Gratitude For Opportunities To Serve as Women and Mamas
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My mom grew up living in the projects of Boston and at times had no home at all.
I remember as a little girl, when she cleaned the house (which was often, because she’s kind a clean freak) her telling me that cleaning her home was an act of gratitude for all that she had and her worship to God for providing her with a home and a family to care for.
Today as I cleaned my own floors I thought to myself, “ What a privilege it is to have MY husband and MY kids to clean up after, to have a home with floors to wash, to have a family that loves me, trusts me, depends on me and considers me a reliable constant in their life!”
I actually thought this.
No one is more surprised by this than I am.
Then I KEPT thinking…
Lots of memes, Instagram account accounts and YouTube channels these days poke fun of the endless, thankless work of motherhood and I think we need that comic relief.
In a world where many of us women are not connected in close community, we look to the internet for our sanity, comedy, validation and I think that’s ok.
We need to laugh at the crazy, the endless laundry, the selfish nature of our kiddos, our husbands’ inabilities to put their dirty socks in the laundry, the constant noise and chaos…
But I always WANT TO be careful to guard MY heart and my mind amidst all the jokes and “real talk” about #momlife to remember to be grateful for what I have and not fill my day or my head with complaining.
What I say over and over again can become true in my mind and my heart.
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Practicing gratitude for what I have today, work included, is a muscle that I need to exercise otherwise it weakens, becomes brittle and forgets how to function.
I’ll be the first to admit that our job as mamas is often hard, frustrating, tear-inducing and thankless, but that’s also real life.
I mean, if we were expecting it to be otherwise, that’s pretty of silly stuff.
Personally, I remember not appreciating the MYRIAD things my mom did for me as a kid, without a thought about it at the time.
I just accepted it as “part of her job”.
BUT from watching her, I also learned how to do hard work without grumbling and complaining, how to take care of a family and how to keep a home-albeit less clean than hers.
And isn’t that what I want for MY kids?
To find joy in their work and do it without complaining?
To know how to take care of their belongings?
To not always be searching for rewards and pleasure, but to buckle down and do character-building work like cleaning up theirs and other people’s messes?
How I behave shapes the culture of our home.
How we as a community of mothers act in our homes has the power to shape an ENTIRE CULTURE of people.
None of this means that I’m above paying someone to clean my floor, telling my kids to clean it or that I think being the maid should be the synonymous with motherhood or wife life, but let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that having relationships with people that rely upon us to be there doesn’t require a TON of work and self sacrifice.
Motherhood is a dirty job that requires grit and for us to get up in there and do some work.
Motherhood is the greatest sacrifice that many of us will ever make in our lives and we make it daily.
But that’s the thing is, the nature or our relationship to our kids is not one of 50/50.
They can’t give back to us what we deserve for the work that we do.
And SOMETIMES I get the sense that the jokes we make about our jobs as mother over time create a sense of injustice.
We know that our kids aren’t in the position to even the score, so we look to our spouse to do so and we can resent them and forget that they too have a thankless job. This goes for all families, regardless of your division of labor agreements about breadwinners, etc.
In a world that often emphasizes that we should put ourselves first, I’m kind of feeling like humbly doing work for others and finding joy in it all might actually be the key to true lasting happiness.
Oh look! it’s actually God’ design for us to serve one another and to do humbling work without resentment.
12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place.
“Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.
13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.
14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.
15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.
17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
Now that I your Lord and Teacher have washed your dirty disgusting sandal clad feet, you should do the same for each other.
There’s a TON of messaging around us right now about self love and self care and about how thankless our jobs as moms are.
There’s also a LOT of pressure to be perfect, have perfect homes, dress cute and never yell at our kids or lose our tempers.
Here’s the thing , perfection is a lie. Relationships that don’t involve sacrifice and selfless actions are fantasies.
Waiting to be happy and content until everything is perfect means we will never have joy.
I can’t tell you how to be a perfect mom and balance caring for yourself with caring for your loved ones, how to cultivate appropriate boundaries in your life, what to say YES to and when to say NO, but I CAN tell you that:
A happy heart makes a happy face. Proverbs 15:13
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. John 15:14
Love the Lord Your God with all your soul, all of your mind and with all of your strength and love your neighbor as yourself. Mark 12:30-31.
"Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all." Mark 9:35
BET you thought I was going to put Proverbs 31 verses in here.
Please know that I share all this with you, but I say it to myself FIRST!!!!
PS-I will be writing a WHOLE OTHER POST on how everyday chores can be an AWESOME way to inject some pelvic floor-friendly movement into your day.
But I’ll leave it at this for now: In a culture that glorifies 30-60 minutes of exercise a day, we can actually get even MORE health and fitness benefits from injecting movement into LOTS of different parts of our days (like washing the floors on our hands and knees!) to feel better and have less of that whole, "I need. to psych myself up to go to the gym" type mental battle....which will. leave us with some more mental energy to be grateful too!
Sarah Smith is a Functional Gut and Pelvic Health Educator and she’s on a mission to help women conquer their pelvic health struggles and build STRENGTH and SKILLS!
Sarah is a strength coach, RKC2 Kettlebell Instructor, Original Strength Pro Instructor, certified personal trainer, postnatal fitness specialist and pelvic floor and gut health advocate with a Masters in Soil and Agricultural Science. Sarah works online and in Raleigh, North Carolina.
She loves her boys, soil (good thing because her life is full of it), her bulldog, Bella, coffee and not folding laundry.
If you want MORE information about YOUR pelvic floor and why you shouldn’t settle for incontinence, tailbone pain, discomfort and pain in intercourse, constipation, pelvic pressure and the feeling of organs in your vaginal canal DOWNLOAD THIS FREE GUIDE!