I have to admit I was thinking about the answer to this question today long before I popped on facebook and saw a link to this blog post about a husband's response to the question of whether his wife was going "back" to work. (I thought it was a great post, by the way, not that that should surprise anyone.) But there are some days when I get to the end of them and I look around the house and see disaster after disaster, nothing on my to-do list has been accomplished, and I do wonder what the heck I've been doing for the past 8 or 10 hours. I know I must have been doing something because I can't recall just sitting around reading novels and eating candy (though I don't think I would be adverse to this), and I'm tired. Really, really tired. But what have I done?
Some days it just doesn't seem like I have done that much, if I am truthful. This is mainly because I don't really have anything tangible to show for the day. Unfolded, but clean laundry doesn't always feel like an accomplishment because it's not done and I can still see it. The little check marks on my school schedule are nice, but five or six little check marks doesn't always seem a lot for an entire morning's occupation. Days when I can sew feel productive because I have something to hold up and look at.
I think this is the frustrating part of being a parent... we spend so much of our time on the intangible. The number of times I remind a child to use a better tone to his words is important, but is tiresome and often futile. Picking up a four year old's mess (or more difficult, asking the four year old to help pick up the mess) after an afternoon of intense playing grows old and there are some days when it seems rather pointless because you know you will be doing the exact same thing tomorrow. (This will explain the incredible disaster that is the little girls' room right now.) Building character in children, showing them love, giving them security takes time because often it happens at a glacial rate. It is the cumulative result of all those days spent together where it seems as though nothing is happening. All those times when it seemed as though nothing was happening, nothing was being accomplished. All those times when you end the day and feel as though you didn't really do anything.
Really, I'm preaching to myself today. Some days just feel more tiring than others. More correcting, more tears, more irritation, more rudeness. It can make for long days. Long days when I wonder, what, really have I done.