Cleaning for others

I started to title this post “doing for others.” That’s what we teach our kids…D

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Treat others with respect. It’s better to give than to receive. The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.

Ok, that’s a lot of lessons rolled into one, but you get the gist. We are constantly trying to teach our children how to serve with kindness. I realize that is something I still struggle greatly with…serving others not on my terms. Sure I serve others. Sometimes I even feel invigorated serving others…but it’s usually something I have specifically picked to volunteer for or something that I am already passionate about.

What about the things I don’t want to do? The things that are thankless jobs?

It’s not my skill set, my strong suite. It burns me out. Someone else is better at it. I’m supposed to be energized by serving.

I have a whole list of other excuses if you need them! Especially when it comes to cleaning. Hence, the title. I’m not just talking about tidying up or organizing or even deep cleaning. I’m talking about the monotonous, daily cleaning that goes under appreciated–the type of cleaning that is undeniably going to be messed up minutes to hours later. The cleaning that you will do all over tomorrow. With little children there are certainly going to be messes and lots of them, but I recently realized that I can have a pretty stinky attitude when it comes to cleaning with a servant’s heart. I love a clean house as much as most, but I absolutely hate watching things explode back to a normal level of messiness within a short matter of time.

I think there are two lessons I have learned from this realization…one, I often don’t have a servant’s heart when it is most needed. I should not be cleaning with the expectation that sticky, fast-moving little hands are going to respect the effort. In all honestly, it probably just creates more of a temptation to play harder, lol…and that’s okay. It gives me opportunity to teach as well, to practice cleaning as we go along. It’s hard, it’s monotonous, but it’s a practical, valuable lesson that I want me kids to learn in life. I also want them to learn how to clean. It’s perfectly fine with me if they leave more smudges than before while practicing wiping windows. We have a blast cleaning together. Even if they are not around to help clean, I know I need to work harder to have a good attitude even if I am not around to fully appreciate the cleanliness or even if it is wrecked again. Just because I go back to work the next day doesn’t mean they shouldn’t enjoy a clean house even if they don’t admire it.

Two, when I start feeling disgruntled about all I am doing, I also need to do another attitude check about whether it is just a lack of a servant heart or whether I am forgetting to have a Mary heart in a Martha world. Yes, I do need to have a servant’s heart when serving my family even if I don’t like serving that way, but I also need to make sure my priorities are straight. It may sound contradictory, but cleaning may not always be the best use of my time. Am I more worried about folding that last load of laundry or have I gotten down on the floor to play with my kids today? Am I cleaning for myself or my family? Have I spent time thanking God for all that I have been given to clean first??

Sometimes I keep on cleaning…but change my perspective. Sometimes I lay the mop down and race the kids to the backyard! Just know that both are okay and that children very rarely ever notice whether the laundry is folded…but will remember if you are too busy or stomping around!

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