Friday, August 20, 2010

He Told Me a Story

"They're ALL full-time jobs!" I moaned to Jeff one night after the boys were tucked in bed. "Caring for the boys is a full-time job, caring for the house is a full-time job, and everything else is a full-time job." (And by "everything else," I meant keeping up with friends, blogging, reading other people's blogs, trying--in vain--to stay on top of email, sorting through and organizing the picture files that litter our computer, canning several bushels of peaches, serving through various opportunities beyond the four walls of our house...not to mention the things that never happen but I wish did, like weeding my flowerbeds or playing my piano.) "When I focus on just one of those jobs, I do OK with it. Like this evening, when you were gone, things weren't going well, so I just said to the boys, 'All right, we're going outside to play.' And we did, and it was fun, and everyone got along, and it was great--because I was giving my full attention to caring for the boys. But the dishes didn't get done, and neither did anything else. When I try to handle more than one of those full-time roles, things fall apart!"

He listened attentively, thoughtfully gave me words of affirmation, then told me this story:
When I was growing up in Big Bear, one of my first jobs was working at a ski resort. My task was to take the ski boots that people dropped off, wash them off with hot water to get all the mud and snow and ice off them, spray them with disinfectant, then hang them on their rack that had blow dryers that blew into each boot to dry them. My other task was to keep the counter clean on which the skiers set their boots to return them. A group would come in and set their wet, dirty boots down; I would take the boots and do what I needed to do to them and wipe the counter off. More people would come in, set their boots down, and the counter would be dirty again. I constantly had to be cleaning it because when the next customer walked in, they didn't want to see a messy counter. But it was impossible to keep it clean.

Your life is like that. You're constantly cleaning a dirty counter, and people are constantly bringing their dirty boots to put on it. It never ends.
"You get it!" I thought. "You really get it! You know how wearying this job of being a stay-at-home-mom is. Thank you for getting it!"

The next day, the counter of my life got as dirty as ever, and just as many yucky boots got put on it as soon as I had cleaned it up, but at least I was comforted by the fact that...

...Jeff gets it.


Tim and Michelle said...

Thanks for sharing...I like that analogy! It is definitely hard to get everything done! So glad you have such an understanding husband!

Miriam said...

It is always comforting when my husband "gets it," too. Kudos to Jeff!!

Lisa said...

Doesn't it just make a world of difference in your day to know that *he gets it*! Even though Jeff isn't there to physically see you constantly clean up after everyone, your spirit has to feel peace knowing that your partner in all of this understands YOU and what YOU DO.

Now that is sweetness.;-)

Hugs to you my friend.

Margie said...

What a blessing that he understands! It makes you feel like you're not "in it" - working the job - alone, and misunderstood. What a wonderful, sweet blessing.

Pam said...

To have that affirmation from our hubbies sure does help us to just keep going doesn't it? I think It is more rewarding and encouraging than almost anything else. What a great analogy he gave. He's a wise man. The work truly does seem never ending, but you are building a very special reward in heaven and in the hearts of your family; and you are doing an amazing job by the way.
Much Love,

Morning said...

What a clever, insightful post!

Sally said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that overwhelming discouragement. As I was getting projects done before Marie was born, I experiences lots of satisfying moments. Now, well, those moments from accomplishments are on hold for a long time. Sitting a nursing a baby is my main task in life, and it sure doesn't show up in measurable ways--except when she outgrows clothes.