Friday, July 20, 2007

Homemaking

[Warning: rather ornery post ahead.]

I’m a little tired of all this hullabaloo about making the job of homemaker into something that sounds more valuable than it really is.

Now, get me straight. I’m not talking about mothering. I’m not talking about being a wife. I’m talking about homemaking.

Even the name makes me wince. Face it, chics, we’re house-wenches. (We are also a lot of other things, but the “homemaking” part is just a lot of menial tasks, regardless of what you call it.) I am so sick of Relief Society lessons on the way the “feeling is different” in a house that’s been mopped lately, that dried flower/wreath arrangements and “Return with Honor” signs decrease the amount of contention in the home. Sick of it, I tell you.

I’ll grant you that living in a pigpen makes me uptight or downright grouchy, and that my grouchiness usually spreads to the entire family and soon enough, woops, there goes the Spirit. I’ll grant you that we’ve been asked to hang pictures of the temple up, etc. I’m not saying that the environment doesn’t influence things.

To a point.

But think about it. Is it the disorder that’s making people ornery or my response to it? If I could live in perfect serenity despite disorder, would my children be more healthy than if I were a stress-case but the house was spotless?

It’s not the WORK ITSELF that’s sacred, people. It’s my attitude about it. And I don’t see how announcing to the world that scrubbing the toilet is a sacred duty is going to change anything about it unless I truly believe it (which is just a change of attitude).

So, although my house isn’t a disaster area, I’m going to let the dirty dishes sit out on the counter a little longer than maybe another woman in my ward would while I (fill in the blank).

Did you think I was going to say “read to my kids”? Or “scrapbook”? Because those are OK things to do instead of the dishes, right? But what if I’m just blogging or doing e-mail? Is that OK? Well, I believe that it is—IF the blogging makes me more serene instead of less.

So I guess when I say “it’s not the job, it’s the attitude,” I am acknowledging the value of calling your scrubbing sacred—if calling it that is what helps you change your attitude. But don’t make me call it that. For me, it’s just scrubbing. I do it if it bugs me. (I’m sorry if it’s not often enough for you so that you wince when you come visit me, or makes you not want to come at all. That’s sad. I’ll miss you.)

6 comments:

Rebecca said...

scrubbing the toilet sacred?? Nuh - just a crap job.

And blogging is a perfectly reasonable thing to do while the house falls into chaos around you!

Justine said...

amen.

mary ann said...

Darlene, if you haven't read it, I think you'd find a lot to think about it _To Hell With All That_, a book of essays by Kaitlyn Flanagan (I think it's with a "K" . . .). She talks about homemaking in the non-LDS world, but also has great thoughts on modern weddings, decluttering, the sexless marriage and more.
I enjoyed her writing, but realized I'd come to peace with a lot of the homemaking because of the Flylady. I can't explain it, but this woman just helps my house to stay clean without my obsessing. And as Suzette Asplund explained, if you obsess about your house being clean, you're going to get mad when your kids mess it up!

Melinda said...

Darlene,

I am so with you on this one.

No matter how hard I try, I cannot convince myself that the hours I spend cleaning and resenting cleaning my house are somehow earning me some great eternal reward. -I just can't believe it.
I'm sure I just need a change of heart. :)

Also, I don't see any requirements during the temple recommend interview about any of that stuff.
Really, can't you just hear it? "Do you keep your house clean daily and scrub your toilets at least once a week?" I don't think so!

I'm just saying. I would much rather develop some worthwhile talent -not scrapbooking-sorry- than clean. If I had the cash, I would hire a housekeeper in a heartbeat...I have sooo many better things to do.

Melinda

PS This is my first visit to your blog. I wandered here from Queen Serene. (I am a Segullah fan.) I think you are a kindred spirit. Loved the blogs I read. I'll be back.

Darlene said...

Welcome, Rebecca and Melinda. Glad to have you here. Sounds like a great book, Mary Ann. Any recommendation from you is worth investigating.

Angie said...

A few random thoughts...

I am fascinated by homemaking, mostly because I see what a powerful impact a good homemaker can have on her family, but it doesn't come naturally to me at all. I am working on it, though.

I would rather read or play on the internet than do homemaking tasks, and so I do spend (probably too much) time on those things. But I don't think for a minute that they are equal. Those are activities that pull me into my own world, away from serving or connecting to the people in my family.

For me, homemaking is like any other calling in that I get out of it what I put into it. When I rush to do a few essential tasks before I move on, I feel annoyed. When I take time to be mindful and present in what I am doing, it pulls me out of myself and becomes a fulfilling way to connect.

I don't think homeaking has anything to do with cleaning toilets. To me homemaking is about creating an atmosphere and becoming a presence. Yes, clean toilets are an important detail in there, but it doesn't matter if I clean them, if I teach my kid to clean them, or if I pay they lady down the street to clean them. My role is bigger than that.