Do you need HELP . . .

Running a home can be hard work. Lets not pretend otherwise.

Some people really struggle and others seem to breeze through.

She watches over the ways of her household (Proverbs 31:27)

But no matter how hard housework is, we need to find a way to do it as "building" and "watching" over our homes is one of our major responsibilities as a Christian wife and mother. 

These days keeping house is considered old fashion, out of date, politically incorrect. It is an area of many arguments about gender roles and equality.

"The children of baby boomers have now grown up and become doctors and lawyers and journalists who have made their parents proud. And they have learned to hire a cleaner to do the work that they don't have time for and often don't know how to do. " (Source: Keeping House by Cerentha Harris)

Many young women today leave their parents home with inadequate (or no) skills to run and maintain a home. Many mothers sadly haven't taught their daughters the very important skills required to keep a house running smoothly.  Many are struggling.

I was blessed with a mother who gave me many skills that made the transition to my own home quite easy. As a child, I was expected to undertake chores, such as dusting and ironing and my brothers and I helped prepare meals, set the table and wash and dry the dishes each night.  We also learnt the value of home cooking; not to be wasteful; how to enjoy a simple life; how to be organised; how grow a garden; make jam; and by watching our parents, how to manage money wisely; plus many many other skills. 

I don't think my parents set out to deliberating teach us these skills, as a family we were all expected to helped and through helping we learnt. We may not have enjoyed many of these tasks (I strongly disliked the dusting), but unknown to us, they taught us valuable life skills that we would need down the track. 

Now, it is easy to blame working mothers for the lack of skills among younger women. However, my mother worked full-time as a teacher and still managed to teach us these skills. Sadly, I think we have many lazy mothers who can't be bother teaching their daughters and they themselves are lacking in many skills. They no longer see it as important to teach one's daughter how to cook or clean, however I often wonder who they think will do these tasks one the daughter is married and has her own home. 

I am sure there are many younger women out there in tears as they struggle to organise their homes - with little idea of how to:
  • live on a budget
  • plan weekly menus
  • home-cook for your new spouse
  • write a shopping list
  • buy groceries with little money
  • build and maintain a pantry
  • clean a home
  • keep a house cool in summer and warm in winter
  • mend things that are broken
  • decorate an entire house on a budget
  • create a homely feel 
  • entertain visitors
  • be organised
  • avoid mess and chaos etc. . . . 
So what to do:

1. Acknowledge that you need help . . . do not be shame for asking. Remember, if you don't ask, the chaos will not only affect you, but your husband and your children. Does your husband like coming home at night? Does he have somewhere nice to relax?

2. Pray . . . for guidances, for direction, for strength. God can work wonders as we all know, even in our homes. As Elizabeth George says "Prays sweeten - and empowers - every task"

3. Ask for help . . . don't be too proud to ask and don't wait until your home is a complete mess and chaos rules.

Look among your friend - who seems to have it all together, ask your mother, a sister, a friend, an older Titus woman, someone at church, where you work or if no one is about  . . .  maybe a blogging friend can help. Go online for planners to help you allocate tasks for each day, menu planners are a great help, visit the local library for books on housekeeping. Talk to older women as many know how to live on a shoe-string. 

4. Make sure you spend time at home. A house doesn't run it's self. Now, I know what you are all thinking. This is written by a woman who works full-time. Yes I do and I run my home too - pretty successful (without sounding boastful). It can be done partly because I am super organised and have it down pat. But if you are struggling . . . make sure you spend plenty of time in your home and truly understand it. What makes it tick, how does it change with the seasons, what takes the longest to do . . . ?

5. Time . . .  running a home needs time. You need to dedicate plenty of time to your cleaning, meal preparation, decorating etc.. The more time you spend, the more you and your family will reap the benefits. However, this doesn't mean you need to be home 24/7 as your home doesn't need to be constant attention.

6. Building good habits. . . when learning how to run a home, remember to learn good habits and not bad ones. You are going to have to teach your children home skills and they need to learn good habits too!


The truth about all our home-making efforts is that we will be at them for a very long time, right up until the minute we are no longer able. Wherever we live, that place is our home, and that place becomes the stage upon which we live out this more important, rewarding, and meaningful role. Just think of the scores of people you will bless, not to mention the sheer joy you will receive from your home-wee-home.  (Elizabeth George)


And as Elizabeth George says in her book "Gods Wisdom for a Woman's life",  don't forget to make sure that you and your daughters have a passion for home-making

. . . PASS ON THE PASSION.


And bring back the art of keeping house . . . 


Every wise women builds her house, 
but the foolish pulls it down with her hands. 

(Proverbs 14:1)

******

Comments

  1. What a wonderful post! This is a passion of mine too. My oldest daughter has just moved out of home and is coming back all the time to ask me questions about all the things she wasn't interested in when she was in high school! Now she sees they are necessary. My second daughter feels that keeping home is an inferior calling to a 'real' job - maybe when she is older too, she will see it is the most important calling of all.
    Thanks for a great read - a very important issue.

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    1. Whether we love it of hate it, work or stay-at-home, someone has to keep the house clean!! Unless you can afford a maid - it really is an necessity!! My dad lives on his own now and he cleans and cares for his home, he even picks flowers to put in the living area to make it look pretty. He is now too old to do all the cleaning (and a lovely lady comes and gives him a hand) but at least he is able to keep it neat and tidy and homely :))

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  2. This is my passion, too. I see around me people whose parents didn't bother teaching their children skills for life. I see people whose parents never taught their children the discipline of doing things that they don't enjoy doing, but yet those things are important for life, which makes things really difficult when they leave home and go out into the real world. One of the problems is that people in today's world are all about enjoying themselves -- which means they can't be bothered with that self-discipline to get things done that aren't enjoyable. It is a BIG problem! And for that reason, I am trying to teach my children to be disciplined about their chores (not to the point of making them hate the work, but to the point of helping them learn diligence). And I am also trying to teach them to find joy even in things that aren't so enjoyable - after all, misery is a choice and even with chores we don't enjoy, we don't HAVE to be miserable! We can sing or have a lovely conversation while working together or listen to an audiobook and help pass the time away while we do those chores that we find distasteful! :) Learning skills is a CHOICE we have to make - no-one learns to do things by osmosis. Each person has to be taught, and each of us has to make a decision to learn.

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    1. It doesn’t really matter if we don’t enjoy it, the cleaning still needs to be done, no fairies in my house to help!! So if we need to do it, then make the best of it and as you say - make it enjoyable. Self-discipline is something lacking in many people these days. My parents were strong with teaching this and it has been a very valuable skill to have and as you say, get the nasty things out of the way and then you can do things you enjoy!!

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  3. Thanks for another great post and for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. My mother's opinion was that there were much better things to do than housecleaning and unfortunately she didn't take time to train me to much and maybe I wasn't interested either. I got married at 20 and I had already moved to Victoria by then and was struggling to keep on top of things. It has taken me years to get on top of things and to realise how it all works but I am so thankful to God that He has turned my heart towards my family and home. I don't have a great desire to go out anymore and I really enjoy it here at home but I enjoy it more when it is clean and tidy and organised. I think you do an amazing job of working and keeping everything in its place and I think you have the secret and that is to be organised. Even being at home you have to be organised and motivated because you can let things slip so quickly. Our oldest daughter got married 2 years ago and stepped into the role of wife and then very quickly of mother easily because we trained her. I didn't want her going through the same things we went through due to my lack of housewifely ability. It is so important to train our daughters and our sons. I am now training our younger children the same, they have chores to do and although they don't always enjoy them it is giving them a good grounding for their future lives. Thanks again for encouraging us to train our children and to love our roles as keepers of our homes, Blessings

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    1. I didn’t realise how blessed I was until I had my own home and now I thank my mother often for the skills she gave me! There was very little I hadn’t been taught and it was perhaps the most valuable gift my parents could have given me.

      Being organised is the key and I was fortunate to be born with this gift. My mum said I was organising things as a small child and always kept my room tidy, it comes completely naturally and probably makes me a little bossy in the process!! I couldn’t imagine living in a mess or leaving my home in the morning with dishes unwashed! Perhaps I am a little OCD

      This morning I was reading an article in the Guardian and thought this was a great quote “We live in a society obsessed with the acquisition of houses yet we refuse to admit who is maintaining them. Cleaning has become a dirty secret.”

      It is so important to teach our children, both boys and girls. My dad now lives alone and has to take care of his home – fortunetely it was a skill he had.

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  4. My parents were very intentional about teaching us cooking and cleaning and home repair skills--with the result that getting married and moving into my own home and managing it together with my husband was incredibly easy. I'm from a country where hired help is very, very common, and housework is much more physically demanding than it typically is in America, so I don't think there's any shame in hiring someone to help with cooking and cleaning, but everyone, from childhood on up, should know how to do it themselves.

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    1. Like you, I found setting up home and running my home very easy, I really don't remember struggling at all. Hiring help in many countries provide work and salaries to many women who would otherwise be in poverty so it does generate a very important industry to those most in need. So many women are in terrible poverty that these jobs are essential to them.

      Thankyou for dropping by :)

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  5. I was very blessed to have parents who taught me valuable skills growing up which included gardening, cooking, baking, sewing, ironing and so much more. I have tried to pass these skills on to my daughter as well as my son too. Thanks for the wonderful reminder that it is a joy to be able to teach our children necessary life skills like housekeeping. :)

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    1. Aren't we so blessed to have wonderful parents that cared about our futures :))) They are life skills and so important to us all.

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  6. I'm one of those young mothers of a young child who feels completely overwhelmed. My mom lives in another country so I have no help with childcare and my husband works twelve hours a day. We have one car so I'm at home all day which means we definitely live in our home. I'm a terrible organizer and have such a hard time focusing and staying on task. I'd much rather read, play with my daughter or spend time with my husband than clean. I was raised in a clean atmosphere but my mom did most of it although i did have chores which i did as quickly as possible so I could go do something else. :) I feel so overwhelmed often but i pray constantly and ask for strength and wisdom and a little touch of motivation. Haha! Oh and my house isn't a complete disaster but definitely not what i would like it to be. I'm trying to get better. Thank you for this post. I was just telling my husband the other day how thankful i am for this blog and others like it, since i really have no mentors in my life. Thank you.

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    1. June, I so sad to hear of your struggles and wish I lived closer to help :) I am such an organiser I just love helping other people declutter!!

      Check out the book The Christian Homemakers Handbook: http://www.amazon.com/The-Christian-Homemakers-Handbook-Ennis/dp/143352838X

      This book is full of great ideas but puts a Christian perspective in everything you do in the home. It contains many gems. I am going to do more stories on the home which I hope is helpful to you and other women who are struggling. If each of us help each other, I think we can make it through!!!

      In God’s most precious grace.

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    2. Thank you so much for your encouraging words and suggestions. I will definitely look into that book you mentioned. I wish you were closer too so you could help me! Haha! My mother and 19 year old sister are coming this summer so maybe they can help. :) Hope you have a wonderful day.

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  7. Great post Jo and very important in today's society. My mother also worked full-time but this actually strengthened any homemaking skills. I was responsible for starting dinner before she arrived (like shredding cheese, setting the table, etc.) and making sure everything was straightened up, made sure Friday chores were done by us children before mom came home (that meant I had to clean bathrooms, one brother vacuumed and the other dusted). This is to share that you can learn in any circumstance as long as mother gives a few moments of instructions. And, when knew when the chores were done, we could all pursue our own interests. Thanks for sharing this on the Art of Home-Making Mondays :)

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    1. Thanks Jess, My mother was a teacher so we all got home together but she was very strong on everyone lending a hand and that, like you, really strengthened my skills (and my brothers). It meant jobs got done faster and everyone was pulling their weight. We were also encouraged to work hard and not be lazy which has also been a very important thing to have in life :)) I still try to get the horrible things out the way first so I can do the nice things afterwards!!

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  8. This is why I feel like life skills are so important to learn, not just for girls, but for boys too! It is so sad that school doesn't focus on preparing kids for LIFE. I know kids that graduate high school and can't do a load of laundry or cook themselves a meal! Thank you for sharing this at the #SmallVictoriesSundayLinkup!

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    1. It is a pity they aren't taught at school. I was taught how to cook which was great but I am not sure if that happens anymore. Not that I needed to learn as my mother was very keen for us all to cook from an early age. And how many children, when they leave home, can use a washing machine!!

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  9. You're always so insightful! So many people today just can't manage a household... they weren't taught when younger. I was reasonably well-prepared, but still some days I struggled to keep on top of things. Can't imagine being like a fish out of water.

    I've pinned your post, thanks for sharing at #SmallVictoriesSundayLinkup ...hope to see you again this week!

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