6 Truths For A Mama-Attitude Adjustment When Our Work Feels Unnoticed

I'm a Work in Progresss, Practice Gratitude / Monday, March 23rd, 2015

At times, much of my work as a stay at home mom feels unnoticed. IT leaves me in a funk. Even moms need an attitude adjustment.

Some jobs are never done. The laundry never ceases, meals do not make themselves and dishes, beds, and bathrooms will be used and require cleaning.

And the toys! Here is one of the rooms I cleaned and organized this morning.

Don’t think it looks bad? This is just 10 minutes later and they’re off in another freshly cleaned room wreaking havoc in there.

6 Truths For A Mama-Attitude Adjustment When Our Work Feels Unnoticed | thisgratefulmama.com

My attitude varies. Many days, I enjoy the work and feel productive and fulfilled, even when my husband returns from work and the house is again in disarray, and the sink is again full of dishes.

Just what did we do today?

More often than I’d like to admit, I feel self-pity; as if I were singled-out and sentenced to picking up toys and scrubbing toilets, again.

Waking up to a pile of laundry to fold and more to be wash can be disheartening. Sometimes I desire recognition for the work that was done and unseen before the kids scattered every toy from the toy box, again. Some days, I feel the work is not worthwhile or of any lasting value.

Entertaining and dwelling in these selfish thoughts is both toxic, infectious and habit-forming. I no longer feel blessed, I feel controlled.

When I could demonstrate good stewardship and a servant heart, I instead demonstrate how to sigh and be resentful while doing chores. No wonder our children struggle with this too!

Instead of serving my family and loving them, I’m looking at their dirty laundry, bed sheets and dishes as a burden. So wrong! These people I love (and their things) are not a burden!

This attitude is ungrateful for:

  • our children and their playful hearts
  • the blessing to stay home while my husband works equally as hard as I am (or harder)
  • a washing machine and dryer and clean water available to me
  • carpet to vacuum, the floors to mop and the bathrooms to clean
  • the abundant provision and blessing of God to our family.

Do you sometimes think your children need an attitude adjustment when they are begrudgingly doing chores, or complaining?

I have told our kids to change their attitude many times. But parents know all-too-well that this is no easy task.

Once self-centered, negative, grumbling thoughts creep in, they are difficult to banish.

When we have much to care for, we are blessed far more than we realize. But the mundane, repetitive nature of these daily tasks often leaves me short-sighted and unrateful.

I can admit that sometimes, this un-grateful mama needs a serious attitude adjustment.

I need to consider the truth of who we do this for, what it is we are doing, and why we are doing it. Then how we do it (our attitude) will follow suit.

There is much to be grateful for today. This is the time to enjoy all of this. 

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6 Truths For A  Mama-Attitude Adjustment When Our Work Feels Unnoticed

1. You Aren’t Singled Out

No matter what your job is, much of what is earnestly completed may go unnoticed. Unseen. Or must be repeated again and again. When I worked in the lab, the biohazard bins were filled, right after taking it out, and the samples for tomorrow came in even before we reported results from today. The same is true in corporate jobs; as one issue is resolved, two or three more come up. It may sometimes seem daunting, but in reality, is job-security.

As a mama at home, my children begin enjoying the room just cleaned, or drop crumbs on the floor before I’ve finished mopping the other end. Like everyone else, much of our work is behind-the-scenes, maintaining, cleaning, fixing, and living. In truth, I am no different than you, and we are no different than anyone else. Our work is no less recognized or unrecognized, even if it sometimes feels that way.

2. ‘Tis The Season

The chores of today will not always be. Welcome the season of life you’re in, and live IN it. Here and now.

Ask any mother of grown children – they know the truth and value of these busy days. They experienced children growing up and all the dishes, laundry, noise and chaos that came with it. They miss it. Caring for and raising children is a privilege. A time will come, with less mess, but also with fewer feet making noise and fewer mouths to feed. I, for one, am not ready for that. I like today. The future can’t be sped up or put off. Longing for a time with less mess is not just silly, it is a waste of the blessings I have now.

3. Gratitude Requires Practice

It is not easy to be grateful when scrubbing toilets after a potty-training toddler has left their mark. No, it’s downright hard. But, take time to practice. The more you do, the easier it will be to see things with eyes of gratitude instead of eyes of self-pity.

Instead of seeing an unending pile of clothes, thank God for the people who wear them, and that your family is blessed to own such a large pile of laundry. When overwhelmed by the mountain of dishes, be grateful your family has food to eat, are healthy, and for the ability to prepare food in a clean kitchen. So what if you have to clean it?

Instead of feeling resentment towards your spouse when they return from work not seeing what you did all day – recognize that you have no idea what mundane details and tasks they did all day either. Thank them for their hard work.

Wondering if I’m going to give thanks for those toilets? Sure am. It may be hard to see the rainbow here, but here goes – when tired of cleaning toilets that smell like the zoo, be glad you’re not cleaning an outhouse and have indoor plumbing. Furthermore, a toilet to clean and a toddler who is learning (and not wearing a diaper) are BOTH blessings worth my gratitude. Also recognize bleach for what it is – a priceless gift.

4. Our Work Is Not Unnoticed

While the love of family can get us through many mundane tasks with a joyful attitude, we also need the hope of an eternal perspective. The Bible tells us that no matter what work we are doing, we do it for the Lord:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23 – 24 (NIV)

And, as Philippians 2:4 points out, sometimes I just need to and obey and do whatever it is without complaining or arguing. When the tasks seem daunting or we are tempted to complain or feel neglected, we must remember that God sees everything.

He knows every single thing we do. And (gulp) He knows our attitude while we do it. Your work may feel unrecognized, unnoticed, or unimportant, but the God who created you and loves you, sees you. Do you get that? He. Sees. YouThis is no small thing.

5. Our Attitudes Have Long-Term Consequences

Be forward-thinking as you consider your long-term desire for your children, and your spouse. How do you want to be remembered?

I won’t care in 20 years if my children remember that I cleaned their toilets, or if my husband knows just how many times I picked up Legos today, even though they are now on the floor. What I don’t want them to remember is how I begrudgingly cooked, cleaned, and complained.

It won’t matter how good the meal was if they felt I was irritated making it for them. When I complain, it is memorable and infectious. They will learn that these tasks are worth complaining about, and they will not enjoy doing them either because I will have taught them not to. These things are not what I want to impart to them.

No, I am actually OK if they don’t remember me doing any of these things if they remember I served them willingly and lovingly. I will know that I served them regardless of their response.

Instead, I will cling to hope that when I see the Lord, I will be recognized for service and obedience to HIM that perhaps no one else on earth will ever know about. Good enough for me.

6. The Work Is Important

Mundane tasks have to be done. We have to eat. We cannot (well, should not) live in filth. Good stewardship is a life-lesson that must be taught. Cleaning and cooking are hygiene and health issues with lasting value and consequences.

I can degrade the thought of these things by telling myself it is unimportant work, but it is simply not true. It may not feel like it, but I am imparting life lessons to our children and this is a serious, and important job.

Finally, I am responsible for my own attitude, and I choose my words and actions.

It’s time to own them.

I decide whether I will approach my work with gratitude and joy or self-pity and disgust. If I didn’t have this work to do…it would mean I didn’t have a family to care for, a house to live in, a job to go to, or a Lord to serve. I would desire and long for these jobs if I no longer had them.

Today as I scrub toilets, mop, cook, and fold laundry, again, I will take time to thank the Lord for the little and big feet who wear these socks, for the country we live in and the clean water, appliances and electricity we enjoy, and for the food that makes the crumbs on my floor and dirties our dishes.

And I will relish the thought that as I choose to do these things joyfully, in service to my family, that the God I love sees me and my work, even if no one else does.

When Our Work Feels Unnoticed | thisgratefulmama.com

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12 Replies to “6 Truths For A Mama-Attitude Adjustment When Our Work Feels Unnoticed”

  1. Thank you for this! Its always good to have the reminder! Being thankful is such a good practice and practice it takes…isn’t it funny how quickly we can fall out of thankfulness when our attitudes and hearts go negative about even small things. Praise God His mercies are new every morning and that toy filled floor can be picked up with a smile tomorrow and a joyful song in my heart, even if today was a not so good day!

    1. Yes! I am so often guilty of forgetting to be thankful. What would we do without His mercy and the chance to start each day fresh? Also grateful for other moms walking through motherhood together so we know the struggle is real, not just for us but for all. Thanks for leaving your thoughts here today!

    1. Oh my friend, I need to be reminded MOST days! Glad you found it helpful. It is far to easy in busy days to forget to be thankful for these precious gifts. Thank you for stopping by!

  2. This is sooooo good!! I was actually just wondering this morning what there was to be grateful for when I’m cleaning the toilet. It isn’t my favorite job…I’m so looking forward to teaching my boys to clean it, but until then now I will be thankful that I don’t have to run to an outhouse on a 20 degree night….brrrrr.

    1. Ugh. The toilets. With boys. And yet, there ARE these boys we are given to raise and we can be grateful for that. And yes-especially thankful we don’t have an outhouse. I’m MN that would be terrible!!! Thank you for sharing here today!

  3. Wow I loved this! Just yesterday I was feeling so overwhelmed at a house I cleaned just for it to be messy again and I didn’t even realize I whispered to myself “what’s the point, it’s gonna get messy again” until I heard my three year old say the same sentence! Man, did that put it in perspective for me. Thanks for writing this, I really needed this!

    Your Story Matters

    1. My kids gave caught me and repeated my words like this too. It’s amazing how God uses our kids to hold up a mirror, isn’t it? I’m so glad this encouraged you at the right moment. Thank you for spending some time and sharing your thoughts here.

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