Coming Home by Susan Rios
As there are many women now choosing to stay home, I think it would be a good idea to address the issue of protecting your time at home.
There can be a tendency in women to rescue everyone who has a problem. This is due to the fact that they are created to be helpers and to take care of those less fortunate than themselves. They also want to make life easier for their fellow human-beings.
Women were created with that "helping" instinct so that they could help their husbands and children. Some new homemakers may not yet have arrived at a good understanding of how to fill their day and or how to guard their emotional health. Or, they may feel responsible to to make the world a better place. There is nothing wrong with these desires, but I wish to send out a caution about allowing your time to be taken by other causes and worries.
The Afternoon Read
by Paul Fischer
God gave women these caring instincts to be used within the family, in caring for the children and in aiding their husbands in their goals in life. Sometimes, though, a woman's mind can get caught up in other people's drama or just the issues brought up daily on the news, which is just one scary thing after another. Soon, a woman can feel very guilty and unintelligent if she is not trying to do something to improve the world.
Naturally there should be some time set aside for other people outside the home: for phone calls, letters, visits, and so forth, but it is not wise to be too wound up in their problems to the exclusion of your family. It is easy to get obsessed about a subject or a person.
A woman at home can always make it appear that she has been keeping house all day, by rushing through jobs at the last minute. Maybe she has spent a day worried about the news, and still manages to get dinner ready before the family all convenes together. Maybe she still manages to do the grocery shopping but has her mind on other problems. She could give so much more quality to her home life if she had her heart in it and was not distracted by these other things.
by Susan Rios
The young women need to preserve their mental and physical energy for their families. One thing they may not realize when they are young, is that their strength will not always be there for them if they use it up on other problems. Many young women are tired, and lagging in their housework. They have used up their mental alertness on other issues that have nothing to do with improving their homes. Young women may not realize that their tiredness is in part, due to the amount of time they spend thinking about other problems.
Spending great chunks of their time on problems outside of their own homes can one day bring on great regret and grief, when they think back and wonder what happened to all the time. Children in the home will never be that young again. Each day, they grow older, and the previous day cannot be brought back. Although her family may not even notice that her mind is occupied by problems outside of her own home, she herself might one day be sorry that she did not concentrate more fully on her family or her home.
Homeschool mothers need to be particularly careful and wary of time-stealers. As you begin to homeschool, other people seem drawn to you and what you are doing and want to be a part of it. This may not be true for every one, (in some cases you become more isolated as people reject you, which can be a blessing), but for some, they find out that people think they have free time. After all, they do not see you conducting a strict school-like atmosphere, and do not understand the value of your time alone with your children. Homeschooling is also very adjustable. People will want you to collect money for United Way or other causes, because they think you have the time. You may have the time, but the care and worry of it adds to your stress. Families can attend events on school days and make up for it later. Homeschool mothers can find that there is so much to do at church and in the world, because other families are not available to do it and they may stretch their time and emotions thin, trying to do it all. They feel it is selfish not to help the rest of the world, but they miss out on their own rest, which they badly need.
Flower Arrangement on a Candle Stick
from Victorian Trading Co. catalog
Older women may become very sensitive to stress from others who will impose on her time. While they may be at home without children or without a lot of responsibilities, others may pressure them to socialize more. If you are a stitcher, or a creative person, you will need a lot of free time. Getting too caught up in social things or in the latest gloom-and-doom news forcast, can rob you of that time for your mind to rest and re-create. I am not suggesting that we become neglectful of people we need to care for, nor am I saying that we should not be aware of things that are going on in the world, but that the time at home needs to be guarded, lest whole days slip away and nothing gets done at home.
Children sometimes sense when their mother is not being herself, is tense, worried, or getting obsessed with something. A mother needs to have a clear mind and be focused and present, not preoccupied with fears, or with the situation in other people's homes. Children can tell when their mother is distracted and discontent with the task at home.
It is important to preserve the time God has given you and not allow other problems to take over your life.
Give Yourself the Gift of Time
If you allow too many other things to get in your mind, you will lose the sense of who you really are. You may find your creativity is stifled or that you cannot enjoy your life. Your personal relationship with God will suffer if you take the time you would normally spend with Him and His Word, and let it be used up in other ways.
The older women are no less susceptible in this problem of letting their time get used up. Sometimes people think that because a woman is home, she is available to everyone. She may feel guilty that she is home, and that she has a good life, and cannot say no to those who would impose on her time. She feels it would be selfish to have time to herself.
It is important to spend time in your own house without outside stress.
Older women need to make it a priority to take care of themselves. If they get too tired or tense they can lose their health.
A Meaningful Day, by Susan Rios
* Showing hospitality is one way of helping others who need cheering up, but it, too, must be approached with moderation, being careful not to put too much distress on the family or neglecting the husband in order to entertain other people. Guests in your home can be strongly influenced to provide a happy home for their families. Setting aside specific time for company or to talk to a friend, will help free up the rest of your time for home things.
*Providing yourself with mental interests that compliment your homemaking endeavors. Read things that will help you appreciate home life. Choose colorful books that are a pleasure to look at, containing information on many different subjects.
*Direct lonely times into personal interests that build you up rather than drain your mental and physical energy. Sewing or reading, music, art and many other things can be very fulfilling if they are done for relaxation. Sometimes women at home think that they cannot have any rest, and must be always working, but leisure is a very, very important aspect of reviving yourself. To neglect it is not wise. Allowing other problems to absorb this time can mean future exhaustion.
*Paying attention to the manners and training of your own children is a great contribution to the world. When they become Christians, as adults they will spread their influence to others who will be converted to Christ. This is something you can do for the world right in your own home, which becomes your own ministry.
*Fulfilling the scripture's admonition to be keepers of the home really does help make the world a better place. If you care about your country's reputation, you'll be very conscientious about the way you keep your house and personal property.
*Send out notecards as a way of serving others from your home. Make a little extra something when you are sewing, so that you always have gifts ready if they are needed. Protecting your time does not mean neglecting those who are in need. There are so many ways of blessing others without neglecting your home. In some places, grocery stores will deliver, for a fee, a phone order of groceries to someone. While it is great to do it yourself, I think that the young women with children at home really need to be careful not to take on too many other responsibilities. I have seen young mothers sometimes try to "save the world" who are always involved in some activity, and unable to really be homemakers and homebodies for their children.
Colossians 4:5 says to walk with wisdom around those who are outside of the faith, and redeem the time. (Just run your arrow over the scripture citation and the verse will appear.) To redeem something means to regain possession of it, or to free it. Homemakers really do need to be cautious about allowing their time to be put into captivity. If they do not practice protecting it, they might find it slipping away, and they will lose that sense of freedom that a woman at home is supposed to feel. When you commit big sections of time to something that drains your mental and physical energy to the point of becoming burnt-out, you have allowed that time to be captured. Redeem it by freeing it.
An English Poppy Field by Bernard Willington
When homemakers take on too many problems outside of their own homes, there can be signs of social stress, such as:
-Inability to concentrate on simple tasks at home
-Words become jumbled and thoughts disjointed
-Unable to relax or unable to sleep
-No longer participating in things that once were interested in
-Children more fussy and noisy
-Thoughts constantly on someone's problems
-Making a cozy home is not as interesting.
-Feeling rushed all the time, in meal preparation and other housekeeping
-Not getting to the grocery store early enough and when there, not able to concentrate on what you need to get. Reading something on a label or sign but not really seeing it.
-Breathing is not normal, and tightness in chest from so much stress.
-Only time to do surface housekeeping. No time to sew, no time to clean a shelf, no time to read a book.
-No time to pay attention to your appearance--just rushing through the morning with a quick brush of the hair, neglecting your appearance.
The Small Garden 11 by Henry John Yeend King
Husbands can take a big role in providing peace and safety at home for their wives by helping to protect their time. They can reassure their wives that they are perfectly happy to have them at home and that there is no need to feel they have to fill up their time with projects for other people, or pressure-filled home businesses. The most helpful thing a man can do is reassure his wife that she is acceptable and important if she has energy only for house work and if she wants to spend some time baking a cake or sewing a dress or reading a book. As long as she is home, she is not obligated to fill up her time with causes and things that rob her of rest and relaxation. Men can also create things to make life easier in the home for their wives, from building needed organizational shelves, to installing convenient things to make kitchen and laundry room work easier. They can also keep the home in good repair and add things that make life comfortable, to take the stress off the woman at home.
Sadly, there are men who do not understand the value of a woman just being home, even if she is sitting down and reading, or sewing, or baking a cake. The pressure of the world to make money and pay your own way is upon them, and they think women should always be making money or they have no value. If a man truly cherishes his wife he will insist that she take time out to rest and to pursue things she loves, just for the pleasure of them, such as sewing or decorating or watching her favorite movies. It is too bad that many young women at home think that they cannot do anything unless it is work, but it is an important part of life to have some leisure. It strengthens you for doing your work more energetically. Women will find they are much more productive in their housekeeping when they give themselves time to take tea and read their mail.
There are good reasons that God provided for Christian women to be occupied with the home. For one thing, it reduces the demands that other people put on her time. However, sometimes if she is not careful, she can allow this same kind of imposition at home. A woman at home also has the opportunity to regulate herself without schedules and rules being placed upon her by a business. If she is not careful, she can get allow other things to regulate her. At home, a woman is free to come and go as she pleases, but too much social pressure can limit her freedom.
Here is a good idea if you want to remind yourself to preserve the time: Write on a chalkboard the words: "Redeem the time."
P.S. Of course the homemakers and the homeschoolers, women old and young, are very well informed and educated about the political process. They in fact, are the best watchers of the political process. I believe that we should always be alert about what is going on so we can protect our families. What I'm warning about is taking so much time for it that your housework and family are not getting the best part of you.
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You might also like to read "Unnecessary Stress."