Okay, here goes my first ever blog series. And I chose something as exciting, as entertaining, as life-changing, as housework!! I suppose that says something about my life.
First, please understand that my home is not spotless. Right now, it desperately needs to be vacuumed. My windows don't sparkle from a distance. Every surface is not pristine. What I am talking about is a general feeling of orderliness. A neat bathroom. Bedrooms where you can see the floor, laundry that goes from dirty to clean, folded and put away in a reasonable amount of time. The ability to find last year's taxes with only a few hours notice. That kind of thing.
My first piece of advice about housework is, appreciate the importance. I confess, for a long time, I didn't understand the importance of an orderly home. My room, growing up, was always an absolute disaster. When Josh was a baby, our home was disgusting. I had postpartum depression, and I didn't do anything. I started to get better, I got pregnant with Blaine, we moved, and things didn't improve overly much. I put everything else first. I didn't think housework was important. I read the poems about dust going to sleep and cobwebs being quiet, and justified my mess by saying I had many small children around.
And in doing so, I was ignoring one of my primary responsibilities and callings from God. As a mother, keeping a safe, comfortable environment for my husband and children is my job. Whether a mom stays at home or works outside, her husband and children are to be her primary calling and responsibility. Not every mom is able to stay home, and not every mom would want to if she could. But the fact remains, the home is still the highest calling for a woman. The Proverbs 31 woman, held up as the standard for all women, worked outside the home (although whether she was one woman or did all these things at one time in her life is a debate for another post). But still, she provides food for her household, her household is clothed in scarlet, she watches over the ways of her household.
We as Christians are also called to be hospitable. Like it or not, we're supposed to have company over, ladies. There's no rule about how often or when or who should come to dinner (or even that says you have to serve food). But our homes should be welcoming. When people came into my house when the boys were little and there wasn't a clean surface upon which to sit -- and they couldn't get there anyway because they stuck to the floor the moment they walked in the door -- that wasn't hospitable. My home wasn't welcoming.
Lastly, you don't ever have to like cleaning toilets. You don't have to enjoy dusting, or fall into raptures at the thought of laundry or dishes. But keeping a relatively tidy home is important. And when I began to understand the importance, it made it easier to do the things necessary to keep it clean.
Stay tuned this week for more practical tips that have helped me as I figure this mess out!