Homemaking tasks are never-ending, repetitive, boring even.
Years ago, I came across a funny sign that read: “the laundry ain’t done unless everybody’s naked!” Funny, yes, but so true! As a load of dirty clothes is beaten into submission by the washing machine, another load is being created in mud puddles and grass fields and forest brambles. While tucking soft socks into drawers and hanging crisp shirts in closets, the next day’s load leers from the hamper, harboring stains and sweat and what-is-this?! goop.
Meal time happens at least 3 times each day creating dirty dishes, sticky counter-tops, a splotchy microwave oven or stove-top, wet rings on the table from drippy glasses. It seems as soon as clean has been re-achieved after one meal, little bellies are toddling into the kitchen for “nacks” and “wa-er, ice!”
I gaze at the refrigerator and pantry after a big grocery trip. Bright fruits and vegetables over-flowing their bins, soldierly canned goods each in its place, a full gallon of milk peeping reassuringly from behind the nearly-empty jug. The shopping is not particularly fun, but the sight — such a reward! But then tummies are soon grumbling, and the countdown to the next grocery haul begins ticking.
Doesn’t make this job sound very appealing, right?
But just think… if you don’t do it all, who will?
If you don’t cook yummy, healthy meals, what would your family be eating? Boxes of pasta, frozen TV dinners, take-out… perhaps?
If you don’t make a menu plan to stay on budget, what will low funds cause your family to sacrifice in the future? A long-awaited vacation, vehicle repairs, college help for your teenager with a partial scholarship… maybe?
If you don’t tend the laundry, what would your family wear? Dingy whites, stained jeans, wrinkled T-shirts… conceivably?
If you don’t do your job, how does that impact everyone else in the family? What would your husband’s co-workers think of him if he appeared at the office sans socks because none were clean? How would a diet of packaged foods affect your child’s behavior, learning capabilities, mood, or temper? How could the stress of a budget gone haywire from frivolous spending affect your marriage?
How do you feel when you sleep on sweat-stained sheets, wake up to a sink full of last night’s dishes, and don’t know what you are making for supper tonight?
I’ve been there. I’m no expert — I’m still learning almost every day. I still forget a load in the washer sometimes (and have to re-wash it with vinegar and/or hang it all in the sun to rid the clothes of mildew). Some nights I don’t load the dishwasher (and regret it the next morning, without fail). But I’m trying. God gives grace. He has given my husband the ability to be gracious and forgiving, too. I pray my children learn the same.
Not only am I trying, I am improving. Scheduled cleaning has helped me so much. Meal planning (hopefully, posts on that to come) has saved me from the guilt of throwing out rotten, forgotten leftovers (mostly).
I feel stressed, overwhelmed, unimportant, and just plain burnt out at times. Many nights, I pray for motivation, cheerfulness… God, give me a smile and a bounce in my step tomorrow.
Seeing my family in clean clothes, eating a wholesome meal helps a lot. My husband was taught well how to care for himself, and I know he could care for our daughter, too. But it’s my job and what a blessing to my family when I do it!
So, the next time you drag another load of laundry to the washer with a frown and an exasperated sigh… think of your whole family foraging for berries with dirt-stained faces… and not a single stitch to cover their behinds. Maybe then, you can smile as you measure out the soap or chop the carrots or load the dishwasher. 🙂
(This is not to say that all of these jobs are solely your responsibility. It is important to train children in how to keep a home, plan and prepare healthy meals within a budget, both boys and girls; to give them age-appropriate responsibilities. There are many things that children and spouses can do to make the homemaker’s job a little easier — rinsing and placing dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher instead of the sink, wiping up spills and messes immediately, putting dirty clothes in a hamper instead of on the floor — and I would encourage everyone in a family to do these things to help maintain a tidy home. But their participation, or lack thereof, is a separate issue and does not absolve the homemaker from her job.)