The Extraordinary Ordinary

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

To those in the thick of parenting: have you ever looked at photos of people traveling the world, or accomplishing something that makes a really big, loud, or noticeable impact and thought: that's extraordinary. Then your thoughts are interrupted for the hundredth time by little voices and you glance down to your own milk-stained shirt and, well, you feel anything but extraordinary.

In the day to day -- the sticker-covered, messy day to day -- when we are on the front lines of tantrums and more time is spent talking about bodily functions than we ever thought possible and at least 40% of our day is spent pouring milk... it becomes easy to believe that what we're doing is ordinary. Sometimes painfully so.

And it's because, honestly, the work of keeping humans alive is far from glamorous. It's not always pretty to look at and often not impressive to listen to.

But damn, it is important. 

Because while it doesn't draw crowds or a million likes on Instagram like the perfectly filtered photo of an exotic adventure, raising babies into children and children into adults is indeed important, honorable, and admirable work. Work during which you find your very heart has somehow grown. In all of the moments that seems so ordinary, you are actually building a family; a group of people who provide unconditional support for one another, whose love and stories will be passed on and on. You are building a legacy in those mundane, exhausting, so not glamorous moments. And if that's not extraordinary, I don't know what is.

We've been groomed to believe that something is only special if it looks that way, but we all know by now how deceiving appearances can be. Still we ask ourselves: if we don't look our best, and sometimes don't even feel our best, how can these really be the best years? How can this work be impactful if its everyday truth doesn't appeal to the masses and it doesn't look pretty from the outside? Are we extraordinary if we're not recognized for our tireless work? Are we extraordinary in our sweatpants, with our hair tossed up, and small arms wrapped around our necks?

I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't take care of ourselves or go after the other things we dream about, whether they be work or life-related. Of course we should. I know I still have dreams I hold dear that aren't related to my role as a parent, and I haven't given up on them. I still want to travel, to see sights that take my breath away, to experience new and interesting people and places. I want to accomplish certain goals professionally and creatively. Those values haven't gone away and I hope they don't for you either. I hope you realize they don't have to.

But if you find you just can't do it all in this season, or it's not your time to fly to the other side of the world, or you're not publicly awarded for your hard work as a parent (there is no employee of the month plaque that I'm aware of) -- please just know, even when you couldn't feel more ordinary, you are anything but. 


  1. Such an important topic. You hit every last point so perfectly. <3

    1. Thank you! <3 I'm glad it spoke to you. So often we feel like we're the only ones.


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