Kids Motherhood

Mama, What You “Just” Do Matters

Written by Elizabeth Spencer

The missing Dora the Explorer miniature doll “incident” was not one of my prouder mom moments. 


While I was searching for the MIA doll and acting like a lunatic, I ranted, “I spend ALL MY TIME looking for lost stuff!”



I still rant and rave as an older mom, but at least now I understand something I didn’t on Dora Day: as mothers, we are shaping eternal souls. But what that looks like a lot of the time is trying to find the lost something or driving someone somewhere or figuring out what to make for dinner.


I love, love, love this quote from American psychotherapist and spiritual writer Thomas Moore: “The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.”


As moms, we might feel like we’re “just” doing this trivial task or that mundane thing, but what we’re really doing is something that’s important to someone’s soul.


Now: even as I write this, I can almost hear the moans. “Good grief, not another mom blogger telling me every little thing I do is supposed to fulfill me and that I should feel exalted while I clean the toilet.” No, dear mama, that is not what I’m trying to tell you at all. 


I’m just trying to encourage you with what I think is true: all the little things you “just” do all day have big value–even if they don’t feel like they do and even if (especially if?) doing them again and again makes you want to run screaming from the house some days. 


Mama, What You "Just" Do Matters

When you just wash your kids’ clothes, you demonstrate that you recognize their most basic needs and you give them the security of knowing those needs will be met.

When you just drive them to dance class or piano lessons or soccer practice, you nurture their interests and passions and gifts and help them find something that makes their hearts happy.

When you just make them a snack, you feed their bodies, which in turn feeds their minds, which in turn feeds their lives.

When you just listen to them tell you about a bad day, you teach them how to empathize and sympathize.

When you just change diapers or wipe runny noses, you uphold their dignity by caring for their physical bodies.

When you just try to get everyone out the door to church on Sunday morning with a minimum of tantrums, dirty looks, and meltdowns (theirs…or yours), you give them the reassurance of faith in a God who is bigger than they are.

When you just clean the toilets and mop the floors and make the beds, you create a safe, comforting home where they can be refreshed, replenished, and renewed.

When you just reread them the same book you’ve read 50 times before or play yet another round of Candyland, you show them they are more important than whatever else it is you could be doing at that moment.

When you just look for that missing Dora doll or that missing whatever, you prove to your children that what matters to them matters to you. Because they matter to you.

And knowing that, when it comes down to it, is important to everyone’s soul.

What about you, mama? What ordinary act have you just done today?

Whatever it is, know this: it matters.

About the author

Elizabeth Spencer

Elizabeth Spencer is mom to two teenage daughters who regularly dispense love, affection, and brutally honest fashion advice. She writes about faith, food, and family (with some occasional funny thrown in) at Guilty Chocoholic Mama and avoids working on her 100-year-old farmhouse by spending time on Facebook and Twitter.


  • I’m sitting here enjoying a glass of wine during my usual happy hour/tea time and reading this. It brought back the days when my girls were being raised by their SAHM – me. I never took for granted what a privilege it was to be able to do this. We sacrificed much for me to stay at home. Now they are grown, and I find myself still doing many of these things you write about. Why? Not because I need to, nor because they expect me to, but because I WANT TO. I’m still and always will be mom. My adult daughters depend on me to help them make sense of the journey they are on and that I’ve already walked through. So it brings me great pleasure to say, this post resonates to my very soul and I adore you for expressing your thoughts on this. Motherhood is the greatest job in the world. It is all in our perspective.

  • Oh, Michelle! What precious words and encouragement you have gifted me with here! My own mom “sacrificed much” to stay home with my siblings and me…and is still doing many “mom things” for my siblings and me (and our spouses and her grandchildren)…and is “still and always will be” mom. In her example–and now, in yours, too–I see that the role of a good mother changes but does not end. And I want to be a good one! Thank you, thank you for your faithful example and your wisdom and for sharing both with me and with Grammie Time’s readers. Bless you!

  • I just helped with homework for an hour, and just made dinner, and just made snack, and just gave baths, and just read bedtime stories, and just had special time with each kid talking, tickling, and tucking. And I’m just exhausted, but YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT–IT MATTERS!!! What a precious post. Thank you for reminding each of us of the grand importance in these small every day tasks! I love your writing and you ALWAYS speak straight to my mama’s heart! 🙂

    • Oh, sweet mama, I’m exhausted FOR you! What a busy night you’ve had…and I’m sure it was NOT preceded by a day of lying around on the couch. But how all those tasked you “just” did already added up to big love written on the hearts of the recipients of your time and energy. Thank you for taking time to bless and encourage me after you did all that!

      • LOL! That’s so true. I just spent the day lying around on the couch–I WISH! No–it was just playing games with my 2 youngest, just reading books, just organizing the basement, just changing a dirty diaper, just making more snacks, and just making lunch, and whew! Doesn’t it just feel good to get it all out sometimes?