Friday, June 22, 2007

For Such a Time As This

There are probably a lot of women new to full time homemaking, who did not have the advantage of mothers at home when they were little. They were not able to observe how their mothers handled many different situations that occur in home life.

One of the most common pressures of the home is the huge amount of clutter or the rooms that get over-loaded with things that need to organized and put away.

After shedding a few tears of frustration, you might try streamlining and cleaning the regular living areas of your home, as you would every day, anyway. Make sure the living area, the dining area, kitchen and bathroom are clean and presentable to the world, should anyone drop by. Then tackle the bedrooms and just make the beds. That seems to create the incentive to put away the clutter accumulated there. After regular housekeeping, and only after that has been done, tackle the bigger problems that are haunting you.

As you get organized in those bothersome areas, stop every so often and go through the main parts of the house again, to maintain those public areas that your family shares. It goes a long way to prevent confusion and panic in your mind. If you have just moved in, keep it all in one room and unload from there. Do not panic and don't be discouraged. As long as you keep your living, dining, bathroom and kitchen clean, you'll feel a sense of order and the larger problems will not weigh as heavily upon you.

Everyone is familiar with the story of Esther, in the Bible. In it is recorded her uncle's famous motivational phrase: "Who knows if you were not brought here for such a time as this." That phrase has always lifted me up, because it makes me realize that no one else is going to solve my problems. After a prayer, I have to get up and get busy. No one else will do it. If I do get help, they usually don't understand where I want things and why. Sometimes helpers create more work if they do not do it right, and so I rely on the old adage, "If you want something done right, do it yourself."

All homes go through stages of life. There will be times of organization and times when your house will look like someone came in and ransacked it. When you realize that life is not supposed to go smoothly, it is easy to adjust to these challenges. You may have been created for such a time as this.


Anonymous said...

I really needed to read this message today. Thank you. I don't know why, but I am feeling very unfocused and as if the day just passes by so quickly and I don't get nearly enough done each day (and I do keep a daily list).

Any advice on how to keep on track and how to keep more to a schedule? My days are loosely based, more routines than schedule, but I am just having the most difficult time getting sidetracked. My dh works mostly 2nd shift, which can be a challenge sometimes too, as the earlier hours are my most productive, due to health issues, and this is when he is home.

Lydia said...

What perfect timing! I feel a bit like Lyn. We're moving this week, and it seems like junk is coming out of the woodwork. This is just the post I needed to keep me focused on a resolution to keep our new home nice.

Melanie said...

What great advice! And real, I like how you said that there will be times when the house looks ransacked. I also like the reminder that own housekeeping is a ministry to our families. That has been a great motivator for me.
I find, in my season of having small children that if I can keep the laudry done, and the kitchen cleaned up at the end of the day that 3/4 of the battle is won!

Anonymous said...

Over the years I've found that the only method to keep the house clean is number one; ALWAYS make the beds and pick up the dirty laundry before you do any other thing. Then, next in importance would be to do the dishes after breakfast. Only after that point would I start picking up around the house. Once that's done bathrooms, floors and dusting in that order. If I don't make the beds first,and instead do the kitchen and front room first, I find what's the point, as it's later in the day and then, it doesn't get done. After a few days of this, you can imagine the chaos. I beleive that's the reason the older generations always stressed make your bed and put away your clothes first.

Lydia said...

I think schedules can create a lot of frustration, because you set a goal for yourself that due to circumstances and interruptions you cannot fulfill.

That being said, there is a routine you can follow, that if followed for 21 days, will become an automatic habit. You will have to write it down to follow, but years later it will be ingrained in your mind so that you won't ever have to have it on a list again.

-prepare yourself (bathe, dress, do your hair, put on shoes)
-clean up after yourself in the bathroom.
-make your bed, even if it is just your side of it.
-fix breakfast and clean up afterwards
-go around the house clockwise picking up and straightening up

A simple morning routine can get you jump-started for other things you wish to do. Without such a routine, you might drift and wander all day long and get increasing frustrated.

Women who don't have some kind of a routine will find that life "happens" around them and they get side tracked a lot. YOu have to have control of your time.

Those who have routines have a life they can control. Other people in the family notice the routine and they don't tend to side track them.

theups said...

Very encouraging post!! And timely, too! Just today I was feeling QUITE overwhelmed at "the stack" of stuff-that-I-say-I-will-read-and-never-get-to beside my bed. Thankfully, I finally got the nerve to tackle it. There are other little hot spots in my home that need my attention and I think I can handle them if I do them one at a time.

Mrs. U

Anonymous said...

Dearest Lady Lydia,

This is absolutely briliant. I know all too well the 'ransacked' look (LOL( After well over twelve months, my husband and I finally made a move on a room that was a complete disaster. he kindly transformed its built-in wardrobe into a bookshelf space (Braille being somewhat bulky). We went through the boxes, papers and other paraphanalia, slowly clearing it all up till i was able to arrange it all as I liked. With an old rug of his mother's on the floor (lovely Persian, will last well past our lifetime) and some simple but attractive furnishings I have an Ironing and Craft room. This also allowed us to work on the guest/prayer room and make it a real sanctuary for when I'm feeling a bit low.


Mrs. E.

Michelle Therese said...

My friend Shannon in Alaska directed me to your lovely website! We lived in cabins near each other back in Fairbanks two years ago. Now we are both married women and I'm way off in Scotland! (I never imagined that...) I became a homemaker overnight! I went from University student/firefighter to "how on earth do I boil a potato??" hehehehehe! It's been nothing but one big adventure!!! I'll celebrate my first year as a happy wifey on July 21st and the house is STILL trashed. I'm learning though...I'm getting everything organized bit by bit by bit!!!! GOD BLESS!!

Dea said...

Thank you Lady Lydia - I needed to read this this morning!

It's so true what you say about this being a new generation of homemakers. My mother had a high powered corporate job that uprooted us from a then third world Ireland to Europe and the USA. She was rarely home and we always hired a housekeeper for cleaning. I never thought I would be a housewife, but I really feel it's my calling, but as you say I had no one to observe in that role. Thankfully my mother-in-law is a great inspiration there and reading things like your blog has been a wonderful help.

Mrs. H said...

I've been needing this post so much lately. Thank you!

God has been leading me gently, telling me I must get my ransacked (which is putting it kindly, really) house in order.

I've been tackling it room by room, but I so needed the encouragement. It's good to be reminded that others are in the same predicament, having had no teacher and being overwhelmed.

Anonymous said...

My mom is a wonderful housekeeper, however, she did all the work and didn't expect much from us kids. As a result, I'm hopeless as a housekeeper. I've worked full-time most of our marriage, but I'm getting ready to come home full-time as I'm having our third child, and working just doesn't make sense. Like others, I've wanted to come home, but my husband was raised by a single mother and isn't as convicted as I.

That being said, our house has never been organized, so this is a new challenge for me. I like the idea of being created for a moment like this. That sentiment puts it in a whole new light for me. My family is a blessing, and they all deserve a wife and mother who cares for their needs and teaches them to care for themselves.

Thanks for this wonderful post.


Lydia said...

I hope no matter how much intimidation, doubt, and pressure that you feel to "join the hunt" and enter the wage workforce, none of you ladies will go. We all need to keep our posts and guard our homes so that we don't blaspheme the word of God and also to prove the point that it is necessary and that the woman is needed in the home.

Mrs. Anna T said...

I'm precisely one of the women who didn't have their mothers at home but intend to become full-time homemakers. Therefore, my skills are not as nearly as good as they could be, but I'm determined not to let this discourage me. This post was much needed! Thank you.

Sheri said...

Oh, what great advice for us young homemakers! Thank you. I so appreciate hearing that it's not just me who gets frustrated at times with the amount of "things" to be done each day.

I praise the Lord that I did have a stay-at-home mother and grandmother who set a beautiful example for me to follow though.

Keep these posts coming, because like you mentioned, so many young wives have never been taught "how" to be homemakers.

Anonymous said...

One area I wanted to ask about it is how do you reduce clutter and knick knacks when they are gifts given you by dear friends, family and children. I am accumulating so much and I do not know what to do with it. Help!!

Lydia said...

Get a glass case to keep all those things in, in a corner somewhere, so that people can see them and won't wonder what you did with them. If they really are something in your way, you can use them in baskets to give away when you include tea and a card and such, when you go visiting. It is cheaper than buying something else, and you can always ask the donor if they would mind if you gave it to a lady who is ill or who needs a basket...