Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"It Is Your Job to Pick Up the Plates"

Today, I'm sharing an entry from last year.   You can probably relate.  If not, you are probably grateful you cannot.  A lot has changed in one year, but my prayer at the end is still the same.  I must not think of things I don't like to do as things I shouldn't have to do!  Lord, help me.  Amen.

March 22, 2011 – Paper Plates 

Hmm…Thoughts on staying home…Just returned from KS yesterday.  I’m always so relieved to be home, and on a high the first night, just to be back in my own space.  However, the reality settles in the next morning.  I am at the mercy of my kids all day.  My house is neither clean, nor my kids easy to please.  It seems like almost everything I do is for them, but the only feedback I get is whining or complaining.  Get Wyatt dressed, make breakfast, work out (and feel so blessed to be able to do so), Wyatt down for a nap, do laundry, fix lunch, clean up lunch, go to airport to watch airplanes, grocery store, Wyatt down for second nap, pick up Bman from school, more laundry, clean kitchen, make dinner, baths, stories, and bed. 
We stopped by to see Brett at Disaster City (his workplace) since we were so close, as we were already at the airport.  He comes out of a crowded office building with so much going on.  I can tell we are interrupting him, but he is pleasant anyway.  Sometimes, I wish I had the immediate gratification of completing a job and making someone happy because I did so.  However, today it was like this…I pick up all of the paper plates on the floor and put them away, go to the bathroom, only to find plastic baggies everywhere, because of course Wyatt can’t put them back in the box he pulled them all out of!  It’s funny that when I leave the house, I forget there will be paper plates all over the kitchen floor when I return, because Wyatt got them all out again.  I just can’t seem to do a job and not have it undone, sometimes even before I finish.  It kills my motivation a little.  Okay, a lot.
I fantasize about a clean house and having more time to myself.  I know, I know.  It goes quickly.  Not in the span of a day, it doesn’t. 
I remind myself that God is my boss and I am living to please him.  Make sure my husband feels loved and respected.  Be kind to my kids.  Make sure they are clothed and fed and safe.  This is my means for sanctification.  Oh, Lord, please help me do it with a joyful heart.  I know how blessed I am, but that doesn’t seem to keep me from getting tired of picking up paper plates!
8:39pm - After reflecting on this as I was washing up supper dishes, I heard my Boss say, “It is your job to pick up the plates.”  I felt laughter and peace, thinking about this gentle correction.  He’s right.  Motherhood is not all parks and zoos and picnics.  Sometimes it is picking up 15 paper plates off of the kitchen floor several times a day (or moving them higher once.  But, he enjoys it so much, I reason).  Whatever it takes to keep my home and my family functioning well, is my job.  I’m sure I could execute this Mother role perfectly with perfect joy, if only I could be confident I am doing God’s will at each step. I must not think of things I don’t like to do as things I shouldn’t have to do!  Lord, help me.  Amen.


  1. I read in a book once (a fiction book for all that) one of the girls was asking the cleaning lady (?) how she could be cheerful working cleaning up other people's messes, and she said she can rejoice in cleaning the toilets because there is a toilet to clean. As that particular one is the bane of my existence, it helped me a lot. Whatever you do, work at it with all your might, as unto the Lord. These reminders are good, Heidi. Thanks.

  2. Thanks, Caroline. Your comment reminded me of a similar response to the same question (about cleaning up after people) in Blue Like Jazz by Don Miller: "If we are not willing to wake up in the morning and die to ourselves, perhaps we should ask ourselves if we are really following Jesus." It is a good point. For me, I think there is a disconnect between picking up paper plates or cleaning toilets and dying to self. But, really, that is what it looks like. Dying to self certainly doesn't look as dramatic as it sounds in the dailyness of life!