If you have known me for a while, you know one of my all time favorite movies is Pride and Prejudice. I really like the one in 2005. The title of this blog is a quote from that movie and I feel the same way! As a matter of fact, I love the quote so much that my sister in law made a framed copy of it for my home :)
I love organizing, laundry, vacuuming, wiping down surfaces and the like. One thing that signals my work in a specific area is complete, is when I light a candle. I take a sigh of relief that everything in that room is in order and I move on to the next project.
I feel one of the many reasons I love to run a clean home is from my childhood. I remember when I was very young, before my parents got a divorce; my mom would call the room she wanted to clean, then my sister and I would call our chosen rooms. My mom would put on an album to "clean to" and off to work we'd go. It was fun. We sang to Don Francisco, Keith Green, John Michael Talbot, Fireworks.... all the killer 70's Christian groups.
When the work was finished, we all had a sense of accomplishment. We loved the way the house smelled and looked. Having it in order was the norm.
Fast forward to today and I still clean to music. My sister does as well. I called her a while back and asked what she was going to do for the day, she said listen to music and clean :)
Since I have been home for almost eight years, I feel as if I still haven't mastered keeping my home. Now that I am 38 years old and a mother of two, I understand that keeping my home is not just about having it orderly and clean. It's about managing, protecting, cleaning, organizing, feeding, nurturing, nursing, teaching, etc. There are so many aspects of keeping my home that I never realized until I was a mother. I still feel new at being home, but am encouraged that God has brought me as far as he has in this area.
Keeping a clean home is second nature to me. However; managing a home, being in charge of these little ones I love, requires so much more.
Here are a couple of lessons I learned and am still learning along the way.
I have struggled in the past about exactly what it was I'm supposed to do. I felt at first so new and unsure of myself. As time passed, I started to see that every woman around me ran their home differently. I saw personalities that elevated one preference over another. One woman didn't care much for her home being clean, she wanted to be outside in her yard and garden. Some didn't care much about the yard and garden and wanted to be inside to can countless beans, salsa, peaches and anything their garden yielded. I watched how the ladies dealt with their children, what they cooked, how they decorated. I saw the tears from the struggles of keeping a home and trying to raise God fearing children. I heard the insecurities that they weren't doing enough, being enough. I laughed with them, cried with them and learned from them.
There is no one perfect way to run your home.
We are all so different. We all have different hearts and minds. We all struggle. Every one of us. I even learned the women that have kept their homes for 40+ years even struggle with insecurities.
Whew. I thought I was alone. I guess we're all in the same boat.
I started to realize what I was seeing in my friend's lives and that gave me the tools to find my way. I needed to find my strengths and preferences and run my home that is the best for me. I also realized my weaknesses and have been striving to overcome what I'm not very good at doing.
I feel we can all learn from one another. We can get advice on how to manage time, meals, school or anything else. I see the value in being open to learn things you might not have known and to be humble enough to admit where you lack. For instance, I am not a very good cook. I'm an excellent baker, but a mediocre cook. I look into recipes, ask friends and family for help and am thankful to get that help.
Comparison can be a dangerous thing. Sometimes it can be a positive motivator, however; most times, all it does is make you feel as if you are not good enough. I saw my friend's compare their lives to one another, yet the way they lived was opposite. One woman worked full time and beat herself up over not keeping an orderly home. She was looking at the women that were home full time. Other women didn't know how to sew and felt lower than the ones that could. I saw tears over too much work, not enough time, too much on their plates and countless other things.
Being a homemaker is so much more than most people can imagine. If we can stop being hard on ourselves and just try. Try things out.... if they don't work... not a big deal. I tried sewing and didn't like it. I tried baking and love it! I am more comfortable with my strengths now and have helped friends organize their homes and shown them a more simple way of life. In turn, they have shown me how to can salsa, home remedies and many other tools.
So I want to encourage all the mothers and homemakers out there. We are all in this together. If you have friends and family that cheer for you and want you to live your role to the fullest, that's great!
Let's take some time and realize what makes us tick, who we are and make our homes reflect us, not another woman.
My husband may come home to a cake and 80's music playing in the background... whilst I am singing and dancing in the kitchen. He might see the computer has been updated and all malware/virus/spyware programs have been updated and ran. He might see me chasing a chicken off the front porch. He might see me on the phone catting away while I'm putting together dinner. Who knows?! But I know my home reflects me and my personality. That makes me happy :)