We women are such complex beings; our minds race a million miles a minute. I believe we ALL truly want our home to run and be like a well-oiled machine: smooth and productive. The obvious reality is that things don't always go according to plan or schedule, but we can certainly still find joy in the interruptions. Remember, many of the miracles Jesus performed were brought by interruptions. Here are 5 joy killers and sure ways of practicing miserable homemaking:
- Comparing ourselves to others- It's not just the media we need to guard our minds against. We can often find ourselves comparing our homemaking with somebody else's. I remember getting home one morning after volunteering at my son's school and as I walked up the stairs to my apartment, I could smell something good cooking in my neighbor's apartment. My first thought was, "I didn't cook anything. Maybe I should have stayed home to make something for my family." Another morning I noticed a parent I know was watering her plants in her front yard. I thought, "She's doing her job. I often kill our plants because I forget to water them. I should be home." There have been times I read about moms who not only homeschool their children, but they often bake and do all sorts of crafts with their families. I enjoy baking and crafting, but I've caught myself thinking, "I'd enjoy it so much more in a bigger home like theirs..." My husband's work schedule prevents him from being home with us in the evenings (all but two days) and that certainly has been a struggle with family time.
- Self Condemnation- Once we see all the reasons (according to us) we are failing at home, we may proceed to feel guilty and sulk. Now, what kind of happy home can we possibly bring forth with frustration and self condemnation? None, unless we do something about it. If we beat ourselves up because we're measuring ourselves with someone else's stick, we will never be happy. We may not be perfect, but our purpose is the same at home and each day brings a new beginning, praise God. We cannot be someone else and we're all on different schedules.
- Lack of Organization- Parenting is tough. Marriage is tough. Following Jesus is tough (the flesh is a bully and we really want to speak our minds). We overload ourselves with activities (some unnecessary), thoughts (many unnecessary), and worries (many, also unnecessary), and sometimes we want to add an extra day to the week. Since we can't change the calendar, we better examine our commitments and necessary activities. Is there anything we can eliminate that would be beneficial to our schedules, as a family? Individually? In our marriage? If we're not keeping a schedule and being faithful to keep it, unless something beyond our control forbids it, we run a bigger risk of running around like headless chickens, and still feel as if we didn't get much done.
- Keeping Ourselves Prisoners- I simply cannot stress this enough; we NEED fellowship with other sisters in Christ! It's truly ok to have some girl time. I've met quite a few ladies who feel guilty leaving their children with a relative or even their husbands, in order to have some time with their friends. I think we all feel some degree of guilt or concern, but I find that I still manage to have a good time and feel refreshed after some fellowship with friends. Stepping out of our home environment helps us come back refreshed and more ready to conquer our daily routine, which can quickly become mundane and depressing. We don't have to feel guilty. If our husbands are in agreement and there is a trust between us, then we should feel free and blessed to enjoy the company of a good friend or family member. It is beneficial, both emotionally and physically, since our physical bodies can be affected by our emotions. Don't keep yourself a prisoner. Invite a friend to coffee/tea, or accept an invitation made to you!
- Neglecting our appearance, home (clutter), and/or most importantly, God- Since our emotions play an important part in our homemaking, neglecting these three can affect us and reflect in our daily tasks.
For a related article on a study of how our clothes can affect our performance, click here.
b) neglecting our home- There are times we let the dishes pile a bit higher than we intended and the laundry may not get put away the day it comes out of the dryer, but we survive. We may not be thrilled, but we let it go. When let go far too long though, clutter and stress pile up. When it goes on too long, it's a sign it's time to examine ourselves for possible emotional issues. Our mess can be an indicator of how we are doing on the inside. Not only that, but even if we are well, emotionally, a cluttered home can quickly change that! Who feels joyful when walking into a messy home? Not many people. Neglecting our homes certainly contributes to miserable homemaking.
c) neglecting God- Not enough time studying God's Word and not enough time in prayer and worship will take a toll on us. I've read a saying that says, "7 days without the Bible makes one weak (week)." Get it? It's true. Not the amount of time it takes, but the fact that it makes us spiritually weak. Acts 17:28 says, "For in him we live and move and exist..." We often let technology steal the time we should be spending with God. Becoming spiritually weak comes with many "side effects," including: losing our armor, having less resistance to sin, becoming less sensitive to the Holy Spirit, giving in to the flesh more easily, a lessened desire to serve others or minister to them, etc. Not being equipped spiritually means we're not as emotionally strong to run our home as God intended. We're more likely to fall apart under pressure, get offended at what we perceive to be thoughtlessness from our husbands, and feel overwhelmed, among other things. We'd be more likely to do things grudgingly than with love.
How quickly we can practice miserable homemaking! I commit to doing my best to find joy in mine. Let us remember that we do it as unto the Lord (Colossians3:23), working for him. We honor God as we honor our husbands and build our homes, keeping them holy and built on a foundation of our faith in Jesus Christ. May our attitudes be aligned with the Word of God. No complaining, comparing, or self-condemning!
Happy homemaking! It CAN be done!