Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Good Conversation

This post is a first for me.  I had such a great conversation following a question I posted on facebook, that I just had to repost it here for safe keeping.  This was the question: 

"Do you think we are a lazy generation when it comes to house keeping? Do you think it's our generation or an individual thing? If it is a generational thing, what are the factors?"

A.S.- "Yes! mostly generational thing...factors are more things to distract us from our "duties" maybe I'm just speaking for myself, but with tv, cell phones, unlimited minutes on home phones, computers...and yes facebook...I look around and see that I need to do a load of laundry, but wait...I need to check e-mail or voicemail or whatever first. Humm...this is making me want to become unplugged! Thanks for the thought provoking question Sarah!"
T.L.- "Yes! But I have no answers."
ME- "A.S., more distractions (like computer and fancy cell phones) was one of my ideas. I do think there are some who struggle with laziness more than others, so there are individual differences. But maybe too, as technology and "fast food" h...ave made lives "easier", we're a bit spoiled and expect that everything should be easier, and if it requires hard work with no recognition, forget it. I've also seen a lot of people hiring house cleaners. It's the mentality that if I don't like doing something, I'll just hire someone else to do it. I actually really enjoy cleaning my house and HAVING a clean house, but I do think those distractions come into play for me once in awhile, doing what I want to do rather than what I should do. I think it's also hard with young kids who take so much energy and work and who make so many constant messes, I think I often wave the weariness flag, but I think many generations before us know how that feels, I think it's what we do with the feeling that is different now."
N.B.- "Do you have your kids help with chores around the house?"
T.M.- "Oh, I have too many thoughts on this to list is generational, a discipline issue, a priority issue and I see many women neglecting this area because they have bought into society's view that a homemaker role is non-important, no-status job...or they escape becasue they are overwhelmed at the state of their homes and rather than find a solution, it is easier to engage in so many activities you can excuse an ill-kept home...when in is such a rewarding and life-giving endeavor to create a home with beauty, order, and yes, even cleanliness. It is okay to love that...and it is good for others who enter and can feel loved there!"
A.S.- "Sarah & T.M....thank you so much for your wise words and thoughts on this subject! Before G was born, I was so good at keeping my house clean, kept & orderly, but in the last year have made a ton of excusses. My house is ok, but not ne...arly up to my standard...time for a reality check! Also, T.M....I do think that a lot of us do buy into society's view that being a homemaker is not a "real job" or as you said "unimportant". Having a clean, orderly and well-kept home is so very important for our children as well. They need to see that everything has a place and that work must be done before play. That is how God designed it, correct?"
ME- "good stuff ladies! This is what I was hoping for, good discussion! Yes N.B., my kids have chores, but I feel like one of the only moms I know who has them do them. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a perfect housekeeper, but the reason I brought this up is that I've really been noticing, in people I know, lots of laziness and excuses in this area and I've been wondering what the factors are that contribute to it. T.M., I love how you mentioned the devaluing of the role, I think that's a biggie. I also think women don't fully realize the tremendous blessing it is to their families to have the peace of a well organized, clean home. And Amber, the work before play value is definitely being lost, I guess we can call these things what they really are, selfishness=sin, laziness=sin. Deep breath and asking God to help me in the area of homemaking, that I would see it the way He sees it."
K.L.- " I think there are several different factors. Probably some I haven't even thought about. For me- I used to let others' attitudes affect my attitude, until God taught me that I need to work for Him, not for others (including my husband and children.) If I worked hard but wasn't "appreciated" or under-appreciated it felt like I was working for nothing. I also feel like it is not viewed as important by society. A homemaker is never as appreciated as she should be, people are generally not impressed by a good homemaker... but again, I am not working for society I am working for God. I know He thinks it is important and I know He sees my heart and my work. Next I think we are distracted. We have many more "things" to do: kids sports, kids activities, more church activities, more work, TV, movies, internet, friends, clubs, life. It wasn't common in past generations for kids to play sports before middle school/ high school. Most kids were not involved in several different activities (swimming, basketball, soccer, awana, scouts, 4H, skiing, dance, football, volleyball, track, etc.) It seems like families are always on the move, and maybe even overextended. With less time sometimes it can feel impossible to accomplish everything. Sometimes we also have to realize that a "perfect home" does not make a happy family. My husband's grandma had a great saying "my home is clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy." It's the saying I live by."
A.R.- " Interesting, Sarah. Good question... I feel different than the rest. I do feel like being a homemaker is important. I am one and I love it. But I think it has so much more to it than a neat and orderly home. I tend to think that we often spend too much time on our home and making it appear perfect and not enough time pursuing real relationships and real conversation. Maybe it is perfectionism, maybe pride? I agree, an organized life is such a gift to the family, but if we had smaller homes/fewer things, we would be able to spend a heck of a lot more time on other things that also matter to the heart of God. Just my two cents:) And I'm working through all of this and trying to create a balance."
M.G.- "Well, here's a perspective from a "Nana" who has reached the empty nest stage, AND has someone come in to clean my house twice a month:) I think there is a MUCH greater pressure on moms of this generation to entertain their children - and ...if you're not, well you aren't stimulating them enough or meeting their "emotional" needs. Hogwash!! Your kids will benefit greatly from being included in the work of running and maintaining their home. They will take ownership and pride in helping. AND it is eternally valuable for them to realize at an early age, that they are not the center of the universe. Creativity in alone time, and an ability to "quiet" our own hearts is important for all of us, and the sooner we learn how to do this, the better:) Listening for God's voice is tricky business when every minute of the day is filled with noise and a busy social calendar. When I was in the trenches raising my children, I had 2 friends in particular whom I felt had the right balance. One had a "clean" house, but it was never perfectly in order - children were allowed to make messes in play, and my kids always loved to spend time at her kitchen table doing crafts, baking, etc. But cleanup time was mandatory when it was time to go home. She and I always enjoyed a delicious cup of coffee, some conversational therapy, and our children had a great time as well. I HATED messes and was never relaxed with my kids' creativity:) It was stressful for me and so I followed them around cleaning up after them! Another friend was the queen of hospitality! She would invite you over on the spur of the moment for left over soup and a loaf of bread; not really caring if her house was perfect and I knew that she valued my friendship way more than impressing me:) Her house was LIVED IN! I loved the way she made us feel welcome and I was able to truly relax in her presence. So, individual personalities play a huge part in how we keep our homes and raise our children, obviously. What are your motives for a spotless house?? Is there eternal value? Are you hospitable? Moderation is the key in all things after all:)." 
T.M.- " I completely agree with you, M.G.! I also have an "empty nest," and do get outside help with housekeeping when I need it! You said it so well with the "entertaining our kids", the hospitality issue, the moderation issue, and balancing it out. I am so much more relaxed now at cleanliness, but I did like to also get creative with crafts when our kids were little, and clean up time was part of it. I think some of us get more relaxed with messes as we get older!"
ME- "love all this input! I'm so glad I posted the question! Each of you has offered something profound and worth much considering, thank you! Balance is key I think and cleanliness does NOT equate to Godliness as the saying goes. It's a heart issue, a who are you serving issue, a stewardship of time issue. And mom, have I told you lately how blessed I am to call you mom;)!? Ya, M.G. is MY mom ya'll!"
A.L.- " Lots of good thoughts here. I would say that sometimes I feel lazy, and sometimes I feel overworked. Like sometimes I don't feel like I do enough housework, and other times I feel like it's all I do. I do like a clean house, but don't fe...el that a clean house equals a Godly house by any means. A house too clean all the time means not enough time spent on the most important stuff I think. Of course a horribly dirty house is gross and quite honestly gives me an eye twitch. He he! I used to be very anal about a clean house, but have had to let a lot of stuff go over the years to keep my sanity. It is such a freeing feeling to know that it's ok to slack on the house cleaning sometimes. I once saw a fourties looking poster that said "A Clean House is a Wasted Life." Now I wouldn't go that far, but it did make me think. : )

Please feel free to add to the conversation if you wish, and I hope you've enjoyed this lovingly lively conversation as much as I have, definitely one I'll want to share with my kids some day;).

1 comment:

The Hill Family said...

Hey Sarah, I read this post on FB when we were out of town and never had a chance to comment, but my mom and I have talked quite a bit on this subject and she echoes many of your mom's comments - I was explaining to her how I almost always feel like I am 'not doing enough' as a mom and her first comment was that our generation puts WAY too much emphasis on entertaining our children and focusing on 'enrichment activities'...that PLAYING can be an enrichment activity, READING with them is enrichment,and that letting them figure out how to entertain themselves is a valuable skill, yet we do feel like we have to entertain them all the time and that wasn't the case with earlier generations. As for housework, she always tells me that yes, it is important to keep an orderly house, but your time with your children is limited, so you don't want to make the housework MORE important than spending time with them. It's ok for things to get a little messy sometimes if it means you've spent quality time with the kids when it was needed.

This summer, we introduced a 'chore chart' with each child having weekly responsibilities that they can earn $$ for completing - examples include feed dog, walk dog before dinner, set table for dinner, put away clean clothes, fold towels, clean room, make bed. We let them earn money for doing those chores so that they have an opportunity to learn the balance between saving/giving/spending money THEY have earned (suggestion from a Dave Ramsey class). In addition to these, they help me dust and clean windows, etc, (without a chance to earn $$ - just b/c they are a member of a family and families help one another) but I still probably 'help' them do the chores too much (to ensure it is done correctly) versus just letting the 'clean windows' still have a few smudges or living with the bedspread not being quite as straight as it would be if I had made the bed...teaching them to do it correctly is important, but balancing realistic expectations is important too. And while I can come up with a plan in theory, figuring out how to practically balance everything in every day life is a constant challenge for me! Ok...enough rambling! :) Thanks for the honest discussion!