How to be a Perfect Housewife
When I say housewife, I'm thinking stay-at-home-mom-style housewife. To me, they go hand in hand. It is a full-time job. It is a career. You don't have to interview, no, your kids and your husband are stuck with you. But this job description comes with a pretty lengthy list of responsibilities.
Let's list some of what it takes to upkeep a home:
- Loads & loads of never-ending laundry
- Keeping a clean & empty sink [this means washing dishes, loading/unloading the dishwasher]
- Floors vacuumed
- Counters/surfaces decluttered & wiped of crumbs
- Food stocked in fridge & pantry
- Meals prepared
- Toys picked up enough that there is somewhat of a path to navigate from room to room throughout the house
THE LIST GOES ON.
All while keeping kids alive [and healthy, and happy, and entertained].
This can entail the following:
- Dressing & bathing
- Preparing meals
- Cleaning up meals
- Putting down for naps
- Nursing [if applicable]
THIS LIST, ALSO, GOES ON.
Now, I will say that there are some superwomen out there who ENJOY doing a lot of those things from that first list- the cleaning, the laundry, the cooking, etc. Those women are natural "Susie Homemakers"- they have it all together, they do it all. Effortlessly. Maybe those women don't really exist but I feel like they're out there somewhere. Some women just don't have that natural "Susie Homemaker" quality [by the way- who is this Susie anyway? I want to meet her] in them anywhere to be found. And some women fall somewhere in the middle.
Whichever kind of woman/housewife/mama you are, I'm going to guess you've had times, days, weeks, maybe months where you've felt like you were just coming up short in your job.
I feel this way A LOT.
I am constantly feeling like I'm not doing enough, or doing a good enough job and like there is always more to do. These yucky, sinful thoughts have been weighed on my heart for far too long and I've been praying a lot recently about ways to overcome them.
First of all, is it really possible to be a PERFECT housewife? No. That's why step is:
1. Recognize and ACCEPT that you're NOT a perfect housewife and you never will be.
Too harsh? Ok maybe a little. But that is the truth my friends, and the truth can be a lot to swallow. Perfection is such a false expectation that we have for ourselves when we will ALWAYS fall short. The human race knows no perfection but the great news is that a perfect God exists. He steps in for us and will never, ever fail us.
"For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin." Hebrews 4:15
If we stop expecting perfection, we won't be so hard on ourselves when we don't achieve it. Momming and housewifing [awesome made-up words] are tough gigs. Let's stop trying to BE perfect in our jobs and focus on praising the One who IS perfect.
2. Give yourself GRACE.
So, so, so much grace. Giving yourself grace is not the easy way out. It's not making excuses when you fall short. Guys... we LIVE at work. We don't get to go home at 5:00- work is home. They are one in the same. We don't take lunch breaks, we don't sleep in on weekends, we don't take sick days or vacation time. I said it before and I'll say it again, it's a tough gig. Give yourself grace.
"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9
That verse. Is that not the biggest weight lifted off your chest hearing that? We get to BOAST in our weaknesses because when we are weak, HE is strong.
3. Check your heart.
This one is HUGE for me. It is so easy to complain, grumble, and be downright crabby about all of the seriously not-fun parts of this job [laundry, cleaning, blah]. I often times find myself doing these things out of obligation, guilt, and/or sometimes even bitterness. But then, I'm humbled and reminded of this:
"An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household.
She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her.
'Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.'
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates."
As women of the Lord, we are CALLED to fulfill this role as a wife and a mother and to do it gracefully and willingly. We are called to love, serve, and submit to our husbands, the spiritual leaders of the household. We are called to care for and nurture our children. And we are called to make our house a home. Yes, we will fall short, and no, we will not do a perfect job; But I pray daily that the Lord would intervene to help me do a job that is pleasing to Him. I pray that I would fulfill my role in our family in a way that is graceful, willing, and excellent.
Practical tips for being a BETTER [not perfect ;)] housewife:
1. Make a PLAN: Who doesn't love an occasional to-do list? You may think I'm kidding but I actually love making lists and checking things off of them. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of "chores" to get done around the house, make a list. Plan to prioritize, and tackle a few things each day, rather than trying to cram it all into the hour before your husband gets home Friday evening [we've all been there].
2. Stay ORGANIZED: When you have little ones running around destroying your house I'm sure this is easier said than done, but it's worth a shot. I love organizing but as much as I love it, I often times find myself just shoving things places and thinking "I'll come back and organize this later." Aaaaannd can I get a big, fat LOL on that one? I don't go back and organize it later. That's a funny joke. I find that my days and weeks are so much less stressful when our bills are filed, our table is cleared off, and I end the day with toys picked up/put away for a fresh start the next morning.
3. PRAY. Pray for patience, pray for grace, pray for strength, pray for whatever it is that you need to do your job well. It's a tough gig, yes, but it is THE BEST, most rewarding job in the world.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7