My mother recently asked me what I do all day. I love my mother. I really do. But she throws these types of things out there quite regularly. She doesn't agree with homeschooling, though she has two daughters who homeschool their children. She believes in a meticulously clean house at all times. So she then adds, "because I know you don't keep house. So what do you do?" Wow. Ouch.
I can probably count on one hand the number of times that my mother has been to my house since I moved in three and a half years ago. I am usually the one to go and visit with her, and you can probably start to see why. Yet on those few times when she has been here, there have been toys in the yard (that's where my kids play most), some dishes in the sink (did I mention three meals a day, every day), and the kids' bathroom (KIDS' bathroom) wasn't sparkling.
The kids and I clean the house every day. We also happen to live, work, study, and play here every. single. day. So whether my house looks clean when you stop by for a visit really depends on when you happen to stop by. I liken the keeping of my house to shoveling while its still snowing. hard.
Somehow I am taken off guard by her questions and I simply, but out of frustration, say, "I homeschool three kids, mom. And I do keep house." What I really want to say is that if I didn't keep house it would look 100 times worse when she stopped by. Ha ha! That if I didn't keep house then we wouldn't have meals to eat, dishes to eat on, and the kids wouldn't have clothes to wear.
I want to tell her that what I do all day between said laundry, dishes, and cooking three meals a day is teach Biology and Algebra to a high schooler, work really hard with my middle schooler who has serious learning problems, and not only teach my little one to read and do math, but find things to do with him every day as well. Throw in groceries and other errands, exercise, working at home, and a million other little things, and you have my days.
I was grouchy the whole rest of the day. Why does it bother me so? Because what I do is UNSEEN. There is a fantastic post about this very thing at A Holy Experience. I have it bookmarked right onto my toolbar so I can refer back to it at times such as these - times of defensiveness and frustration because I devote all of my time, energy, heart, and soul to things mostly UNSEEN.
Last night I found a comment someone had left me online and I followed it to visit her blog. I read post after heart-wrenching post about the death of her daughter and how she copes. I cried like I haven't cried in a long, long time. And I thanked God for every single day that He lets me be with my babies. The author has other children and I would bet that she knows what she does all day. Loves. those. babies.
That is what I do all day. I love my babies. I nurture them, teach them, guide them, laugh with them and cry with them (and over them). Its all messy, chaotic, and the most challenging thing I have ever done.
I wonder if my teenage son would still come and wake me in the middle of the night to seek advice over sin he is wrestling in his heart, keeping him awake, if I weren't here for him every day, building a close, trusting relationship with him every day that requires TIME and PRESENCE.
I wonder if my "tween" daughter would hug on me and tell me she loves me all the time if we didn't spend our days together. I wonder if she would still make Godly choices even when her friends don't if I didn't invest so much time guiding her precious soul. I wonder if she would still consider me her best friend if she spent her days with 100 other 12-year-olds.
What I really do all day can't be seen by looking around my house, looking at me, or asking me what I'm physically doing during the day. What I really do is UNSEEN. But that's okay. Because I know in my heart that it makes all the difference.