“What’s this, mommy?” he asked, pointing to the large display of grapefruit at the grocery store. “That’s a grapefruit!” I said. “Pleeeeaase can we get one? I’ve always wanted to try one!” I was happy to indulge him this small request. It’s a healthy food and it was on sale this week, so why not?
I’ll tell you why not, I thought as I got home and started cutting into it: I forgot how much work these things are. First I cut it in half, than I cut in a circle around the outer edge, then I painstakingly cut each slice through so that my five year old could spoon it out easily. I dusted the top with a bit of sugar and served it to him on a plate, nearly grumbling at the five minutes lost just to feed this kid a snack.
My exasperation lifted as soon as I saw him dig into his first ever grapefruit with gusto. He was sitting tall on his knees at the table, spooning each bite into his mouth and following it with an enthusiastic “Yummmmm.” He finished it in no time, grinning from ear to ear. There was a spark in his eyes when I showed him how to drink the remaining grapefruit juice, tipping the emptied half directly into his mouth. He could not have been more delighted.
It’s not often that we get to see our family enjoy the fruits of our labor (pun intended). They eat what we cook with varying degrees of gratitude, but other than that, I don’t see my kids rolling around appreciatively on the newly vacuumed carpet. They aren’t inhaling the fresh scent of their newly washed clothes and thanking me profusely. They don’t put their shoes on and marvel at the organized closet.
Many are the thankless tasks of motherhood. There are wonderful parts about being a mom, but there’s also a certain amount of drudgery involved. Today I want to share some ways to make the load more enjoyable.
Get it all over with
This isn’t always possible, but sometimes you can work ahead to save yourself the trouble later. If you dread making school lunches, or even getting your kids a snack, consider setting aside one day a week to lunch prep/snack prep ahead of time. If dinner time is a constant dread or source of stress, consider investing a few hours in preparing some freezer meals. Or make a giant pot of lentils to use all week, or shred a few whole cooked chickens to use as needed.
Set a timer
Is your house a mess? Don’t get overwhelmed at all the housework you think you need to do. Set a timer for ten or twenty minutes and see how much you can get done. Then stop when the timer beeps and forget about the rest of it. This is especially important if you are trying to clean during your child’s nap time. Set that timer and then do something just for you when you’re done! Give up on the idea of perfection – there are more important things to do than to try to get your entire house all clean at the same time.
When I know I’m going to be at it awhile, I pop in my headphones and listen to something. I have several podcasts that I love:
At the top of my list is The Next Right Thing with Emily P. Freeman. Her short episodes are reflective, meditative, and the perfect encouragement for me to start my day on a good note. I love listening to this one when I’m walking our dogs early in the morning.
I’ve really been enjoying the Everything Happens podcast with Kate Bowler (author of “Everything Happens for a Reason, and Other Lies I’ve Loved”). Kate tackles the heavy parts of life with such grace and insight. Her podcast isn’t fluff, it’s meaningful in a way that feels redemptive.
If you’re looking for something that’s specifically for moms, I recommend Kindred Mom. Emily and her guests talk about issues relating to motherhood and you can always count on feeling encouraged when you listen to it!
And I’ve recently discovered Out of the Ordinary with Lisa Jo Baker and Christie Purefoy. Each episode is about half an hour long and makes me feel like I’m having a conversation with them, sipping my own cup of tea. They share personal stories that remind me that extraordinary moments abound, even within my very ordinary life.
Last but certainly not least, I highly recommend listening to The Upside Down podcast. Kayla Craig and Lindsey Wallace talk about our culture, social justice, and how to live faithfully in God’s upside down kingdom. They aren’t afraid to tackle topics that the Christian church shies away from, and that’s why I appreciate their conversations! BONUS: They have also put together two wonderful playlists of Christian music: Saturday for a more upbeat feel, and Friday for a more mellow mood.
What about you? How do you make the daily tasks of motherhood and housekeeping more enjoyable? Let me know in the comments!
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