An acquaintance approached me this morning with a lovely greeting followed by this comment:
I’ve been meaning to tell you that you remind me of a spy.
A Spy. Hmmm. A spy? I try to think of how I’m going to respond here. I need to think quickly so it doesn’t make this awkward… think…
I say, “Really, how so?” with a leading smile and tilt of my head.
“Oh, it’s your hair. You’re always changing it. Bangs, no bangs, it’s short, it’s long, red, brown, layers, up, down. You’re a woman of many faces.” And she said this with a thrill in her words that communicated a compliment (and perhaps a bit of wonder)
Phew! Okay- I can work with this. I’m not perceived as a manipulating mama who’s searching for gossip or secrets. It’s just my hair! Our conversations bull-dozed into all things girly and our beauty-is-pain regimen.
As I sat down to read today, that conversation came to the forefront of my mind in relation to how moms operate. We change all the time. We are women, wives, mothers, daughters, housekeepers, accountants, chef’s, therapists, and some of us work outside the home too so let’s add ‘professional’ to the list . We wipe noses, bottoms, tables, toilets, floors- just about every surface. We are women of many faces, hats and talents. ch. 6 focuses on the hat of homemaking…
[Keeping the House] Training and Discipline- and excuses….
You’re either over-trained or under-trained if you struggle with this area of motherhood. Mary or Martha? I am absolutely on the other side of the coin [than both the authors] on this issue. Neither was trained in the basics of homemaking. I, however, was sorting, washing, drying, and folding my laundry by 13 years old. My mother taught me how to make a bed and how to clean my room. She showed me how to keep my room (not a “home” because my childhood responsibilities were about my contribution as a member of the home and not as the keeper of the home). Now, I have a love for order and organization. But regardless of my opposing training than the authors, I love (and relate) to these fantastic observations:“There are plenty of things that I was never taught that I choose to learn and implement now because they are important to me.”Pg 70 As in- you don’t know how to clean but you can learn. “’I wasn’t trained’. Again, while there is some validity to that excuse, it has an expiration date: the day you decide to make a change.” Pg 70 As in- today is a good day to take some responsibility and learn how to improve this area. “You make that decision and then you resolve to persevere.” Pg 70 As in- I think I can. I think I can.
Struggles for the trained or untrained:
I still struggle- and I’m trained in homemaking. I struggle to not let the cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, etc. take over the part of mothering that is ‘relationships’. I hear myself saying 5 more minutes for cleaning the kitchen and then it becomes 10. My children want to play a game and I want to clean the counters. That’s my struggle.
Sally has a plan:
- Understand that the frustration of housework is never going to go away (whether you love it or hate it- and either way, if you’re a mama, it’s bringing you frustration as you stare at another pile of dishes or laundry left for you)
- Don’t measure your success in life by your ability or inability to do housework efficiently
Sally took 15 minutes a day to gather her babes and give them chores. They all worked for 15 minutes and the house was presentable enough for when the husband walked in from work. This was her strategy after she embraced the plan (above).
My strategy is that our kids clean as they go. Dishes go in the dishwasher after they’re used. Bed is made when they get out of it. Toys are put away before they leave the room- any room. (grown ups follow this strategy too) And then I have a basket that I collect random items “misplaced”. When the basket gets full, I turn it over to the girls and they put the items in their ‘home’.
But I also love reading and getting new ideas from other moms! Check these out:
Next up: Just Maid Fresh (I’m a maid for hire with my kids. Yes, I charge.) & more on homemaking