Are you an unappreciated mom? Do you ever feel like you are just the maid?
When you stay home with your children it feels like you are forever picking up and cleaning. It is a never-ending job.
It can be easy to never feel like you have accomplished anything. Worse, your spouse may not appreciate all that you do because the work occurs when they aren’t at home.
Dear Unappreciated Mom, here are some tips to find happiness as a mom and feel like more than the maid.
Truth: You are not serving your children by always serving them.
#1 Teach Your Children to Pick Up After Themselves
You are not loving them by always picking up after them. Stop being an unappreciated mom, and make them pick up themselves.
They need to learn to pick up after themselves. Someday they will grow up and leave your home. Sniff, sniff.
They need to keep a tidy house. Trust me; their future spouse will appreciate it if you train them young to keep their spaces tidy.
How do you motivate your children to pick up? If they fail to pick up and you just can’t leave their stuff there – make them pay you in either time or money for anything that you pick up!
The Pick-Up Monster & the Buy Back Box are the Best Tools for An Unappreciated Mom
For younger children, the Pick-Up Monster might be just the motivation they need. This particular monster loves to gather up clothes and toys at night while children sleep. Chores done for mom and dad will inspire the monster to give the toys & treasured items back.
If your child has no interest in earning their stuff back, then they have too much stuff. Feel free to find a new child who will appreciate their things. The unappreciated mom usually has a home with unappreciated toys as well.
For older children, keep a Buy Back Box. Be cool. Don’t harp, because they will learn. Just calmly tell them to make sure all of their stuff is picked up. Bid your time. Then, pick up the offending items and add them to the box.
Have a list of chores service opportunities available for them to earn their stuff back. They will fuss, but calmly stick to your guns, and you will see their behavior change.
Related Reading: 5 Faith-Building Reasons to Do Chores for Kids
#2 Teach Your Children to Do Chores
Yes, it will take more time to teach them than to do the tasks yourself. The time spent in training is well worth it.
They need to know the practical life skills of managing a home. Teaching them to serve their family is needed for their character and the health of their future families.
Teaching them to help with chores will help you battle against burnout and resentment. No one wants to feel like they are being taken advantage of by others, especially by those closest to them.
The Unappreciated Mom Wants to Be Recognized
One of the hardest parts of being a stay at home mom is the lack of accomplishment and recognition. Teaching our children to share the load of keeping the house running is a blessing to them and ourselves. By sharing in the work, they can see all that their unappreciated mom does for their family.
#3 Use a little Love & Logic
Love & Logic is a parenting program and philosophy by Jim Fay (a former school principal) and Dr. Cline (a child psychiatrist.) It suggests giving children choices but only the ones you want.
You can pick up the bathroom or put the dishes away, you choose. This simple shift can be just what is needed to get your children involved.
For older children, the advice is more relational. Does your child expect you to drive them over to their friend’s house? Or, do they want to go to the store?
Do they want you to pay for their cell phone? Love & Logic would suggest that you tell your children that because they didn’t do their chores, you aren’t interested in doing those things.
Teens like to feel like there are in control and that the choices they are making are their choices. In the grown-up world, choices have consequences.
Love & Logic for the Unappreciated Mom
Perhaps a little Love & Logic for you too Mom. Do you want to feel like an unappreciated mom or do you want to change the atmosphere of your home? You can’t truly control other people, but you don’t have to pick up after them either!
#4 Train Your Husband to Help
Did she just say “train your husband”? Why yes I did. This “training” must be done very carefully and respectfully.
Your husband may not have grown up in a house where his dad helped out. Many men assume that it is the wife’s job to delegate the tasks at home. (No tasks are given, then no responsibilities.) It is time to break that cycle.
Your husband may want to help, but he doesn’t know what he can do. We can’t complain that our spouse won’t help when we don’t ask for help.
Yes, should they notice and step up – absolutely. I get it, it is super frustrating that a grown adult has to be told what all needs to be done to keep the household running. We can either stew and be frustrated, or speak up and set a new tone and expectation in our relationship.
#5 Help Your Husband & Family See All That You Do
– Keep Track of All That You Do
Instead of a to-do list, create a have-done list. This list is for you and your spouse.
The list allows you to look back on the day and realize all that you have accomplished. It can also help you see patterns and perhaps ways that you can be more efficient in your house tending tasks.
When your husband wants to know what you have done all day, he can look on the list and see the long list of what you have done. If you have swept the floor three times, then put three checkmarks next to sweeping.
– Save the Evidence
We do a load or two of laundry every day at my house. I start laundry first thing in the morning.
Usually, it is folded and put away before my husband comes home at the end of the day. He has no clue how many loads were done and how much time it takes.
One way of cluing him in is to fold the clothes but wait to put them away until he gets home. The stacks of clothes are a visual, tangible clue to all the work that you have done.
It only takes me five minutes to put the clothes away after he comes home, but those five minutes are noticed.
– Don’t Do It For Them
One day a week my husband and I trade places. He is supposed to be taking care of things on the home front, and I have an opportunity to leave and get my stuff done.
I often find myself trying to make sure that all of the laundry is caught up and the house is all in top shape before his day so that all he has to do is tend to the children. Consequently, he has a flawed understanding of my typical day.
If you have to be gone, intentionally leave chores and tasks for your family to accomplish. Don’t be the martyr.
– Share With Your Spouse Your Heart
Enlist their help in encouraging you. Chores and the division of responsibilities in a home is a significant source of tension between spouses.
Carefully share with your spouse that this is not the issue with which you want help. Share with them the invisibility of your job and that simply acknowledging all the ways that you serve your family – can be a balm to your soul.
Equip your Family to Serve One Another
In our home, we talk about chores as the way that we serve one another in our family. These acts of service are required of all the members big and small.
Sons and daughters are both trained in all of the tasks so that they can meet whatever challenges they will encounter in life. We are all more than the maid; we are servants to one another.
As the stay at home mom, I am not the maid but the delegator in chief of our family team. This shift in mindset makes all the difference in overcoming feeling like just the maid and to feel appreciated as a mom.
When I am feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, it is likely because I have taken it all on and have not followed my own advice.
Dear Unappreciated Mom, your job is not to do it all. You did not stay home to be the maid. You stayed home to nurture your children and to train them up in the way that they should go.
Training them to serve their family through chores and other acts of service is a godly gift. You are not stuck being an unappreciated mom if you will choose to change how you live out your motherhood.
The voice behind FaithfulMotherhood.com is Jyn. She is a veteran homeschool mom of three. More than just a pastor’s wife, she holds a Master of Divinity degree and has served in church leadership for over 20 years. Her passion is equipping parents to live out their calling as the number one faith influencer for their children. She longs to see moms empowered by God’s Word and transferring that love to their children through daily Bible study and family devotions.