One of the things I have struggled with for so long is, “Am I doing enough?”. When I look at other women, they seem to have their act together. They either have jobs and are professional looking. Or, if there are stay-at-home moms, their houses are beautiful, in side and outside. They have routines they follow and seem disciplined. They are groomed down to the toenails. They, like I said, look like they have their act together.
Then there is me, whose life is in no way routine. I get things done, and I like a clean house, but at times it just gets away from me. Then I beat myself up about it. Is it because of the lack of routine? Am I not disciplined enough. Am I not doing the right things. But every day is different and no matter how I plan how I want the next day to go, it never works out. Something always pulls me in a different direction. Does anybody else feel that way?
I had an aunt who I really looked up to when I was a little girl. In her twenties, she was a model and she looked the part. Her hair and nails and clothes were always perfect. She and her husband lived in a nice house where everything was immaculate. Nothing was out of place.
I know she loved me and loved me visiting her, but when I did, I was afraid to touch anything. But I really thought she was everything I wanted to be. I wanted a perfect body, a perfect look, a perfect house.
Then I got married, had children and lost contact with her for many years. One day I got a call from her saying she and her family were moving to the same city as we lived. I thought that was great since I didn’t have any family around.
After they moved to town, we visited on a regular basis. That is when my eyes were opened and it changed my outlook on life. She was a routine fanatic. Everything was done with precision at a certain time and a certain way. She had certain meals every week. There was never a mess around anywhere. It was almost military like. And they were not a happy family.
That is when I said I never wanted to be so rigid about my house or routines that I was not available to the Lord or people. I know He can use routine and does. He is a God of order. But, the routine sometimes becomes the god and everything and everybody else has to work around it. There has got to be a balance.
So many times my house is messy, not dirty, just lived in and it embarrasses me to have people over because when I go to their homes they are always so perfect.
I remember times, and it has not been that long ago, when women had a neighbor over and folded clothes at the table while they were visiting. Or, they sat together to string beans, or shuck corn or darn socks. If you didn’t have much money, they made due. So many were in the same boat. that it was not embarrassing to make ends meet, or say they couldn’t do something because they didn’t have the money. They were much more relaxed with each other and their life situations than we are today. They lived and worked together without pretense. They didn’t try to “keep up with the Jones” as much as we do today.
I hear so many people in today's economy who feel "less than". They feel embarrassed about not having a job, or losing their homes, or not have enough money for food. And at times they are told they are less than. They have done nothing to be in this situation. They have not been fortunate enough to start a job out of college and stay with that job until retirement, which makes consistency and that helps plan for a very comfortable retirement. Those days are gone and have been for decades.
What has changed us? Why are we so ashamed and hiding our real situations? When did we start feeling less than others who have "it all together"? Was it Leave it to Beaver’s mother who wore a dress and heels and had a perfect house, and hair, perfect family? ( I am telling my age now.) Or, is it just TV, where everything is not real, but looks great?! Or, is it the façade we put on with each other.
I don’t know, but it would be nice to be able to have someone drop by and see my mess and be okay about it. I’m sure they are okay, I’m just not.
I always accomplish a lot, but normally, it is relational not housework. I keep the dishes up, laundry done and cook, but I spend a lot of time talking to my adult children and daughter-in-law on the phone (and I am not a multi-tasker on the phone. I need to sit still so I can concentrate on what they are saying.) I pray with people, spend time with the Lord, study the Bible, be with my husband, email, blog, do our finances.
Why is it that at the end of the day, I don’t feel like what I have done measures up to what other people do? Or, what their idea is of what I should be doing?
Some women get up immediately and get the house done, or exercise before they do anything else. And that works for them and they have a close relationship with the Lord.
As much as I think my house would be neater, or I would be more fit if I got out of bed and did that, I just can’t. I have to have time with the Lord before anything else, first thing. (I do make my bed as soon as I get out of it because I can’t stand not having it made.) It works differently for others, but it just doesn’t work for me.
I think our goal is to just be okay with a clean, but messy house. To be okay with what the Lord calls us, individually, to do. Not to be concerned with what other people think is “proper”. And not to be moved by what other people say. We can strive to improve in some things as the Lord convicts, but if we are doing what the Lord and our husbands need us to do, isn’t that enough?
[ Freedom in Christ ] It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.