Usually, I regard the me of the past with a little disdain. Haven't I moved from there? Was I really so worried about that issue? Oh, please!
But sometimes the me of the past floors me with her (my?) wisdom - a wisdom I lost somewhere along the way. This happened to me recently when a friend sent a suggestion for a blog post:
I remember when I was first home with my first child, that you helped me greatly by suggesting that I work at the housework consistently through the day with a few breaks rather than completing a job and then stopping.I said what??? And (embarrassingly) how seldom have I lived up to this since? Of course, there's nothing magical about my then-approach to housework, but it's a helpful pattern.
But it's what my friend added next that really helped me:
I have found it much better for my mood to see the house and kids asNow that's helpful.
something I work at all day not just when a need arises.
It's relatively easy to work when you're at work. The boss is watching, there are people around, and you'll eventually get fired if the job's not done. There are clear expectations, clear tasks, and clear achievements.
It's not so easy with housework. You have to be self-disciplined and self-motivated (or visitor-motivated). No-one cheers you on. You do it, then do it all over again the next day - and the next.
Like all work in this fallen world, housework can feel like unrewarding drudgery. Probably more so, because (or so the voices in our heads tell us) who wants to be a housewife these days? Shouldn't my husband be doing as much as I am? Isn't there something more meaningful I could be doing with my time?
So we swap anecdotes about how little we do, boast about how much our husbands do, squeeze housework into increasingly smaller portions of time, and look down on our house-obsessed friends. I know, I've done it. (And yes, while you can turn housework into an idol, my tendency is to go too far the other way.)
So I like what my friend says. I like the idea of treating this wifing / mothering / housework thing as my job, not an annoying intrusion into work, ministry and relaxation. Because this is my work (or part of it, anyway). This matters. This is valuable. This requires generosity, self-discipline, grace - and a pair of strong arms (Prov 31:17).
Thanks, friend, for the reminder that housework has a 'work' in it.
If you enjoyed this, you might enjoy:
a tale of two mornings
cleanliness is not next to godliness