Busy Moms “Get Real” Series, Part 2: Housework, Again?

Joyful summer laundry. Colorful t-shirts on a laundry line and blue sky.“I’ve swept the floor three times already and it’s dirty again!”

Does this reality discourage you, make you want to walk away some days?

One of the reasons I believe many women shirk the duties of a full-time homemaker is that the idea of “doing the same mundane tasks” all day seems like drudgery. And it can be without the keen understanding of what is actually happening in our homes each day, and the powerful message we have the opportunity to preach “by the works of our hands”.

“…we NEED to understand the glory in the repetition; the glory that He is bringing about in us–in our families, when we gladly tend, gladly do it all over again!”

Most women are bothered by a disorderly home and lately I’m learning what an important trait this is in my life. Being bothered by it keeps me working at it. Created in His image, we, like Him, crave order. (The first task given to a human was to “tend the garden”–to keep order.) And after the Fall, the world set about decaying and losing order.

As image-bearers of our Creator, we were put here to daily restore order, on a small scale, in our small spaces, as a reflection of the One who is about restoring us, making order of the chaos through the continual renewing of His people. And if we aren’t keeping order in our small space, decay is inevitable. Is it any wonder, then, why Satan is constantly about the business of removing the “order-keeper” from the home and/or distracting us from this “less-than-exciting” work?

As managers of our homes, we are given the task, the privilege, to “tend the garden”. Weeds grow in gardens and they come back continually. Clean floors get dirty again, windows only shine for a little while and children need bathed over and over. And the physical order-keeping is only the beginning...tending the people there–the constant training of habits and character–is immensely large, causing us both to rejoice and to shudder at the job at hand.

But we NEED to understand the glory in the repetition; the glory that He is bringing about in us–in our families, when we gladly tend, gladly do it all over again!

A busy mom’s home is not pristine; it need not be nor can it be where it is lived in (“Where no oxen are, the crib is clean…”); but there must be a continual work toward order, toward restoring what is in a constant state of decay. And this constant work is the way it should be. Don’t be discouraged believing that the mundane is unimportant rather than embracing the privilege of being the one to whom it has been given to assist our God in restoring beauty, harmony and life into our homes, like He is doing in us.

And as we work about the day, we get to speak about this wonderful analogy to our children, to point to Him and to flesh out this lesson through every task.

As we work toward this order and find better ways to achieve it–the simple things like putting supper in the crock pot in the morning so that the transition to dinner time is smoother–our homes begin to reflect a sweetness that influence the people in it and the people that come by it.

It’s a “working out”, if you will, the order permeating US, and that work of restoration in the physical enables us to better glorify Him in all other realms of life.

It’s not just picking up Legos for the hundredth time…it’s Kingdom work, doing our part to make lovely and useful what would otherwise be decay and stagnant.

Part 1:  Margins

Part 3:  When Technology Hurts

Part 4:  Children Are More Than an Organizational Problem

Part 5: I Can’t Get it All Done!”

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31 Responses to “Busy Moms “Get Real” Series, Part 2: Housework, Again?”

  1. Natalie says:

    This is a good word Kelly. I’ve actually find routine to be comforting. My MAIN dream (I had about 368) was to have my own home to “keep”…and when that dream became a reality…I was in heaven on earth, and have been ever since. When I used to do my kid’s laundry (they do it now)…I’d pray for each one as I folded their clothes. I loved looking at their things and thinking how lucky (blessed) I was to have been given those children. (We lost our first baby.)

    I think it is how we view it. The privilege and honor that it is…or something that keeps us from other, lesser dreams.

    Plus…isn’t it a lovely feeling to enjoy a clean floor…if only for 5 minutes? ; )

  2. I love this view of why the quotidian is so important – very, very articulate.

  3. Jen says:

    thank you, I needed this one this morning!

  4. […] Busy Moms “Get Real” Series, Part 2: Housework, Again? |. […]

  5. Kristin says:

    Excellent post!! Much needed reminder as well! Thanks!

  6. Kelly says:

    Thank you so much Kelly! This post is very timely for me – I have three small children and lately I’ve been so overwhelmed by the constant mess. I’m so idealistic, with grand goals for my family life, so often forgetting that the constant thousands of little decisions made throughout daily life make up the big picture. This is a great perspective on the repetitive work that unnecessarily overwhelms me. How good to think of the desire for order as a reflection of God. It’s a beautiful thing.

  7. Tiffany says:

    i really needed to read this today, thanks Kelly for sharing!!!

  8. I feel kinda funny correcting you on this, but the first command (i.e., task) given to mankind is “be fruitful and multiply.” Only after that is man told to subdue the earth.

    The VERY FIRST thing God tells us to do is have babies. It’s one of many reasons I believe it’s so important to Him, and one of the reasons why it’s so telling to me that Satan has so thoroughly infiltrated the church against having babies. If God didn’t care whether or not we have kids in our timing or His, Satan wouldn’t be fighting so hard to make “birth control” so normal within the church.

    But all of that has absolutely nothing to do with your post, which was excellent, btw! 🙂

    If you would though, please be praying for me and my husband. He was “done” after two. We’ve already had a third “unexpected blessing.” Now he’s a week away from having a vasectomy. I want to let God be in control of that aspect of our lives. My husband understands my concerns/desires/beliefs and isn’t making this choice lightly, but he feels “done.” Since the Bible is silent on the specifics of birth control, but is not silent on my submission to my husband, I’m as much at peace with this as I can be prior to it actually happening, but I’m just sad about it. I don’t want to nag or bully him into doing things my way. Please pray that he gets (and listens to) Biblical counsel prior to then and pray that I find peace in the situation. Thanks!

    • Word Warrior says:

      Melissa–I stand corrected 😀 And yes, oh yes, I will specifically lift your family up in prayer!

      • Thankful for His Grace says:

        Melissa, I’ll be praying too! Let me share what has recently happened in our home, I hope it is encouraging to you. My husband had a vasectomy three years ago (and I didn’t say a word because I had a false understanding of what submission meant, that I couldn’t disagree with him) and ever since I have regretted it and sought the Lord for His counsel. Throughout these years, I have silently (well, mostly) studied the Scriptures and prayed that God would change my husband’s heart and that He would teach me to biblically submit and be content with the three blessings we currently have. By the grace of God, my husband was recently convicted that he needs to have it reversed because he was trying to “play God” as he now puts it. God brought a godly older couple into our lives who shared their testimony of how God convicted them that He made her body the way it should be and children are a blessing, and not a curse as our society believes. God did not give this couple any more children but they were obedient in making her womb whole again. My husband and I agree, that even though we desire more children, if God chooses not to bless us, at least we are being obedient to Him. I highly recommend reading the book “The Full Quiver.” They do an excellent job of answering a lot of questions regarding what God says about the womb directly from the Bible. *specifically that it is God who opens and closes the womb and He will never give us more than we can handle if we trust Him. My favorite quote from the book is “If He is not Lord of all, can He be Lord at all?” In regards to having a vasectomy, there has been a lot more study done on the effects and they are not good health-wise. Please take the time to visit this website and look around http://www.painaftervasectomy.org Please prayerfully postpone this decision until you have fully researched the Scriptures AND the many studies done. (Just in case you don’t look, one of the possible side effects, “After vasectomy, sperm often leak from the vasectomy site or from a rupture in the epididymis. Sperm have very strong antigenic qualities – the immune system views sperm as foreign agents and attacks them. Sperm leakage provokes an inflammatory reaction. The body forms pockets to trap the sperm in scar tissue and inflammatory cells. Firm balls of tissue (sperm granulomas) about one-half inch in diameter then form in about 60% of vasectomy patients.” Sorry to be so graphic but this is just one of the many side effects that the doctors are not informing their patients.) Another resource: Steve & Teri Maxwell’s website sharing their testimony. http://www.titus2.com/corners/7-00-d.htm

        Praying for you and your husband!!

  9. Joy H says:

    I love what Natalie (1st comment) wrote. I, too, pray for my children & dh when doing their laundry. It makes me look forward to it!

    Great post!

  10. Sarah Coller says:

    I’m so thankful our Father doesn’t gripe and moan like I do while He is busy restoring order in my life over and over!! Thanks for this reminding conviction!

    Sarah

  11. I love order. the problem is that my husband and sons do not seem to care…

  12. Jenny says:

    “Don’t be discouraged believing that the mundane is unimportant rather than embracing the privilege of being the one to whom it has been given to assist our God in restoring beauty, harmony and life into our homes, like He is doing in us.” I love this Kelly! This goes right along with my ebook! 🙂

  13. Heather says:

    In response to your husband being done. We were in that situation about 9 years ago. My husband wanted and was being encouraged to get a vasectomy I begged him not to and asked him if we could revisit it in a year. I unexpectedly became pregnant and lost that baby, and at first we both just thought that “oh we can try again”. 5 years later and 3 miscarriages later we were finally blessed with another baby to hold and to love. God used that time in our lives to change my husbands heart to want to include all the children that God has for us. It was not easy and it was a long process but ultimately God did the changing and used the loss of our babies to do it. He is so thankful now that I asked him to wait.

    As I was writing this my husband interested in what I was doing wanted to let your husband know that this scripture brought him to an understanding that his life is not his own and to serve God as a husband and a father. Deuteronomy 4:8–10

    We now have 6 children ages 1 – 18. I am thankful that my husband did wait. I am thankful that your willingness to submit is of greatest importance. I hope and pray that God will give you peace in your current situation.

    I know that this has nothing to do with the original post which was encouraging but I just wanted to share that there are others who have been in this situation. Blessings!

  14. Keri says:

    I began to realize as I was doing housework that my response to
    it was going to have an impact on my kids. Does my mom like making us dinner, doing laundry, schooling us, dusting? You know..doing all those things that are SO boring and over and over.My kids have always helped me with chores and housework but as they have gotten older and three work outside the home they are not able to do as much and I was finding myself grumbling because I felt like a maid.My oldest daughter came home from work one day telling me about her boss(who she was very impressed with).Sweet Christian Woman who was vibrant and seemed to have it all together.I asked her if she thought what I did was boring and I realized..if I act like this is all a burden..is she going to want to do this someday when she gets married and has a home to keep.She works with kids and wants to be home with her kids someday but if she sees me grumbling all the time about all I have to do, will she be joyful when she has to do it.So, I have started smiling alot more..not to be fake but to show them that yes..we have to do all this to have order and clean clothes but I want them to remember that I smiled about it also..Don’t know why it took me so long to figure that out but I know my time is limited with my older three in their 20’s now and with one son close to getting married..I would say to all young moms..if you could learn from my mistakes..lol…be joyful more and smile alot because the time goes so fast! I still have a 16 yr.old and 13yr. old to keep practicing on for a while..

  15. Thankful for His Grace says:

    I too have been looking a lot this past year about what God expects of His women in regards to the home. I was not a “neat” person growing up (actually I had NO domestic skills). Ever since God saved me and has turned my heart toward my husband, children and home, I REJOICE in doing those everyday things that make a house a home. Just these past two weeks, I have devoured a few Homeschool Organization books and am excited to put into action some of the ideas. While our home is and never will be perfect, at least we are getting rid of the clutter and getting more organized. 🙂 And the children LOVE helping!! I’d like to say a huge AMEN to Keri’s “be joyful more and smile alot”!!!! Just smiling more has completely changed the environment in our home…my husband recently told me that it feels like we’re dating again – after 11 years of marriage! ;D Thank you, Kelly, for taking the time to encourage us!

    How is the house coming? Are there any needs that we, as the body of Christ, can help with? Would appreciate an update on the Lee’s also if you have the time. I also have been thinking a lot about the lady who’s husband and son went to be with the Lord through a vehicle crash the day after he shared with her that he wanted “to have sweet babies with me.” Any update on their family, needs, etc? I’ll continue to lift all of you in prayer!

    • Word Warrior says:

      Thankful,

      Thank you for your sincere inquiry. I was thinking an update would be timely so I may try to post that in the next week. I think the Lees are doing well–they are sincerely the sweetest family I know, yet struggling, as anyone might imagine. They stay super busy with lots of decisions to be made and are not yet in a permanent housing situation–probably the hardest thing considering the grief they are dealing with. I don’t want to step over any breach of confidence with my dear friends, but you can visit their blog at A Baker’s Dozen Barnhouse News

      • Thankful for His Grace says:

        Thank you, I visited their blog and will continue to lift them in prayer and check back often for any practical needs we can help with. What a powerful testimony your families have given of God’s goodness through this trial!

  16. Karen says:

    I love this post about busy moms. I’m not a mom but I dream of being able to stay at home and be a full time homemaker. I work so much and I don’t get to do all the things I want to do at home. My husband helps me a lot and it makes me like a failure sometimes because he shouldn’t have to do housework. I want to do it “for” him. Lately I’ve been thinking of us selling our home and scaling down so that maybe I can stay home and take care of my husband and our home and help more with my elderly mother. That’s what I crave, wish for, desire, pray for – to fulfill my role as my husband’s helpmate. I am on the other side of the equation. I’d love to have the opportunity to relish the mundaneness of the repetition of housework. I’ll get there someday. Love your blog.

  17. Kristen says:

    I have learned to mop the floor after the children have gone to bed. Then it has a whole 10 hours to be clean before it’s dirty again. It’s a mental thing with me. lol. For me, housework is more about cleanliness (as in no grossness in the bathroom, floors swept, etc.) than about toys laying around,etc. There will always be toys and mess, but as long as what’s under the mess is clean, I’m happy.

  18. Cheri says:

    Great post and comments! Thank you all for the words of encouragement 🙂

  19. […] finding glory in the mundane, and exercising self-control over our time are all needful to busy mothers for one important […]

  20. Cassandra says:

    This message was so timely for me. Like Keri mentioned in her post, I am realizing that I want my children to see me being thankful and not grumbling and complaining. I want my daughter to want to be a stay at home wife/mom and I want my son to desire for his future wife to do the same. I also want my husband to really see that I am so very thankful to be home with my babies.We are in a similar situation to some others that commented. I strongly desire more children and my husband says he is open to where God will lead him, but that he isn’t sure he wants more. Mostly, he is concerned about how he will support more children financially. We have talked repeatedly about how God provides, and I do understand that our budget is often tight. However, I KNOW that God provides and this desire just won’t leave me. I just feel like someone is missing from our family. I am leaving it in God’s hands and I keep praying that God will change my husband’s heart, show my husband the right path, and that God will bless me with favor with my husband. We could definitely use all the prayer we can get!This is the first time we’ve been on different sides of the fence on such an important issue in our marriage.

  21. Erin says:

    I want to repost this on my blog. I have posted this before, but it is such an encouragement to me that I needed to read it again and remind others. Thanks, Kelly!

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