“You can’t pour from an empty cup.”
All mommas have heard this phrase at some point during their mothering journey. It’s a call for self care. It’s meant to help us reflect on things that rejuvenate, restore, and refresh. But is it true? The funny thing is, that while the reality of an empty cup can’t pour … a mom seems to pull from an internal source deep deep within her soul, even if it’s merely a trickle.
I think what keeps us going is that we know we are nourishing something. We are breathing life into something important. A friend gifted me a sign that I keep in my kitchen that says, “from little seeds, GROW MIGHTY TREES.” It’s a mantra that helps keep the little things in perspective. A tiny acorn becoming a majestic live oak, did so through storms and droughts. Raising kids, so it seems, will weather those things as well.
After a few rough weeks of parenting, my husband and I were checking in with each other. I told him that most days, it feels like I’m pouring myself into things that were mundane and monotonous. The throws of homework and dinner and discipline weren’t yielding much joy. It felt like I was … watering concrete. What little I had to give was being immediately scorched and evaporated.
While the visual of trying to pour water onto concrete in southern Louisiana during the summer made sense, it wasn’t a very optimistic outlook on life. Then, I had a realization. Water can find the tiniest of passages. Flowers can literally spring up from cracks in a sidewalk. Drops of water seeping down, ever so slightly, and eventually finding soil.
I needed this image. It was the encouragement I needed to plan meals for the next week, wash the sixteen loads of laundry, follow through with the boundaries that were crossed, plan the fun things for summer, and give the snuggles at the end of a long day. Sometimes you just need a reminder that it all matters.
So, I will keep watering. I will try and find a few things to replenish my cup, because it’s not ideal to feel drained. I will pray that each day I can witness at least one tiny crack that has the potential to nurture my maturing crop. I will keep watering, even if just a trickle.