Thursday, March 3, 2005

The Gears are Turning Ever On..

Let me just start by saying that I don't believe in coincidences. Things happen for a reason. God has put an order to all things. Be aware that if a theme keeps coming to your attention, time after time, from seemingly random sources, you should take notice.

I have a little circle of blogs that I read every day or two. They are written by many different people in very diverse situations. These people are from all walks of life, and multiple religious backgrounds. They are written by believers and non-believers, men and women (I will admit, mostly women), stay at home moms and self professed wild career girls. If all of these people were together in the same room, it would make for one interesting conversation.

But in the past few weeks, there has been one common thread in their posts; housekeeping and the role it plays in our lives. Some struggle with the fact that they do not have the traditional skills to keep house the way that they would like. Some talk about their mothers style of housekeeping as slavery and thank their lucky stars that they don't have to do dishes or sweep floors on a regular basis. Some are young women longing for instructions on how to be a "good wife and mother" because they don't have the role model that they desire.

I've read men bemoaning the fact that women (meaning their wives) "just don't want to do their jobs anymore", and it leaves them stuck doing the dishes and caring for children. Couples who can't decide on a fair way to divide the chores. And one teenager who says that "...if my Mom thinks I'm learning to do laundry she's crazy. What does she think they have drycleaners for? Chores are so old-fashioned."

Now, that's a lot of discussion on one topic from lots of sources, and all of these posts have turned up in the last two weeks or less. I think there is a message here. Something needs to be done, even if it is only in my little corner of the world. I have no doubt that God is trying to show me the importance of my choices when it comes to my family and my home.

I had a very non-traditional upbringing. I guess I should say non-traditional for the time, because the way I was raised seems to be the norm nowadays. My parents were young (too young, 19) when they met and got pregnant with me. They married a few months before I was born and attempted to raise a child while they themselves were trying to grow up. My Dad joined the army reserves and Army Corps of Engineers to attempt to support his family (having no high school diploma). My Mom was still the party girl, and did not relish her new role as wife and mother. Still, they tried to make a go of it and a few years later they were blessed with another daughter. But things were very rocky, and after 7 years and many betrayals on both sides, they divorced.

This left all of us alone. My father, who had never been alone, immediately remarried (within 6 months) to a woman who was herself newly divorced and had three children of her own to care for. My mother picked up her party lifestyle and when she wasn't partying, she was working. My sister and I were trucked from baby-sitter to family member, never really having a stable environment. We led a nomadic existence.

Any knowledge that I have about keeping house and the duties of a wife and mother comes from two sources, my step-mother and books. My step-mother was not of the evil variety that you read about, and in fact was the one who introduced me to Christianity, but she also tended to favor her own children (which I am sure is very hard not to do) and so on the weekends that we spent in her care, many of the least-liked household tasks fell to my sister and I. My sister, who is almost an exact copy of my Mom, did not bring much away from these tasks except resentment. But I find, even today, that the way I was taught to do things then, is the same way that I do them now, right down to the "correct" direction to fold towels :)

For the most part though, I turned to books. Ah, books! My great escape! I started to pick up old household manuals and etiquette books in thrift shops in my teens. I loved anything that helped portray to me that picture of home and hearth that I felt was lacking in my own life. I loved "Little Women" and "Anne of Green Gables" for their depictions of the togetherness and family life that I longed for. But, strangely enough, I had no desire to be a wife and mother (or so I thought). I felt that my past left me ill-equipped to be the kind of woman that I needed to be, in order to help and not harm any husband or children that God would put in my care. And my family and environs certainly did not discourage me in my feelings.

But as you all know, God makes his plans, and ours do not signify. There was a reason that the Lord put that love of housewifely knowledge in me. All of those books that God sent my way were preparing me for what lay ahead. A home, a husband, and a family lay in the future that He had set aside for me.

I'll admit that it was (and is) not as easy a decision to come to as I make it sound. I've had many doubts along the way, many dark days. But I try to remember my original conviction that God sent me here to be a godly mother and wife, and to raise my daughter and any future children (God willing!)to be the same. I remind myself to take joy in all of those never-ending, repetitive tasks, because I am where God wants me to be.

I guess my point is (and if you have stayed with me throughout this endless autobiography, you do deserve a point) that to my mind, God is moving in us to make the importance of family and tradition known. Would so many different people be bringing it up if it wasn't so?

Share what you know, spread your values. Make your children wash the dishes, but make it about more than getting the chores done. Encourage other women in their own struggles with daily life, and take strength in the knowledge that we are all working and struggling. Find a reason to be joyful, even though you feel worn down and tired. If you feel that the ideals of a God-loving traditional family are important, then do your part to spread the sunshine!

You never know who God may have sent to see you and be inspired by you!


thicket dweller said...

This is absolutely beautiful and very inspiring. Thank you so much, HH, for taking the time to share your thoughts. It was such a breath of fresh air. It will help to keep me sustained today.

tonia/sparrow said...

I'm in 100% agreement with your point. In fact, that is exactly what I have come to feel God has "called" me to. Making a home in a crazy world, and sharing it with others. The pays not so good, but the eternal benefits are the best! Thanks for summing it all up for us!

Hannah Im said...

It was good to hear you share your heart. God bless your home.

impromptu-mom said...

I just wanted to thank you all for your kind comments. It makes me feel happy to know that I may have helped in any way.