Every one of us knows how to be a home keeper. Now if anyone has any issues with that, let me start off by saying that is SO MUCH MORE than chores. Any monkey can be trained to do dishes or run a vacuum. I'm talking about truly keeping our home.
First and foremost, (and I've said it before) I'm a Christian. While I have yet to shove my beliefs down someone's throat, I am not ashamed of it, nor am I going to cowtow while someone comes to me trying to shake my beliefs. Now, with that said, I believe that the proper way to run a home is with God at the forefront. After all, if God is for us, who can be against us?
There are days when it feels like not only the world is crashing in around us, but that we've been abandoned by God in our daily tasks. Take for example my situation: I realized lately that I'm sort of a hoarder. I didn't know it had an official name. I always thought that it was just "how I am". I've heard words like pig, sloth, lazy, trash heap, and other cruel, hurtful, belittling, and demeaning names all of my life mainly by my parents. Funny, my mom was the same way. I have to ask- when did someone ever change by making them feel like crap? Anyway, I veered off the path here, let me regroup....
I've found that there are a few ways to bring me back to Godliness in my home. Fun sidefact: no where in the Bible does it say "cleanliness is next to Godliness". Kind of makes those of us who feel so unworthy (my hand is raised here!) relieved to know that my salvation isn't tied up into the sanitary level of my home. The ways I've found are NOT the be-all end-all list, they're just what helps me get through the day and start the day right.
What is my attitude like? Have I spent time with God this morning? Have I TRULY spent time with God this morning, not a quick prayer as I'm taking care of my morning bladder drain, but really sat down before the kids get up (Proverbs 31:15), before life "starts" and set my soul right with God? I notice a monumental difference in the fact of when I do this to when I don't. When I do, the kids are more compliant, the daily grind of chores seem to get done quicker, there is peace in the home. What happened? The only thing I did differently than I normally do is I spent time with the ultimate attitude adjuster. I realized that decision was made by me and I alone hold the key to the family's attitude for the day.
I'm not talking cheerleader peppy here (though if you are, that's great sunshine!) I'm speaking more along the lines of doing what all mothers have done through history. Shutting up and putting a smile on their face. NOT a plastic smile that is not only demeaning but cold but truly smiling. The kind that gives you lines and you don't care smile. The smile that makes other people wonder what is it that you have that they don't.
Oh now Ruby, I just don't FEEL like smiling today. I don't FEEL like being cheerful, why can't the family just do what I tell them to? Suck it up, buttercup! It's not about you! (woah! Hold on, I'm about to lose some of you here... this is the bear with me) Remember what I said about your attitude? attitudes are catching, and if you don't believe me, for you wonderful women who work outside of the home, does your boss's attitude not set your mood? You're the boss of your home sweetie! How do you think that hierarchy works; everyone else's attitude should be great and they are there to put you in a cheerful mood? Sorry peanut, doesn't work that way. You're not the king to be served, you are in fact a servant of your family, but there's great news about this! Jesus said (paraphrasing here!) that if you put yourself first, you will be the least. If you serve you will be greater. (Mark 9:35) So see, people aren't there for your martyrdom. You're here to help your family, so would you rather trudge and have everyone "see" your sacrifice, or would you rather do it cheerfully, train your children that it's not something to be "burdened" with and instead it's something to be rejoiced over!
Frankly, bring on the cheerfulness for me. I'd rather do it with a kind heart than be obnoxious about it.
This goes hand-in-hand with cheerfulness. 2Corinthians 9:7 says (at the end) that...God loveth a cheerful giver.
Filling your home with junk from stuffmart will NOT make you happy. Donating or giving away that extra waffle iron, or the cookware you NEVER use, or the kids clothes that they've grown out of WILL. How do I know this? Because the harder I cling to something the more I get convicted of letting some things go.
I have a cricut. For my non-crafty friends, it's a die cutting machine that allows me to cut various shapes and fonts out of paper or vinyl or even fabric so I can etch glass, scrapbook, make cards, decorate my home, etc. This is my baby. My kids aren't even allowed to touch it, BUT I have done so much for others with it. I've made everything from wedding invitations to baby announcements and favors, but most recently for my BFF's son, I made 17 hot cocoa holders with reindeer and snowmen on them for him to give to his class before Christmas break. (we homeschool, she doesn't.) Now, my point to that was I CLING to my cricut. That's something that unless convicted by the Lord, I'm not giving up, HOWEVER in that, I use my talents to create for others, and I have made things to share with people. And it's been cheerful!
So, give what you can, BUT the key to this is DO NOT OVER-GIVE. Now I'm not talking about "you can't out-give God" I'm talking about: Yes, you have a PTA meeting on Wednesday, you have a church bake-sale on Saturday, and there's the canned good drive, and don't forget the costume your child needs by thursday night, and oh by the way, you promised Goodwill that you'd have all of those clothes boxed up by 9AM tomorrow morning, and Friday is your husband's boss's dinner party that you're expected to look perfect for, and what do you mean you're coming down with a cold.. stop. Stop. STOP!
Life gets busy and overwhelming, and hectic, WE GET THAT. Ha! We're moms, boy howdy do we get that. My point is that scheduling yourself into oblivion will ruin your family. Doing for others is wonderful. Why are you doing for others what someone else can be handling? For those of you wonderful women who think the world would collapse and would completely fall apart if you just ignored what everyone else was relying on you for do me a favor: Put your fist into a bucket of water. (just do it.) and yank it out really fast. Do you see the hole your hand left? no? are you sure? Oh wait, the water rushed back in, didn't it? THAT is how fast someone can fill your place, superchick! God made you one woman, not every woman to everyone. He designed you for a purpose and that purpose wasn't to serve others while your family is left to the wolves. He also didn't design you to overschedule yourself so you have nothing to give to the ones you love.
This was a lesson I learned the very hard way. PLEASE don't make the same mistake.
Love is.... ? I always thought love was doing for others and not expecting things back. Well it is- to an extent. Do you love yourself? I'm not talking about selfishness, I'm talking about loving yourself enough to lock yourself in the bathroom, light a few candles, put on some soft music and de-stress once or twice a week with a warm bubble bath, or going to exercise to get the tension out. True, honest, love of the one that our Creator made to care for your family. Taking care of yourself, regardless of Armageddon happening just outside your bathroom door. Between the toddler screaming for your attention, the older kids arguing, and the husband needing one thing or another, surprisingly it will all be ok for the next hour. You will be missed, but you will be so much better a mom/wife if you take care of yourself. If this is something your family will have to get used to, schedule it on the calendar. Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons if need be. (or whatever days work for you, this is just a suggestion)
Delegate. please note, this is NOT dictating. You are not the Hitler of your home, you are a delegate. You assign things like chores, NOT demand. You teach not tyrade. You show how your home is to be run. You train your children how to do things, and teach them the skills they'll eventually need to run their own homes. THIS is what makes you a great mom, not how many cookies you've baked, or how spotless you've kept their clothes, or even how the bed corners get folded.
Teaching your children (and yes, in my case even my husband) that dirty laundry goes in the hampers (we have 4- whites, colors, darks, and towels) is delegating. I'm not a bad wife for not being a slave to my husband! I keep my home, and as such I fail to see how picking up his uniform/socks/undies/etc off of the floor makes me a better wife when I could spend that time loving him. It's just as easy for me to train him that if his clothes don't make it into the hamper, they don't get washed as it does for me to do it for him. Not to mention, I'm pregnant with twins right now and it's frankly easier on my body if I don't have to constantly bend over. This is one of those love things. I love myself enough to not put extra strain on me.
Making my family solely dependent on me is NOT love. That's selfish. Training them to do things for themselves if ever I am out of commission, THAT is love.
We have a binder in our home. It's our (last name) home maintenance binder. It has all of my routines in it for morning, afternoon, evening and before bed. I also have it broken down into zones for the home, as well as days of the week. (it's a modified version of the one flylady has.) it's CONSTANTLY under tweak. Why? because the needs of my family varies per season. For example, right now it's Christmas time. WE have much more things scheduled this month than we do in say... May. Well, not this coming may, I'm expecting the twins, but you get my point. My HMB will be cleaned out the first of the year, and will be made to update for the next three months.
This binder lets anyone know that in my absence, not only where I'll be (check the calendar) but if I'm out of commission for a while, what needs to be done. My 7 year old daughter is so well trained in the running of my home (proud mama moment here...) that I can basically check out for a few days and she would continue to do it, INCLUDING change and bathe the baby. This is a LOT of responsibility for this girl, however she is also in training to be a Godly woman who will run her home.
Well, I've taken a left turn at Albuquerque but my basic point is this: homekeeping is so much more than chores. It's the attitude you have to go along with it, it's the spending time with God and making sure that you are right with Him, so you can be right with your family, and it's the running of the home and those in it that make things worth it.
Lastly: I'm comparing you wonderful ladies to a lighthouse. You are the beacon that draws your family in. You let them know when there's danger, you show them how to go, you even guide them through times when they can't see for themselves. You are a light. Enjoy it Diva!
King James Version (KJV)
16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.