Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Domestic bliss

I've long been wondering how other people do it.

When I stayed home all day with my kids, day after day, I was overwhelmed and lonely for lack of adult companionship.

When I had kids who could talk and learn, I was so busy schooling them that I had to schedule myself into infinity just to get the laundry done and make dinner on the same day that I taught school.

When the kids were old enough to be productive, I managed that I could actually ask them to do some things and do school in the same day.  There were still schedules into infinity.  I also thought they could take classes and do more things.

As they got older, I reckoned I could do some form of something outside the home that actually held me accountable to a schedule, such as teaching a class every Wednesday morning or something.

And then the ability to get things done outside the home is like a lure for which their is no fish.  Because I am the fish, and I seem to bite at every lure.

And then I am reminded how just less than two decades ago, a full day included making my bed and taking care of one child and sometimes getting dinner on.

And I wonder at it all.

Where is the domestic balance?  How much outside of the home activity is truly productive? and how much is counter-productive?  And what is the optimal for the current stage of life that I'm in?

I don't know about you (because everyone is wired differently on these issues) but if I do not get out of the house often enough,  I start to go a little looney.  I love people.  I'm an extrovert.  And I love exercising with people.  It charges me up.  I also love teaching.

But I am also learning that if  too much of what I have going on is outside the home and away from my family  that I have a huge sense of guilt, uneasiness and lack of self-esteem because of the condition of my home and family.  I believe that sense of nurturing the family and caring for the home is God-given and is not something I want to just ignore.  In fact, I am starting to see that caring for my family refreshes my soul also.   It is just the opposite of what the world wants you to hear.

If we think we are doing our families a disservice by not providing an income (even when times are tight), think again.   A well-cared for man has twice the capacity for earning than a man who is troubled by home issues.  When times are tough, it is even more important to nurture the husband and children.  I would rather have less money and more harmony any day.  A poor (but harmonious)  family can sit quietly by candlelight and enjoy each other's company rather than a wealthy family who is so fragmented and lavishly indulged.

 And if a leash is a tad longer for those of us who have been doing it for twenty years, remember that the tether that holds us close to home is the tether that protects us also. Once the length of my leash increased, I noticed that I had to work a lot harder to stay protected and godly.  I had to be purposeful in my interactions with others.  I have made plenty of mistakes, but I am learning.

So, today I have a sick child.  My plans have changed, but it is not a bad thing.  I can love on that child and refresh my own soul in the process.  And I know that is all in God's plan for today. 


Bernadette Veenstra said...

Right now I rather over committed with all the pots I have my fingers in. I get more done when I have more to do. I always have. But these days I cherish the quiet days too. Next year I will be revamping my commitments, so I am more available for Brian. But I also am going to keep going to my Bible study, so that I have a couple hours every week for my own feeding, and adult interaction. I think there needs to be balance just like you said. Well put!

sara said...

People's strengths and weaknesses and what motivates them or wears them out are all so different. I like the variety I see in people.

I'm an introvert. I don't mean that I'm shy or nervous around people - I like people, I like good conversation, but it makes me tired and I need to recharge often. I'm also very bad at small talk - I try, but it comes out sort of stilted.

Anyway, I guess I'm a natural homebody.

Lisa said...

Awesome Post. Just what I needed to read today. Thanks!


Kathi said...

Amen, sister!

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Very, very timely.


Mrs. Parunak said...

Good thoughts! I'm an introvert and a natural homebody, but I still have to think about this one because there are so many GOOD things to schedule into my day and my children's day. It is a constant balancing act.