October 19, 2011

surfing from drudgery to JOY.

i HATE feeling taken advantage of.
i am not a stay at home maid.
cooking meals 3 times a day is a waste of my time.
cooking, cleaning, changing dirty diapers, washing laundry again and again, no sleep, doctors appointments, my body has been transformed...
this is my life.
and, nobody appreciates me.
what a horrible existence.

i learned early on that my life would be MISERABLE if i chose to SEE the drudgery and not the joy.

my sister in law always reminds me, Satan has a hard time getting you to do things that are WRONG.  Instead, he'll try to get you to feel WRONG about doing things that are great.

We are SO blessed to be women.
We are SO blessed to have homes and children and FOOD to eat, clothes to wear... abundance.
It is a BLESSING to be able to serve every day.

So, how do you transform your MIND?
You might THINK that I just naturally LOVE homemaking.
I thought that was true also.
Until I had my first child.
I didn't get pregnant for over two years.  I thought I had fertility issues... nope.
i had wanted babies since i was born.  it's all i wanted.
but, guess what?
staying at home with my first kid was SOOOO hard.
i had just graduated from college and quit my job teaching seminary at Orem High school.
I missed it SO much.  It was hard.  i cried myself through many days.
It is STILL hard for me MANY days

But, I know how you teach yourself to LOVE the drudgery.
You embrace it.  You become it.  You choose to LOVE it. 
My grandfather used to say, "If you're going to be a dishwasher, be the best dishwasher you can be."
(I'm not sure I have that quote right.)
Don't just do.
You do MORE.
Think of it like a swim in the ocean.
You can let the waves drown you, till you're sputtering and coughing and full of sand.
You can just barely doggy paddle keeping your head above water.
Or, you can SURF the waves.
All three are hard, but there is JOY in surfing the waves.
Surprisingly, it doesn't take that much more effort to surf than drown.

So, practically speaking? 
Grocery Shopping with kids...
-drowning...  someone says "you've got your hands full" and you have tears trickling out of your eyes.
your baby is screaming and your 3 year old falls off the top row where she is trying to reach the fruit snacks. (which would never happen, because they put the fruit snacks in a very strategic kid-level spot, same as the choco-dinobites.)
you spend the whole trip yelling, "Johnny, come back here!"
-doggy paddle...  you stuff your diaper bag with treats, you leave when your kids get fussy even though you forgot half the things on your list, you just avoid the store all together until you are on the last diaper and have to get out of the house.  someone says, "you've got your hands full" and you force a smile out your lips and say, "Oh, but i LOVE this."  and you don't love it.  you hate it.  you cry to your husband at night.
-surfing...  you feed your baby before you leave.  you plan your meals for the week.  you have a list, that you can read.  on your list, you have some things that you are REALLY excited about cooking.  you have gotten dressed that morning and you look nice.  your kids have clean faces and brushed hair.  you decide to teach your kids while you are shopping.  you let your five year old count 10 apples.  you ask her how heavy she thinks they are and you take some extra time weighing them to see if she's right.  when an old lady tells you how darling your kids are, you beam.  and you feel it.  This is a great life!

You can learn to find the JOY in every single household drudgery by telling yourself that you love it, and that you're REALLY good at it. 

-buy arm and hammer lavender drier sheets from Target they smell so good.
-finish EVERYTHING.  gather, sort, wash, fold... fold them right out of the drier.
-watch your favorite movies while you're folding and don't feel guilty because you are doing something important.
-let your little kids fold with you.  teach them to fold wash clothes and match socks.
-surprise your husband and have all of his shirts starched and  ironed (i've never done this, but always wanted to)
-really look at your laundry as your folding it.  Think of those cute little feet that go into those socks.  smile at the batman shirt that is always dirty or the pink ballerina outfits.  SEE just how blessed you are.
-say to yourself, "I love this!"

-when you decide what to cook for dinner, think of something you can do to make it a little nicer.
-serve your dinner pretty.
-make a salad with some fancy add-ins.
-set the table, using place mats and folded napkins.
-make dessert, just because.
-do a fun drink.
-involve your children in preparation.
-take pictures of the meals you serve!
-make a holiday centerpiece (Just put a pumpkin in the center of the table.)
-sprinkle parsley or dill on top.
-after you cook your veggies in the microwave, take a frying pan and melt butter.  put the vegetables in there and add slivered almonds or craisins.
-make a treat to bring to your neighbors, just because.
-cook something a little bit more fancy... i HATE cooking junk dinners.  I HATE IT. 
I feel better about myself when I have a nice dinner to put on the table.
-INVITE SOMEONE OVER!  I always plan one company meal a week.  That forces me to reach out.  When I have something I know I can cook, it is easy to find someone to invite over.  Let everyone in the family help with company preparation.

-when i get in a cleaning rut, i love to buy NEW cleaning supplies.
-a new scent of windex, a new way to clean toilets.
-talk on the phone while you scrub.
-think "my husband is going to be so excited that i'm finally getting all the hair out of this shower drain."
-use erasable marker and write notes to your kids on their mirrors.
-do someone else's job... clean their room for them and leave them a note on their pillow-- "Just because I love you."
-don't just clean the room, organize the closet!  it will feel so good!
-don't just wash the floor, take a second and wipe the cabinets and baseboards-- you will feel like superwomen.
-clean the windows!
-decorate simply for a holiday with your little kids... cut out construction paper bats and put them on your windows.
-Think-- he maketh the barren women to keep house and become a joyful mother of children.  praise ye the lord.

Changing dirty diapers, getting up in the night, bath time, dealing with babies and older kids-
-God made it easy for us to LOVE the hard things of children.
-Don't look at their poop-- look at their eyes!!
-Breathe out of your mouth!
-Tell yourself, "I am really great at this."
-Pretend you're teaching a parenting course as you go throughout the day.
-Teach your children everything that you do as you do it.
-I always teach them how I change a diaper, why i put cornstarch or aquaphor on their little bums.
leah once said, "why are you telling me this mom?  because i'm going to be a mother some day?"
-when you're about to loose it at the end of the day with a frustrating child, think about that child as an adult, dealing with their own child. 
What advice would you give?
Take your own advice.
-don't tell yourself, my kids are brats because i've ruined them... tell yourself "God sent me this child because He knew I was the best person to raise him/her."
-look at each task like a mountain to climb... tell yourself, "I'm ALMOST there.  I can do hard things for 5 more minutes."
-don't just try to get them to bed think of your TRADITIONS...  I ALWAYS tickle them when I tuck them in.  I ALWAYS pray by their bed.  I ALWAYS hug them and tell them how much I love them.  I ALWAYS read to them at night. 
-pray for more love.  pray for ideas.
-don't just get through the day-- go somewhere, make something, teach something, invite someone over, make surprises for when daddy comes home, pretend you are a preschool teacher, what would you plan for the day?

I KNOW that there is MUCH JOY in the mundane daily tasks of life.
i am SO BLESSED to stay at home.  i am SO BLESSED to be a mother.
I believe you can find JOY whatever your circumstances are.
JOY is a choice.
SURF the waves, even when you feel like you are drowning.
We all feel that way.
The more you practice surfing, the more natural it will become.
I'm not sure when I stopped crying on my way home from the grocery store.
some days I still do.  some days I still hate the thought that all i have to do is CLEAN MY HOUSE again!
but, i know how to change my attitude... DO MORE.
When i make homemaking my hobby not just my duty, I am happy.
When cooking and cleaning is something that I CHOOSE to do, because i want to... I am happy.

I loved this little insight from "Preach My Gospel" p. 11,
-Living the commandments shows love for God and His Son.
-They demonstrate their trust in God as they obey His commandments.
-In return, they will receive blessings that He has promised.

I converted this to my life...
-Serving my family shows my love for God and His son.
-I demonstrate my trust in God as I serve in my home.
-In return, I will receive blessing that He has promised.

I often dedicate my tasks to God.
"See how patient I'm being with this little brat?  It's because I LOVE you."
"I'm going to get off the couch and fold that load of laundry, because I am grateful for the bounty in my life."
"I'm inviting someone over to my home, so that I can learn to love them more."
When I dedicate my service, my life becomes meaningful and noble. 
I see the blessings and not just the next job.

Life is good.
We are abundantly blessed.
God will give us eyes to see, and a heart to feel the JOY!
I know it.
It only comes "naturally" after we've trained ourselves to "CHOOSE to enjoy it."
Either way, we're going to get wet.
and when we're surfing through life... we look good!!


Tiffany said...

Mmmm... I NEEDED this post today! Thanks so much for putting it all writing... Seriously, what a LIFT to my day! :-)

p.s. LOVE the pic @ the end!!! heh! :-)

The Wife said...

Thank you! I wrote down the saying about Satan getting us to feel wrong about doing great things. That really spoke to me.

jenifer said...

tiff-- that is a picture i took of YOU on our last vacation together. don't you remember?

Tiffany said...

Aha--no WONDER it looked so familiar! :-)

Sandra Butcher said...

Thanks for the perspective Jen.
You have a lot of words of wisdom in there. And you had my dad's quote right on. He used to tell me, "I don't care if you want to be a garbage man, just be the best garbage man you can be" I think of that all the time. It means more than just having pride in what we do, but to do the best we can at whatever we are doing, which is much more challenging sometimes. With love from England...

Christine suldinger said...

this is such amazing advice Jenifer I love it. my days are so much better and amzing when I remind myself of your tips.
thank you my friend

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