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. Here are some tips to find happiness as a mom and feel like more than the maid.
More than the Maid Truth:
You are not serving your children by always serving them.
Be More than the Maid: Teach your children to pick up after themselves
You are not loving them by always picking up after them. 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? Make them pay you in either time or money for anything that you pick up.
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.
For older children, keep a Buy Back Box. Don’t harp, because they will learn. Just calmly tell them to make sure all of their stuff is picked up. Don’t harp, 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.
Be More than the Maid: 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.
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.
Be More than the Maid: 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.
Be More than the Maid: Train your husband to help you
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. 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. We can either stew and be frustrated, or speak up and set a new tone and expectation in our relationship.
How do you help your spouse appreciate 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 go into the office. 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 mostly 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.
Be More than the Maid & 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 the 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 by own advice.
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 more than a maid if you will choose to change how you live out your motherhood.
Train your family to clean & serve one another with the great tips in these articles:
Laundry Tips & Tricks