You're exhausted. You feel like you work non-stop. It's hard to keep your life together.You can't live like that forever, so what's going to change? And what are you waiting for? Learn how to make change a reality in your life and to start taking some real steps to letting God in and making things better.Here's my blog post in response to their blog post! Don't you just love the internet?
Is there any escape from the mundane??
Not likely, but perhaps there is hope in our perspective.
Did those women of previous generations have it any easier? Was life simpler? Did THEY escape the mundane?
Sheila Gregoire gives us a glance into 3 women's lives from era's gone by in chapter 2. One woman living in 1869, one from 1952 and a woman of our day, 2002. Why do we feel that somehow they coped better, managed it better, and somehow ended the day, "less tired."
Bob Dylan appropriately sung the words...
"Times they are a changin'"
The reality is that many things have changed.
We do not live in small, close knit communities as much as those sisters of the past. Our families are spread out, we cannot leave our children outside alone with the assurance that someone we "trust" would be watching out for them. With the reality of relocations and job transfers, we simply don't always stay in one place anymore.
With these changes, we've seen the role of women change as well. It's interesting to notice that while while women working "outside the home" is a relatively new phenomenon, the woman who was farming in a small town in 1869 was involved with every aspect of her home and often her husband's business. They really were a team. Today we've seen the emergence of husbands and wives moving often in different directions rather than collaborating in business together.
Then there are the kids....
Chapter 3: This Ain't My Momma's House
We ALL want it. We want to utilize our time for “fulfilling purposes, pursuits and goals,” right? For most of us, if not ALL, housework is something that we HAVE to do and it’s just not a big ball of fun. Sheila tells us WHY we get so little out of those chores that all accumulate into “housework.” On page 51, she lays out quite well why it disagrees with most of us.
Anything that you:
a.) do alone
b.) never get thanked for
c.) never really finish, it just needs redone tomorrow
is likely not going to rate HIGH on the charts.
Given this, most of us don’t greet these tasks with Mary Poppins enthusiasm or have an overwhelming DESIRE to unload the dishwasher or fold the laundry. Well ladies, we’ve been sold a bill of goods. We are given image after image of WHAT a home SHOULD look like, and told that we should be “SUPERWOMEN.” When we don’t feel we meet the standards that we have set for ourselves or we hold to standards of someone else, like our mothers or mother in laws, we are simply setting ourselves up for disaster and depression.
Does it honestly matter if all your laundry is done, if your children haven't had a peaceful word said to them all day? What's more important: the spotlessness of your house or playing with your children?
Chapter 4: Balancing Tipped Scales
Or, another way to look at it, "major on the majors; minor on the minors."
Too often in our homes we major on the minors. We concentrate on cleaning and laundry and looking like we have it all together and don't focus on God, and relationships, and the things that ultimately matter.
So let's talk today about how to "major on the majors".
Here's what Lori, who's running the book club, says to start off:
This week as we make our way through the book, we are looking at “Balancing Tipped Scales.”
I had to laugh out loud. It’s in the first paragraph of this chapter that Sheila speaks of, “sitting down relaxing, you may stare off into space and, in the process, notice that your walls need cleaning.” HA! It’s not the walls that I noticed in a recent “relaxation” moment, but rather the glass on the front door. The sun was shining in so perfectly that it ENHANCED its desperate need to be cleaned! I could mind you, clean from dusk to dawn. Dusting, mopping, wiping, Swiffering, but I will certainly not be any happier, right?
We all want contentment really. How can we balance those scales that tend to tip us in the direction of constant cleaning? SCHEDULES, is what Sheila suggests. Schedules will ultimately free us from the “bondage” of housework. It will free us to explore the other gifts and talents that God has so generously bestowed on us. Not to use them is a waste.
The New Priorities Model
What exactly is the “New Priorities Model?”
Shelia suggests that if we begin “block at least fifteen minutes throughout the week in three different renewing areas- two from “Relationship Care,” two from “Personal Care,” and two from “Spiritual Care,” then we will begin to see a balance approach to our lives. (page 71)
Now I know that scheduling may be the last thing that you want to do. Does that make it sound like I'm making you even more into a drill sergeant than anything else?
But that's not the aim. Instead, I think it's liberating.
Here's the point: if we don't schedule stuff in that's important first, it won't get done. If you decide that at some point today you're going to read your Bible, you won't. Something will always get in the way.
If you say to yourself, sometime this week I will go to the gym, you won't. There will never be a free moment.
If you say, "I will play a game with my child this week when things are quiet", you won't. And then you'll feel guilty about it afterwards.
Do you see what I mean?
And if you don't do these important things, you're going to start to feel very exhausted. Because it's these important things that feed our souls. When we're not caring for ourselves, and caring for our relationships, but we're only caring for our homes, we're never going to feel fulfilled.
Major on the majors.
Read the rest of what Lori wrote here.
Chapter 5: Relationship U-Turns
In order to grow we have to resist the temptation to blame our unhappiness on others. We will at some point be standing completely alone in front of God explaining our choices and decisions to Him, it’s time for us to take responsibility for these decisions. It’s only in the stripped down honesty with ourselves that we can see where we need to make changes. Romans 14:12 and 2 Corinthians 13:5 are wonderful verses to reference and pray when in this phase of change. (pg 88-92) We MUST face our past choices and come clean in order to stop the pattern of poor choices. Sheila also addresses fears and the importance of examining these fears in order to become completely responsible for our decisions.
*A servant attitude
We all know that as Christians we are called to lives of servant hood, but let’s be honest, it’s not a culturally popular! Being a woman with a servant attitude does not mean that we “lose ourselves in the process.” “That is not Christlike servant hood,” states Sheila. Perhaps the best illustration was that of Jesus, when he washed the feet of His disciples. He was not serving them out of anything but LOVE. Jesus lost nothing by serving them, he instead taught them LOVE. Those men loved and respected Him and it was in his servant hood to them that he taught them.
There is a significant difference between being subservient and having a servant attitude, and that difference lies in mutual respect. In families where mutual respect and responsibility are found, then everyone would adopt a servant attitude, wouldn’t that be a wonderful world? We have to again take responsibility for ourselves. We have to learn to live with this servant attitude that has us doing the things we do for “free.” In a world that tells us that you should be rewarded for “doing,” this can be a trap we fall into. Coming to a place where we model the servant’s heart that Christ had is the path we need to follow. We learn to “give” love rather than “gain” love. (page 100) ...
Chapter 6: The Family That Cleans Together
Positive reinforcement is a better motivator than criticism.
(Focus on complimenting that they cleaned the bathroom, rather than the missed toilet bowl~it’s ALL in how we say it!)
People need Practice
(Sorry ladies, but there will be few immediate results :))
The goal is to get them to do a task, not control their feelings.
(Just as I’m never going to LOVE emptying the dishwasher, my goal is not to “make” anyone love vacuuming; I need to remember that.)
You are doing your children a favor by teaching them skills and responsibility.
(I want to teach my children to truly appreciate the blessings that they are surrounded by, and by having them help in the household does far more than just talking about gratitude ever will.)
Your husband needs to feel that he is helpful to you.
(Come on girls, we need to give him the “pat on the back too!” We have to be quick to notice when he pitches in too, especially after a hard day’s work AND when it’s not done EXACTLY the way we’d have done it, we have to encourage!)It’s really about changing attitudes, including our own when it comes to the responsibilities of the home. If we pray and begin to change our hearts from frustrated and nagging, to hearts that have a clear plan of appropriately asking and implementing help, we can be well on our way to not only a clean and managed house, but a happier and more productive, appreciative, loving family unit.
This is likely not going to be a walk in the park on a lovely spring day.
The day that I filled the black bag was not one of the our best. My kids tried all of the countermoves that Sheila says to expect.
I stuck to my guns. The contents of the bag remains sitting in my closet is getting smaller as they prove that taking care of their things is important. Change takes time! I gave a lot of thought to this consequence. In no way did I want to single anyone out or withold love or acceptance. What I did, I did out of love, and they know that…now.
Sheila offers other ideas for consequences in this chapter and some of them are brilliant! The “jubilee” basket which is taken from the Old Testament. In the Old Testament the land was returned to the original owner after a period of time. (page 133) Just after that suggestion, Sheila mentions how there have been times where they have had to call in the garbage bags! I LOVE this woman!
Another idea that I found useful and one that we have begun to use in my home is the idea, “If you Made the Dinner, You Don’t Clean Up.” She recommends that when children are old enough, they load the dishwasher and clear the table. Let everyone know that if they help prepare the meal then that evening they are off of clean up duty. It encourages help and it encourages responsibility as well as teach them practical life skills. As they get older, have them engage in helping plan meals, which will eventually lead to them preparing a meal.Sing it Aretha…Sing it girl!
Read the rest here, including tips on allowances, how to get kids to "carry their own load", and more!
Just yesterday I was listening to the news and a new report came out with the same sad story.
“Spending a lot of time watching TV, playing video games and surfing the Web makes children more prone to a range of health problems including obesity and smoking, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.”The sad reality is that we aren’t creating relationships, if we are avoiding each other. The fact that we are here on this site as homeschoolers shows that we have made the education of our children a priority, but what about fostering a real, honest and respectful relationship. We know what we envision for the future, at least I do….it’s my adult children coming home with Godly spouses, forging onward with the values that we’ve passed down to them. Well, I know only two things…God’s plans are not always mine, and raising Godly, confident kids is not going to be easy.