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I just read an article that had been posted on a very popular mommy blog about how unhappy moms are. The author cited lots of sources explaining how the majority of stay at home moms feel clouds of depression creep in pretty often while going through the motions of the day to day repetitive work of sippy cups and diapers.
Maybe “depression” isn’t the right word. I studied Psychology in college and my understanding of depression is an actual diagnosable mental disorder that needs medical attention in the form of therapy and or drugs to help more “happy” neurons fire up in the brain. Obviously I took very scientific notes in neuropsychology.
So, no. I wouldn’t say that me and all my SAHM friends of the world are suffering from an actual depression.
I want to stop and REINFORCE that I DO think that actual depression is a very real thing that needs to be taken very seriously. I DO know a lot of moms especially that suffer from postpartum depression after bringing new life into the world and I along with everyone else applaud the way that these ladies fight to overcome it.
But. I’m not depressed. A lot of my friends aren’t depressed. A lot of the mommy bloggers aren’t depressed. It seems like maybe from the outside looking in that there are just a lot of whiny moms out there. ARE we whiny? I mean. We all have our moments. But why? When someone comments about our children is our immediate reaction to reiterate what a BLESSING they are in our lives or to tell our latest “you wouldn’t believe the actual hell that I live in with these tiny people” story? I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve been mulling this over.
Why are we whiny?
That article I was reading said that maybe we just need some more recognition. We need our husbands to come home and break out into a song.
The floors look grand!
I can tell you swept!
The children are clean!
And so well kept!
Your sweatpant shorts look so nice!
That greasy hair looks so good with your eyes!
Go on to Target! Spend all of our money!
I love everything you do, my beautiful honey!
But seriously, any of my male readers… that Target part is not satire.
Obviously we don’t really need a compliment on our sweatshorts. (I hope I’m not alone in rocking these babies several times a week…) But it would be nice to know that someone really did know how hard we’d worked all day.
To have the most disgusting parts of our day acknowledged and applauded.
To know that someone knew EXACTLY how many dishes we’d done and loads of laundry we’d folded.
To just KNOW that SOMEONE KNOWS how many times we’d chosen to silently die to ourselves from the time our feet hit the floor.
I think we get whiny when we forget that someone DOES know.
Someone who has clearly taught us that in His Kingdom, the grossest, most mundane jobs are those that are the most highly rewarded. Someone who teaches us over and over that when we seek prominent positions and public pats on the back but forsake caring for our “least” we will be punished (Mark 12:38-40).
By the way, all of us good Bible belters should remember from our VBS days that children are dearly loved by this Someone. They are treated like treasures by our Savior himself. It is our privilege to care for the people that Jesus pulled in close.
These are good reminders but what about real life?
My daughter has had the stomach bug this week and I UNDERSTAND the inward tug to DUMP a list on my husband when he walks in the door of everything noteworthy I’ve accomplished. I have no co-workers and yes the Holy Spirit indwells but I’m not getting a lot of verbal feedback during the day.
Sisters. Let’s reel it in a little. Our husbands cannot bear the burden of fulfilling our self worth. Yes, it is nice to be recognized and encouraged, but lets make sure that we aren’t expecting them to say enough flowery things at 5:01 PM to fill a void that will be empty by this time tomorrow. What if WE (note: I am saying ‘WE’ as in… me included) started with some recognition of our men?
Hey. Thank you for working so hard to provide for our family.
(Inwardly hollering: YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW ABOUT THE POOP SITUATION I HANDLED TODAY!)
I know that you have a lot on our plate at work, and I know you’re doing this all for us. We appreciate you.
OBVIOUSLY this work ain’t easy. Nothing about life is supposed to be easy. It’s exhausting. Which is another reason why we need to stay connected to our source of life. A wise old friend recently told me that she just likes to check in on new moms and make sure they’re “reading their Bible and not pissing their life away.” Insert that emoji with the laughing tears.
Staying connected can look different in different seasons. Sometimes it’s a quick verse on a bathroom break. (Am I talking a lot about the bathroom today?) Sometimes it’s just leaving our Bible open on the kitchen counter and rereading the same verse multiple times a day as we walk by. We need intentional time with other moms to decompress (not whine… but WINE… you know what I’m saying?). We desperately need to remember that we ARE seen and that our work has ETERNAL significant value.
I like to daydream about what my kids might become. Or who they might influence in even a small way that might in turn win souls for the eternal Kingdom. What if my faithfulness in being present and intentional with them today (even when I’d rather check out on social media) could lead to something incredible down the road?
What if my repeating that verse just one more time to my three year old daughter was enough to make it stick? And then what if she recited it one day down the road to someone who REALLY needed to hear it?
What if my son grew up to be a man of such character that people were just DRAWN to him? And then what if he used that opportunity to open his mouth and share good news to a confused world?
Our labor is so messy but so significant. Lord help us to find joy in our effort.