Friday, July 21, 2006

For Gibee and Others In The Same Boat

"How do women that have full time jobs and children (oh, and lives, too) keep their house so orderly and clean? HOW, I ask???!!!"

These words are being uttered from Gibee, our lovely young working mom who seems to be having a little bit of a meltdown. Go read her post first, and then my response here will make more sense.

You’re back? Okay.

Since I know that some of you are in the same boat, I thought I would post my comment to her here, maybe helping some other people out too.

Finally I can contribute something worthwhile to your life!

Here's how I keep the house orderly and clean (with a story to preface the points):

When my daughter was very young and I was working full-time, taking care of the house and all the bills and still being an active church member, Mr. Right came in and said something about something or other that needed to be done. I looked at him and just started crying. And crying. And crying. Then I told him that I just couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't be the one-woman-show, live and wowing my family, juggling everything that was being thrown at me. Mr. Right stared at me and then said the most comforting thing: “You're right and I'm sorry that I've been unfair. I just didn’t think.” We talked about all the tasks I was handling and he immediately began helping around the house much more and took over some of the duties that I had shouldered.

So my first item is to solicit help from your spouse. My Mr. Right would have helped sooner if I had just talked with him and not made it look as if I could handle it all on my own. I remember him saying, "Why didn't you tell me?" I just didn't know that I could. I thought being the perfect wife/mom meant being able to do it all. But that is a lie in this world. It really includes knowing when to ask for help.

Secondly, lower your standards. You are not perfect and your house will not make or break your reputation. Sometimes you just need to say "I will get to that - but not right now."

Thirdly, give up doing some things. If you have no time for magazines, discontinue them for a while until you can manage to read them. You can always buy them in a store if you get the hankering to read them. If unfinished projects mock you, put them away. If people are calling you for help on things that you don’t want to do, say no. Otherwise, they are there, toying with your time and making you feel that you should be able to everything at once.

Fourth, prioritize. Make a list of what is important to you. Live that list. Sounds too simple, doesn't it? If spending time with your family comes before watching TV, then you should ixnay the evetay. If tidying up your home makes you feel better inside, then ask your husband to get some one-on-one time with the children while you stay and take care of some things that are driving you nuts. If clutter is driving you insane, then start tossing and don’t look back. You control how you want to live your life. Don’t let the little things control you.

Point number five: quit comparing yourself to any other people. They struggle with things too, but those hardships may not be as visible as an unkempt house. Their Achilles’ heel may be more emotional or spiritual in nature, and they compensate with their house to keep it at bay. Or they may just be a better housekeeper. And that is okay.

Lastly, which really should be first but I didn’t get to it until now, pray about it. God WILL help you manage your time so that you can be the best servant for Him. He knows your heart already. He is just waiting for you to ask Him to help.

I suffered too long thinking that I should be Martha Stewart. I know now that all God wants me to be is the Shalee that He created.

We all know that God doesn't make mistakes. So feel free to be the you that He made, too.

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