Of Course It’s Not Easy! It’s Work!
In my “shut off your brain and just relax” mode – a time I rarely allow myself until I just desperately need it – I have been reading my America’s Housekeeping Book (published in 1941). I bought it while reading Grace at What if No One’s Watching go through 100 Days to a Happy Housewife. She referred to it often, I found it for some ridiculously low price (like maybe $3) and indulged in it.
I have LOVED reading it. It’s not like I can’t put it down. I have lots of reading to do. I read my Bible every day. At home I read the Old Testament (and am currently reading 2 Samuel). In waiting rooms or waiting in the car for Kaylee or wherever I am out and about, I read the New Testament (and am back to reading Matthew). I’m reading The Power of a Praying Wife and I’m reading Helper By Design. I LOVE reading my Bible, but that is study/worship time. The other books I read are being read with an eye for a blog post, for education, to retain information and digest it then do something with it.
This book is just to feed my love of mid-twentieth-century America. It’s as good as popping in an awesome film noir starring Humphrey Bogart or Spencer Tracy. I love seeing how life was lived back then, especially when it’s right then and not looking back. When it’s unadulterated with modern proclivities, assumptions, prejudices, political correctness.
As I was reading the chapter on how to manage household help (which was just hysterical to read, by the way), something rather profound occurred to me. It isn’t like it should have just occurred to me, but really I don’t think I’ve ever thought about it from this angle before.
Here is where I had my “ah-ha!” moment:
Experienced homemakers will tell you that if the employee does the washing and ironing, the homemaker must assume a major share of the other housekeeping jobs on laundry days.
If your employee assumes most of the responsibility for the children, don’t expect too much else of her. She can’t do everything.
Know what those simple sentences tell me? That it’s ridiculous to expect that one person can do it all all of the time even when they’re a paid employee who is working from cooking breakfast time to washing dinner dishes time.
Homemaking is a job. It requires full time attention. It encompasses a huge amount of responsibility from maintaining a clean home, doing laundry, cooking, caring for children, caring for the spouse, gardening, preserving, etc. etc. For some of us, it also includes homeschooling.
If you don’t enter into it treating it as if it were a job, as in giving it your full attention and energy when it’s required, then it’s going to overwhelm you. One thing that this generation battles that the generation who read America’s Housekeeping don’t are too many outside distractions. You can allow yourself to be sucked into television or the internet and lose hours a day – hours that your home requires of you.
I think that people get the wrong impression thinking that a homemaker has loads of free time on her hands, with no responsibilities of a boss and co-workers and deadlines. But the fact of the matter is, it is a full time job. I could easily fill all of my waking hours with my homemaking responsibilities. I have to carve time out for blogging and personal correspondence, and I honestly don’t give those things the attention I need to give them.
If you are struggling with your homemaking, stop and analyze your day. How are you treating your duties? Are they something that just get done when you feel like it, or are you going into your day with the attitude of accomplishing your given tasks? Do you lose hours and hours one end in chatrooms, Twitter parties, message board conversations, or Facebook, TiVo, daytime television…or do you remove yourself from such outside distractions and keep them for your scheduled downtimes?
I encourage you to take pencil to paper or keyboard to spreadsheet and pound out a schedule. Work it out. What needs to be accomplished daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally, annually? How many hours a day do you allow for your home?
Come at it like a job and see how your homemaking skills improve with just the simple shift of attitude.
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This post was linked to:
If our chores are too much work, the antecdote is gratitude.
When we begin thanking God for the work in our lives, He allows us to see it as a prayer. Our homes become our “monastary” and every task an opportunity to give praise to our Heavenly Father.
Have a blessed day.
Your blog has been very inspiring to me! I have a 2 year old and a 4 month old, and my house is so chaotic. I have been trying to get it into order, having a terrible time. I actually spent yesterday afternoon reviewing your daily schedule and cleaning schedule, and I sat down and planned out a schedule from what you do hoping it’ll work for me. Today I’m doing a clean up of the whole house, and starting tomorrow I’m going to start the deep cleaning on schedule with you. I also think writing out what I’ll be doing at certain times will be extremely helpful! I’m definitely one of those who looks out of my out of control home and panics, so instead of cleaning, I sit down in front of my computer and read blogs. It’s time for a change :)
Oh Hallee, you don’t know how much I needed this. I am one of the worst homemakers on the planet, and I struggle every day to try to improve on the job I do. I needed this entry. Sigh, thank you!!
Again…thanks for the reminder to re-evaluate my priorities! With a crazy household consisting of a 7 year old, a 4 year old, a 2 year old, and a 1 year old (Thurs!)…I often get overwhelmed and just ‘quit.’ And then, of course, I am MORE overwhelmed when I get back to it! :)
Uh-oh. There goes that schedule guilt again. I’m going, I’m going…
I enjoy your blog. Thank you for making the time to share your wisdom and your life with us. A wise homeschooling mother of at least seven children once made a similar comment at a fellowship. “This is our job!” she said. “We would not leave ‘work’ in the middle of the day to run errands or watch television or make personal phone calls. Save those for the ‘off hours’.” At the time I was doing my grocery shopping mid-week, frantically trying to get lessons done so we could head to the store. I thought that since I was home all week, I should not have to shop on the weekend like other working people. But just by moving my shopping time to Saturday morning, I freed up so much time during the week. I now get to shop by myself (what a luxury!) and not feel like I’m taking up lesson time with an errand. We don’t watch television during the day and the children don’t use the computer until after their lessons are over, but oh does the computer suck me in! I do use it for our lesson work (we read a few books for free online) and try to check email while nursing the little one after I’ve done my morning chores (dishes and start laundry), but I have to remind myself to get off again once I’ve finished what I got on to do. For instance, I should be paying bills and not reading or commenting on blogs! Okay…bye for now. :)
That’s a great idea. I haven’t been coming at my homemaking as a job. I will re-read this so I can make it a point.
Love it, love it, love it. Awesome post. And that book sounds fabulous, by the way. I just love those old-timey homemaking books. Thanks for sharing.
love books written during that time period as well the thoughts and lifestyle were a lot differnt but there are often tips that are very useful