“If you do housework for $10 a week, that’s domestic service. If you do it for nothing, that’s matrimony.” anonymous
Homemaking. The word sounds so simple, so doable, almost serene. The magazines glamorize it, the television advertisements make it seem so easy. But we in the trenches know how dull these ongoing household chores can be. Mr. Webster says a homemaker is one who manages a household. There are many days when I feel certain that my household is managing me. Homemaking boils down to a nasty four-letter word—WORK. Do you think Ms. Proverbs 31 had these thoughts? Probably not -- that whole servant girl thing had her covered! Only too bad for us, I’m fresh out of servants.
When Mark and I first married, our home maintenance styles were polar opposites, which, on occasion, offered the setting for downright chilliness. He was a self-proclaimed Mr. Clean with a supposed “right way” to clean everything (we call him Eloise behind his back). I, on the other hand, couldn’t grab the phonebook fast enough to find the most economical maid service.
I would not go so far as to say I was a slob, but let’s just say I was “cleaning challenged.” We were both raised during the Leave it to Beaver reruns and Mark bought into that whole 1950’s mindset, big-time. I was a liberated new millennium lady who knew for sure that Mrs. Cleaver was a fantasy. So -- we had some meeting in the middle to do.
We tried dividing the chores and talking about how we felt. But mostly, Mark cleaned while I felt guilty for not assuming my wifely duties. Slowly under his tutelage I have grown to understand the importance of a spic-and-span household. Since I love entertaining and consider hospitality my ministry, a clean home comes in handy!
I finally realized that to have a fully-prepared home always ready to offer a hospitable environment for guests means we need a plan to keep the place presentable. Moving the mountains of mess into manageable tasks is the key.
(Let’s call this the M&M plan just to add some flavor.)
Now, there is clean and there is clean. The first step in basic home maintenance is deciding what clean means to you and your family. Once that is agreed upon, you have the goal you want to consistently reach. To get started ask yourself and other family members five questions:
1. What are our must do’s, should do’s, and “would be so nice” to do’s?
2. What are our time limits to complete certain tasks?
3. To what and to whom might I delegate?
4. What task can I completely finish in a short amount of time?
5. How might I reward myself for a job well done? (My personal favorite.)
I find comfort in knowing that time management and consistent home making is one of the most difficult yet helpful skills a woman can develop. When the to-do’s get you down remember you are not only honing a lifelong skill you are preparing the place for more important heart work.
You may touch the dust in this house, but please don't
write in it!
If you write in the dust, please don't date it!