As a mom of a two-year-old, I do a lot of caring for basic physical needs: I make Audrey three meals a day, get her dressed, put on her shoes and coat, and put her to bed. I do all the things that are essential for physical life that she can’t do for herself.
So, in a lot of ways, it can feel like I am just a caregiver taking care of physical needs.
But, really, I am more than a caregiver. I am more than a nose-wiper and toast-maker. I am a parent, and while that includes being a caregiver, it is also something so much more.
It means that while I wipe her nose and make her toast, I am teaching and training and loving her all day long.
I didn’t realize this when I was a brand new mom, trying desperately to get my wailing infant to sleep and feeding her every few hours. For those first twelve months or so, I felt like all I did was care for physical needs, and I was discouraged a lot of the time.
And then Audrey grew up a little and I realized that parenting is about more than changing diapers and pureeing carrots. Someone else can change diapers and feed her (and I am so grateful for when others do!) but her dad and I are the ones who are called to train her into a person who (hopefully) loves God and those around her. And as we change diapers and puree carrots, we are given the little moments to do just that training.
It’s both daunting and encouraging to realize that as a parent, I am far, far more than just a caregiver.
How do you keep the “big picture” of what you are doing without getting lost in the nitty gritty of everyday life?