Since I started working as a cook at a daycare about six months back part time, I have had little eyes watching me from the start. As long as I am at work, I have little eyes watching me sweep, watching me cook, watching my every move. Asking me questions. “Why are you doing that?” “What’s for lunch?” “Can you smell my feet?”
It has become such a norm in my life to have little eyes scrutinizing my every move, but little did I know how much they were watching.
Since starting my job almost six months ago, I had a really hard time adjusting. I knew I wanted desperately to be a homemaker, but circumstances just didn’t allow it. At first, I’ll admit I was angry, I was angry that I had worked so hard to build a routine and schedule and created my life around being a homemaker. I didn’t know much about cooking for 30 kids because I had none of my own….and don’t even get me started on cleaning! Who knew kids peed so much!
And so the months passed that way. And I struggled.
But one day, a coworker of mine just looked at me and said, “Why don’t you treat this place like you do your home? Like a homemaker would?”
I have to be honest, I needed a moment.
I had been so self-absorbed in how “wronged” I had been, that I didn’t take the time to think about those around me. The little ones who needed caring and comfort as their parents worked hard to put food on the table. About the coworkers who were overworked, tired, and in need of encouragement.
I thought of me, myself and I, and at that moment…I knew it had to stop.
So I changed. I started treating my work as I did my home. I gave myself a schedule and routine, weekly chores that deep cleaned specific places, time to clean, time to cook. I even carved out time to make some homemade biscuits for the children to enjoy.
And then, I started seeing changes.
From my coworkers resenting the work I did to praising it.
From the children making messes for fun, to being conscious of their choices and actions. Looking for praise when they cleaned up a mess or played pretend house at the kitchen set.
Things started to shift from complete chaos, to something more manageable, something more normal. And then I knew I had to keep digging, keep trying, so I did.
I offered to help organize some spaces that were in need. I tried finding ways to save the center money. I listened to podcasts and Youtube videos to help me better understand how to stretch a meal and how to give them something healthy and yummy to fill their growing bodies.
And once again, things stepped up a notch.
One day all of the children stopped mid-lunch to shout about how good the food was. How I made just “the best chicken!”, “the best rice!”, and even “the best milk!”. Yup, apparently I make the milk too.
But it was these things that I could see adding up that I really was making a difference.
And then the other day, it really clicked for me.
While going around to help tuck the children in, I was joking with one little girl. I said, “How about I nap here and you go clean.” And I feigned falling asleep on her mat.
She did the unexpected. Her eyes lit up with excitement and she bolted from her mat and into the kitchen where she then tried to reach the tap to the sink and start the dishes.
I called her back and gave her a big hug. I said, “Oh thank you so much for being such a big helper! But I don’t think you really want to do dishes, now do you?”
At this, she started to tear up. “Yes I do. I really do Ms. Manda. I want to be just like you!” At this point another little girl had jumped in and agreed. “Me too! Me too!” I want to be just like you!”
It was in this moment that my heart felt so full.
While these were not my daughters, nor was I doing what I thought “God’s work” was, I had made an impact of what I believe a Christian woman should be doing on these little girls. Serving others joyously.
Because, we all know that it isn’t the dishes or the cleaning that attracted them to the job, but the joy that they saw on my face when I did these tasks.
To them, these tasks are fun! They want to participate with me and serve others because they see me enjoying it and they want to enjoy it too!
As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. -1 Peter 4:10
So the question I pose to you today is, how can you enjoy homemaking?
Find Your Talent
We all have a God-given gift that is waiting to be found! For me, I highly enjoy organizing and baking. Two wonderful tasks that I can incorporate in my everyday life. For you, it may be decorating, sewing or arts and crafts. Take time to discover your gift and find a good use for it. Whether it’s baking your family treats, sewing clothes for your family to save money and have modesty, or decorating your house to make your family feel at home. Take the time you need to make this task or hobby truly joyous.
Look for the Joy
Sometimes, we get so caught up in the everyday tasks that we have to do and the mounting to-do lists that we forget why it is we clean, organize and work each day. Take time during each task to think about why you’re doing it, and how happy the person you’re serving will be when they find it done. From packing lunch for your husband to folding your child’s clothes.
Remember the Little Things
As you go through your day, find time for the little moments. For me, it’s taking time to tuck in each and every kid (close to twenty children sometimes) like a “burrito”/”taco”/”potato”. This is something all of them enjoy and it makes them feel special and loved. Other ideas are writing a love note in your husband’s lunch each and every day, making something beautiful for your home that will bring joy to your family, or adding a little touch of love throughout the day.
Homemaking can be so taxing and tiring, but finding the joy in homemaking can bring a heart true delight. Take time to remind and encourage yourself about your why. Why you want to be a homemaker and how your homemaking will make an enormous impact on your family today and in the future.
And if you’re just feeling discouraged and unsure how to find joy in homemaking, head on over to The Homemaker’s Corner where you can find support from women just like you.