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I thought it might be a timely idea to write a few things about the interruptions and adjustments a homemaker can expect in her course of work. Those who have just come home full time might tend to get discouraged when things overwhelm them or they get behind in housework.
As we have strongly emphasized many times, home making involves many different things. Do not assume you are only going to be cleaning, cooking or taking care of the house.
Throughout the course of the day, it is best to adopt a policy of flexibility while still keeping a sensible eye on the things that need to be accomplished during the day. A homemaker has to distinguish between the necesssity of the moment and the importance of keeping house. She can't let opportunities go by that would create the best memories and the most necessary things for her family.
One adjustment she may have to make is that of being tired. While a woman at work may quit when she gets home, the homemaker often works until she goes to bed. She may do an excellent job of caring for her family and the home on a given day, and the next, feels she cannot get out of bed. This is common to everyone, even if they do not have children! It should ease your mind somewhat if you know this is normal!
I am a strong believer in the value of rest. I have had tremendous challenges in the area of homemaking. Sometimes I've had jobs I didn't think would ever get done. I could imagine a junked up room still being there 20 years later, with me, having "gone missing," being found in that room and finally being laid to rest. The thought of never digging myself out of such a mess so horrified me that I took a nap! To my surprise, it revived not just my body but my mental capacity to tackle the job. I would work for awhile and then go lay down again, or read a book and have a cup of tea (today I like raspberry herbal). Then I found I could get up and work a little more. I would lay down again and then get up again, feeling better each time. I finally got that room finished and have before and after pictures to proove it.
I certainly don't want anyone to use this tactic to get out of normal duties of the home, but thought I might pass it on, because rest certainly does bring revival. It also heals illness better than medicine. I will always remember James Herriot's sheep story in "All Creatures Great and Small." After giving birth (which is another adjustment for a woman at home), the mama sheep would not get up and so the farmer thought she had a disease and wanted her put down. James gave her a potion of sleep medicine, intending for her to be put down. The sheep slept it off and then revived! She was just tired after giving birth, and when she revived, she was as good as new.
Another adjustment is after giving birth. You may get really anxious about keeping caught up on things like dishes and laundry. Again, getting up and doing a few things between rests, is a great idea. However, these days, midwives emphasize that rest for 6 weeks helps the mother heal and recover better. I certainly agree that later on it pays off.
Still another adjustment is the myriad of things that just come up. They are the visitors that drop by, the phone calls, the grocery shopping you suddenly need to do before dinner, the spilled things, the broken things, the trips you have to take. During all this you still have to keep on track with meals and cleaning and making home a wonderful place. Our foremothers knew how to do it because it was bred into them from birth, by being around their own mothers. Today's generation of dedicated homemakers often come from families without a mother at home. They read about how important it is to be home, and then they come home, not realizing what is ahead of them. They may get discouraged and think that they were better off at work.
The home gets messed up more if you are home. I'm always pulling out projects and starting things that create a mess. I'm always having someone over for tea. All this creates a bigger work load. If I were in the corporate workplace during the week, the house would be empty all day and stay clean.
Another thing that increases is the in-home expenses. If you've been out at work all day, no one uses the heat or the electricity or the water. You come home, start homeschooling and your husband wonders why the expenses are mounting. Yet while everyone goes "somewhere else" during the day, you don't notice the expenses because someone else pays for them and they are subtly taken out of your pay check: heat, water, electricity, etc.
to be continued...
Women Taking Tea by Albert Lynch (1800's) from www.allposters.com