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This Ain't My Momma's House!

Do you ever feel like you SHOULD clean, but you don't have the energy too?

Like you're a failure as a wife and a mom because your house is out of control, but your mother's wasn't? Or that everybody else has it more together than you do?

That's the focus of the third chapter of To Love, Honor and Vacuum, and the one that we're going to look at today in my To Love, Honor and Vacuum book tour!

Over at Heart of the Matter Online they're studying To Love, Honor and Vacuum, and we're going to delve into chapter 3. Stay and read, even if you don't have the book, because you'll love it anyway!

Here's how reviewer Lori starts off:

We ALL want it. We want to utilize our time for “fulfilling purposes, pursuits and goals,” right? For most of us, if not ALL, housework is something that we HAVE to do and it’s just not a big ball of fun. Sheila tells us WHY we get so little out of those chores that all accumulate into “housework.” On page 51, she lays out quite well why it disagrees with most of us.

Anything that you:
a.) do alone
b.) never get thanked for
c.) never really finish, it just needs redone tomorrow
is likely not going to rate HIGH on the charts.

Given this, most of us don’t greet these tasks with Mary Poppins enthusiasm or have an overwhelming DESIRE to unload the dishwasher or fold the laundry. Well ladies, we’ve been sold a bill of goods. We are given image after image of WHAT a home SHOULD look like, and told that we should be “SUPERWOMEN.” When we don’t feel we meet the standards that we have set for ourselves or we hold to standards of someone else, like our mothers or mother in laws, we are simply setting ourselves up for disaster and depression.

You can read the rest of what she wrote here.

Here's the crux of the matter: our standards can choke us because we're focusing on the wrong things. We are so caught up in what we should be doing in terms of housework that we ignore what God's true purpose in our lives.

Does it honestly matter if all your laundry is done, if your children haven't had a peaceful word said to them all day? What's more important: the spotlessness of your house or playing with your children?

But maybe you're like me. You don't actually clean that much. You just feel guilty about what you're not doing! You have standards, too, and even though you don't try to live up to them, they do make you feel miserable.

It's time to put our standards away and focus on what is really important: our family members. And here's what it comes down to:

Is everyone in your house growing more like Jesus?

If the answer is yes, you're doing great! If it's no, then that's where you need to concentrate your efforts.

That doesn't mean we don't do housework; there's more on that coming in other chapters. It just means that the purpose of housework is to create a warm environment where people can grow, not to create a spotless trophy house.

So let your standards go and go to God!

Part of the problem in the church, though, is that the church culture teaches us that motherhood is the pinnacle of what we as women should be aiming for. And there is some truth in that. But that doesn't mean that it is always inherently satisfying. It isn't. Vacuuming when a child is following behind you eating crackers is frustrating. Trying to get dinner on the table when you know two out of the three kids will complain about it is not easy.

And yet we're told that this is the answer to all of our dreams. That motherhood is lovely, fulfilling, and marvelous. And then we wonder why, when we're in the middle of it, we're going crazy.

The things that moms do are frustrating. We do it out of love, but we should not feel guilty if we get frustrated! That's part of the lie that we're told: that we're supposed to be happy about everything that marriage and motherhood brings. We're not. We're just supposed to be loving and generous to our families. That doesn't mean we're always going to love it! If we did, it wouldn't be a sacrifice!

So stop feeling guilty if you're running around ragged! And stop pushing yourself too hard! Get a different set of standards that focuses on God, and not your home, and you may feel like your life is easier to control!

You can read the rest of Lori's take on what I've said here.

And I love what this commenter had to say:

I agree whole heartedly with everything Lori said. I must say, there was a time I really enjoyed housework. Sadly, it was before children. It was lovely to turn on music & clean our apartment from back to front, wash & fold laundry, even iron. But since I've got a house now, and kids…. well, sometimes I still enjoy it & other times I am like Laurlee & am nearly in tears when I finally get around to what has become a disaster. Most of the time I travel right imbetween those two extremes.

So, in light of that, what I LOVED about this chapter was the chore charts with daily, weekly, and monthly chores. I have been working on my list of those for at least a year & trying to figure out how to make a chart I can use. I used Shelia's as a model & filled in my own particulars, then I "laminated" my chart with clear contact paper & stuck it in the front of my homeschool/family planner.

I am really excited. I love to get organized & be organized. I'm finally feeling like there could be hope for the kind of home I'd like to have 95% of the time. I'm not holding myself to Superwoman standards any more & I'm filling in those missing keys that I haven't found in other housewife or clutter books.

I love …to love, honor, and vacuum!

What are your standards? Are you stifling yourself? Making yourself crazy? Or does your house have that right balance? Share it with us!

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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