May 13, 2009

Managing The Home Front

When friends enter a home they sense its personality and character, the family’s style of living—these elements make a house come alive with a sense of identity, a sense of energy, enthusiasm, and warmth, declaring, this is who we are; this is how we live. (Ralph Lauren)

Running a household is no piece of cake. When I think about the tasks that generally fall on a woman’s shoulders, I sometimes want to scream, “Time out!” Why am I the one who is in charge of the laundry, the bills, the dinner, the housecleaning, the grocery shopping, and the kids’ activities? Of course, your responsibilities may not be exactly the same as mine. Every couple’s situation is different, which means the division of household responsibilities may be different. We each come into marriage with our own preconceived ideas about the duties of a husband and a wife. We also have different levels of responsibility outside the home.

There’s no right or wrong way to figure out who does what. The important thing is for you and your husband to have a mutual understanding of one another’s roles as you work through the responsibilities of your household together. At a time when you’re both relaxed and comfortable, prayerfully discuss what a healthy balance of responsibilities would be in your home. Decide what each of you can do to support your marriage and the proper running of your household. Work together to divide the load as best you can.

Both of you will have to compromise. Even so, the way the tasks break down between the two of you may not seem completely fair. As a positive wife, be willing to take on more than your fair share. Here’s why: No spouse sees the entire weight of the workload that the other spouse carries during the day. If you’re going to err, err on the side of giving, not getting. Be faithful to keep up with your responsibilities and do your part to make the household run smoothly without focusing on what your husband is or isn’t doing.

If your husband is the sole breadwinner in the family, you can take on the major part of managing the home front. He can be more effective in his job if he’s supported by a well-run home. Part of your role is understanding the struggles your husband may face in a typical day and recognizing that he may be coming home tired and weary. Perhaps he had to deal with a challenging situation or a difficult person at work; maybe he had to drive through an hour of bumper-to-bumper traffic.
When he walks in the door, the last thing he needs is to be hit with a list of chores or a litany of complaints. (You can tell him your gripes and concerns later. Maybe they won’t seem so important to you by the.) Instead, great him with a smile and a hug and help him to feel glad to be there.
If both of you are employed, you’ll have to work harder to find a healthy balance between you. Consider each other’s time and workload expended outside the home. Look for solutions to make your life together less stressful. If possible, pay someone else to do a chore, so that your time and energy can go into activities that you need to do yourself.

For years I cleaned my own house; but when I had heart surgery, I started paying a maid to do what she does best, so I can do what I do best (be stress free). I also cook dinner every night of the week except for Fridays, and Saturdays.

I finally realized that my responsibility is to provide a dinner for my family, whether I cook it or not. Sometimes takeout from a local restaurant works just as well as home cooking (and tastes a whole lot better). Consider the cost; look for coupons and children eat for free days; but pay for help when you can.

When dividing domestic tasks, take into account the unique gifts, abilities, and talents each of you possesses. In my family, Donovan does the gardening, lawn maintenance, and decorating the outside of the house house. On the other hand, I do laundry and handle household maintenance.

After the two of you have determined what is right, reasonable, and fair for both of you to do around the house, set in your mind that you will always do more than your fair share. Don’t grumble, nag, or complain (how unbecoming of a positive wife!). Instead, move forward prayerfully and cheerfully in God’s strength. The blessing of a well-run home will be your reward.
Getting Organized: On my bookshelf I probably have 10 books telling me how to schedule my days, organize my household, and get a handle on housekeeping. Each book is packed full of wonderful, creative ways to use my time wisely and keep my home in tip-top shape. Unfortunately, most of the books could have the same subtitle: Thousands of Great Ideas That Nobody Actually Puts into Practice.
I don’t want to overwhelm you with a myriad of ideas. I just want to share a few solid, practical tips that can make a lasting difference in our homes and in our lives.

Organizing Stuff: Even a naturally messy person like me can learn to maintain a neat and tidy environment. How? By following these three simple steps.
1. Remember the adage “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” When you know where a certain item belongs, it’s easier to return it to its place. Think of yourself as a placement expert, getting all the lost articles in your house to their proper homes. You can even have a location for all the items that you want to deal with later—just make sure you also choose a time each week to eliminate the junk pile. which leads me to my next point.

2. Designate a time to kill piles and annihilate clutter. Set a specific time each week for dealing with outstanding piles and help yourself by being clutter conscious throughout the week. Stuff can pile up so quickly! Mail is one of the biggies. When the mail arrives, stand by a trash can and go through it. Throw away junk mail and things you know you will never read. Then place place bills in their proper place and read the letters you need to see right away.
Make it a nightly routine to clear the kitchen table and counter tops of excess stuff and put utensils and appliances in order. You’ll go to be feeling you’ve accomplished something, and you’ll wake up to a clean kitchen. It’s the best way to start the day!

3. Create a personal game plan for cleaning the house. You may choose to clean half the house one day and the other half another day. Or maybe you’d rather clean the bathrooms one day, the bedrooms on a second day, and the kitchen and living room on a third. Laundry can also be done by routine. I usually do my husband’s laundry on Monday, mine on Tuesday, and my daughters’ on Wednesday and Thursday.
author for tips: unknown


Fran said...

Will be revisiting this particular post often from now on.

Relocated to join my husband in the UAE and looking for work; with my husband being the full time breadwinner; I find myself as a temporary housewife.

This is something I'm good at sometimes and pretty bad at when I have my low moments esp because I'm not really used to sit all day and do nothing. My hubby sometimes can't understand why certain things are not done and in place and it's difficult to explain as I always seem tired and unfocused sometimes even though I have so much time on my hands.

I keep praying and hoping to get a job and believe I will be more defined with my homefront then.

Anyway, will pick up on your 3 steps and see how it goes.

Cheers, Fran.

Lady A said...

@Fran. Same here! I was a full time housewife for a little over 7yrs. Hubsand could not understand why certain things weren't done around the house. This is what I did. I got to the obvious household things first. So when he walks in the house, he smelt dinner, floors were cleaned, couches available to sit on, all surfaces clean. With 3 kids, I have to have a routinue and set an example for them. Not easy and there are days when it looks a hurricane ran through. That's when I ask God for more of His grace and ideas in housekeeping.

Soon2bMrs said...

Great post. It will definitely come in handy for when I'm married. I often worry about this and how I will manage everything AND maintain my very busy full time job. I guess it's about being organised and having a routine. I'm trying to do it now especially the cooking everyday, even if it's only me I am cooking for and cleaning the apartment without fail, so I get used to doing it.

Lady A said...

@S2BMrs, you will be FINE! If you can handle the work place, then you can handle home. It may take you time to figure out the right routine, but you will get it. I don't cook everyday for my household. M-Th I cook and Fridays is take out or hubby will cook (which is usually hot dogs n fries). Sunday I might cook. Lol, remember to delegate too. Happy for you dear!