You know how you see those work from home images with a person on a beach or by the pool with their laptop. Working from home is supposed to be relaxing and wonderful and give you free time and freedom. If you’ve ever worked from home or worked around having a family then you know it’s anything but relaxing. I’m not sure why they show those photos. Starting out working from home was interesting and fun and a good way to bring in extra income. But over the years as the family has grown and responsibilities at home have, there has been less time to work unless I want to go to bed at 1 every night. And I’ve known that my most important work isn’t paid or what the outside world sees.
Each year for the last few years I’ve thought that particular year would be my last year trying to juggle it all. I’ve imagined my last blog post going live. But somehow I make it through another year and then another. So I can’t say this will be last year working from home but the days I totally ignore my blog and get on with home life are my favourite. Things get done, the house looks nicer, everyone is happy and I can mostly keep on top of things. If the blog is going well and things are in on time then the rest of the house is falling apart. It’s just the way things are.
From the outside looking after a family 24/7 might look boring, monotonous and old fashioned. I’m sure when people look at large families they think how on earth (or why on earth) do you look after everyone and everything. And the truth is that there is so much pressure now on families of every size. Pressures to have money just to have a house or even rent a house and cover the bills. It makes me sad how many families are struggling. With expenses, lack of support, the rising cost of living, disability, unhappy marriages, unfaithful partners, tragedy or health issues. I know there are people who really want to stay home to raise a family just as they imagined but the pressures are too much or family life isn’t turning out as they expected.
But it doesn’t matter if you stay home or work outside the home. Putting your family first before work and other commitments will bring rewards in the long term. Sometimes you just can’t see it through the busyness of everyday life. But take a minute to think about what really is the most important thing in your life and it isn’t your job or possessions but the people around you. I do think the media presents an image of having it all. Being a successful woman isn’t someone who just raises her family or serves other people out of the goodness of her heart. But she is supposed to have her successful business on the side or a career. But really that makes me sad because our greatest work is raising children to be great people and we can’t ignore that wonderful work. It has always been my vocation in life to be married and raise a family. For some people it’s serving others. Don’t forget what you imagined when you were growing up. Don’t forget what it was like to be a child as you raise your own.
On Good Friday I really wanted us to attend stations of the cross and the 3pm service. But after spending all but 10 minutes outside with the little ones we had to decide to split up in the afternoon. I’d do the Saturday night vigil which I love with its 50 million readings (ok about 7 but the kids think its 50 million) and dad and a big kid went to the 3pm good Friday service
And as I was playing outside I felt bad that I wasn’t at church. That I wasn’t a good person because I wasn’t there when I should be at this most important time of year. And I did remind myself something that I often remind myself with. All of the little things that we do for our children do not go unnoticed. The meals we cook, the floors we clean, the clothes we fold (or leave to sit in the basket until we get to it), the hugs we give, the nappies we change and the little (and not so little) jobs that we do within our homes and families are always noticed by our God. I was pushing the little ones on the swing, running around the garden and caring for them and that is good work in itself.
Sometimes we expect gratitude or a thank you and it doesn’t always come. Sometimes we wish we had more ‘me’ time or could do something outside of the house but it’s just not the right time for it. But the most beautiful and rewarding work is raising a family and even if it doesn’t always feel that way it really is. When I make it to heaven I want to know that I did my best, that I raised good children to the best of my ability and served my family with my whole heart.
Last night I was reading my bible (something I should do more of) and then one by one the 3 older ones asked for a bible so they could read the Easter story. I was thinking to myself well my work here is done. And also reminded that we lead by example and have the opportunity as parents to help our children live good lives, know that there is more to our lives than what we can see and know that someone in heaven loves them more than they can imagine. I hope you have a special Easter with your families and loved ones and use this time to remember why we are here and our purpose in life.
“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”. He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” (Matthew 18: 1-5)
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10-11)