January 18, 2016

My Ten Favorite Mom Jobs

Mama, what you "just" do matters. 

That was the whole point of my last post, which I was honored to have up over on Her View From Home. (In fact, I'm thrilled that HVFH has let me in as a monthly contributor. In the works for February: "Chocolate Cream Pie: A Love Story." Oh, the research.)

What you "just" do matters because small things make a big difference to the souls of the people who live in your house.

But since we're all about reality motherhood here at Guilty Chocoholic Mama, I'm going on the record and saying that a lot of the jobs we "just" do are jobs we would be happy to "just" not do

Dusting comes to mind. 

Still, there are some mom jobs* I wouldn't trade for any 401k or travel expense account or over-the-top performance review. Namely...

1. Waking my girls up on a snow day to tell them they get to go back to sleep. (Re: #4 on this winter to-do list.) If you're wondering why I don't just let my girls sleep in and deliver the happy news when they get up, I'll tell you. (Actually--clearly--I'm going to tell you whether you're wondering or not.) My daughters want it this way. If there's any chance they might have a snow day (but we don't get the news the night before), they set their alarms as usual and hope I'll come in ahead of those alarms to tell them their prayers have been answered with a "yes." Their reasoning--which I cannot argue with--is that they'd rather set an alarm they might not end up needing and have me wake them up to tell them good news rather than not set an alarm and have me wake them up to tell them school is on and please don't cry about it.

2. Being the privileged sole member of the audience when my daughter plays her clarinet in competition. My high-school junior clarinetist has taken part in Solo & Ensemble every year since 7th grade. When she performs her solo, she allows a viewing gallery of just one: me. Last year, I told the crowd of supporters clustered around her performance room, "Sorry, but other than the judge, you only get to be in this room if you've given birth to Lydia." Which, on account of her birth being facilitated by The Supreme Evil of All Evils (a.k.a., Pitocin), seems only fair.

3. Feeding my family. I could do without making school lunches every day, and I absolutely can identify with my own mom, who got to the point where she said if she never had to come up with another family dinner idea the rest of her natural life, that would be just fine with her. But in general, cooking--fine, BAKING--for my family feeds my soul because I know it feeds theirs. When my girls get home from school after a tough day, and I have homemade secret-recipe chocolate-chip cookies waiting for them, it makes things better. It just does. I know the "experts" say you're not supposed to use food for comfort. But I'm going with THE Expert on this one: "Then she ate something, and her face was no longer downcast." (See 1 Samuel 1:18.)

4. Vacuuming. The instant-gratification queen of household chores. Plus, I just like sucking stuff up and seeing it disappear. Although, note to self: when the current vacuum cleaner bag needs emptying, don't forget to pick through it for whatever shiny thing that was that was hiding in the rag rug upstairs, which may or may not have been a piece of heirloom jewelry.

5. Taking care of my girls when they're sick. Of course I don't want them to be sick. And I'm not talking about the, er, yuck-type stuff here. But I love the chance to hold my girls, smooth their hair, comfort them, say "poor baby," and know that, like most kids, what they want most when they're sick is their mama.

6. Going to parent-teacher conferences. I am beyond grateful that my girls have healthy minds and that they are capable of doing well in school if they work hard. I well understand that going to conferences is a torment for some parents, and my heart goes out to them. I do not take for granted that generally speaking, my girls like their teachers, and their teachers like them, and so conferences are usually a mutual exchange of pleasantries. I tell my girls' teachers the nice things my daughters have said about them, and their teachers tell me nice things about my daughters, and it's all quite enjoyable. 

7. Counseling. I've written in bios for guest posts on other blogs that I'd be able to afford the farmhouse sink I want for my kitchen if I got paid psychotherapists' fees for the emotional support services I provide for my children most days. But from after-school updates to bedtime chats, I have the honor and privilege of hearing the deepest parts of my girls' souls. This means I get first crack at the bad and the ugly...but also the good.

8. Brainstorming and buying gifts. Whenever I wait in anticipation for Lydia and Anna to open a gift I know they'll love, I'm hit again by this truth: "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" (Matthew 7:11, Holman Christian Standard).

9. Dishwashing. I have and use a dishwasher, but I still do plenty of dishes by hand because this is how I get my reading in. Give me a novel on audiobook and a sinkful of suds, and I'm pretty relaxed. Really, I am. A study in the journal Mindfulness says so: do dishes by hand and reduce your stress level by 27%, apparently. Mercy. Think what more of a mess I'd be if I let the dishwasher do everything.

10. Chauffeuring. Now that I have a responsible teenage driver (see "7 Reasons I Love Being the Mom of a Teenager), I don't do this as much as I used to, which is probably why I like it more than I used to. Car conversation is a thing, plus Lydia and I learn most of the duets we sing together in church while we're en route somewhere. Multitasking, music, and movement, mama.



So these are the mom jobs I most love to do. Of course, there are plenty of mom jobs I'm not crazy about and, in fact, do not do. For a list of those, head over to Lose the Cape (which had me at their name...love it). Thank you, oh capeless moms...I feel right at home among you.

Boxes of dark chocolates with none of those weird jelly centers to my fellow Facebook moms who shared the jobs they wouldn't hand off...besides showing me I'm not alone in my favorites, you added some I hadn't thought of: spiritual life-coaching; boo-boo kissing; and being your kids' biggest cheerleader. Yes to all!

This post may have been shared at some of these blog bashes.

*I know: these don't have to be mom jobs. Someone living in this house other than me could do most of these. But I do them here, and I'm the mom, so in our family, these are mom jobs.

40 comments:

  1. I spent the first half of my marriage without a dishwasher. Since I'm always pregnant ;) and very short with short arms, it was not easy to keep up with the dishes. We got a dishwasher while I was pregnant with baby #4. She is 6 now, but to this day I love to load and unload that dishwasher! I don't think I'll ever take it for granted. However, it seems as though I could use some stress relief. haha!!

    I think I had better blog about chocolate pie, too. That sounds like it would take a lot of "research"... :)

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    1. LOL, Jamie...all of it! No doubt you could use some stress relief, you busy mama/goat doula, you! And yes, I am sure your readers would be so grateful for a post about chocolate pie. WHICH you have laboriously and meticulously researched. ;) Thanks for taking time to read and to give me several lovely laughs...you're the best!

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  2. I loved #3 and #5. I love hearing them praise my cooking (they don't always), and I love their thank you's when I've nursed them back to good health. So pretty much I just want my love tank filled (words). I like taking them clothes shopping and hearing them find something they just love, and I like giving them clean sheets weekly. I know I should make them do it, but I feel like it's my gift to them.

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    1. Right, Julie?! And I LOVE and "amen" your additions! This is so fabulous: "I know I should make them do it, but I feel like it's my gift to them." THANK YOU for this loving and lovely perspective. I know when I read other moms' "stuff" about all their kids do on their own, I sometimes feel like I'm spoiling my girls. But I share your feelings...it's a gift to give to them. I am not worried they won't be able to figure things out for themselves when they need to, but for now, I like to nurture them while I have the chance. Thanks so much for taking time to stop by and bless me with your words. Let me know when you get your blog up and running so I can follow you! ;)

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  3. Hey Elizabeth,
    I was "parked" by you today on Waiting on Wed., and I'm glad to get to read your post.
    I love the list you have made! Aren't snow days the best!
    And, carpool time is also sweet. I still love it when I get to ride somewhere with my kids. The car is a great place to talk!
    I'm sharing your post on Pinterest - here: https://www.pinterest.com/melredd/blogs-parents-and-parenting/
    Hope you have a blessed day~
    Melanie

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    1. Melanie, thank you so much! Yes to snow days! My list wasn't really in any particular order, but it seems fitting that waking my girls up to tell them they have one is in the top spot! ;) In general, I love talking to and spending time with my girls, so I'm thankful for any mom job that allows me those pleasures. Thank you for taking time to visit...and for the pin! Blessings back to you on your day!

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  4. Your inter-weaving of Bible verses just wows me every time 1 Samuel 1:18 - WHO KNEW??!! And as the primary dish-washer around here at the moment, I'm SO excited to learn about its stress-reducing properties! I always learn so much from your fabulous posts!

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    1. Right, Lisa?! About that 1 Samuel deal? I didn't know, either, except that we covered that section in Sunday School RIGHT before I finished up that post. Clearly, divine inspiration. ;) Be blessed, my friend, and if you're stressed...well, I guess you should find some dirty dishes to wash! :)

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  5. Thank you for the inspiration and reminder that everything we do is important!

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    1. You're welcome, Margo! I was so glad to find your blog today! Keep on keeping on in that important work you're doing, mama! :)

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    1. Thanks, Mother of 3! I'm trying to keep the fact that I listed these as my "favorites" in mind now while I'm actually, you know, DOING them! ;) Thanks for taking time to stop by!

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  7. I love your list, Elizabeth! We are on the same wavelength. My latest post is 7 Unusual ways I'm grateful. I really identified with #2, 4 and 9. My girls do solo and ensemble also. Vacuuming rocks. It is quite relaxing and basically therapeutic. I had no idea on the value of hand washing other than a time for good conversation. But dishwashing is one of my least favorite chores. I'll have to look into that article and see if I can't change that. :) Please stop by and say hi!

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    1. Thank you so much, Kathryn...I just read and loved and commented on your list!:) Are you in the thick of Solo & Ensemble prep right now? I hope your young musicians break a leg (or a reed or a valve or a drumstick...or whatever is relevant to what they play!). THANK YOU for all your support and encouragement today...you have blessed me so much!

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  8. I love those times when we're all in the kitchen working together preparing a special meal (Thanksgiving or cooking for a friend's wedding, for instance). We have a lot of girls (7 still at home) and a small kitchen, so this requires some patience and maneuvering, but we so enjoy each others' company! Thanks for this list; I enjoyed reading it!

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    1. Yes, Cheryl, yes! Isn't there just something about those moments? I always feel like I'm in a Hallmark movie? ;) I can picture that sweet scene you described in my mind...love it. Thank you for stopping by...say hello to the rest of the Long Ladies for me! :)

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  9. Thanks for the reminder!! Love it! Sometimes, like after 5 days of being snowed in, these are good to remember :)
    http://www.messtoblessed.com

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    1. Well, bless your heart, Tori, I'm glad if my list came across that way! ;) And oh, but one mom's woe is another mom's wish...re: "snowed in," re: "Why I Love Winter" (www.guiltychocoholicmama.blogspot.com/2016/01/why-i-love-winter-what-im-hoping-to-do.html). The snow is always whiter on the other side of the country? Thanks so much for taking time to stop by...I've just been checking out your sweet site!

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  10. I'm not a mom yet, but I am a teacher, and it's a great perspective-changer to read a parent's perception of parent-teacher conferences. It is always nice to get a pleasant parent to speak to :)

    Thanks so much for joining us on The Alder Collective! Pinning, and we hope to see you again this week!

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    1. Thank you so much for HOSTING The Alder Collective...it's one of my favorite link parties. :) And thank you, too, for teaching! I cannot do what you and other teachers do. So when I go to conferences, I am glad for the opportunity to thank the talented educators who bless my girls--and as a result, our family--every day. Don't know if it's a possibility where you are, but if it is, here's hoping for a snow day for you! ;)

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  11. Yup! We had #1 today. It was awesome! But unfortunately, we also have #5. I used to have a hard time with dealing with my sickos. My patience was not what it is now, but now I love to cuddle them back to health. Also food. I loooooooove food. We are currently between living situations so it is really hard to provide them with food that I feel is adequate. I already loved feeding my babes, but now when I get a chance, I appreciate it just so much more!

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    1. Aw, so happy for a #1 for you, Valerie! But I'm sorry about your #5. :( Food is definitely a love language for me, too. I don't care that the "experts" say it shouldn't be. It's often how I speak love to my sweet ones...and how they hear it. Praying God will strengthen you while you're in a season of transition...and that you'll soon be able to rejoice in being "home" with a celebration dinner! Thank you for taking time to stop by and read my little list!

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  12. What a sweet list! And you are spot on -- the little things we do every day really do make a home and show the depth of our love. Your list shows a practice of thankfulness for the simple things. I love it.

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    1. Thank you, Lisa...I so appreciate your kind and encouraging words! I'm actually really glad I made this list, because it keeps convicting me. ;) Thank you for taking time to stop by from Women With Intention Wednesdays. I'm glad I hopped over to that party today so I could read your post! :)

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  13. A. You are hilarious and love chocolate. We should be best friends.
    B. I totally understand vacuuming. One swipe of a machine and you have cleanliness. It's so rewarding.
    C. Chauffeuring is the bane of my existence. I love my teenagers, too, but I wish they would get their license already. I have to get up at 4AM to make sure everyone gets to school and work. Without coffee. If I wasn't a Christian, bad things would happen. ;)
    D. I will be checking out your other posts. I need this kind of encouragement.

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    1. Well, Amanda, thank goodness you made your way here, because I was a new fan of yours by the time I'd read #1 of your comments! Can't wait to keep up from now on with The Fundamental Home. You are hilarious, I feel your pain on the chauffeuring, and I will definitely be checking out your posts. Thanks for being one of the best things to happen to me today! :)

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  14. I love the satisfaction that come when I hit the jackpot and vacuum up several little pieces of whatever and it makes that unique "sucking" noise. I hope that makes sense but it really makes the vacuuming a bit more enjoyable, never mind the fact that my floors were that dirty to begin with! ;)

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    1. Victoria, I TOTALLY know what you mean! It's like, "Yeah, I'm accomplishing something." This may be TMI, but I've recently developed a rather odd delight in sucking up the dust and fuzz embedded in our upstairs carpets (old house...lots of historic dust and fuzz). It accumulates in the brush attachment, so I have to clean it out. And just seeing it makes me feel so accomplished. Really, I have got to get a life. But there it is. Thank you for taking time to visit! :)

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  15. I get tired of driving to and from places, but I will never get tired of the wonderful conversations that happen spontaneously. I also want a break from cooking every now and then, but really enjoy feeding my family too. I wouldn't trade our nightly meal together for all the restaurant food in the world. Thanks for the great perspective!

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    1. EXACTLY, Karen! It's not as if we love our mom jobs (even the ones we actually like the most) all the time, but it helps to see "the greater thing" we're doing when we're driving or cooking or doing dishes or whatever. I will try to remember this when I'm cleaning toilets later. Not coincidentally, a job NOT on my list. ;) Thank you for taking time to stop by!

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  16. Great list! I love cooking for my family and keeping our home clean and pretty but there are many days when I wish we could order out all week!;) I think my least favorite thing to do is clean the fridge...yuck. But when we do everything as unto the Lord even the little things God is glorified! Thanks for this great perspective that we all constantly need to be reminded of!

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    1. Oh my word, Rebekah, YES about cleaning out the fridge. Double yuck! I hate it so much that I'm actually thinking of buying a new one just so I don't have to do it. Well, sort of. We desperately need a new one. So I think if I just get around and get it, I won't have to deal with the current mess, and I WILL keep the new one clean from the get-go. ;) Thanks for taking time to stop by and for leaving your own great perspective! :)

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  17. I often get so caught up in the numerous things I "have" to do that I don't even think about trying to enjoy the tasks. This is such a refreshing take on our work!
    I share your enjoyment of vacuuming, but I can't say the same thing about doing dishes. I also enjoy folding clothes and putting them in drawers so they're ready for my husband and daughter to wear.

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    1. Aw, thank you, Shannon! Of course, I surely do not go around my house singing about the joy of my mom jobs all day. But the jobs on this list are the ones I might sing about if I did!;) Thanks for stopping by! P.S. Want to swap dish duty for folding and putting away clothes?

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    2. Hi Elizabeth,
      I want to let you know that I’ve included this post among my riveting reads from the last two months (http://ofthehearth.com/riveting-reads-january-and-february-2016/). I benefited from it and I think my readers will, too!

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    3. Shannon! Oh my goodness...thank you so much! I am humbled and honored...headed over to your lovely blog right this minute! Thank you!

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  18. So proud of this daughter of mine. I love dishes and vacuuming and the daughters Elizabeth is raising with husband Chad. God is present at their table.

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    1. Aw, thank you, Mama! How did I miss your sweet comment before? I am blessed and honored to be your daughter and am just trying to be faithful to the example you have so beautifully set for me. xoxo

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  19. I love this post beyond words, and cleaning the dishing/vacuuming is so very relaxing to me as well! (Speaking of.. I will go that in a minute!)
    I also wrote my top 10 today, and I would love if you paid me a visit:
    https://sheridanjohnson.com/2016/04/12/10-things-before-bed/
    Thanks! :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Sheridan! Did you get some "relaxing" dish washing and vacuuming in? ;) I'm glad we were able to connect today via 10 on Tuesday...I just enjoyed your list and left a comment there. Blessings on you, mama!

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I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to tell me what you really think. Years ago, I explained to my then-two-year that my appointment with a counselor was "sort of like going to a doctor who will help me be a better mommy." Without blinking, she replied, "You'd better go every day." All of which is just to say I've spent some time in the school of brutal honesty!