Seth is a little quicker than I am to jump in and proclaim that I do work a “full-time job,” which I appreciate, even as I feel a little sheepish about it myself. Although if I was doing all the cleaning and housework and 24-hour-a-day nannying for any other family but my own, I’d definitely think it was a job!
Part of my problem is that I feel like home-work is a calling and duty in itself. Outside jobs may be the way husbands fulfill their own duties to provide for their families, but the actual job itself isn’t the duty–it’s the means to the end. My “job,” on the other hand, is the end. (Not the ultimate end; home-work is just my first line in the grand scheme of serving God, but it’s still a specific and direct calling.)
Anyway, all of this has hindered me a bit from realizing one important truth until it completely hit me upside of the head last week: this is a job.
I mean that in a “negative” sense. This is a job, in the sense that it’s a lot of work. It’s hours and hours of work, every day. It’s just like life at the office: some days you watch the clock and die for a break. Some days you’re exhausted or sick and all you want to do is go back to bed.
Maybe because I used to work outside the home, or maybe because even my inside-the-home work used to be so much simpler, I’ve really struggled with the occasional monotony and unavoidableness of this job of mine. This is motherhood, after all; noble and divine calling and all that. This is supposed to be fun! I’m supposed to be enjoying every second, right? If it’s not all joy all the time, then either I’m doing something wrong, or somebody’s asking too much of me!
And no. In all seriousness, I can’t compare working at home-work to the office work I used to do–home-work is much much much much more demanding, but it also has a lot of joys and giggles and very deep rewards that the best office job in the world could never offer. But sometimes, however rarely or commonly, sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes I just gotta suck it up and get it done because it is my job. Just because the delirious joy of changing poopy diapers isn’t happening doesn’t mean I get to stop working.
Home-work is a discipline, just like so many other aspects of serving God. Sometimes we pray because we’re just outflowing with delight to talk to our Creator but sometimes we pray because we’re told to. Sometimes we open our Bibles with glee and sometimes we open them and read with frustration at our total lack of connection to the text. I’ve always struggled with doing any of these things that are “supposed” to be a joy at times that the joy just isn’t coming, and home-work is another one I’m adding to that list. Put another way, I’m learning that sometimes, home-work is something I do because I have to, because it glorifies God and serves my family, even when I’d rather be tucked under the covers snoozing away.
It’s better to enjoy the work, but it’s necessary to do it whether I enjoy it or not. It is a job, and sometimes you have to go to work and do your best even when you’d much rather be on vacation. And in that sense, I desperately need to see it as a job, and not just a very busy activity of leisure!