Recently I was recommended a book called The Mother at Home. I have not read it completely, only the first chapter or so, mostly pondering the title. Why is it important for a mother to be at home? How often should she be at home? What does she do at home? Why does it have to be a mother at HOME, why not just the mother? Why have I never seen a book called the Father at Home? And on and on. It has provided really good food for thought as I go through my days, and consider days that go really smoothly and days that are really hectic. Days that I over commit and others that are stay at home in my pajamas and get things done.
More and more I am realizing the importance of the mundane tasks of mothering and wifing. I don’t mean to say mundane as in boring or pointless, but the tasks that seem never ending, every single day. Like dishes, laundry, vacuuming, feeding people, cleaning and organizing things. That kind of stuff. The tasks that I don’t always jump out of bed and strive for anxiously at 5:30 am.
What I am realizing in my home and others, is that the wife and mother sets the tone for the home. The husband or dad determines the direction the family goes and provides much leadership in what gets done and the priorities of the home. The wife establishes the way those tasks are completed, the attitudes and the overall tone. Since the mother is at home and with the children a majority of the day, it is she who determines Monday- Friday if everyone is running late, if the kids have clean clothes that fit and match, the food to eat that is available, when the children rise, all while being joyful, relaxed, and embracing teachable moments and speaking truth, OR rushed, scattered, messy, rude and disrespectful. The mother at home is the adult in her domain for most of the day and she carries out the tasks of the day. The children are daily bathed in her grace, dignity, schedule and example, or not.
When I first read the title of this book I secretly hoped it was in a boxed set; the mother at church, the mother at work, the mother running errands, etc. After thinking about it, it all starts at home. If she is structured, Godly, relaxed and in control at home, it will be a natural outpouring for her to be the same way where ever she goes. Do I think the mother needs to be at home exclusively all the time? Absolutely not! Everyone is in different stages and places in life and husbands lead wives differently. I have seen many Godly examples of families with all different structures, and in my observation and opinion, it doesn’t matter how many things she has going on outside of the home, the lynchpin in the success of it is the way she manages her home. Granted it is hard to set habits, examples, and tone if you and your family aren’t there all day. But it is possible and there are things she can do when she is there.
As I am still processing all of this I am realizing that it is less and less important what your home looks like, but keeping a home that encourages you to live in a Godly, relaxed, joyful manner. I know people that have homes that are spotless that are the most godless places, likewise I have seen homes that are less than kept with joyful, peaceful and godly people. Also homes that are well kept and godly examples, and not kept and godly, joyful homes.
Here me right, there is something to be said for being a good steward of the home and keeping nastiness at bay, there is definitely a balance. What I am saying is that as the mother, structure your home in a way that encourages your home to be a refuge of joy and peace for you and your husband. If he has no preference that have at it however you want, if he does than the closest you can get to that the more it will promote joy and peace in the home.
There are some ideas or areas to consider that might be stealing your joy in your home and preventing you from this. Look around your home and try to observe the “hot-spots” for you that cause stress. Your whole home might be a stress for you, but that is for another post. 🙂 Either way, no matter what the circumstance is try to find things that are the hot spots, they could be:
– floors (dirty floors consume your thoughts and you are bugged every time you walk on a nasty floor)
-dishes (just keep the sink clean people!)
-bathrooms (gross, just wipe up after yourself!)
-meal planning (I made dinner last night, and I’ll need to make it again tomorrow, yet I still have to make it tonight)
-clutter (I don’t even know what the kitchen table looks like anymore)
-messy car (I feel like a trash can on wheels)
-the hall closet (If I open it it is avalanche-a-la-crap)
-running late (5 minutes early is on time)
-laundry (never ending)
-papers and bills (where exactly can I put them to be reminded but not have to look at them all day)
You get the point. Hopefully it isn’t all of these things, probably one of those things makes you cringe more than the rest and is most important. Talk about it with your husband or roommate about it, but focus on the one thing. You might find in talking to your husband that the budget can be rearranged to get the car washed and vacuumed once a week. Talk to your friends about how they manage that one area and maybe there is a supper swap group, reasonably priced cleaning lady, or another resource to help you. Find a process and make sure that you do that one thing everyday or regularly. The rest can wait but work on that one thing. Ask your husband what his hot spot is and do that thing too. He will appreciate you asking and will feel tremendously respected to come home and see the one thing done. Your attitude will probably increase and be even just a little more joyful. Your family will notice it. There may be a greater root of the issue such as laziness, self-control, selfishness, addiction or whatever, but sometimes just pruning the bad fruit will make room for new fruit to grow in our hearts and homes. Just start moving, do something! Hopefully as time goes on you can slowly check of every hot spot in your home.
Finding a way to manage your home in a way that your aren’t bothered and unmotivated from the moment you wake up can make a huge difference. Look back and think about days that were great and those that were terrible and try to observe what was different on either of those days. That will help you plan for the future.
The bible says much about the home, how it should be used, what it is for and the role the wife plays there. Every Godly home starts with those in authority over it praying, meditating on God’s Word and studying it. Start there, pray for opportunity and a heart change and trust the Lord resting in the work of the Holy Spirit. Listen to christian music during the day to remind you and your children. Point your children to Jesus Christ by word and deed as their mother at home. The rest will follow.