The sweetness of doing nothing
Updated: May 26, 2019
I recently learned an Italian phrase. Dolce far niente. It means “the sweetness of doing nothing.”
Despite my meticulous planning for a perfect natural birth, I had a C-Section due to Vivian being in breech (even after my numerous creative attempts to flip her.) After surgery, my doctor informed me that the umbilical cord was wrapped around her little neck twice.
Needless to say, I’m feeling thankful for a happy, healthy baby girl with a good set of lungs and the cutest nose I’ve ever seen. And the longest toes.
Anyway, it turns out that becoming a mom is the coolest thing I’ve ever done, which is a little surprising since I haven’t done much besides feed her, change her diapers, squeeze tiny onesies over her giant head, wildly search for pacifiers, do laundry, and snuggle. Oh, the snuggling.
With such spacious amounts of time spent sitting and snuggling, I’ve had a lot of time to think about this new chapter of my life and what it means. Specifically, it got me thinking about what mothers "do." For years, I’ve heard two loud messages about mothers.
The first one is that moms – especially stay-at-home moms – don’t really do much. At least, they don't do as much as working moms, and they definitely don't do as much as women who choose not to have children in order to pursue a career. Obviously, this idea can be debunked in about five seconds. If you know a mom, you know that moms do a tremendous amount in a day. They are keeping people alive and cultivating character in a chaotic world – and that’s a lot of work.
The second message I've heard is different. It claims that, sure, moms do a lot, but the work they do isn’t as fulfilling as other kinds of work. Mothering is mostly drudgery – endless chores, no social life, no sleep, no fun, etc. It’s hard and tedious, but someone's got to do it. It certainly isn’t sweet. That message isn't true either.
As I’ve held Vivian close to my heart for the past two weeks, I’ve lost control of my inbox. I’ve haven’t touched my latest writing project. I’ve said no to lots of things I wanted to say yes to. Most of my time has been spent doing “nothing” excpet caring for another person and praying for a long stretch of sleep.
It's challenging, and it's temporary, and honestly…it's the sweetest work I’ve ever done.