Motherhood Resolving.

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 get to have some sort of feeling of accomplishment.

As a mother, I 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 feel like all day long I am cleaning and tidying and feeding and cleaning and tidying and feeding, and then at the end of the day, after everyone is cleaned and fed and asleep, the house needs to be cleaned and picked up one last time and then it’s time for bed.

Nothing I do with my hands during the day “sticks”. I do everything that I do knowing that it will need to be done again in an hour or two.

Clean clean clean clean tidy clean tidy. Never ending. Never resolving. Never feeling like it’s really accomplished because it doesn’t last.

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 have raising my kids for me.

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, and it was turning me into a RAGE monster. The monster was just below the surface– threatening to squeeze out through my tear ducts.

Chris could tell that I was on the verge, and that I was so worked up that nothing I was doing was helping my situation (i.e. trying to clean the floors while the baby was still eating and throwing goo on top of the floors I had JUST cleaned) so do you know what he did? (Men of the world, TAKE NOTE.) He forced me to go take a bath and relax and breathe for a moment. 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 worked together on the house- happily, CHEERFULLY… side by side. And by the time evening rolled around, it looked AMAZING.

At the end of the day, it wasn’t so much the fact that he 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’s what I needed (before I even knew it) and he gave me the boost I needed to get me there. And I know that the house will probably look much like it did early yesterday in, oh, about 29 seconds flat, but you know what? Today, I am okay with that.

Because I was reminded that it isn’t so much about WHAT gets done at the end of the day as it is about WHO you do those things for.

I keep the house nice because it blesses my husband and my kids. And they in turn work hard and bless me in their own sweet ways. We’re all working hard together for a purpose.

And suddenly, cleaning the floors doesn’t feel like my own personal purgatory anymore. It feels almost noble. Like it’s the most important job in the world.

All because of who I am doing it for.

23 thoughts on “Motherhood Resolving.

  1. Awww. That's so sweet. The old adage, “A woman's work is never done.” So true. It's hard keeping a house clean and picked up with toddlers. Believe me – I feel your pain. :-)

  2. Ayy-men, sistah!

    It is indeed noble work that you do. (At what point in our lives did baths switch from being a miserable punishment to the ultimate reward?)

  3. This post seriously made me cry…

    Life at home with two kids can be soo incredibly overwhelming. I do the same thing… clean, scrub, tidy, pick up… ALLLL day.

    But like you I am so so thankful to be able to stay at home. I know I take it for granted. And I do all the cleaning and tidying to make our home nice for Lane and the girls.

    It might have been you who said something on your blog about how when the kids are grown up and out of the house they aren't going to remember how clean the house always was but they'll remember how loved they were… Maybe you didn't write that… I don't know but I do know that it's something I think about every time I get super stressed about how messy the house is.

    I'm glad you posted this. I needed to read this today. Especially today.

  4. OMG! I JUST had that conversation with my husband a couple of weeks ago! Changing diapers, feeding, DISHES, LAUNDRY, cleaning, picking up toys, fighting with my 2 yr old to take his nap; it's all that I feel like I do, repeatidly…all day! And sometimes at the end of the day when he gets off work and I havn't even had time for a shower?! I so envy him at times!

    Two weeks ago I started working again, just two days a week, but it was to try to gain back my sanity and feel as though there really is life and people outside of my home and away from my children. I LOVE them to death, but sometimes Mommy's just need a breather too! =)

    I relate to you in SO many ways, your blogs make me happy, and make me realize that I'm not alone! Thanks Emery!

  5. Emery,
    I totally feel this way every day. It never ends. Your new outlook is soo encouraging and I am hoping I can ooze it into my veins and attitude! I love the REALNESS of your posts and feel so blessed by your words. You are an amazing mother and person!!
    Jessica Bottomly

  6. Hello! I'm delurking to say thank you for this post. I don't have kids and still often feel like I am in a daily battle with the tidying the house and keeping it that way. I love your perspective on it. It was just what I needed!

  7. yesterday i changed our sheets. i was confident that night at dinner i would receive a medal… it was strange when i didn't, but i still felt proud of myself. that's typically a rare feeling… most days i feel just like this post!

  8. it's hard when relatives judge me for staying at home with our babies, it makes the job a little harder. Like I am mooching from my husband or something. Please pray for father in laws.

  9. 15-or so years ago I changed the drive shaft on my little Honda Civic. To this day, I still have bragging rights about that. Moreover, the job is still DONE.

    There aren't too many “women's chores” that you can brag about (loaded the dishwasher today. NO WAY! HIGH FIVE) and that stay done.

    Hurray for whatever you accomplished today. :)

  10. Emery, I have posted this on my blog. I hope that's ok. This was just what I needed, feeling defeated today…. My living room has been hit by my beautiful little human tornado repeatedly. He is going through the phase where it is just hilarious to throw everything in sight onto the floor and exclaim “rooaar.” Cute, but not when you just picked everything up. Thanx for words of encouragement.

  11. This post was wonderful Emery. I've been dealing with a sort of melancholy funk over this topic. Depressed because my husband is the breadwinner and the other day I looked at my apartment and all the things that were in it and realized that he had worked for and bought them all. Was my job merely to create aesthetic pleasure, organize, clean?! I'm a reluctant housewife (I knew this since I was 14 and vowed “never to have children!”…HA!) so I've decided to go back to school. But deep down there I know I'll miss being there. Creating a home for them.

    Indeed, a woman's work is never done…

  12. I know EXACTLY what that day look and feel like. it's so rough-Dont you love when you actually LIVE-OUT the meaning of what a “helper” is? I love when my husband does stuff like that too. He's been working from 9pm-7am this week, and it's so hard for me to get up in the middle of the night and sooth the baby back to bed (he's got an ear ache) and this whole week my body has felt like it got hit by a bus! I'm exhausted. I would feel like this all the time if my husband wasn't so helpful.

    Your boys are soooo sweet!

  13. Oh, this is why I couldn't handle matenity leave! 6 months of cleaning! I thought I was staying home to be with my baby but I didn't realize it comes with a broom, sponges, and a kitty litter scoop! I hate hate hate house work. But when everything is cleaned up and nice, I can sit back and really enjoy it. And my husband LOVES to clean, he's up at 6am on Saturdays mopping, so I feel like a terrible wife sometimes. You deserve so much credit for what you do, because you don't get a break when you are home. Here I am at work, taking a nice hour lunch break with no babies or flooding toilet, and I can read your blog, and eat food interupted.(I know not all work places have that, but I'm lucky) That's so great your husband stepped in to give you that well deserved break. You two sound like a great team.

  14. I work full time from home with a great husband who works a later shift – we've done this for 10 years or so to keep our children out of daycare. So I can tell you with full honesty that going to work won't give you that sense of accomplishment you may be craving! Yes, I do complete things at work, but the neverending tasks being mom don't end – I still have to grocery shop (after work or on weekends), clean my house, help my kids with homework, etc. I think its often easy to think oh if I worked I'd feel fulfilled – maybe yes, maybe no – I think ALL moms feel as you do – that our mom work is monotonous, never ending, unappreciated! But, as you indicate, remembering WHY we do it should bring some peace. At least that is what I'll try to channel when picking up the house after the kids are in bed, or when I'm washing up the dishes after yet another meal! I think all moms need to give ourselves a little break sometimes to regroup. I know I will bookmark this so that I do remember WHO I am doing all this for, and truly how lucky and blessed I am, regardless of how crazy, chaotic or monotonous my day just may be – I'm lucky to be living it! (and thank GOD for helpful husbands!) I also sometimes in the midst of my internal chatter/complaining try to remember that so many moms and dads have it harder – loss of jobs, homes, sick kids, disabled kids – my life is cake compared to that. Thanks for something to really think about and apply to my life!

  15. You said it! As simple as it sounds, what you have managed to sum up can change a life! You are so right! We do it for the ones we love and they do so much in return. THank you for your always fresh, yet classic, take on the world of mothers. xoxo

  16. Always well said. And girl, don't you KNOW that these little people (and one big guy) will reap the benefits of our hard labour one day for sure!? I am so thankful girl. So thankful for those little ones and my one big guy too. Thanks for the reminder of what seems like just doing the little things, actually amounts to so many BIG things! Few. :) xoxo

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