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.

Elizabeth Spencer

Elizabeth Spencer is mom to two daughters (one teen and one young adult) 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.