on being mom in the mundane

When I am buried under never ending piles of laundry or sweeping crumbs off the floor for the 15th time in a day it can be easy to forget how being a mom is one of the greatest adventures of my life. I have hard, yuck days at home with the kids just like everyone else. I have days when I am counting the hours until bedtime and days I would rather cry than intervene in one more sword fight. Those are days and moments I try to get through and move on. Sometimes I snatch a photo to remind myelf of those days, but usually I don’t. The mind is a battlefield and I don’t want to waste time and energy dwelling on the yuck in life….so you don’t see much of that on this blog.

Thankfully, the yuck is far outweighed by the simple goodness of being a mom. Not much compares. I love that I get a front row seat to watch as 4 babies grow into the people that God created them to be. It is amazing when you really think about it. Talk about creativity at the ultimate level. My favorite times are usually found in the mundane. The thing about the mundane is if you are too busy with everything else in life you miss out on it.

For me being too busy for the mundane can mean missing out on the pride my son has for his ability to contort his body. Simple. Memorable.

Or how decked out in her girly Baby Gap dress my daughter can hold her own in a wrestling match with her big brother.

It is mundane – 4 legs on a trampoline….but it is a reflection of God’s creativity in my life…a tough little girl majorly loved by 3 big brothers.

When I am too busy I can easily notice the fighting among my kids…and not notice developing friendships.

Missing out on the mundane can mean overlooking how rough it is for a boy to actually lose his tooth at school….and I mean LOSE as in it is somewhere on the playground as a result of wrestling too hard with his dad & friends during recess. (on a side note can I say I have never been so happy one of my kids lost something!)

The mundane, day-to-day life….just killing time in the backyard. There is a song out now with the lyrics, “she grew up good, she grew up slow.” I want my kids to grow up good and grow up slow (yes it is a country song…of course!). Life is too fast paced, I want childhood to be slow. I want to celebrate the mundane and recognize that most of life is made up in the mundane.

I love being a mom. I love watching my kids interact and forge deep bonds with eachother. Sometimes those bonds are forged doing things together that I may or may not like…if it isn’t a moral issue then at times I look away. Some of my greatest memories from childhood had major flesh wounds and broken bones as a result, but the risk and pride of accomplishment was worth every doctor visit. (my parents may disagree with that). Adventure in the mundane.

I want to soak in the mundane because I am not guaranteed tomorrow with any of them. They are not guaranteed tomorrow with me.

I want to be in the little moments with my kids maybe even more than I want to be in the big moments.

When I slow down and walk along side them in the mundane I recognize things I might not otherwise. Things like how my 2 year old puts stickers on his legs upside down to the world, but right side up from his perspective.Β  Celebrating the day to day can often seem upside down for our culture, but it seems right side up to me.

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  • Jo - Thanks for saying that. Its the hardes but the best job in the whole wide world and I wouldn’t do anything else!

  • andy - love this post
    i needed to hear this early this morning as i am starting a new day and hopeing that it is better than yesterday and if not then i will take it in stride and go πŸ™‚

  • Alba - how easy is to forget being a mum under piles of laundry? or cleaning bathrooms? thanks for remind me I am still a mum. thanks for the blog, for your everyday posts,…

  • Beth - i had an evening like this with my 4 littles yesterday. bliss.

  • Misty - THANK YOU!

    Thought I would share a quote that inspires and challenges me:

    β€œHow we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is the net for catching days.”

    – Annie Dillard in The Writing Life

    Here is to “catching the days” of our children’s lives instead of letting them pass by in a sea of monotony and busyness…..

  • Jaime Vines - beautiful post and a nice reminder just to slow down and enjoy the mundane.

  • Terri Lynne Barrington - Thank you Mrs. Ashley Ann. It’s nice to step back from the hustle and bustle and read such a touching and personal post. Makes me take a deep breath, and call my kids for no reason other than to simply say “I love you by the way.” You are an incredible mother and an inspiting web friend.

  • Christine - well said….great post πŸ™‚

  • Yanet - I love this post. I did a similar post once that I bookmarked and go back to on my yuck days. It’s probably one of my favorites.

    Btw, love the two teethers on Firecracker!

  • laura - beautiful post. thanks for the reminder…

  • Making Stuff for Beauty’s Sake | Gina G. Smith - […] a family. You are shaping lives, even in the midst of what is often seemingly mundane. (Check out Ashley’s gorgeous post about this very […]

  • gina - Beautiful. I’m linking today.

  • Jess - Wow. Beautifully written. Thank you for that reminder!

  • anne c - thank you..this made me cry…it is exactly how I feel but I am just not as good as you on expressing my feelings. you always spark something in me. enjoy THIS day, for it is a blessing from God!

  • A. Jarrett - Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post!

    Just what I needed to be reminded of today.

    *Love* your space here!

  • Robyn Lee - What an awesome post! When I have kids, I hope I’m a cool mom like you. πŸ™‚ And I hope I don’t forget to remember the everyday things.

  • Shannon - Lovely!

  • Kerri - Like American Honey…
    Oh so sweet.

  • Bailey Hanrhan - After recently suffering the loss of a young life in my family, it is so important to remember what you said. Nothing is guarenteed and each day needs to be appreciated. I want to hold on to that thought forever because even though it was so hard to say goodbye, it was an amazing eye-opener for my family and I. We need to stop getting lost in our everyday lives and be aware of life’s simple pleasures. We need to value eachother and tell people how we feel regularly : )

  • Jaymee - Thank you.. I needed that!!

  • Stephanie - First, I just want to say I love your blog. It’s inspirational and helps remind me to adore the beautiful little things in life. Your children and adorable. When I read your posts, it’s like i’m reading about my boys. Thanks for such a refreshing blog to read!

  • Sarah - Well said and something I needed right now!

  • colleen - amen sistah! Just had the thought, wonder if Jesus ever thought life was mundane… I think He must have had the ability to see all of life as infused with deliberate, creative, God imprinted purpose. Certainly, that view would keep us from being bored! Today I am asking Him to open my eyes to see my life, my kids and my husband just that way. I think it will be a fun day.

  • jo - thank you. this was a beautiful way to start the day.

  • Jenna - Excellent, excellent post! Thank you for the poignant reminder to ENJOY the little moments with my sweet (crazy, rambunctious) children everyday.

  • ashlee - beautifully written and so so true. this post is perfect for me today. thank you:)

  • Lindsay - Wow…I love this post! I don’t have kids yet, but your post really applies to everyone…kids or not. I’ve been feeling lately like I’m wasting away my life because I go to work, go home, sit on my butt and watch tv, go to bed and start all over the next day. I need to appreciate LIFE! Thank you for this reminder. Sad I needed to be reminded! And your kids are ABSOLUTELY to die for cute. Holy cow.

  • Becca - LOVE this post!!!!!

  • Kimberlee J. - I have heard that Lady A. song many times and have never gleaned the lesson of those few words before. Thank you for this post…it went well with my Starbucks this morning.

  • Lori K - Well, I am crying big tears. Between moving boxes, laundry, fixing supper and my day to day busy errands…I truly believe we are kindred spirits. Just last night, instead of packing more…I held baby girl and brother and just sang silly songs to them. I thought, packing smacking…i’m doing this. Maybe, it’s because I had gone through baby girls’ old clothes from when she was born and they were itty bitty. They grow up so fast and I get to watch and revel in the glory of it all. If my life is mundane…then I must like it. I love my life. Thanks God for the daily mundane of it all. Thank you that I am a mother…

  • Jen - Thanks so much for the reminder! We all could use it once in a while…

  • Jane - I couldn’t agree more. The mundane stuff is what forms the best memories.

  • Nicole - it’s so hard for me to slow down, i always have to make a pointed effort. best post ever. thank you!

  • Lisa Johnson - I love everything about this post

  • Kirsten - love. this. post. Thanks for sharing.

  • Bron @ Baby Space - THAT is the BEST quote of the day – maybe of the YEAR. Maybe of my LIFE. Seriously – I love it. And your pics are gorgeous as always πŸ™‚

  • emily - this is beautiful.
    and inspiring.
    thank you.
    seriously. thank you.

  • rachel denbow - Sometimes I feel like I need permission to slow down and embrace this more fully than I do. It’s like a call to the best version of something.

  • giozi - You right. I feel the same. This days was feeling a little bad.
    See your pictures today it was a gift to me. You make me smile, as always. Thankkkkkkkkkkkkkks.

  • Sarah W. - Another wonderful post, and an excellent reminder to take it all in, ever bit of it.
    Love the quote &
    I love country music.

  • Lanny Stanard - Have I ever told you… You have the cutest kids ever πŸ™‚

  • Elle - If you don’t participate in The Pioneer Woman’s photo contests you TOTALLY should! You take some of the greatest pictures. I’ve got to get in on a Snap Shots class sometime.

  • Karla (LaPine) Swalve - This is why I love this blog-I’m so glad I was introduced to it. You are just REAL in a way that is refreshing. You do so many things well, I think you are supermom πŸ™‚ but its encouraging to think that you have the mundane just like everyone else-you’ve just chosen to be joyful even in the yuck and that makes all the difference πŸ™‚ I needed to be introduced to this blog at this time in my life-3 months until our first baby and I’m learning so much from you!

  • CharlaL - Love this….Thank you!

  • amber - I love this.

  • Jenna - Beautifully said.

  • tash - Yes if you just stop for a moment and step back and watch them play you see some wonderful things are being achieved and it ain’t such a boring day. Thanks for always being inspirational- Tash

  • shawna - thank you. thank you. thank you. I am about to take the same leap you did, and stop booking sessions/fill my blog with creativity & just shots of my babe. you are very inspirational. a reminder that it is ok. nothing is more important than the babes.

  • Jill R - Love. Add this to my list of favorite posts.

  • Fiona - Beautiful– actually brought a tear to my eye.

  • jenny - great post and much needed reminder! thank you! πŸ™‚

  • Laura - Love this post! A great little reality check.

  • Heather - it’s my happy place, too. so much real goodness comes out in the mundane and normal parts of life. i feel like it’s a gift to see that and wish others could to.

  • Brittaney - Oh my, how this post makes me want to be a mommy!

  • SeaminglySarah - Amen! Thank you for the reminder.

  • Mallory - I loved this post, Ashley! I’m not a mom yet, but I will definintely remember this once I do have kids. I think so many people try to “grow up” their kids so fast nowadays, and it really is a shame. Childhood is such a gift.

  • cally - oh thankyou.

  • Kacy - Thank you for this post, and for the one a while back about why you’re not going back into business any time soon. Both are great for me to read, a mom of 3 with a photography business that has been on “extended” maternity leave for about 18 months.

  • Stoich91 - oh me gorsh! First blog post I’ve read in a long time that almost brought me to tears. For serious. How do you even take these fantastic pictures and keep their clothes so clean (and for serious, how are they always dressed so freakn’ cute?!) and why is their hair always perfect and by the way: How are they all so totally adorable, all the time, even when they’re not smiling? How do you break up fights and then turn around to snap quality pix? Also, questions like:

    What kind of angle do you have to be at to tote a $1000+ SLR on a trampoline with a young child upsidedown to capture that angle of a photo shot? Eh? Any pointers? jk

    I love, love love it!


  • Mary - Best post you’ve ever done!!! Thank you. I’m envious that my job took me away from many of those mundane moments and days.

  • Katie Daniel - I love your blog and your pictures are amazing! I am hosting a photo contest on my blog, http://www.ps-travelblog.com, and you should definitely enter!

  • lifeologia - Beauty in the mundane – Awesome.
    It helps if you’re a great photographer to capture these little moments.

    I am also thinking of a quote…by John Lennon

    “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

  • Candace - Thanks! My three year old princess is becoming my 14 year old rebel. I needed this today to appreciate her in all her glory. =)

  • Lori - thank you for this post – love it. and your pictures – i love how you capture the everyday life so well!

  • Jill - LOVED this post Ashley! Thanks for reminding me that I need to slow down and enjoy my kids!

  • Rachael Schepemaker - your family is goreous! Can you tell me what type of lens you are using to capture these beautiful shots?

  • Kristin Eldridge - Thanks for the encouragment!

  • Mariah - Love this, Ashley. Mommyness. Bliss. Sometimes. Thanks for the reminder to find the beauty in the not-so-blissful- sometimes. Nice to know I’m not alone in the world!

  • Leanne - I Love that!! great post!

  • Tessa - Amen! I yearned so badly for the mundane when I was separated from my husband for almost 4 years. He was struggling with a lot of stuff, and a day doesn’t go by that I don’t stop and appreciate God giving him back to me. During that time, I yearned to fold his laundry! So, when I am folding laundry, I am reminded to appreciate all that I have been given. I am so thankful for my incredible SIMPLE life and the perspective that God has given me through my trials.

  • Kellie Ann - I am so touched (to tears) by the sincerity of your post. I can’t wait to be a mom! Thank you for sharing your family with us.

  • Brianne Pitts - Thank you for a great reminder. I have two little bitties and sometimes I get wrapped up in the big stuff and don’t enjoy the little things. They really do matter.

  • Colleen - Great post! You’ve made me smile. πŸ™‚

  • Kingsley Moore - I have NEVER commented on a blog before. I was moved(almost to tears) with your honest and touching thoughts. I had to say “Thank you,” for sharing, for inspiring me with many a photo, word, & project. God Bless.

  • Kim@Living with Little People - When I feel myself getting frustrated with all the little delays a toddler brings I often think of you and your posts. They help me be a better, more patient Mum. Thank you.

  • Caroline - thank you for this reminder!! motherhood is such a blessing!

  • Ryan - I really loved this post, Ashley! This is why I fell in love with your blog and why I come back daily. πŸ™‚

  • June P - its hard to find something interesting about the everyday, but everyting to be thankful for. i struggle to see the bright side of laundry and cleaning up and having to raise my voice for my kids to hear, but i know too that when i don’t have to do these anymore, it means my kids have grown up. “grow good, and grow slow”. yes, that’s the way. the laundry will be there tomorrow.

  • Jen - Oh Ashley. (I hope it’s OK we’re on a first name basis.) The whole world (or at least all of Oklahoma) knows you are a gifted photographer. But I want you to know you are just as talented with words.

    And we are all so blessed that you choose to share both those gifts (and many many more) with the world through this blog, as a means of glorifying our God.

    Thanks for reminding us to enjoy the simple things. And to thank God for them, as well.

  • lisa - LOVE LOVE LOVE this post!! Could not agree more I love watching my children grow and spending time with them when they are so young, I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

  • Kristi - That is so true abou the you are not guaranteed tomorrow with any of them! tim came home tonight and told me that one of his employees while we lived in Memphis was on a tractor and his one year old little boy was behind the tractor (and he obviously didn’t know it) and just ran right over him. He passed away either last night or this morning! So, hug and kiss your babies every day and be thankful God chose you to be a Mom! If you do read this, please pray for this family! The hurt this Dad/family is going through just isn’t imaginable! Thanks guys!

  • Jill - What you have put into words is so true. What a great post. This is my first visit to your blog and it certainly was inspirational. I’m often reminded that as a mother the days are long, but the years are short.
    We all need to step back and enjoy the mundane a bit more.
    Thank you for the reminder.

  • jessica - Awesomeness – I love this perspective. Made me think of this amazing viewpoint: http://www.incourage.me/2010/05/the-treasure-of-thrown-away-food.html

  • kelly - Wow. Beautiful everything. So glad I found your site! And thanks for the much needed perspective.

  • Stephanie - Love this. Thank you for sharing!

  • Nicole - I love this post. Beautifully said!

  • Katie - This was such an awesome post.

    My boys do the same thing with their stickers.

    p.s. Have you seen this magazine? (ad-free, awesome design, celebrates the “mundane” moments that make life beautiful.)


  • Rachel - what a beautiful and happy post!! being a stay-at-home mom of three, these words will definitly creep in my head and give me a new perspective on those “moments”. thanks!

  • Abby - thank you ….. our mundane is pretty wonderful as well πŸ™‚ Your photos are stunning as always πŸ™‚

  • Maike - absolutely true!

  • Mara - Wonderful post. Great reminder about what is important – the extraordinary of an ordinary day πŸ™‚

  • Kristen - Beautiful post.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh Ashley, I love it. You are so right. We just need some rest and encouragement to keep going.

    I am praying for you today. Praying for a little rest and a sweet soul to encourage you.

  • Stephanie - Thank you…much needed in this mondane day.

  • EmRuss - Love this post. I’ve been blogstalking you for a while because I love your pictures, love your crafty cute stuff, and love the stuff you post. This post was great and I decided I finally needed to comment!! Thanks for a great reminder!!

  • Jessica P - Your photography really captures the beauty of everyday life perfectly. You are so talented.

  • Joy - Ashley
    Thanks so much for this post! I am in CA visiting my family and have been frustrated at all, all of the stuff they are getting into that is not age appropriate of course to be getting into. This was encouraging to relax and enjoy my 1 and 2 year old where they are even at grammas knickknacky filled house πŸ™‚
    thanks! joy

  • Tami - What a beautiful post. Thanks for the reminder to enjoy each moment. The photography you took is amazing.

  • Philly - Beautiful. I’m only 22, and when I do become a mother, I want to love them and enjoy them just the way you do. Thank you for the inspiration.

  • Chrissy - thanks for the reminder! so true… love it!

  • tamara - Thank you for this.
    So simple and perfect

  • Patricia Teo - I love love love LOVE this post!

  • Sherly - What a beautiful, beautiful post!!! Thank u so much for the encouragement.. =) Mommyhood rocks!

  • pamela - this is so beautiful. it makes me a little sad though, because i feel so often i am missing those ‘mundane’ things and wish so badly that i could be home with my little girl witnessing them. when i get off work i can’t wait to see her and try to soak it all in while i can! thankfully, i’m a teacher, so i get to spend summers off with her. if i didn’t have that i don’t know what i’d do!

    you are a great mom!

  • Interior Dream » Blog Archive » In The Mundane - […] This post made me mindful of looking for those special mundane moments. Like how Chloe instinctually stiffened her body like a seasoned circus performer when her dad thrust her into the air… […]

  • Alicia Meyers - This was a truly lovely post! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and reflecting on the thoughts you shared. Thanks!

  • Interior Dream » Blog Archive » GREAT READS: A Year-End Blog Tour Part IV - […] “Being a mom in the mundane” because though I love to dabble in so many different things most of my days are seemingly mundane, but I find that those are the moments I would never want to miss.http://ashleyannphotography.com/blog/2010/09/09/on-being-mom-in-the-mundane/ ***** Find more Great Reads on Part I, Part II and Part III […]

  • Paige - Thanks so much for your candidness. I have recently been getting very wrapped up in other’s blogs where everything in life seems like a party planner did it all. I find myself trying to live up to that and fail fail fail. Attempting to get simple and try figuring out what our family’s identity is, not trying to fit into another’s mold. I love the day to day in your blog and the simple things your kids find amazing. Not everything can be planned and perfect all the time. A lesson I am learning. Your blog is a refreshing reminder that love and time outweigh perfectly detailed plans anytime!

  • 31 days of finding meaning in the mundane {day 21} more meaningful links | More Than Mundane - […] Ashley Ann at Under the Sycamore on being mom in the mundane: “I want to celebrate the mundane and recognize that most of life is made up in the […]