Wednesday, July 9, 2008

WFMW - Being Fulfilled as a Homemaker

Being a homemaker is hard.

It's often a thankless job. There is no paycheck, no promotion, no end of year party.

It's a job that involves performing the same tasks over and over again, knowing that you'll just have to do it all again tomorrow.

It's a job that "the world" often looks down upon. After all, you could hire a maid and put the children in daycare. Many people believe that women waste their time, education, talents and energy staying home to care full-time for the needs of their family.

But not God.

Titus 2 tells us that it is God's plan for us to place our home life first. Here is the Phillips translation:

Similarly the old women should be reverent in their behaviour, should not make unfounded complaints and should not be over-fond of wine. They should be examples of the good life, so that the younger women may learn to love their husbands and their children, to be sensible and chaste, home-lovers, kind-hearted and willing to adapt themselves to their husbands - a good advertisement for the Christian faith.

Did you see that phrase "home-lovers?" A lot of translations say, "workers at home" or "homemakers" but I love this one.

Do you love your home? That is, I believe, the key to finding contentment and joy as a homemaker.

Do you realize that your home is the conduit through which you can provide love, comfort, support, nourishment and peace to those in your world? This includes not just your immediate family, but those around you - neighbors, extended family, church friends, everyone.

Have you ever walked in a door and just immediately felt warm and welcomed? Even more noticeably, have you ever walked in a door and felt cold and isolated? Both of these feelings are a direct result of the choices the woman of the home has made.

If you are as I used to be (and still feel like sometimes), you will love to get out of the house, in order to avoid what needs to be done at home, to run away. You will spend your time in shopping or visiting or unnecessary errands. Perhaps you will pick up a job even though you don't need the money. It's just "something to do." I've provided a list at the end of this message of things that can and should occupy your time as you seek to make your home a more beautiful place for yourself and your family.

But there is more to being a homemaker than just creating a place of beauty. You are charged with taking precious little lives and shaping them into productive, godly adults. There is no more valuable and important job. No captain of industry, no famous author, no movie star will ever have more of an impact than that of a godly parent.

Just knowing how important the job you are doing isn't often enough. We need to determine to be the best homemaker that we can be. Only through pursuing excellence can we find satisfaction in our work.

I have spent many of my years as a homemaker doing a lackluster job. There are still seasons of my life when I struggle with this. Doing the bare minimum, I do just enough to keep my husband from asking the dreaded question, "What did you do all day?" And let me tell you, when I fall into that kind of funk, I find no joy at all in what I do. It all becomes drudgery, pure and simple.

But when I keep my focus on the fact that I am serving my family and even more importantly, serving God, every thing I do is an act of love. I go through the days motivated and happy, rather than depressed and resentful. I get my work done and have time left over to go the extra mile to do things beyond mere maintenance. This is the best part - when I can really get my creative juices flowing and work to improve, not just maintain.

So my Works For Me Wednesday tip for you this week is to tell you that by keeping your perspective in the right place (off yourself), you will see how you actually become happier and more satisfied in your role as a wife and mother. For more great ideas, be sure to visit Shannon. Oh, and don't forget to check out my list of things to keep you occupied in the home that I've listed below.

* * * * * * * * *

(This list is from "A Day in the Life Of..." by Hadias. I hope that she doesn't mind me sharing it with you. She's got lots more fascinating things over at her place and I encourage you to check her out. This list was compiled as a way to see if one had extra time to look for an outside job. I just look at it as a way to keep myself motivated and busy. Remember, these are not "must-do's" but rather opportunities to enhance your home.)

  1. Do you have a morning routine in the house?

  2. Are your dishes washed and put away?

  3. Is your countertop clear?

  4. Is your table clear, when not dining, and do you have a centerpiece?

  5. Have you cleaned your cabinets, drawers and refrigerator in the last 3 months?

  6. Is your porch clean and the entry way cheerful for visitors?

  7. Are your rugs clean?

  8. Is your floor clean?

  9. Is your living room ready for company?

  10. Is your laundry washed, folded, ironed and put away?

  11. Is your mending and button-replacement caught up?

  12. Do you bake bread?

  13. Is your bathroom shining clean and does it smell nice?

  14. Does your whole house smell nice?

  15. Have you re-decorated or re-arranged in the last 3 years?

  16. Are your beds made? Are your sheets and bedding fresh?

  17. Do you grow a garden, or even a tomato in a pot?

  18. Are your photos organized?

  19. Are your computer files organized?

  20. Does your husband ever has to ask for an ironed shirt?

  21. Are your books organized?

  22. Do you go through your things regularly for garage sales?

  23. Are your windows clean?

  24. Do you cook regular meals from basic ingredients?

  25. Have you had anyone over for a visit in the last month?

  26. Have you read at least one good book or learned a new skill in the last year?


Hadias said...

Wow. This post was amazing and I couldn't have said it better myself. The list was a gentle reminder to see, like a dear old friend. I really love that list. It was a springboard in my life to helping me to remain focused on becoming content in my role as "Lover of my Home".

Oh and the dreaded question "What have you been doing all day?" has been banished from my home. The question cuts right to the core because it makes us really think about what we've done all day and alot of times when the question is asked we realize that we've spent the day being inproductive in our roles.

Again, great post and a pleasant reminder. I needed that.

stacey said...

thanks for the great reminder! despite all my great pics of my finished work around the home, it can be misleading. there were many days, i was a slug, usually b/c i was depressed and NOTHING got done!

you inspired me-already started a load in the washer and dryer with one to fold! :)

Wani said...

This is so convicting! I am starting a blog for the women in my church (slowly). Can I use this post and link back to you? Let me know. Thanks for sharing.

Carol said...

Beautifully said!

In answer to all those questions: probably not.

Heather said...

I loved this. Thanks so much for sharing this encouraging reminder!

ValleyGirl said...

Lori, once again you've hit the nail on the head. I love your posts about 'happy homemaking' ~ or home-LOVING ~ and I always enjoy reading your insights. Thanks for the list, too. It looked a little daunting at first, but it's a great checklist.

Phoebe said...

I stumbled here from WFMW...and I'm glad that I stopped by!
This post was awesome! Honestly, it couldn't have hit me at a better time...I've been doing a not-so-hot job around the house and needed a little boost.
Thank you so much for the motivation and the reminders!

jen said...

I just submitted this to StumbleUpon. Thanks for sharing this. I needed to hear this today so badly!

Thanks for the post and for the inspiration it gave me. I'm off to work on the house with renewed enthusiasm!

Anonymous said...

Love this, love this, love this, Lori -- and Hadias. Thanks for the great reminder to be diligent in our work as home-lovers. :)


Mary said...

I've read this several times and I'm having a hard time putting my comment together. I don't want to sound like I'm feeline like you are talking down to working moms/wives.

I'm struggling so hard right now to be the wife and mother that God intended me to be but I feel like a total failure. My world is so out of control that the idea of getting back on track overwhelms me. I don't know where to start. There is nothing more that I would love to do than to be at home every day creating a refuge for my family but it is a necessity that I work. If I don't, there will be no home. And no, I'm not working so we can have a big home, nice cars and fancy clothes. We have a very small home, old cars and bargain clothes.

I'm so lost and it seems that there is no one who can tell me how to get it all together without quitting my job.

Lori - The Simple Life at Home said...


I'm so glad you decided to comment on my post about being a fulfilled homemaker. In no way was I trying to criticize those who work outside of the home. After reading your comment I went back and re-read it and don't think that I saw that any where in the post. And yet it made you feel that way and I'm sorry. It's not that I think it's wrong for women to work. My mother worked all through my growing up years because she needed to. We lived a very modest life and it was what had to be done and I totally understand that. I know that I am blessed to be able to stay home.

One of the reasons I wrote the post is because of the number of hits I get on my blog from women who are struggling with being a homemaker - feeling invisible and unappreciated, feeling unfufilled and unsatisfied, and feeling miserable. I was trying to address them - to encourage them that being "only" a wife and mom is a great thing and shouldn't be seen as a waste of their time and talents.

As a working mom, you are doing an amazing thing by providing for the needs of your family. I know that my mom always made our home a place of refuge as well. I didn't mean to infer that working women don't do that. We always had home-cooked meals, a clean and lovely house and happy memories. It may be harder, but it is still possible.

Again, I'm sorry if you read my words in such a way that caused you pain. That was never my intention. Many of my friends work and I am amazed at how they aer able to juggle all the things on their plate - I don't know that I could. I barely manage to hang on with what I'v got going on!!

I hope you will come back and visit again.

marion said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



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