When No One Sees All Your Hard Work

There is nothing more discouraging than spending all day cleaning, refereeing, training, correcting, cooking, keeping a “sweet mama face”…and having all your best efforts rewarded by…the house looking like war zone rubble filled with hollering insurgents lively children when your husband saunters carefree and well rested walks in the door.  He callously sweetly asks, “How was your day, hon?”, and you’re left with the horrible decision to start babbling like a crazy lady and telling him how it really was, or replying with a canned, trite, completely anemic simple “It was fine.”

I usually opt for the latter option, right at first.  ‘Cause, let’s face it, Superman doesn’t really want to know every grisly detail of my day right off the bat.  His first moments home, he might not need to know:

  • How the one-year-old thought it was fun to shake a leaky sippy cup of orange juice all over the floor, and the 3 year old (with a horrifically sagging diaper) was using his trucks to run over an unsuspecting ant, and the 5 year old was in tears about her favorite pair of skinny jeans being in the wash.
  • He might not want to hear about how in the middle of mopping up orange juice and ant parts, I had to enter child #2 into the witness protection program to keep child #1 from putting out a hit on said child #2, because in the heat of the moment, a 5 year old does not really care that scribbling over paper is just what 3 year olds do.  Never mind that it was a painstakingly beautiful picture for a favorite little friend that got scribbled on.
  • Probably, the highlight of his day would not be hearing about how I made PB&J like a boss, with a fussy baby on my hip, or that I instructed the older two for the two millionth time to “please put your boots away and wash your hands for lunch.”
  • It just might glaze his eyes over if I went in detail about the post-lunch-juggle: how I carried a combined total of 100 pounds of small children up the stairs, wiped bottoms and tucked covers and fluffed pillows and brought warm milk for nap time.
  • No, he doesn’t need to hear about how impressive it is that the carpet got vacuumed and one load of laundry got washed (albeit not put away…this is not the age of miracles, people!) And the reason dinner is late (again) is because the baby was trying to climb the table while I was draining the pasta, and I had to pause everything to rescue him, and while I was doing that, I realized that the 3 year old was ready to drop kick his sister because she took his favorite book.  (No, pasta that sits too long in the pot is not appetizing.  In case you wondered.)

I don’t blame Superman for not wanting to get a diaper load of verbal diarrhea when he walks in the door.  I really don’t.  I don’t know all the details of his work and his day, although I enjoy hearing what he does share.  Honestly?  It’s not his job to be the recipient of my acute case of “I’m around small people all day, and LET ME TALK TO YOU, TALL PERSON!!!”

Don’t get me wrong, he is an amazing guy, and he really makes an effort to acknowledge and thank me for what I do.   But sometimes I forget (maybe you do too?) that being a professional appreciater isn’t on a husband’s resume.

It’s not his job to notice the barely visible vacuum lines in the carpet.  Or the dent we made in Mt. Laundry.  Or any of the other mundane things that keep a house and a family from falling into disrepair and anarchy.

Maybe you’re a single mom, and you’re thinking, I have NO ONE to EVER notice.  Not ever.

My hat’s off to you.  Seriously.  Also, I wish I could buy you a latte and hire you a housekeeper, ’cause I have zero idea how you do it all.  Hardworking single moms have Superhero status in my book.  If this is you, I’m sure you can identify 500% with what I’m about to say:

Sometimes, I’m desperate to have all this good, hard work get noticed.

I will tell you a secret of the universe game changer.

Psalm 121.  My affirmation comes from God.  Hubby is off the hook.  (And all the husbands let out a huge sigh of relief.)

God Himself is witness to every detail. 

He sees.  Oh, He sees.  All the above stuff?  He didn’t miss any of it.

He doesn’t sleep, so He is up with you when you soothe the fussy baby, or change the wet bed in the middle of the night.  He watches over me as I wake up, bleary eyed and fumble the pen over the prayer journal.  He sees you trying to simultaneously focus on Bible study and prevent casualties from World War 3 breaking out over the Little People Zoo Train gorilla piece.

He sees me choking back the piece of my mind that wants to have a tantrum over the muddy boot prints tracking all over the freshly swept floors.

He sees you, brave and beautiful, and oh-so-tired because of that kid who won’t listen, that hard issue that won’t go away, that stack of growing bills, that loneliness because you haven’t found a group of friends.  He sees.

And oh, those hands that hold your face and see into your eyes are gentle ones, sweet mama.

Unload it on Him.  He wants it.  And when you have no words?  Let the truth wash over you with certainty – He knows.

You have a witness to all your unsung, unnoticed, unglamorous moments.

He is EL-ROI, the God-Who-Sees.  It makes me want to weep with relief that all of this stuff – it’s not for nothing.  None of the seemingly pointless tasks of my day (such as wiping chocolate off of small faces, only to wipe dirt off the same small faces 20 minutes later) slips by unobserved. (Don’t even get me started on laundry and floors.)

It would change me if I remembered that God sees.  Maybe Superman would notice the crazy lady tone in my voice receding just a little.  🙂

How would it change your attitude if you remembered to pray today to EL-ROI, the God-Who-Sees?


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Boredom Buster for Littles – And Help for Mama: Free Printable

Alaina is already an incredible help.

She has daily chores, but recently I’ve been hearing “I’m bored” a whole lot more.  So, I created a “Pick-A-Chore” list that I can whip out twice a day and let her choose something that not only busts boredom and instills good habits, but contributes towards keeping our house a nice place to live.

I thought you might want that as a free printable!  Eventually, I’m thinking about adding more age categories, but for now all I have is a Pick-A-Chore Kindergarten list. 🙂

Let me know what you think!  🙂

As always, not all chores are suitable for all children, and NONE of them should be done unsupervised.  So use parental discretion, and enjoy! 🙂

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Not Your Mother’s Spring Cleaning List – With A Free Printable

Does anybody else cue the 1950’s housewife in her cute little dress and apron, with her hair tied up in a wispy kerchief when they hear the words “spring cleaning time”?  (How in the world did they do it???  The most I can manage most days is a shirt without stains and some jeans!)  Intuitively gifted in homemaking, I am not.

We didn’t actually do Spring and Fall cleaning when I was growing up, but when I married Superman, I was terrified, daunted impressed that my mother-in-law does.  Every year, I have high hopes of joining her, and every year my great intentions fall splat on my dusty bookshelves.

This is the year, people.

I’m doing it.  And I’m counting on you to hold me to it.

My strategy is simple.  I don’t have a whole week to tear the house apart top to bottom (wait…my kids already tear it apart daily…) 🙂  But I can do several 10 or 15 minute chunks every day.  If I have a plan, and just do the next thing on the list, I can accomplish a lot.  To that end, I made up a printable to get you and me going in the Living Room.  (Just in case you are similarly not a domestic goddess naturally.)  Here it is: Spring Cleaning Living Room Checklist.  As you’ll see, I included ideas of chores your littles can do alongside you (according to their age and ability level, of course!)

This is NOT your mother’s spring cleaning routine.  No where on the list is moving the refrigerator to scrub behind it, and there is no reference to bleach and toothbrushes and scrubbing of grout.  Your house won’t be perfect, but it will be better.  And better is good, right?

Each task (with only a few exceptions) should only take 5-10 minutes.  That means that we can easily knock out a couple of items in the random spare minutes throughout the day.

Maybe we can even manage a room every couple of days.  (Let’s dream wildly, shall we?)  🙂

And because I’m a scatterbrained mess without my lists, I made up a checklist for every room in the house.  If you like the sounds of that, I uploaded the whole slew of them onto the Subscriber Freebies Page along with the two printables Prayers for a Tired Mama and Prayers for a Christ-Centered Home.  If you haven’t yet signed up for my newsletter, this is a great time to do that!  🙂 Or, you can order it through my shop here.  (It’s only $6 for unlimited use!)

This last week I went purging like a mad woman, throwing out bags and bags of stuff that was suffocating us.  I still have quite a ways to go, but I’m already breathing easier.  And Superman loves it!  An added bonus is that it’s easier to clean without all the clutter in the way…and it looks so much better!!!

Do you find spring cleaning to be a big, dreaded task, or do you enjoy it?  Any tips?  I’d welcome them!  🙂  We girls have to stick together!

Grace and peace and Swiffer dusters to you, my friends.  😉



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Mornings Are (Not) The Enemy

When Superman and I were engaged, my sister pulled him aside and told him that when my family members needed to wake me up, they would poke me and run.  I guess she felt it was her obligation to let Joe in on something that pretty much everybody knows:

I don’t love mornings.  (Understatement.)

Thanks, sis. 🙂

As an E.R. nurse, I worked the 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift, and never really minded it.  Late nights have always energized me, and sleeping in the day time was never a problem.

And then life changed.

It’s one thing when there are no obligations or small people in the house to have a leisurely morning of no routine, but it is quite another when the Oompah Loompah’s hit the deck full force no later than 7 a.m.  And I don’t know about you, but I really, truly HATE wearing my pajamas all day.

That’s why I am pretty much psyched about Crystal Paine’s 14 day course titled Make Over Your Mornings.  She has such a great approach, and I have high hopes that in time I might even be reformed of my night owl ways.  🙂

Seriously, I love the way she breaks down each and every component so that you make a custom-fit morning routine that fits you.   ‘Cause what works at my house just won’t work at yours, amen?

Here’s what I’m doing differently because of this course (that’s making a BIG difference at our house!)

  1. Getting a load of laundry set up in the washer the night before.  All I do when I come downstairs in the morning is push “start.”
  2. NOT checking my emails and Facebook first thing.  Prayer time, Bible study, and reviewing the day’s priorities come first.
  3. Setting the coffee pot on automatic brew for my scheduled wake up time.  There’s nothing like waking up to the aroma of freshly brewed java to pry this girl out of bed!

In this course, Crystal Paine walks you through identifying what is most important to fit into your morning routine, and how to get there.  She talks about the importance of setting yourself up for success the night before, which I love.  (In Slaying The Clutter Monster, guest author Mary Colwell mentions this, too.)  When I actually implement this magic?  It’s…magic.

Most mornings, I actually get up without any poking or prodding or repeated cries of “mama”.  Get this: I wake up before the kids do on a regular basis.  This is life changing progress from the “poke and run” girl from 7 years ago!

Here’s what is next on my list to implement (hey, I’m a work in progress!)

  1. Planning out my day the night before.  I love the Printable Day Map that I made, but usually don’t fill it out until the actual morning I’m going to be using it.  That would be fantastic to change!
  2. Going to bed earlier.  It is SO. STINKIN’. HARD.
  3. Adding back in my work out time.  I was doing great, but life and headaches happened, and I got out of the habit.

If you’re interested in finding out more, Crystal offers the first day’s video for free on her site (just follow the link).  I don’t know about you, but I like a chance to preview a potential purchase, so this is a great feature.  (And you should know that yes, I am using affiliate links for this – but I would never, ever endorse the course if I didn’t believe in it’s life changing nature.  My integrity is worth far more to me than any potential commissions!)

Do you have any before bed rituals or morning routines?  Any helpful hints?  I love hearing from you! <3


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Oh, Monday…Sometimes I Hate You.

Do you ever dread Mondays?

I do.

There’s the hurricane-like state of the house mess from the weekend.  And a whole big long list of things to get through accomplish for the week.  Then, of course, there’s the whole getting back into routine issue, which can feel a lot like herding cats around here.  Or eating an elephant with a rubber baby spoon.

One bite at a time, you say?


If I’m doing well, I brace myself and remember the big picture.  You know, how the whole week fits into the framework of the month and the season, and then break down everything that needs to happen in the week into days.  (Have you seen my Printable Schedule?  It’s what I use to organize the day.)  If I’m not feeling so gung-ho, things start to devolve. I procrastinate.  I kind of drag my feet and decide to wing it.  Trouble.

I know, I know, if you’re not a control freak Type A, this may make no sense to you.  Feel free to skip along.  🙂

But if you’re one of those Über organized people who live and breathe sticky notes and lists and kind of hyperventilate in the office organization section of Target, you get me.  The struggle is real, isn’t it?

Now, I was going to make a cute little printable for you to help you plan out the week, but the internet is already awash with said cute little printables.  And you probably already have a calendar.

So here’s the challenge: just use what you have.  If you have a planner, use it.  If you love Google Calendar, by all means, knock yourself out.  Because, waaaaay too often, my perfectionism trips me up.  If I can’t spend 3 hours and a roll of washi tape on it, I just won’t do it at all.  Don’t let this happen to you.  (I won’t if you won’t.)

(Don’t forget to pray about it.)  God’s agenda is way better than yours.  Don’t plunge into this week without consulting your Boss.

In the words of the popular Nike® slogan, just do it.  Don’t talk about it.  Don’t imagine how much better it will be when you finally get around to it.  (I may speak from experience, here.)

Grab your list, grab your calendar, grab your coffee (amen?) and make it happen…I’ll be doing the same.

Maybe in time I won’t hate Monday quite so much.

We’ll see. 🙂

Grace and peace, friends.

– Kelly

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