Are you a wife or mum who gives all you can but sometimes feels like no one notices, cares or appreciates all your hard work? It may not be all the time, maybe even just once or twice — but enough to make you start to wonder why you even bother doing all that you do at home.
When I’m exhausted, drained, or in a ‘mood’, I can sometimes (okay, frequently) get really emotional and irritating. I complain about how ‘I do everything around here’ (which I don’t!) and how nobody cares (which they do!). I completely forget about all the thanks, acknowledgement and help my hubby gives me. I completely forget about how special and loved my kids make me feel.
My sinful heart wants more acknowledgement and praise, like maybe it would reassure me that I’m doing a good job, or somehow validate my existence or place in the world, or make me feel less guilty about wanting naps or holidays. I don’t know.
Maybe you’re in the same boat as me, maybe you have a flair for the dramatic like I do. Or maybe your feelings a bit more justified and you aren’t quite getting the acknowledgement you should be.
Either way, we don’t have to feel this way, feeling unappreciated or unnoticed. No one should feel like their hard work is wasted. The only problem is, we can’t control what others say to us, we can’t control what people think. We can’t control how other people will react to things we do. We can’t control other people’s expectations. Nor should we want to.
But we can control what we think and how we feel. We can control our own expectations. We can turn to the Bible for wisdom and advice.
The Bible tells us: ‘in your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus’ (Phil 2:5) and take ‘the very nature of a servant’ (Phil 2:7). Jesus — that is, God Himself — took on the nature of a servant, a mere human, to serve us (Mark 10:45; Phil 2:5–8)! It serves as a great and humbling reminder of WHY we do what we do, which is try to model Jesus’ perfect, selfless love to serve the people we love the most (and also, others in general).
Even though it sometimes doesn’t feel like it, our actions and behaviours as wives and mothers are important. They are significant. Not so we can brag about it, get a big head about it, or be praised for it, but because our actions reflect the word of God. This goes both ways; godly behaviours reflect the word of God and ungodly behaviour can cause others to criticise the word of God (Titus 2:4–5).
Ultimately, we need to remember that everything we do is for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31; Isaiah 43:7). So does it really matter if we don’t get thanks or praise? Sure, it would be nice if someone acknowledged our hard work. Sure, it would feel like it justifies the exhaustion and time spent. But again, why are we actually doing what we do? To be known as an amazing wife or mum, to feel great about ourselves? To show off our skills, how we have it all together? Or because we want to love selflessly, serve others above ourselves, and reflect the word of God?
So the next time we think that no one is paying attention, we know that someone is. God sees you. He knows all that you do. He sees your heart (Jer. 17:10). When we serve our families, friends, colleagues, strangers, we’re not only doing it for them, we’re doing it for God.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
— Philippians 2:3–8 (NIV).