Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Adjustments To Make

(We have removed that wacky word verification for the blind and sight impaired so that they can post)

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...


Mrs. Anna T said...

Yes, if there was no one at home, it would stay clean! :) But an empty house is not a home.

As always, reading Homeliving Helper is such an inspiration!

Dea said...

I cannot tell you how much I needed to read this today. It's been one of those days and I feel like I've gotten nothing done, but your post made me feel better. I'm about to put the girls to bed. I think I will sit down with my feet up for a minute, then tackle the laundry! Thank you!

P.S. Hi from Ireland - I usually read through Google reader, so wouldn't show up on your stats. If you want to get a full view of stats change your feed settings to Short under Settings --> Site Feed. That way people will only get the first few lines of a post and will have to click through to the site. You will then have more accurate stats! :-)

Lydia said...

Thanks for the hint!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you!! A creative , active home will sometimes not be "perfectly" organized at every moment however this is how it is suppose to be!!! I bet Noah made a mess building that ark but thank God he followed through! You are always inspiring!

Mrs. Julie B

Mrs.E said...

What a beautiful picture and post. I definitely agree on taking a rest to renew. It's a must. Homemakers cannot keep going every minute of every's just impossible not to mention unrealistic. Even those who work outside the home have to take lunch breaks, coffee breaks, bathroom breaks, watercooler breaks, computer breaks etc...I think rests are definitely called for to be proficient in anything one does.

Serena said...

Oh! Thank you, thank you for this! It was just what I needed to hear! I usually feel like I'm the only one struggling against being dog-tired and constantly cleaning up and making messes. I KNOW I'm not, of course, but it's still nice to know I'm not alone!

Anonymous said...

I agree this post is so important for the newly at home wife to read. I hear women who work and are home only for maternity leave complaining that they couldn't wait to go back to work as being home was too much work! You adressed so many little issues that we might not have thought about to advise women about. Thankyou again for another inspiring post.

Anonymous said...

This post is very true. When I stayed home before I had my son, the house was easier to clean. Now it's a bit harder to get everything done, but I wouldn't trade my 15mo for anything!!!! :)

I have what I consider bursts of energy and then spells of rest - this, I have found, is the mode that best helps me to deal with being wife, mommy, and 18 weeks pregnant.

I would not trade my life for anything. I try to keep my priorities strait, relationships over a spotless house. It is how I deal with the pressures of the unexpected that show me how I'm really doing as a mommy....

Thank you for the post. It blesses me to know others sometimes need breaks. :)


Anonymous said...

It is very important to rest when that feeling of fatique comes over you,just 20 minutes nap or just relaxing can make all the difference.Then the task can be faced with fresh enthusiasm.

Lydia said...

I realize some of you are waiting for me to post your links....I will get to it sooner or later, but with me it is usually minutes are slower than new york minutes..there should be an expression for that!

jean said...

Someone else just mentioned the "All Creatures Great and Small" book series on their blog, too; I absolutely loved those books in high school, as well as the BBC TV production based on the series. Along with all of the veterinary info, James Herriot also included a lot of wonderful description of the homelife and values of the Yorkshire Dales in the 1930's. The scenery and period dress of the TV production were lovely to look at, and the homemaking scenes were so warm. I think the series has been out on video now for some time.

wendybirde said...

"my minutes are slower than new york minutes..there should be an expression for that!"

why, Alaska minutes of course : )

Anonymous said...

What an encouragment for me today. I was just asking the Lord to help me as I have had nothing but interruptions since 7:30 this morning. It is not 11:30 and have gotten very little done. I feel this way often with homeschooling, regular chores, meals, and hospitality. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom!!
Tarheel Mama

Lydia said...

Maybe the best way to beat the delays is to get ahead of yourself. Get dinner prepared and put it in the oven or store it until time to cook it; make a salad, and get the table set. It seems as soon as your feet hit the floor, someone wants something, and you are off and running--sometimes not even having a chance to dress. Mary Kay Ash, the founder of the facial care company, said that she had to stay in her room until she was ready and her family didn't see her til she was fully dressed. It is good if you have a bathroom in your bedroom and you can fully prepare before your responsibilities start.

Lydia said...

One of my most frequent interruptions is:

1. Being phoned before I even get out of bed, to get in the car and drive a set of keys to someone or take an extra work jacket, gloves,or a lunch to someone who forgot them.

Anonymous said...

How I enjoyed this post today! It is very good advice for the new homemaker, & especially the woman who may find herself constantly comparing how she used to do things "in the workplace" & how she tries to get things done in the home environment. It is definitely not a fair comparison!

It's also good to remember that having a bad day here & there does not make one a failure at mothering & homemaking. The periodic breaks you suggest are a good idea to alleviate the feelings of discouragement that fatigue can bring.

I enjoy your blog so much. The artwork is lovely, & the advice given is often timely!

best wishes, Brenda

MAB said...

Wonderful post, thank you so much!

Sara Kay said...

Just discovered this blog over the weekend, and I am working my way through it. The encouragement here is so refreshing to me. My mother stayed at home, but my own drive to accomplish has made staying home an emotional wrestling match for me. I know it's the right thing for my daughters (ages 27 mos and 11 mos), but I need goals to work toward and things to occupy my mind so it doesn't wander. I'm on a quest of sorts to find out how staying home works best for me. Thanks for your thoughts!

Jill Farris said...

I've often wondered if our contemporary standards for housekeeping are too high. I have visited farm women who grew up with generations of homeworking mothers and grandmothers and they seem very relaxed about the "look" of the home versus getting the needed tasks done.

My biggest struggle has been trying to make the decision about how neat is reasonable for our large family in a small space.

I like a really extremely decluttered home... which seems to be an impossibility with eight children and a husband who likes to dumpster dive:).

I should have been a Shaker and hung chairs on the wall:)

Jill Farris