Sometimes I envy my husband.
I was talking to him last night about how I sometimes feel it would be so nice to have a job where you leave the house in the morning, work really hard and then at the end of the day you leave and have some sort of way to measure your accomplishments.
Stay-at-home mothers don't often get to feel that sense of closure or accomplishment after a long day of hard work.
A hard day of work for me never really has a 'resolve' at the end of it. It just blends into the next day of the same. I clean and tidy and feed and launder and wash and then at the end of the day, after everyone is fed and cleaned and asleep, I pick up one last time knowing full well that it will all start over again in the morning.
Nothing I do with my hands during the day feels like it "sticks." I do everything that I do knowing that it will need to be done again in an hour or two.
I am thankful to be home with my kids. SO very thankful! There is nothing else I'd rather be doing and no one else I'd rather be pouring my life out for. I also know there will come a time when I will look back upon these days with fondness and even miss all the laundry and the mess…
But on some days, like yesterday, I just feel worn out and bone-tired. Yesterday I looked around and felt totally smothered by my house and the endless job of keeping it nice while three boys and a man live here. The feeling of being overwhelmed was just below the surface threatening to squeeze out through my tear ducts.
Chris could tell that I was on the verge and I was so worked up that nothing I was doing was helping my situation (i.e. trying to clean the floors while the kids were still eating and throwing crumbs around), so do you know what he did? (Men of the world, TAKE NOTE.) He told me to go take a bath and relax and breathe for a little while. While I was doing that, he bleached and scrubbed the kitchen floors for me. Oh yes he did.
By the time I got out of the bath, my head was on straight again. I had gotten a chance to breathe. The rest of the day, we all worked together on the house- happily, cheerfully… side by side! When we were finished, it looked amazing.
At the end of the day, it wasn't so much the fact that Chris had helped clean and grocery shop and all that… It was more the fact that he helped me get to a place of feeling like I'd accomplished something. He could tell that was what I needed (before I even knew it), and he gave me the boost that I needed to get there.
I know that the house will probably look much like it did before in, oh, about 29 seconds flat, but you know what? Today I am absolutely okay with that because I was reminded that it isn't so much about WHAT gets done at the end of the day, but WHO I do all these things for.
I work hard to keep the house nice because it benefits my husband and my kids. It gives them a place to come back to that is peaceful and restful and organized. It gives us time and space to connect and enjoy each other. It is really hard work! But it is important work, and work that I want to teach and train my boys to participate in and value. Sometimes I just need the reminder of WHY I work so hard day after day, even when it feels like it doesn’t ever “stick.” I think this is true for all of us, stay-at-home moms or otherwise!
When I can remember the WHY, then cleaning the floors suddenly doesn't feel like my own personal purgatory anymore. It feels almost… noble. Like it's the most important job in the whole wide world.
All because of who I am doing it for.