Recently, I shared a video on my facebook page that featured a mom who decided to post a tutorial for her family on how to use: “The AMAZING dishwasher!” This video was in response to her husband and children leaving their breakfast dishes in the sink. She decided that she wanted to “tease” them as well as communicate her frustration about the dishes in a playful manner. She says in a recent interview that she hoped her husband would be “razzed” at work about it and that they would get a good laugh.
This video has gone viral.
Well… it’s pretty darn funny! And it seems like she has hit a sore spot for moms. Women are sick and tired of dishes being left in the sink.
Or maybe they’re sick and tired of feeling like their family’s maid.
Moms, do you mind if I get REAL?
My life is full of repeating the same things over and over and over again. Put your shoes up. Pick away your books. Wash your dishes. Put your plate away. Clean up your mess. Do your chores. Have you done your chores? (lame look on faces) Clean your room. Pick that up.
And when I’m not repeating myself, I’m cleaning up behind everyone, chauffeuring children to their activities, planning meals, keeping up with everyone’s schedule, shopping and shopping and shopping again for grocery, and generally making sure everyone has everything they need.
The work we do as moms is VITAL to our families well-being, but let’s be honest, it’s work that is often under appreciated–at least it feels that way.
Sometimes I feel more like a maid, or a cook or a chauffeur or a teacher than a mom.
Do you ever feel this way?
I’ve been thinking about this a bit more than I probably should. Mainly, because I know other moms struggle with this. It’s so easy to become angry, bitter, and even depressed about the work we do.
It’s easy to think that “these people” are getting in the way of our work. If “these people” would just get their acts together and stop being lazy bums, and messy pigs, my life would be so much better. If only they would cooperate with my plans (it’s for their own good), and put put things back where they found it, life would be so much simpler.
You see, for years I thought my work was mopping floors, providing yummy meals, cleaning dishes, organizing and managing our home. It’s not.
My REAL work is loving my husband and my children.
People with their own agendas. (How dare they have a different agenda from mine!)
People who are quite happy with crumbs on the table and the trash overflowing.
People who criticize a meal that I’ve diligently prepared for them to enjoy.
People who don’t notice half the things I do until they aren’t done.
Loving “these people” isn’t easy. (Nor is it easy for “these people” to love me.)
It’s WORK! And most of the work we do doesn’t give immediate results.
But it can be joyful work, if we view it with the right perspective. I’d like to share with you a few lessons I’ve learned over the years that have helped me to embrace work that I’ve been given.
Set realistic standards.
That means—no perfection. Allow for forgetfulness. Allow for days when your children and husband are tired or stressed or sick or overwhelmed or overly excited about doing something fun or they simply have other things on their mind. Sometimes we just have to accept that things will not meet our standards and be at peace about it.
Besides, we’re training our children to be responsible, caring adults. Even when it looks like they aren’t getting it, they are. If you were like me as a child, I didn’t particularly like cleaning either. Yet, here I am cleaning and caring for my family as my own mom did for me.
It’s not a conspiracy. (Us vs. Them)
Sometimes I react towards my husband and children as if they have some master conspiracy to make my life difficult. Really, they probably don’t think much about the things that I’m stressing over. They aren’t intentionally plotting to hurt us. So let’s not put ourselves at odds with our family. We’re all on the same team. I’ve learned to ask myself the question, “Was this done with malicious intent?” Usually the answer is no. So I give them the benefit of the doubt, and I try to be gracious and forgiving as I respond to them.
Resist the urge of seeing yourself as a saint who is being tormented by these lazy, selfish people.
In other words, you’re not perfect either sister.
Our Children and husband are flawed humans who struggle with selfishness, forgetfulness, and a myriad of other human weaknesses.
Yep. We need to give them permission to be human. “Knowing what to do has never stopped anyone from failing or making a bad decision. Our children and our husbands have this frail human flesh to battle with, just as we do. And where does this battle show up best? At home, where we let our guards down. Where we feel free to be ourselves. In this blessed place called home, we can give each other permission to let it all hang out. And because we see it all, we know how we can best pray for and support each other.
Let your husband and children know how much you appreciate the mundane, everyday things they do to serve you and the rest of the family.
There are certain things we expect from our spouse and our children, and when they do it, well… we really don’t notice it. But when they don’t do it, … there’s trouble.
I believe in the name of excellence and honoring God, I often minimize my husband and children’s efforts to do a good thing. An effort to cook dinner may result in something dry and overcooked. I have on occasion used this result as an opportunity to teach a cooking lesson or point out a flaw, rather than celebrating their genuine desire to do a good thing. I’ve discouraged my husband from helping me many times with this one. Why should he try to do a good thing if I’m still not going to be happy with it? I have to resist the urge to micromanage the way my family helps me. It’s OK if they do things differently from me.
I’m thankful that God sees their heart’s intentions to provide a wonderful meal for us to enjoy. He is always more concerned with our hearts than with the results. I pray that I might have His perspective.
It’s not just about us.
Remember, managing our home is a way to love our family. I can so quickly become annoyed when the drawers in the kitchen aren’t organized the way I want them when the fact is —no one else cares. As long as they can quickly find a fork, a spoon, they really are fine with that. I’m the only one that cares that everything is neat and tidy. Oh well. I’ve decided that my husband and children are more important than a tidy drawer. (Sometimes I forget that I made this decision.) This is their home too and it’s important that everyone feels that way. I don’t want my family to feel like they are visitors in MY HOME.
We are the heartbeat of our homes.
My husband often tells me that I make our house a home. I seldom think of my work that way, but he’s right. I set the tone and atmosphere of our home and the rhythm of our life.
Moms, you, too, are the heartbeat of your home.
Do you think about your own heart beating?
Do you stop often to applaud the fact that your heart did its job?
I would venture to say, “no”. The mere fact that you don’t notice your heart means it’s doing it’s job.
In a similar way, our families experiences a rhythm of life that is normal for them. They may not notice it or acknowledge it, because it’s working so well. They may not even understand what it’s like not to have it, because it’s so “normal” for them. This may seem odd to say, but that’s a good thing.
You are a big part of your family’s “normal”. The foods your family enjoys. The way you celebrate special occasions. Bedtime rituals. The decor and atmosphere of your home. Music they listen to. Shows they watch on TV. Funny things they say. Who your children want to be like when they grow up. What your family does for fun. How they interact with others. Places you like to visit. Your family’s values.
You and your spouse have created this little place called home. There’s no other place in the world like it.
It’s the place where you, your children and your husband get to let your guards down and let it all hang out. It’s a place where your family can be fully themselves. Singing off key. Passing gas. Being messy, and smelly. It’s the place where your children can ask tough questions, work through their struggles and overcome their fears. It’s a place where you will create life-long memories, and relationships that shape the people your children will become. It’s the place your children and husband want to be.
Look around you ladies. Your work is wonderful. Now stop and enjoy it.