27 Sep Work at Home
Once you have a couple of children and a home of your own, you can often feel that you are up to your eyeballs in work – dishes, dirty laundry, toys scattered everywhere, bills to be paid, toilets to be cleaned. You feel you are getting no where. You can have temptations to feel the martyr, a victim or just want to jump out of your skin. You are not alone. All moms are challenged in this department and we all go through it at some point or another. Sometimes it may seem constant; other times it is just the moment: pregnancy, a baby, sickness, burnout, stress, too much going on. Our work in the home can feel boring or overwhelming. We may want to give up, stop caring or feel no one even notices. Yes we all go through this, but we have to bite the bullet and push forward. Don’t wallow in self pity, mediocrity and paralysis.
You are the heart of the home. You make your home a haven for the people you love – a place to refresh, relax and regain a sense of purpose. God has wired you to be aware of a million and one details almost all at the same time. Although you don’t come into the world with EverReady batteries, your work in the home counts. Unfortunately you don’t have a boss to teach you the ropes — having a schedule, how to tackle cleaning, how to find the time to get things done etc.–all while raising active, messy kids. Don’t give up. You can do it!
Take the skills and attitudes you developed in the working world and transfer them to the home environment. Accept your job description in all its facets and approach it with a professional attitude—no whining, complaining, procrastinating. Realize you are a home manager and the smooth operations of your home depend on you—your attitudes, approaches and performance. Part of your job is to organize, prioritize, set goals, break down tasks, delegate and evaluate. Critical to your sanity is that you have to function with small chunks of time. Family life does not provide you with hours to do all your jobs – but rather parcels of time in the 10 or 15 minute mode. Successful moms use available moments here and there to stay on top of their work, and try to give their best and most time to family. It becomes a juggling act par excellence whereby moms are there for their kids, and find creative ways to fit the work in between. We must realize we can’t do everything. So we prioritize for the moment what needs to be done and stay blind to the rest until life lends more energy and time to tackle it.
Remember work is a means to loving and providing for the family, not an end it itself. Be quick to ditch resentments of kids getting in the way of your work or piling it up. Work is service. It is love expressed in action for those who mean most to us. Now make reality jive with this fact. At the same time, work should not suck out the best of us. If it is, maybe we have to de-junk a bit. Maybe our expectations are too high and we need to cut back. Our children need our best selves, not the leftovers of an exhausted, over-extended mom. Constantly evaluate if you have balance between your work and family life. Make your work, work for you and stay ahead of the game.
When you see work as a means, rather than an end, it can become an avenue of great personal growth for you? Josemaria Escriva has written much on the immense value of work:
You can sanctify your work.
You can sanctify yourself through your work; and
You can sanctify others through your work.
What does it mean to sanctify? Definitively, it means to make holy; and, in everyday language, it means to shoot for your personal best and raise it to God as a gift because you love him, Maybe you’ve never thought of these three work adventures. They are not just about paid work, but anything we do that requires an effort – whether volunteering, cleaning, cooking, sports, reading, changing diapers, or driving the car – pretty well anything fits the bill. If you begin exploring these avenues, you will be amazed what satisfaction life can offer you. Now let’s break them down a bit to get a better handle on it.
- To sanctify your work – You make your work holy when you do it to the best of your ability out of love for others and for God. You want to do a job well-done. You look for ways to improve your work to make it more effective, efficient and better. You finish what you start, even though it may take a long time. You work cheerfully because you see great meaning behind what you do. You know in your heart you are doing it out of love. This gives you deep satisfaction and joy. When you offer your work as a present to God, its value becomes eternal. Wow now that’s incredible! Imagine that changing diapers, cleaning up messes, telephone calls and so much more can be raised to something higher that lasts forever. Just make a point of thinking often, “This one’s for you God, help my family through it,” and it will be done. Awesomely incredible that work can be sanctified.
- To sanctify yourself through your work – Life continually challenges us to be our best selves. Rarely are we able to stay where we are at. We are daily pushed beyond our comfort zone to give more and it is up to us how we react, either positively or not. Your daily work presents an opportunity for you to beautify the masterpiece of your life. When you rise to daily challenges with a healthy attitude, you grow into a better person. Your kids, work, husband and life provide the opportunities to grow in patience, understanding, inner strength, perseverance and much more. Constantly accepting what’s on your plate, giving it your best shot and leaning on God to make it all work out, makes you a more loving person. You are becoming heroic. So when resentments and bitterness creep in because you feel short-changed, switch gears as fast as possible. Look at the positive side and realize life is pushing you to greatness and so much depends on your sporting spirit. Go for it and realize life is so worthwhile because you are sanctifying your work.
- To sanctify others through your work – Obviously your work has repercussions on people you serve through your work. That’s only natural. You will have a more positive influence on your family if they see you smiling and happy in your work, rather than a sour crab apple who is quick to complain and nag. Your attitude to your work either builds people up or tears them down. Work though is service and the more love we put into it, the more we will uplift those around us. Our smile, tone of voice, serenity and optimism make a big difference to those around us. It can encourage, motivate, uplift and attract. By doing so, you augment your effectiveness to pass on the very best to your family. Realize God sees this beautiful rippling effect in your life and can add more power to it. Ask for his strength, lean on his grace and watch things take off beyond your dreams. When you seek out his help for other people you will have a far greater impact than you can imagine. You will sanctify them.
With all this in mind, dive to new depths in your work. See it as a road to great personal growth, even holiness. Work out of love, knowing it makes a difference in this world and in your spiritual life. You will then find purpose, motivation, and drive to work better, not for money, but for love. Try it. You’ll like it. And even more, watch how it will transform your life by removing the sense of burden and adding much higher values. Work is a means of loving. See it from this perspective and find greater meaning, purpose and drive in what appears so ordinary.