A mom named Cameron Poynter, who blogs at Lucky Orange Pants, is taking over the Internet this week with a viral post about being "the keeper" of her family. Because if you are a mom, there's no way you won't be nodding your head along with almost every word, as have the 32,000 others who "liked" it at time of writing.
"I am the keeper," Poynter begins her powerful post. "I am the keeper of schedules. Of practices, games, and lessons. Of projects, parties, and dinners. Of appointments and homework assignments."
Yes! I totally feel like the project manager of my brood. I so feel this mom as she continues, "I am the keeper of information. Who needs food 5 minutes before a meltdown occurs and who needs space when he gets angry. Whether there are clean clothes, whether bills are paid, and whether we are out of milk."
"I am the keeper of solutions. Of bandaids and sewing kits and snacks in my purse. But also of emotional balms and metaphorical security blankets. I am the keeper of preferences. Of likes and dislikes. Of nightly rituals and food aversions," Poynter goes on to write.
It's overwhelming just thinking about all the things we must keep track of for our families, and yet, it's daily life as a mother. Like Poynter, I also know which of my three girls hates pizza, which one refuses to take a shower, who has swimming lessons what day, whose school project is due next week, who needs lunch money, and who's allergic to penicillin.
Poynter's post goes on to list more things she is the keeper of for her family, including household chores, and writing thank you notes. She is also the keeper of building traditions and making memories.
"I am the keeper of emotional security. The repository of comfort, the navigator of bad moods, the holder of secrets and the soother of fears. I am the keeper of the peace. The mediator of fights, the arbiter of disputes, the facilitator of language, the handler of differing personalities," she adds. And this line was the most poignant for me: "I am the keeper of worry. Theirs and my own."
Because indeed, once you become a mother, you never, ever stop worrying. That's why, as this mama writes, most of the time being the keeper of so much gives her purpose, but other times, Poynter confesses, "The weight of the things I keep pulls me down below the surface until I am kicking and struggling to break the surface and gasp for breath."
Who hasn't felt this way? And the fact that so much of what we do goes unnoticed can make the responsibility of being your family's keeper all the more suffocating. Poynter writes, "Because all these things I keep are invisible, intangible. They go unnoticed and unacknowledged until they are missed. They are not graded or peer reviewed or ruled on by a court. And sometimes they are taken for granted."
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Again, yes! But Poynter wants her fellow moms to know that she sees you, even if your family doesn't. "I know the weight of the things you keep," she ends her post, adding, "I know the invisible work you do, which doesn't come with a pay check or sick leave, is what makes the world go round. I see you. And I salute you."
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Poynter has been amazed at the overwhelming response her blog post has received. "I have heard from so many people—friends and strangers—who were so relieved and grateful to know they weren't alone," Poynter tells Parents. "That someone saw them and the invisible but important work they do. It's not about laundry or carpooling or making dinner. It's about the myriad ways you try to anticipate someone else's happiness and well-being. It's about loving someone more than yourself."
We salute this mom for sharing this important post that recognizes all the little things we do as mothers, that may go unnoticed, but that our families cannot survive without.