Friday, October 28, 2016

Appreciating Mom

I'm on my third day in bed with the flu.

Can you imagine what the house looks like?

Today I told the kids to catch up on the house first, and then do school with whatever time was left. I intuitively knew that if I didn't call a housekeeping day, then the house would be too far gone for me to clean up on Sunday night, ahead of the Monday daycare day. I'm sure my being off has incredibly inconvenienced the family I work for, but it couldn't be helped.

The boys made dinner the last two nights. Tacos by Paul, and gingerbread pancakes by Peter. They were delicious. I am not a failure as a mother; my children are doing alright with this sudden domestic nightmare. Our job is to work ourselves out of a job, and nothing tests that notion like consecutive sick days for Mom.

To save money, we don't buy many snacks. We bake our own, or make popcorn. There are no-bake cookies for afternoon snack, thanks to Paul. Peter is going to put a whole chicken in the oven at 4 PM, and four loads of laundry were folded and put away at Peter's direction to his siblings.

Peter rose to the occasion nicely. At first though, he knocked on my bedroom door and asked me to please give the kids jobs to do, because the cleaning wasn't getting done. I told him the first step is always the decluttering. An hour later he came and shared this with me:

"All I've been doing for an hour is walking around and putting a ton of little things away. I don't know how you do this everyday. Your job is a lot harder than I thought."

As much as I feel really lousy, and am shocked to have the flu in October--before we even got our flu shots--I can see the value in Mom being down for a week. Housekeeping is a thankless job. Rarely does anyone remember to say thank you for the many small acts of service we do.

And yet, so much of life rides on our shoulders. We're not engineering $25,000,000 stock deals, or meeting to discuss the next president's first 100 days in office, but we are the glue that holds it all together for the next generation. We're significant in immeasurable ways. Our contributions are astounding.

And you know what makes it beautiful, rather than just the work of cooks, maids, and executive secretaries?

It's the love. The self-sacrifice. Our services are free of charge, paid for with precious energy and time and heart. We could be doing so many wonderful things with our time, yet we choose to serve in lowly ways--to do the seemingly insignificant work of ensuring everyone has clean pants and shirts, and available Cheerios and oatmeal for breakfast. When it's time for a meal, the food is there. When it's time for a change, the fresh clothes are there. When it's time to be somewhere, Mom is on the case, five steps ahead of everyone.

When Mom is down, everything is down. When Mom can't go to the store, it's a crisis. When mom can't do the socks and underwear, all of life stops and there's scurrying around. Confused people wonder what to do first and next, because we make it look so easy.

It's beautiful what we do. We literally give our lives to serve others, with no promise of repayment, no promise of a nest egg waiting for us in retirement.

If you devalue what you do...if anyone devalues what you do, just wait. Your sick days will come too and you'll see the value of your contribution. You will be newly thankful that you have the energy and the love and the legacy-minded vision to get up and do the same thing every day, because you want to. Because you love to. Because you get to.

1 comment: said...

Praying for a speedy recovery and a much-needed rest. It is so lovely to have helpful children! Doesn't it make you proud of them? God bless you all xxx