Before I became a homemaker, I had wonderful visions of how lovely this life would be! Plans to become a most delightful housewife who drew out the best in everything!
I’d cook perfect dinners. Keep a spotless kitchen. Mop the floors twice a day. Gracefully greet my husband at the door every evening. And our children? Those little angels would be perfectly behaved. If they had any savagery in them, it was only revealed in the great outdoors!
Ok, ok! Maybe I wasn’t quite that idealistic…but most of us had our unknown expectations, right?!
THE HOMEMAKER’S UNIQUE CHALLENGE
While there are moments of such serenity in the home, daily life rarely consists of such order and bliss.
I think of the workload that can’t be left “at the office.” The unvarying tasks that must be completed day after day. And there’s the runny-nosed, dirty-faced little gremlins (whom you dearly love) coming behind you, undoing everything you’ve accomplished.
Being a homemaker is often discouraging. No one hands you a pay cheque at the end of the month. There’s no critique or feedback on your performance. It’s easy to let poor habits slip in, almost unnoticed. And it’s difficult to remain focused, disciplined, to live with purpose.
On top of these things, we also deal with the normal stuff.
Worry. Loneliness. Health issues. Stressful relationships. Discouragement. Fear.
RECOGNIZING THE DRAIN
While the homemaker position looks ideal (and simple), it’s like every other occupation in life. It comes with it’s own unique set of challenges.
No, the home isn’t incapable of draining us.
Ever find yourself crying, without knowing why? Had one tiny thing go wrong that made you explode? Maybe you’ve stopped feeling altogether?
These things often indicate that your “drain” is high. Life has become too much about meeting needs and not enough about caring for yourself. At this point, we need to begin implementing times of refreshing (part 2) to help counter-balance our emptiness, to refill our emotional energy reserves.
Remember the paper I had you fill out? The one where you recorded a list of things that re-charged and re-filled you?
Pull it out sister, ’cause it’s time to fill in the right side of the paper!
Using the same category structure, we’ll list things that are currently draining you. Afterward, we will consider if we can better manage these issues.
NAMING THE DRAIN
HOME: based on your home as it is right now, what drains you the most? Makes you want to hide? Binge? Leave?
A stack of dirty dishes? Clutter? Smelly diapers in the bathroom garbage? Thinking up another meal for supper? Maybe you feel behind on everything! Name them and write ’em down in the ‘drain’ column.
RELATIONAL: how’s your relational corner doing?
Are you lonely? Lacking real friendship? Had too much socialization? Maybe there’s tension in your marriage? Between you and a child? A friend? Perhaps God seems distant. Even uninterested in your life or circumstance? Record these as well.
PERSONAL: delve into your own uniqueness!
What are the little things that suck life from you? Is it being housebound for too long? A lack of exercise? Too much screen time? Feeling frumpy or overweight? Poorly managed time? Living without goals or a vision? Immature reactions to life’s challenges? Name them and claim ’em, friend!
WATCH FOR A THEME
Consider your ‘drains’ over the next few days. Add to the list, if needed. And watch for a theme to emerge!
Wanna know what mine was? A lack of structure! As I did this exercise, it became quite evident that at the root of many issues lay my own idleness and poor time management. Being alone much of the day, I had slipped into unhealthy patterns of operating. It was hindering my spiritual, social, emotional and physical well being.
I saw that in order to live with purpose, I needed change. It was time to pull up my socks and slowly begin implementing new patterns at a speed I could maintain.
BUT…YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND
Some of you may be thinking:
“But you don’t understand my situation, Autumn. I CAN’T control some of my key draining factors!”
“What! What did you say? I cannot hear over the voices of my 4 children! Wait a moment…my little guy just peed on the floor again. Can someone find his diaper?! I’ll be right back…!”
“I’m so broken inside that grief and emptiness somehow feel right, are validation of what I’m currently going through.”
I don’t know your current situation. And I recognize I haven’t experienced everything life has put you through.
ADDRESSING THE DRAIN
But I know this: everyone has things in life that are beyond their control. Everyone! Think location. Work situation. Home. Relationships. Poor choices. Health issues. Past history. Children. Finances.
Those who can’t change the key draining factors in their lives? We can partially address the drain by acknowledging the difficulty, then choose to dwelling on what we do have. And together, we can implement things into our lives that fill us, as outlined in part 2. No, these fillers won’t override the drain, but it will help us maintain our sanity!
To the one who is grieving? Embrace what you have lost! Enter in and don’t turn away. It matters. And when (over time) gentle healing comes to soothe the wounds, rise to embrace her. Let her lead you to a place of accepting your reality, of learning how to live with the loss.
When it comes to the things we can change? Let’s move out of our homemaker slump. It’s time to begin developing new patterns and habits!
In part 4 we’ll begin delving into simple life habits that will help us lead more satisfying personal lives.