Thursday, January 27, 2011

Suzie Homemaker and Me

My dear cousin, Emily and I were talking earlier today about a lot of different things, but one that really has struck a chord with me is my attitude as a homemaker (or domestic engineer, if you prefer that term) towards my husband.  It seems like there's this idea that was impressed upon us in some way that we ought to make our home (and ourselves) the best version of ourselves before our husbands come home.  Things like putting on a dress, pulling off your apron, having a home-cooked meal waiting, and freshening up make-up, come to mind for me.  Emily said she was once advised to light a candle or two and set mood music for her husband before he arrived home.

However, most days I'm doing good if the kids and I are all out of our pj's by the time Jesse walks through the door for lunch.  I often feel inadequate and wonder if he'll even notice that I did 3 loads of laundry (as he walks through the separated dirty clothes that still lie all over the floor in piles), taught my son how to write the letter I, broke up three arguements and actually helped the kids clean-up 2 disasters that they created (when it still looks like WWIII happened in the playroom).

And then there's a part of me that wants to say, "Wait a minute.  Why should I listen to my grandmother's advice to welcome my husband home with relaxing comfort, when I've been working just as hard trying to manage three kids, clean-up, think about food, and be my baby's personal milk barn?" And most of the time, that's the attitude I take.  "Oh good, you're home! Here, hold the baby while I wipe a nose or stir dinner." I mean, why should Jesse have a break that I'm not getting?

Time for conviction. It often happens as I talk things through with Emily that I am able to realize my own wrong attitudes and a need for change.  (She's kind enough to lend a listening ear as I work through what Jesus is trying to say to me.) Yes, I do work hard, but I do have the best job on the face of the earth--being at home with my wonderfully amazing, often hilarious kids.  And it's his job (that I would never-ever want to have to do), his working hard at it, that allows me the ability to stay at home (most of the time) with my kids.  For that, I should be appreciative. And because of the fact that he is working a job that does not allow him to be around the people he loves best all day long, I should make his return to those people something to look forward to... not something to dread.  I can imagine he must have to psyche himself up to walk into the house: "Okay, as soon as I enter, she's going to ask me to change a dirty diaper.... be prepared, be prepared."  I wouldn't want that the second I walked in from a hard day's work... and although I know that there will still be many a day that I fail to make my home what my granny would think appropriate, I want to try harder to make it something she would approve of.

Interestingly enough, we're studying the letter I (Insects) this week. Our Bible concept is: "I am a wise child, so I work hard."  I want to be a wise child (of God) and work hard... work hard to make my husband enjoy his first few moments home (before I ask him to change a dirty diaper).  Because, well, I think the Bible says it best:

"And don't just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you'll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you're serving is Christ." -Colossians 3

So, with that in mind, Stay-at-Home-Moms (or Domestic Queens), how do you make your home a welcoming place for your husband after a day of work?

(He really is an awesome Papi and a great husband!)

(Note: Today we were going to wait on the porch to greet Papi, since the weather was agreeable.  He beat us home, but the kids were already planning on visiting the porch swing... so we went outside with Papi and the camera instead.  The only way I could get a great smile and laugh out of the kids was to have them say: "Stinky Papi!" *Sigh* What would Granny say?)


Michelle said...

You should have come to hear Angie's mom, Cheri Bauer, talk on Tuesday night! This was the very topic and she gave lots of great advice!

I try to be a good domestic engineer too and do things like preparing dinner and having it ready by the time my husband gets home. I'm good about keeping the house clean and picked up. However, something I have to really make an effort on is changing my attitude when I hear the garage door opening. I totally identified with what you said about dumping a kid on your husband as soon as he walks in the door. It's happened less as my boys get older and less of a demand. But he can usually tell by my face what kind of a day it's been and I've been working on changing that. I wouldn't want to come home to that after working a long hard day. Home is suppose to be a welcoming place of refuge and comfort. Not job #2. Thanks for your thoughts on this topic!

Emily B. said...

It's completely apparent to me that it is only God's grace that anything worthwhile, challenging or encouraging comes out of my lips. Especially amidst the jumble of my self-absorbed sharing and disjointed, half-baked thoughts.
I treasure our friendship, talks and time together. You are dear to me! God knows what a good gift He's given me in you.
I love this post; your thoughts, verses, sharing conviction and the pictures! Personally, in reflection, I think it was more the idea (candles and music, attitude and reception more importantly) I'd been given, that I should make efforts to make home a welcoming place for Philip to come home to.
I still have to remind myself not to bombard him with all I've accomplished with my day as well as rattling off the challenges to him... he doesn't do that to me. How wearisome that can be, right? He values what I am doing, and I am also thankful that he works outside the home to enable me to be at home with Evie. I would NOT want to trade.
Maybe it's the selfish and self-protective part of me (the perspective that the world endorses), that I pick that chip back up and put it on my shoulders... and feel things like these: see how much I do? how hard this is? it doesn't stop at 5pm! value me, validate my life, do more to help me, me, me!
Thanks for the perspective check, Bethany. All of that is seeking my glory, not God's. But, if I change my heart and remember that I am living to reflect God's faithfulness, then I will experience what is MOST fulfilling, as that is what I was created to do!
Besides those major players of perspective and attitude, more tangibly I try to prep Evie to receive daddy home with excitement. And it's been so good to see her learn to say caring things like, "How was your day, daddy?" and "We missed you today!" and then she'll tell him some of the highlights of our day. And in my turn I have a good opportunity to affirm the good things that she did that day by telling him how pleased I was that she... didn't argue or fuss about something, or that she took a good nap, etc. That seems to affirm her growth and share with him those little accomplishments that we have.
Hmm, maybe I need to do a blog entry in response to this topic, so much to say and think through!

Ali said...

Hi! I just found your blog and am very encouraged by it!! I'm gonna keep reading if you don't mind :) i have 3 little ones and one on the way too. I am also you use My Father's World? I do and love it!

Bethany said...

Welcome Ali! I'd love to have you stick around. Yes, we are using MFW and love it!