To the Mom Who Feels Underappreciated Day In and Day Out

When I was working outside the home, I got high-fives and good performance reviews for doing a good job. This motherhood gig? It’s not like that.

I like compliments.

I really wish I didn’t. I wish I was so confident that I didn’t need others’ praise. I wish I was so filled by the spirit that I was wholly dependent on the approval of the Lord rather than that of others. But, honestly, it feels good when someone tells me I’m doing a good job, that I’m really good at what I do.

Back in the day, I was a good teacher. I had coworkers and principals and supervisors and athletes and students that showed me gratitude and appreciation daily, that encouraged me and high-fived me, that told me I was good. I felt good about being good. It was easy to be proud. It was easy to feel fulfilled and successful.

This. This mothering gig. This is not quite like that.

mom-baby-carrier

Today I started my day with a four-year-old all up in my pillow. I made three kids breakfast (and by made, I mean poured cereal). I comforted three crying children at different, yet multiple times throughout the day. I folded two loads of laundry. I stripped sheets (which have yet to be replaced with clean ones). I cooked dinner. I swept. Twice. I read books. I sang songs. I pretended to be a cat. I broke up 18,000 fights, pried baby fists loose from 2 screaming girls’ hair, and wiped 359 bottoms. I heard my name shouted post-bedtime 18 times. I went in to hear “I can’t remember” exactly 2 times.

And DON’T YOU KNOW? Tomorrow will be the exact. same. thing.

Day in and day out.

And sadly, most days end with a heaviness. I plop down on the couch with less of a feeling of accomplishment and more of a feeling of irritation. I try to put my finger on exactly what it is that had a grip on me, suffocating me. What is it that strips me of joy day in and day out? Why am I so bitter?

Then it hit me. Entitlement. I am an entitled mom.

I have completely lost sight of my blessings around me because I AM SO FOCUSED ON WHAT I’VE DONE. 

But I cooked.

And I cleaned.

And I wiped bottoms.

DON’T I DESERVE SOMETHING FOR ALL THIS?

Where is my reward? Where is the gratitude? Where is my rest?

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though working for the Lord and not for man, since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.

But I bathed all three kids.

I swept the floor. TWICE!

WHAT DO I GET for all the things I’ve done?

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though working for the Lord and not for man, since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.

I like being rewarded. I like getting pats on the back and feeling my ego stroked.

But in my pouting about doing everything (even though, I do very short of everything) I missed the Lord whispering, 

Look around you. Is this not enough?

You have three precious mouths to feed.

You have three precious bodies to bathe.

You have a husband that works incredibly hard to provide for you.

You have a beautiful home with floors to sweep and dishes to clean.

Is this not enough? 

Yes, this job is hard, the hardest job I have ever had. It is hard to feel good at it, to feel accomplished, to be fulfilled.

But my Heavenly Father knew I needed this. He knew I needed to serve without receiving a “Good job” or a “Thank you so much.” I needed to perform without someone to impress, without expectation of a compliment. He wanted me to learn to serve just for the sake of serving others and serving him, not self-serving.

Staying at home for your kids is good, but I am not doing this job for my kids. I am not doing this job for my husband. I cannot expect my family to fulfill me. That’s putting WAY too much pressure on a three-year-old. In every dish I wash and diaper I change, I am working for the Lord, not for man. 

And even if I hadn’t already been rewarded (which I have been, a thousand times over), I can rest assured that my reward is coming, and it will be so much better than any compliment anyone on this earth has to offer.

Jordan Harrell
Jordan Harrell blogs about the refinement process that is motherhood at A Bushel and a Peck (jordanharrell.com). She loves her husband and three children more than she can say and is working on loving Jesus more. She loses her phone daily and wears her sports watch with formalwear, not because she thinks it's a good look but because she can't remember to take it off.

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