Becoming a Happy Homemaker

I hate being a homemaker. There. I said it.

Home Sweet Home by Jamiesrabbits.  Shared under a Creative Commons License.

Actually, that’s a bit of an overstatement. I enjoy working at home and taking care of my family–I really do!–but it’s such a discouraging “profession.” I hate that there are no defined parameters of success. I loved being a student because, in school, I understood what was required in order to be successful. I followed those steps, made an “A” (hopefully) and then I was forever victorious in that endeavor.

Not so in homemaking. I may be successful on Monday–house dusted, laundry put away, dishes washed, dinner cooked–only to wake up on Tuesday to complete disarray…or at least semi-disarray. Or what about the weeks when your house is in perfect order 6 out of 7 days, but a long-lost relative or friend shows up on your doorstep the ONE DAY that everything is a mess. UGH! Having to start all over every day makes me feel weary. It’s all one step forward, two steps back…

What does it mean to be a successful homemaker, anyway? Does it mean that every single thing is crossed off your to-do list? Does it mean that your home is decorative, comfortable and inviting? Does it mean that you always have healthy meals prepared? Does it mean that you are able to juggle the schedules of four people effortlessly? Does it mean that your family is adequately cared for even if all the chores aren’t done? Does it just mean that your husband and kids get the bare minimum–clean undies and a frozen pizza for dinner–but an abundance of quality time? Success is so undefined and subjective in the world of homemaking. I like specific goals, not generalities. 

There’s also the fact that I am a perfectionist at heart. The psychological term for my “condition” is called “discouraged perfectionist” (Dr. Kevin Leman gives this title to people who constantly set unrealistically high expectations for themselves which ultimately leads to failure). So, that doesn’t help.

I’ve been a stay-at-home mom (current season of life), full-time working mom, and part-time work-from-home mom. No matter my occupational status, I have always felt a strong commitment to the care and keeping of my family, and–no matter my occupational status–the frustration over my home management has always been lingering.

By now, you’re probably wondering why I won’t shut-up about homemaking. If you think I’m about to go all FlyLady on you, think again. This is, after all, a blog about faith.

I recently stumbled upon a new e-book: “31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha House the Mary Way” written by Sarah Mae of Like a Warm Cup of Coffee.  It’s not a cleaning manual, it’s an attitude adjustment manual. I’m much more in need of the latter because I’m very much a Martha in all areas of my life (read: “control freak”).

I’ve only just begun to read the book, and I’ve already been whopped upside the head with this quote:

“The heart of our homes is not in the ability to keep it perfect at all costs; the heart of the home is love.” 

~Sara Mae, 31 Days to Clean

BAM! Sucker punched!

Here’s the deal: it is clear to me that this season of my life is primarily for homemaking. I need to learn to like it. I need to change my thinking. I need to quit pouting about it. I need to get a new vision and look at this opportunity through God’s eyes. I need to forgo imperfection and pursue life, as Sarah Mae says so well.

I’m planning to join Christin at Joyful Mothering for a 31 Days of Clean Homemakers Challenge starting May 1 . Remember, this is not about cleaning…it’s about being less Martha-ish and more Mary-like. It’s about learning to love our families well. It’s about ministering to those nearest and dearest to us.

Want to join in the fun? Check out Christin’s post about the challenge (more details coming soon), and purchase the e-book (it’s only $4.99!). Together we’ll be reading through the book, doing the Mary/Martha challenges (one spiritual/one practical) and blogging about it occasionally.

 {Pssssstttt….Sarah Mae’s also hosting an awesome giveaway on her blog: free copies of her book, gift cards and more!}

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19 Responses to Becoming a Happy Homemaker

  1. Christin says:

    Oh my goodness, I totally understand how you feel!! I feel so discouraged with keeping house!! It takes me hours to get the home in order and 10 minutes to completely distroy what I just did. SO DISCOURAGING!!

    That’s one major reason why I do the Homemakers Challenge!!!

    I am so happy you’ll be joining in!

  2. Milly S says:

    I also totally understand how you feel. I want everything to look just right, but on the other hand there are so many others things I would rather do than keep up with my house. I just want to do the bare minimum. I downloaded the book last night and will gladly join you on May 1st!

    • Megan says:

      I know…there’s so many more INTERESTING things to do in this world than housework…but it’s a necessity! Glad you’re going to join us; there’s strength in numbers!

  3. You’re not going to believe this, but right before I sat down with a cup of coffee, I looked out the window and said, “I really need to clean my house, but that sunshine is already trying to talk me out of it.”

    It’s like the endless battle with me – I like my house clean, but it never EVER stays that way and I despise repetitive work. I definitely need to find some balance. Maybe I should spend the $4.99 and buy the book. I think I need it.

    And you’re right…I’ve worked while I’ve had kids and stayed home while I have kids…it’s all the same. The housework still needs to get done. Sorry for the long comment.
    -Fringegirl

    • Megan says:

      I totally believe you. The sunshine does that to me every day (and when it’s cloudy, I don’t have to be talked out of not doing it). :)

  4. Amy says:

    Can I participate even if housework doesn’t bother me? LOL. Please, don’t stone me!

    • Megan says:

      Absolutely! It’s not that I mind doing housework, it’s that I mind doing it again…and again…and again…and again….

      I’ll put my rocks away now. ;)

  5. Jessica says:

    When I first heard about this book, I thought it meant Martha Stewart. Lol. I told you guys, I’m not that smart.

  6. Beverly says:

    May 1st – count me in! Download book – check; get a good attitude – well…I’ll work on that! LOL

  7. Beverly says:

    ok – help – I can’t find support on the site where I downloaded the book. I checked out through paypal, it took me back to the site, and I downloaded the book…now it is telling me it can’t find it. : ( this is why I like a REAL BOOK!!!! My computer can’t manage to lose those! : )

  8. Pingback: Monday Smorgasbord | Faith Like Mustard

  9. Liza says:

    It’s very funny that I ran acrossed this post…today. Just last night (after an argument with my perfectionist first born husband, of course) I sat down to read the first born section of Kevin Leman’s Birth Order Book. (I am a first born as well…the more compliant of the two versions.) I read the “discouraged perfectionist” description and started to cry because…well, it fits me to a T.

    Earlier today I was texting my husband (who is trying to help me stop feeling like a failure…a.k.a. stop failing) and I was talking about how good I felt about myself when I was in college (got my B.S. with honors in 3 years, all while working 30 hours a week) and even when I was climbing up the ladder at my job after college (which wasn’t in my degree). Then, we had kids and I became a SAHM…and, now, I’m even homeschooling…and, yeah, no parameters, no good feelings of success (except when my daughter can perform, of course).

    As all of this was swirling through my head, I sat down to the computer to look up “discouraged perfectionist” and this was the first site I stopped to check out. Can you guess what e-book I just bought last week? You got it! Sarah Mae’s. I’m not going to be at home for one week in May…but I still think I may join the “party” at Christin’s. Besides, if it is about heart change, and not the actual cleaning…well, I’m sure my mom won’t mind me cleaning up after her for a week. :)

    Thanks for your site. Know that God used you today.

    • Megan says:

      Oh, I can t-o-t-a-l-l-y relate. I just finished my B.A. in 2008 then went straight into grad school where I got my M. Ed. in a year and a half while working full-time (and I somehow managed a 4.0 GPA–my perfectionism thrives in school). Now I’m all adrift in sea of unstructured days and I’m going insane.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. You blessed my little discouraged perfectionist heart! :)

  10. Pingback: “31 Days to Clean Challenge” Starts Monday | Faith Like Mustard

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