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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