This past weekend, I got ALL in my head and ALL upset about ALL the things I do for my family and ALL the ways that I don’t feel appreciated for ALL the things I do for my family.
Did you catch that?
I had ALL the bitter feels, and ALL the entitled feels, and ALL the “I’m tired of giving, serving, and loving ALL of you ungrateful humans” feels.
I had them ALL.
And as I stood stewing in my kitchen (because I pretty much spend like a lot of my wake-time there, though I feel like I’m rarely the one eating), I found myself throwing my very own pity party–complete with party hats for selfishness, noisemakers for pride, and cake for cranky.
Nursing my hurts and licking my wounds, I scrolled through my mental Rolodex of my “sacrificial mom deeds.”
And the more I thought about ALL of it, I realized that what I sometimes want is for my family to stand to their thankful feet and do a nice, ‘ol slow-clap for me.
“Slow-clap?” Yes, slow-clap.
Like a gradual building of applause, usually starting with one person clapping slowly (insert: husband-initiated clap), and ending with an enthusiastic standing ovation from others (insert: children clapping without whining, or being thirsty, or hitting each other).
clap clap clap
clap clap clap
clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap
And though maybe I don’t REALLY want THAT…I kinda do.
Like sometimes I just want them to acknowledge all the socks I fold (and all the socks I find, retrieve, lose, and then find again), and all the toys I pick up, and all the moments I spend loading and unloading the dishwasher with all those colored bowls and small forks.
Like sometimes I just want them to recognize that I do 37 things before I pour my own coffee, including (but not limited to) wiping butts, finding lost pandas, and setting up living-room forts.
Like sometimes I just want them to take a step back and realize that without me, there would be NO play dates, NO crafts, NO library trips, NO iced coffee, NO bathroom soap, and NO clean underwear.
Like sometimes I just want them to rise up and scream, “Blessed are you who deals with the moldy leftovers, who dusts all our dust, who keeps all our memories, and who makes sure our teeth don’t fall outta our heads!!!”
Like sometimes I just want them to feel the weight of ALL my responsibilities, of ALL my plates, and of ALL my work.
Like sometimes I just want them to drop out the red carpet of gratitude.
(I told you…it was a bona fide PIT-TEE, PART-TAY!!!)
And as I muddled through these yucky thoughts and raw feelings, I realized that so many times I subconsciously serve with the deep-rooted expectation that they will notice, be thankful, and then act accordingly.
So when the hubby forgets to sing my praises for emptying the garbage, mowing the lawn, and re-filling the toilet paper…
and when the kids are ungrateful and extra whiny about really stupid things that don’t matter, not even a little bit…
and when one of the children loses their minds because I didn’t put ICE IN THEIR BLESSED CUP…
I get all hot and resentful, pulling out my “deed score card” and noting all the ungrateful hearts that haven’t recognized MY DEEDS.
But as I stood there, trying desperately hard to feel ALL THE SORRIES for myself, I realized that when I love and serve with EXPECTATIONS…
I’m not really LOVING.
Instead, I’m doing something else that is super distorted, and really yucky, and not really at ALL about LOVE.
Because love doesn’t give with the expectation of return, and it certainly doesn’t get angry when it isn’t noticed, thanked, or praised.
Love isn’t about self, about the response, or even about the audience.
Love doesn’t count, tally, resent, or get all angry.
Love isn’t looking for a slow-clap.
Love loves for the sake of LOVE; the end of love is LOVE.
And as I thought about this, I realized (again) that I desperately need LOVE to extend LOVE…the kind of LOVE that I’ve been given MUCH.
For God is love. 1 John 4:8
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8