Yesterday, I finished reading Homeschooling With a Meek and Quiet Spirit, by Teri Maxwell. I thank the Lord for what He showed me while reading that book. Having a meek and quiet spirit is something I have struggled with for awhile now, and I've finally made the connection to a major robber of a meek and quiet spirit, thanks to this book.
My own mom was a stay-at-home mom until I was in high school. Being a stay-at-home-mom myself, I have been holding myself to the same housekeeping standard that she kept. I mean, I'm at home, with no other outside job, so my house should look nice. Right? And everything should be done by dinner time, so that when dishes are done, it's time for myself and the family to relax. Shouldn't it? I can attest to the fact that being at home is MUCH harder than anything I've done for outside work...although I will say, it's definitely not as stressful. The only person's schedule you really have to follow is your husband's (or your own, if your husband is not big on sticking to schedules around the home-front), and he's usually a LOT nicer than a boss. :) Yes, staying at home IS harder, but I knew that and was prepared for that when I signed up for the job. What I wasn't prepared for, however, was the whirlwind and utter exhaustion each day brought by it's end. My husband kept telling me I was doing too much, while not getting the big things done...I'm a very detailed person, so when I take on a project, it can take me forever making sure I have it done just so, much to the detriment of things like meals and school.
Last night's reading brought on a light bulb moment for me. Teri explained in her book that many stay-at-home, homeschooling moms today had stay-at-home-moms themselves. These mothers have set these high standards for the homes that many of us try to hold to ourselves. But here's the kicker: Most of these moms (including my own) SENT THEIR KIDS OFF TO SCHOOL FOR 6-7 HOURS A DAY. Did you get that? I'm not knocking my mom, or any other mom, who sends their kids to school. What I'm saying is, those moms had 6-7 hours each day kid-free! That's when most of them did their housework, virtually free of distraction...kid distraction, anyway. Plus, they didn't have messes being made during that time, and (most of the time) no one was home for lunch, so she just had to worry about herself for that meal.
So, here I am, not only with my kids home all day, but dedicating several hours to homeschooling. On top of that, I've everyone but hubby here for all three meals (plus snacks, don't forget the snacks!), so more time gets spent on that, as well. THEN, I am trying to get the same amount of housework done that my mom did, in the same time frame! As you can guess, many days it hasn't all gotten done, and I drive myself insane with unnecessary pressure, all the while thinking that was just how it was supposed to be. Duh!
After I read that chapter, I just sat staring at the ceiling for a good five minutes, thinking in amazement and asking God why I never made this connection before. Seriously, you know it's really bad when *I* actually admit I was doing too much. But it's true. The most important things, like school and well-planned meals, had been suffering to let little, less important details take the front seat. No more.
My way of thinking has done a complete turn-around. I'm going back to the bare-bones basics around the house and bringing those important things back to where they belong, front and center. I am working on readjusting my priorities as they should be...God, husband, children, everything else if there's time and I feel like it. Do I want a super clean house? Of course, but not more than I want my kids to be well trained and educated, and certainly not more than I want my husband to be happy. I will keep the basics as far as housework goes...meals, laundry, dishes...and if I want to do anything else, I now realize that instead of cutting into the time it takes to make good meals or homeschool, I will have to find time somewhere else, AFTER those things are taken care of. And if those extra things don't get done, I'm not going to kick myself about it. And if I choose to do that work in the evening instead of relaxing, that's my choice, and that's perfectly okay. As a homeschooling mom, my schedule is going to look very different from a non-homeschooling mom's, and, as I now realize, that's okay, too. So if you happen to stop by my house and it's NOT clean (gasp!), just know that I had bigger priorities on my plate that day. :)