by Mary Segers
Stressor #3: Finding the Time & Energy for Housework
How/Why It Stresses You
Our homes are a direct reflection of us
Like it or not, women’s movement or not, that’s the way it is and will be for the unforeseeable future.
We women are much more likely to cringe in embarrassment when company comes over and the house is a mess. For the most part men just don’t care.
Most people LIKE a clean house
While most may not particularly care for the PROCESS of getting a clean house, we really like the outcome of it.
This is actually one of the top complaints I hear from women—that they’d like the house to be cleaner. It just makes them feel more womanly and successful in that role. They simply have trouble finding the time and energy for housework.
Here I want to add some hope; even when you don’t have time you can ensure it gets done by delegating tasks to someone else.
While the Bible does not actually say that cleanliness is next to Godliness, it is still important to God
It just makes good common sense that part of our duties as Christians is to take care of our families, our houses, and our responsibilities in general.
That means our homes should be a clean home for those He’s entrusted to us . . . our spouse and children . . . and we should make sure they are fed good nutritious meals. Not only that, but . . . you can call me old-fashioned if you want to (and the Bible) . . . but—according to the Word of God—it is the woman’s responsibility to make sure the household stuff gets done. I’m not saying she can’t delegate things to others as I mentioned a moment ago, but the final responsibility of making sure things are taken care of is hers. Just as the final responsibility for supporting the family is the husband’s.
Do I have scriptures to back that up? Well, of course I do. Read on.
Stressor #3: Scriptures
I would highly encourage you to read each of the following scriptures from 2 perspectives blended into one. First, from the perspective of the God–ordained role of a Mother . . . whether married or single. Second, look at each from the perspective of parenting in today’s world.
For instance, Proverbs 31:27 mentions the bread of idleness. I know the Bible mentions some things that were common back then but I sure can imagine the modern day “bread of idleness.” Let’s see: Facebook, TV, talking on the phone, shopping, and on and on.
While those things aren’t bad in and of themselves, if they are being done over taking care of the family responsibilities, then they are falling into the category of “bread of idleness” in my opinion.
Be honest . . . if you complain you don’t have time to clean house but you do have time to keep up with Facebook or your favorite shows then it’s not that you don’t have time you’re just spending it poorly in God’s eyes.
Remember, also, that we are witnesses in every aspect of our lives. If we claim to be godly people and yet we live like slobs, then how does our “testimony” look to others?
In that light laziness could be considered part of the “obstruction” in 2 Corinthians 6:3 that we’re to abstain from. And laziness would certainly be part of the “evil” mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 5:22.
So, remember to look at these verses from those 2 perspectives: (1) Role of a person in charge of managing a family (a Mom) in (2) Today’s world.
Proverbs 24:3—Through skillful and godly wisdom is a house (a life, a home, a family) built, and by understanding it is established [on a sound and good foundation],
Proverbs 14:1—Every wise woman builds her house, but the foolish one tears it down with her own hands.
Proverbs 31:27—She looks well to how things go in her household, and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat.
Titus 2:4—So that they will wisely train the young women to be sane and sober of mind (temperate, disciplined) and to love their husbands and their children,
Titus 2:5—To be self-controlled, chaste, homemakers, good-natured (kindhearted), adapting and subordinating themselves to their husbands, that the word of God may not be exposed to reproach (blasphemed or discredited).
Titus 2:7—And show your own self in all respects to be a pattern and a model of good deeds and works, teaching what is unadulterated, showing gravity [having the strictest regard for truth and purity of motive], with dignity and seriousness.
1Timothy 5:14—So I would have younger [widows] marry, bear children, guide the household, [and] not give opponents of the faith occasion for slander or reproach.
2Corinthians 6:3—We put no obstruction in anybody’s way [we give no offense in anything], so that no fault may be found and [our] ministry blamed and discredited.
1Thessalonians 5:22—Abstain from evil [shrink from it and keep aloof from it] in whatever form or whatever kind it may be.
Colossians 3:23—Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men,
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary says that “Failures in duties greatly reproach Christianity.”
Solutions to Finding Time and Energy for Housework
Learn Jeff Campbell’s speed cleaning techniques
I bought one of his books many years ago at a yard sale and made half–hearted attempts to follow it from time to time. But, the kids handled the day-to-day chores and while they did do a few things on Saturdays, I handled the lion’s share of Saturday’s deep cleaning while they went off and did their own thing . . . usually with their other parent or their friends.
I really enjoyed cranking up the (admittedly at that time secular) music and because I enjoyed it I didn’t really actively try to put speed cleaning into place until somewhat recently.
Anyway, his techniques are awesome and thorough. You’ll have a cleaner house in far less time than you could ever dream possible.
As mentioned, the kids handled the lion’s share of the daily chores. This was not an “If they felt like it thing.” This was not a “If they had time thing.” I worked more than full-time plus was full–time mom and dad.
And, honestly, they are better adults because of being raised with responsibilities.
Have reasonable standards
In my “Time Management and Kids” program I go into great detail about how when you’re dealing with kids you have to strike a delicate balance between lowering your standards just a touch while still expecting their best . . . as well as how to get them to do it to begin with.
Stressor #3: Solutions Continued
This is Oatmeal and he’s Corn Pop’s little brother (the kid baking the biscuits and grating the cheese). This kid loves, loves, loves to clean. His whole goal in learning to crawl was to get to the broom.
Even as a crawler if his mom spilled something on the floor, he was just delighted if she would drop a towel and he’d scoot around and clean it up.
In this picture he was all of 3 years–old and he loved to vacuum for me.
At the tender age of 6 years–old his mom and I were fighting over who could have him on Saturdays for weekly cleaning—she won.
One day we were in Sam’s club and she was debating over buying the Swiffer pads combo with the cleaner and she—almost to herself—mused “I just need to teach him to use the mop and bucket.” I laughed so hard and said, “You realize you’re talking about a 6 year–old.” She replied that . . . much as she hated to admit it . . . the only time it got done was when he did it.
The garbage bags in the picture were the result of another 3 year–old. Harm and I clean the Church bathrooms on Wednesdays so they’re nice and clean for services that evening. We’ve done it since about 2009.
The Church secretary’s daughter loved to help us and would actually do a pretty good job. During the summers Harm would go to the Boy’s and Girl’s Club so she wouldn’t be able to help me. The summer this little girl was 3 when I would come in she just automatically started doing what she could to help and I’d come out of one of the restrooms to see she’d been busy (as you can see).
I never once asked her to help I just let her. She would get a disinfectant wipe and wipe down walls and sinks.
Kids will help with all kinds of stuff if you’ll let them.
Life Application For Finding Time and Energy for Housework
Get one of Jeff Campbell’s books
Last time I checked he has several. He also has an email list and you can sign up for tips and tricks. His method works. But remember, practice makes perfect. Keep trying and you’ll get it.
Figure out what your kids can do. Hint: It’s probably much more than you think. Also, back in the day men worked outside in the “back forty” while the women kept house. But, since the back forty has shrunk, spouses can help too . . . especially if you work outside the home too.
This does not contradict what I said earlier about the final responsibility resting on you. It does. As mentioned previously you can ensure it gets done BY delegating it to someone else.
Have reasonable standards
If you expect everyone to do things just the way you do then you’re in for a big disappointment. I used to really struggle with this but, you know, I just re–do things behind their back if I really can’t stand it the way it is. For instance, Oatmeal, again at 3 years-old, loved to help fold clothes. He’s an awesome helper and I just straighten them up.
Let the kids and spouse help.
If you want more excerpts simply go to the main page titled Focus on Feeling Blessed and on that page you’ll find a list of links to more excerpts as I post them or just go ahead and buy my book on Amazon.