This is Big

The other morning we were doing our little daily devotional and reading a story by President Monson from The Friend. It was a memory from his childhood, about a boy who had lost his mother. As I started to read and got to the part where it mentioned the mother dying, my Junie Bug, who’s two and a half, says, “Mommy! Are you gonna die? Don’t die, Mommy! We’ll be tho thad!” (She can’t say her s’s.)

A couple of things. First, I was shocked that she could make that connection so quickly. I am not bragging here, we’re still trying to explain to Rex who Jesus is, and that no, he isn’t going to dress up as Santa and bring us presents.

Second, I felt kind of good.

This got me thinking about my job. Let’s face it, what I do doesn’t affect the greater good in general. I do a lot of laundry (or should be doing), spend every other hour being milked, try to throw out something decent for dinner at least twice a week, and consider myself an overachiever if I manage to actually read to the kids before screaming them off to bed. As far as my achievements go, there are moments when I feel extremely insignificant.

At one time I had big plans for my life. Once upon a time I was all bent on making my way to New York City, hitting the acting scene. Then I was going to travel the world before I settled down, you know, learn a few languages, kiss a few foreigners. I considered being a spy but we all know I can’t keep a secret. Whatever it was, I was going to do something and it was going to be big.

And now? Since my daughter’s comment the other day, I’ve been paying attention to the big things around me. Holding three kids on my lap at once while nursing the baby so no one feels overshadowed is big. Inviting neighbor kids over to play and talking nicely to them is big. Making meatballs from scratch, even though they didn’t turn out as good as usual, is really, really big.

I’ve realized this week that when we move away from the Land of Stay-at-Home Mothers with Many Children, most likely somewhere overseas, our family, my little family, is going to be big. And my job? It’s a darn big job and I’m freaking awesome at it. Yes, sometimes I hide in the bathroom, and sometimes we have cookies for dinner, but this is a big job and what I’m doing really matters to somebody, even if I periodically mess up.

Big is extremely relative. Don’t doubt that whatever you’re doing with your life, it’s probably big to somebody.


  1. You are probably the biggest, most important person in there lives. And as someone who works with abused and neglected kids, I can tell you that one person can make a significant difference in many people’s lives, with the domino effect.

  2. And once again I am vividly reminded why I love your blog. Thanks for the reminder that we are all awesomely important to someone. Especially when we don’t feel like we are.

  3. Awesome, Annie. So true, so great.

  4. I love this post Annie. It is so true. We may seem so insignificant in the scheme of life…………kinda like a fly poop on the window………….but
    to SOMEONE it is BIG….we are someone………..IMPORTANT
    much more then a speck of fly poop …which is like what we feel sometimes.

    If we have kids, family, who love is and keeps our planet in orbit….that is good enough. It mattered.

  5. love this, annie!

  6. The perfect post. How did you know I needed this today? This grumpy mom isn’t quite so grumpy now and may actually go fix her family dinner for once.

  7. Love this. Your ideas of “big” mirror mine — reading before screaming to bed, decent meal twice a week. Nail –> head. Thanks for sharing the dose of perspective with us.

  8. I have a file where I save things that I’ll need to re-read on a bad motherhood day and several of your posts have already made it in there. Thank you for the laughs right alongside the really important thoughts.

  9. i am loving your sentiments here. makes me feel better too, in reflecting on what i’m doing now as opposed to everything i did before staying home. the world would have me believe that the various careers i had were what made me significant. when truly, i mean more to those around me now than i ever did before. most of the time, what i do now feels meager in comparison. but we’re not supposed to compare ourselves & our lives to others right? including the other us’s like as in:
    our bodies now to our bodies back then (toned, tanned, hotness about a size 3 vs. soft, huggable momness about a size 10).
    our finances now to our finances then (all that salary for years without kid expenses & hubby expenses vs. kid expenses & hubby expenses & our expenses without that extra salary of ours).
    our hobnobbing pals now to our hobnobbing pals then (our kids’ friends & parents vs. cutting edge 20-somethings who were artists or pseudo-important or wealthy-ish).
    i was alright then, but i love being needed now!

  10. So awesome, my friend. And so true. I sometimes think of how much it would suck for me to die because of how much my kids would miss me. That may be egotistical but it’s true! We’re not just big to them. We’re huge.

    Love you!

  11. Love this post. It reminds me of the quote, “To the world, you may be only one person, but to one person, you may be the world.” You are so right!

  12. I watched part of a movie on TV last night (A Stranger Among Us) and a woman detective was talking with a Jewish woman about her ambitions. The Jewish girl said she wants to be a wife and mother. The detective said, “That’s all!?!” and the girl replied, “What could possibly be more important?” AMEN!

    I’m glad you mentioned about leaving the land of SAHMs. It’s so true. People just do not do that over here. Ask me when the last time was my kids had a playdate during the work day. It’s never happened. It was huge for me when the current President of Poland was voted in. He has five children (an ENORMOUS family by Polish standards, even though everyone here is Catholic) and his wife, who is highly intelligent and well respected, is a stay at home mother. I just love it.

    I also realize you weren’t just saying only mothers matter, because other occupations do too, but thanks for pointing out that this one does, even though it often feels mundane.

  13. Loved this post. I truly believe that I am doing the most important thing in the world right now for our family. It is amazing that the world in general seems to no longer value the mother staying at home. Almost all of my friends now work at least part time, sadly surviving on one salary is difficult. I do wish my government would give incentives to help mothers stay at home.

  14. “A couple of things. First, I was shocked that she could make that connection so quickly. I am not bragging here, we’re still trying to explain to Rex who Jesus is, and that no, he isn’t going to dress up as Santa and bring us presents.”

    Beautiful post, but this paragraph was pure gold. You are the best mommy writer ever!!

  15. As usual, you nailed it. As one who has moved from Stay-At-Home-Mommy-With-Many-Kids, I reflect often on how important my work was then. I have a “regular” job now (to keep me from intruding on my grownup kids and out of Target). My stock is very high with my children, now they are all married and 3 of the 4 have kids. 🙂

  16. Cookies fo dinner???????????????