It finally happened.
Something that I had heard of but didn’t REALLY believe had ever occurred outside of myths and legends.
He said the words that every mom, every wife, every woman in the history of women has wanted to hear since Eve was given the breath of life and became a helper in the garden.
“You’re way underappreciated.”
I smeared my mascara across my cheek as I jerked toward him in surprise while getting ready for church. “What do you mean?”
“You’re gone for a few days and just look at this house.”
You see, I had been splitting my time between home and the hospital for the last week, sitting with my sick mother as we waited for answers. And if you looked around our house, you could tell.
Boy, could you tell.
Dishes were piled in the sink and on the counters. The dog hair that is usually swept up every day had been left to pile and gather in corners and against baseboards. Every flat surface was full of clutter, the children’s rooms were drowning in dirty clothes, and you couldn’t see through the handprints on the front windows.
Those little things that I usually do every day—the wiping of counters, the signing of homework folders, the filing and or disposal of the multitude of artwork and worksheets, the ferrying to and from school and activities, the plant-watering, the sweeping, the mopping, and the gathering of kid debris—had built up into a mountain of mess and chaos.
And he had noticed. Not only noticed but had pointed out that he realized why it was looking like that—because I wasn’t there.
Now don’t get the wrong idea. My husband is incredibly helpful around the house. When he’s home he jumps right into child raising, cooking and . . . OK, not cleaning, but nobody’s perfect. But the fact is, he works outside the home for 40+ hours a week, so the bulk of the household load falls to me.
Which, honestly, is fine. It’s a choice I made when I made the decision to stay home with the kids, and I’m content with it.
I’m the shoe put-away-er, the toy picker-upper, the snack giver-outer. I’m the bathroom cleaner, the dish-washer and the clothes put away-er.
I’m the calendar keeper, the logistical coordinator, and the chief disciplinarian.
And when I’m not around, let’s face it, many of those things just don’t happen.
But these words: “You’re way underappreciated.”
I’m not ashamed to say that I teared up a little—not enough to mess up my already shaky mascara job, but enough that a blotting tissue was a must.
Because when you’re the doer of all the things—the little things, the hidden things, the hardly noticeable things—having someone notice what you do is a big deal.
Having someone say it is even bigger.
Thank yous are nice. Hugs are nicer. But this one, well, this one is the icing on the cake with the cherry and chocolate sprinkles on top. It’s an “I see you” followed by a generous helping of “I couldn’t do this without you.”
So to all my fellow doers out there. My momma friends doing the small things and the background things. To my friends doing the carpooling and the lunch box delivering and the front path sweeping. To my after-service chair stackers and my late night paper graders and my potty accident cleaners. To my calendar keepers and my sock matchers, my underwear folders and my chicken nugget cookers.
This is for you.
You’re way underappreciated.
You may also like: