valued. Let perfection go, and enjoy the good.