The moment I quit expecting more appreciation, I became a better mom. The day I embraced my role as a servant to my family, I began to enjoy each of them more. That very second I became secure in who I am and what my role is in my family, I breathed a huge sigh of relief and quit trying to prove my worth to everyone around me.
Like most stay-at-home moms, I’ve felt unappreciated. I’ve been offended by the “when are you going back to work?” and “what do you do all day?” questions. I’ve read and even shared the articles other moms write about how hard their days and nights are; how they never have clean clothes; and how stressful it is to revolve their entire lives around everyone else in their families. Although I mostly shared the articles because I enjoy the comradery that comes with reading that I’m not the only one wiping poop off the crib walls at 2am, I have to admit, a small part of me shared the articles trying to elicit the “ahhhh, what a hard job!” effect.
And by gosh, my job is hard! But so is every store clerk’s; every teacher’s; every oil exec’s; every working parent’s that has to leave their child at day care. I am so fortunate that I get to stay home and see my kids thrive. Colossians 3 says “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” That one scripture has resonated with me for weeks.
My calling for this season in my life is to serve my family; to make every member of my family’s job easier. Some may call my thinking outdated or even sexist, but I want to send my kids and husband out every day ready to tackle the world. Part of that is spiritual and difficult like modeling positive self image and teaching them to deal with stress and pain and showing them how to love and be respectful and responsible. But part of this mission is in the simple, every-day things like clean socks, healthy lunches that make full bellies, and warm cozy beds to rest in at night. It’s in the sparkly, lemon scented toilet bowls and taking time to give my kids my undivided attention or jump on the trampoline with them. It’s having a good meal, and clean home and a somewhat put together wife for my husband to retreat to after he’s been out working for 15 hours. (or at least lighting a candle and freshening up my mascara to fake him out!)
This does not mean I don’t take care of myself or do things for me. And it certainly doesn’t mean my home is pristine or I get it right every time. It just means I respect myself and my role enough to not depend on getting my spiritual tank full from others anymore. It means I do all the same things I’ve always done, but now with my heart in the right place. I used to stress myself out trying to prove to everyone that I don’t eat bon bons and watch Dr. Phil all day! I know I don’t. My husband and kids know I don’t. And at the end of the day, that’s what matters to me.
I guess what I’m trying to say is let’s all quit trying to prove our worth to our friends, PTO moms, strangers in the grocery store, and other people whose opinions of us frankly don’t matter. Let’s spend less time whining about how hard our jobs are and more time just doing them better. It’s hard, it’s chaotic, and there are days we all want to pull our hair out. But this is the life we chose and are privileged to lead. So instead of drumming up more “woe is me,” let’s compare stories so that we can all laugh about the crazy together and realize there are no perfect parents. One day we’ll all miss being some little person’s world, so enjoy the heck out of it while we are! Be proud of exactly who you are and what your role is right now in life even if others don’t quite get it. Take great pride in being behind the scenes of your family’s successes. It truly is an unmatched honor.