Updated: Dec 11, 2019
One of the hardest parts of being a stay-at-home mom, for me, is the lack of recognition and appreciation.
When you have tiny humans who can’t speak, all they do is cry and express their neediness to you all the livelong day. You work yourself to freaking death trying to keep the crying to a minimum and the happiness to a maximum, all the while anxiously awaiting the moment when you’re next going to have the opportunity to speak to another human who can utter understandable words again.
The days are long and exhausting, and while you adore that tiny human, he/she does nothing to make you feel appreciated. Those babies take, take, take. Your energy, your time, and your sanity. Also your body, your cleanliness, your tidiness, and your brain. All they actually give in return is snot, spit-up, pee, poop, and barf. Also noise. Lots of noise.
Also joy and smiles and sometimes giggles. But some days it seems that the benefits don’t outweigh the costs. Or maybe that is just me. (Just being real and transparent here.)
We all know that we wouldn't trade those humans -- tiny or otherwise -- for 100 billion dollars. We adore them, even in their neediness and our exhaustion. But they never say “thank you” and they never tell us that we’re doing a good job.
And THAT is where I find myself struggling.
Recently, I worked a short stint at a craft store doing a seasonal job. The hours were not easy to cram into my schedule, and I was exhausted all the time from juggling it plus my normal life. But I found that I loved to hear a customer’s appreciation when I helped her find something or solve a crafty dilemma. I inwardly jumped when a coworker or boss would praise me for doing my job well. I was good at what I did, and it was nice to hear someone say so.
I didn't realize how MUCH I craved that.
Then the job ended and I went back to my normal “job” at home, and the struggle for
recognition and appreciation began all over again, afresh and anew. As much as I LOVED not having to juggle the side job, and as much as I LOVED being back at home full-time, I did miss the feeling of a job well done and someone noticing it.
Today is one of those days when the struggle is keenly felt. My family has exactly 1 billion things changing in our lives over the next 6 months and those changes require me to accomplish exactly 5 gillion things in the interim in order for those changes not to cause our collective lives to blow the heck up. I am overwhelmed on a grand scale, but as they say, “the show must go on!” So I have to do what I’m always telling my kids to do: “Suck it up, Buttercup.” Because ain’t nobody got time for a pity party up in here.
And let’s just be real about the reality of women. Hormones are a gift from Satan himself. Toss those jokers into the mix, and watch the dumpster fire dance!
So here I sit, in the middle of my dumpster fire of a day, hormones raging, feeling like a big, fat failure who sucks at every freaking thing.
I took TWO separate trips to school today because of a wardrobe disagreement. I had ONE come to Jesus meeting before the clock struck 8:00 a.m. (Which meant that I ticked off at least one of my progeny before 8:00 a.m. as well. And that led to the second trip to school to try to repair the damage.) That second trip to school meant that I didn’t get the hour-and-a-half of silence that I was planning to use to clean out a cabinet in my kitchen before my son woke up for the morning. (Remember those 5 gillion things on the to-do list that I referenced above?) Then my son woke up and he wasn’t in the cheeriest of moods. (Neither was I at that point.) And then I went to get something to eat for lunch, only to find that the refrigerator was completely devoid of leftovers from last night.
SIDE STORY: I got exactly zero closets or drawers cleaned out yesterday during my son’s one and only day of school this week. I had planned to clean out some, but instead, I made an epic meal for my family for Valentine’s Day. I thought it would take only an hour or so, but I was wrong. And it took the entirety of his time at school. Which means I got nothing else done besides the chopping and dicing and sautéing. And, oh by the way, I DESPISE cooking. AND I was hormonal. So basically I wasn’t a cheerful giver of my time AT ALL yesterday because I spent the entire time I was cooking recounting in my head, over and over and over again, how many things (ZERO) I was accomplishing while I was thus occupied. I know, I know. I was doing something thoughtful for my family. I was sacrificing the greatest gift I have to offer — my time. But I was not a joyful about it in any way. So basically: FAIL AGAIN.
Back to today: I was irked in a big way that, after yesterday’s eternal cooking session, I had nothing of it left to eat for lunch because apparently everyone took all the leftovers for lunch and didn’t leave any behind for me, myself, and I. And I was hungry.
I’m taking forever to tell the story but this is how the rest of the day went: Cranky toddler. Toys and several fits thrown. Potty training. Crying. Me being a jerk. More hormones. Half-cleaned-out cabinet. Crap everywhere. “I’m a failure” and “I suck” alternately running through my head on repeat.
Here’s where I get to my point.
Sometimes you have to pat YOURSELF on the back when you are doing a good job. Or even a mediocre job, like in my case. There are times when no freakin’ body is going to notice or even care about what you did with your time on a given day.
Did the groceries miracle themselves into the cabinets? No. You bought them.
Did the toothbrushes appear on the bathroom counter by magic? No. You again.
Was there food on the table to eat for dinner? Yep. Guess who!
Did everyone exit the house wearing clothes that fit them (mostly)? Yep. Win for you!
Is the house inhabitable and up to your standard of clean(ish)?
Do the cars have gas?
Are the kids in possession of school supplies?
Is someone’s bed made?
Did the dog get fed?
Is everyone clean — or capable of getting clean because you bought the soap and shampoo?
Is everyone wearing underwear?
Is everyone ALIVE?
YOU. Lots of you making that stuff happen.
So, Girl, go pat yourself on the back, for the love of all humanity.
You’re right: nobody said “thank you” when you bought them their toiletries, and zero humans took note of the fact that you did two loads of laundry, and not one soul saw that you put the toilet paper on the roll — yet again — and people didn’t tell you that you did a good job on ANYTHING today.
BUT you, my friend, are killing it. Straight-up killing it.
So acknowledge that to yourself. And move on with your life and stop throwing the useless pity party because nobody ever notices you.
That doesn’t sound super encouraging does it? No, but this is real talk time, Sister. It’s real talk that I have to TELL MY OWN FREAKING SELF on the reg. It’s real talk that I’m having with myself at this exact second as I type the words onto the screen. (There is a reason that I wear a bracelet that says “Suck it up Buttercup,” okay?)
The thing is, everyone is happier because of you. The family functions largely because of what you do. Things run more smoothly because of you.
You can just know this — and acknowledge this — yourself. Nobody else has to say it if you already know that truth. If you do a good job on a given day, know it, own it, pat yourself on the back, and feel like you did a good job. Feel fulfilled. Feel appreciated because even though they may not say it every time, they DO appreciate you.
Stop listening to the lies of Satan on your shoulder as he tells you all the livelong day about how “nobody appreciates you” and “nobody cares” and “nobody notices all the things you do for them.”
Lies, all lies. From the pit of hell.
True, they might not say “thank you” or “Mom, I sure do appreciate all you do for us,” but they DO. And you know it.
Also: they DO say it. And you know that, too. (Shall we turn the tables for a moment? Do YOU always remember to say “thank you” when one of THEM does something for YOU? Feel the burn of that one. I sure do!)
That’s just another example of more lies and twisting of truths from Satan, Friend.
Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy, and one way he does that is with the lies he tells chicks like you. And me.
So stop giving him the satisfaction of receiving that crap as truth. Kick him and his whispered lies off your shoulder and throw a little 1 Corinthians 10:31 RIGHT IN HIS FACE because you, Sister, can “do ALL to the glory of God.”
Which means wiping butts and snotty noses. And endless cleaning. And errands that go on forever. And laundry piles to the ceiling. And spending all day cooking. And skipping lunch (or eating something crappy) because everyone else had good food for lunch.
Remind me again: what does 1 Corinthians 10:31 say? "So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Do I see anything about ME getting the glory? Nope. I do not. And that sorta sucks. But you want to know what doesn't suck? Humility. That's what. I've got a Bible filled to the brim with stuff about how awesome humility is. Pride and selfishness? Not so much.
So keep on steppin,’ Sister, because it’s not about US getting any glory in the first place. It’s about God getting the glory.
You doing what you do, and do it well, to the best of your ability, and He gets glory in the process.
So scrape yourself up off the floor. Wipe your eyes. Side eye to Satan wanting you to kickstart another pity party. Nope. You ain’t goin’ there. No time for that nonsense. You are giving GOD the glory, today, not that jerk.
What Satan wants you to focus on, first and foremost, is YOU. Because selfishness is one of his biggest weapons. And I, for one, give him a GIANT target to aim for. (I LOVE me some Gina. I love giving Gina what Gina wants. And I’m the first one to call foul when she doesn’t get it.)
So let’s all just call it what it is, today. Selfishness with a side of Pride. Let’s focus on God’s glory — and our own humility — and get on with it!
And then let’s give a couple emphatic middle fingers to Satan as we tell him, “Nope. Not today, loser.”