Friday, August 7, 2009

Homemaking Goals

Warning: This is a pretty long post, ladies, but I hope you will take the time to read it and repsonde with your own homemaking journeys, and your thoughts, even if you have to come back and read it in parts. I should have made it two parts, but blogger doesn't make it easy to just cut and paste half of your post to another post (or than I know of) so I'm leaving it long. I hope you'll be able to enjoy it!

Hello ladies! It has been quite the whirlwind week for me this past seven days, and not too much time available for extracurriculars, including blogging. Four times this past week I found myself doing dishes at 11 o’clock at night in order to stay on top of a clean kitchen, because our evenings had been so full. Today, Friday, has been busy as well, but it’s 3:30 now and I have the afternoon free, so I’m going to sit down, put some Waltons on in the background, and write this post I’ve been wanting to write for a while now.

I’ve been journaling and praying lately about being a better helper to my husband, and a large part of that is being a better home maker. I had a hard spring and there was a lot of emotional recovery that took mental energy away from my ability to focus on improving as a helper and homemaker. By God’s grace, however, I am refocusing on my #1 ministry/career goal as a Christian wife: being that “Titus 2” gal I feel the Lord encouraging me to be. I’ve been journaling and praying lately about being a better helper to my husband, and a large part of that is being a better home maker.

There are a number of ways I’ve been brainstorming about being a better helper, a better wife, to my husband, and many don’t relate specifically to housework, but I believe they affect by ability to be a better homemaker over all. I’d like to share some of those with you first, before i get into the details of the way the Lord is encouraging me to be a better housewife.

Be in the word daily. This is something that all Christians need to do to the best of their ability, and many of us struggle to do it. I hit a spiritually dry place in the first part of this year, and I am seeing more and more that John 15 is so crucial in our lives as Christians: we must abide in Christ, so that he can abide in us. And being in God’s word every day is a critical part of abiding with Christ. Being a better wife and homemaker is only an extension of being a better disciple of Christ, an important part of which is hearing from Him daily.

Pray for my husband. Oh ladies.. I am really humiliated to say how infrequently I pray specifically for Caleb. I have been convicted about this as of late and have spent more time going to the father praying specifically for my husband. Ladies, I am seeing more and more, by God’s grace, how HE is the only agent of change or blessing in this world, and if we want to see our husbands grow into Godly men, we need to be *praying* for them. And the more I pray for my husband, the more softened my heart is to being a better wife, and the more thankful I am for all the ways the Lord has blessed me in my marriage.

Watch my attitude and words. I would say that, as far as modern North American wives go, I probably score OK when it comes to being a supportive, encouraging wife. BUT- I’m still a human and self-interest can affect my attitude or words in a way that can convey disrespect to my husband or discontent with the life he has worked hard to provide for me. Neither sentiment is something, in my heart, that I want Caleb to ever feel.

Specifically, I’ve been praying to be more open to his timetable (eg when he says, “can we go to the bank and run some errands this afternoon” and I’d rather spend that time blogging or even doing a chore around the house, not making a face or sounding like I’m doing a fvor, but looking at it as an opportunity to serve and encourage him).
I’ve also been convicted to watch how I describe our home, our belongings, our income, etc. It is vey important for men to feel that they are doing a good job providing for their families, and if they are working hard to do so, ladies we want to encourage and build them up. Complaining or even making jokes about the amount of income you have, the size or location of your home, or the quality or quantity of your material goods is a sure way to make your husband feel as though you are not thankful for what he has worked hard to provide for you. I am trying to be especially careful about how I talk about these things in front of others. Take the post I did last wek about my shower. I started to discuss that with some people in our home, and I stopped myself and though, “how would that make caleb feel, me complaining about our home to people in front of him?” and I changed the subject.

Listening better. Sometimes, I think as wives we can think we know what our husbands want or need, and can get busy working towards what our ideas are on how to bless them, but ignore hints or direct comments from our men on what it is that would really bless them. A perfect example for me is my cooking. I struggled for a long time (and still do occiassionaly) think that what would be “best” for, and what would impress and bless caleb, would be for me to make fancy gourmet meals that would impress the likes of my culinarily sophisticated friends. As it turns out, Caleb is a pretty simple meat and potatoes kind of guy. So ironically , I would get upset when he wouldn’t be thrilled with a fancy dinner I made, instead of just taking him on his word that chicken and mashed potatoes is fine with him. I’ve gotten better about this one, but I still struggle in other ways to remember ot hear him, and take him at his word, about how to be a better wife to him, and not project what *I* think would make me a better helper.

And of course there are some specific, practical ways that I want to focus on improving my performance in and heart for our home. Here’s what I’ve been brainstorming:

1. Cut costs. Ladies, this is a big one, and I believe more and more that we women, if we are homemakers, can really contribute to the fiscal responsibility of our families. I know the Lord has really been convicting me that the less I spend, and the more ways I find to manage our money better, the less my husband will feel obligated to work so hard (often he puts in 60 hour weeks or more). I can tell him and encourage him all I want with words that he doesn’t need to work so hard , but perhaps if our bank account was a bit healthier from week to week, there would be more encouragement to him to feel as though he can work less and be home more.

I was really encouraged by this series on living on one income from my friend Terry’s blog. Here are some specific ways I am looking to cut costs:

Cut dramatically our restaurant eating. This is pretty big for us, ladies. I confess we both like to go to restaurants, and when I’m working and we get into a busy cycle, it is really easay for us to just grab something on the go. Not only is this terrible for the wallet, it’s bad for the waist line, too.

Return to meal planning. I used to meal plan religiously, and this helped me cut down on grocery waste, and cut down on the temptation to run out and eat in a restaurant if there isn’t sufficient food in the house for a decent meal. As I worked more, though, I meal planned less and this is a discipline I’e been returning to.
Cut the grocery bill. This means cutting down on convenience foods (one example is I have recently repented of my bagged lettuce habit and have returned to buying heads of lettuce. The price difference is incredible), paying attention to store flyers and stocking up on loss-leaders, buying in bulk when applicable, and getting to the farmer’s market

2. Make breakfast and coffee for my husband every morning. This is something I did when we were first married, but have not been doing the past few years. Caleb is not a big breakfast eater, so he doesn’t complain, but whenever I make it he eats it and I know it’s better for him if he gets a breakfast. The problem is when I go to work I’m gone before he gets up, but I’m trying to plan for breakfast in spite of this. I am thinking muffins and fruit on my work days, and something hot on Fri-Mon when I’m home. The big deal for me here, as I am NOT a morning person, is getting into the disciplined habit of being up in time to make this happen. And that leads to the next goal:
3. Be in bed by 10:30. I am not a morning person, i am a night owl. But, if I stay up until midnight or past, which happens frequently, of course I don’t get up early enough to have quiet time in the morning with the lord or to prepare anything for my husband for breakfast. My goal is to start getting into bed by 10:30, do some reading, and hopefully be asleep by 11ish. Pray for me on this one, ladies, it’s probably the hardest goal I’ve set for myself.

4. Laundry and dishes. These are two things I’ve really improved, having the dishes done nightly and the kitchen clean, and the laundry kept up throughout the week. I just want to keep going with these good habits that are so crucial to a clean and welcoming home

WELL!! This has been quite the post! I applaud anyone who has managed to get through it! I would really, really love to know in what ways the Lord is calling you to be a better wife, helper, and homemaker. I’d love specifics on ways you are working to improve at homemaking, and would be privileged to hear some of your stories. Thanks, as always, for “tuning in” and see you again soon!

God bless, ladies!


Tara said...

Great post!!! These are things I committed to earlier in the year. They really do make a difference in our day to day life. I like doing things for Pete and he likes doing things for me. It's a great feeling knowing that I'm supporting and serving my husband!

Angela said...

I have a month's menu posted on our fridge. My family has enjoyed KNOWING exactly what will be for supper each day of the week. It has helped SO much with grocery shopping also (and cut down immensely ordering out food).

For my prayer/quiet/ Bible reading, I encourage everyone to keep on keeping on..Keep on praying to make God's Word a priority, (praying that He will make a way, find the right time for you to spend in His Word, and give you a diligent heart to be in His Word). For me, that time is anywhere from 5 a.m. to 5:30 each morning. Weekends can be anywhere from 5 a.m. to 6 am. During that time, I also have specific prayers that I pray each and every day from Prayers That Availeth Much. I LOVE praying God's word forth in written prayer form. How MUCH more powerful is God's Word right? It DOES not return to Him void.

I also journal 5 days a week. One journal is for praise, and the other is for prayers (I have it labeled for hubby and I, each of my children, and than friends) where I write specific prayer requests. When answered, I write in red pen the date and how God answered the prayer.

Tonight I was SO angry at my husband. Let me tell ya, the spirit of strife just took HOLD of me so strongly. Praise God I did not 'bark' at my husband, but I did slam dishes, curse out loud (all to myself, hubby was in the garage,lol). I kept hearing the Lord tell me,,'love covers a multitude of sin'. Satan was working big time bringing up past hurts,,,yuck yuck yuck, it was an awful half hour of just pure evil that was going on within me...

Blessings our husbands is SO important. Loving them, keeping our mouths shut when we want to retaliate back, loving them EVEN when they are not acting lovable!

I have a chore journal where I have specific rooms I clean each day. What I did was add up all the rooms in my house and divide it by six (7th day rest...I do chores sometimes though, or bake). Than I do two rooms a day.

For laundry, I usually do one to three loads each day to keep up on things.I usually have one or two days where I have no laundry (and we are a family of that is totally God!!)...

Well that is a few of the things I

Awesome post sis.

Shauna said...

I really don't have anything to add. It was a really great post and you probably covered it all! :)

Angela said...

Hey girl, to answer your comment to my post (ever thought about having your email attached so that when you leave comments to blogs, they can email you right back? I changed mine awhile back, showed Laura (sunshine) the same thing too,lol)

Every Friday night, I skip over three doors down to my best friends house. Sit on the porch. Get the newspaper, get the map, and go through the list of yard sales. Mark down the directions and at 6:50 a.m. the next day,,off we go!!

Hope that helps.

Shauna said...

I have an award for you, stop on by to pick it up.

~~Carol~~ said...

This is such a great post! I know that I need to do better too, and I really try, but during the summer the wheels fall off and everything gets pushed to the backburner, behind one of my passions, which is gardening. I agree with the ways you are going to try to do better, and can't think of anything different right now. I wish us both luck though, and the important thing is that we ARE trying!

Love the Decor! said...

Wow! Appreciate so much the reminder of putting the Lord first in our lives and how it all works together in our homes. I could relate on so many things you also struggled with. Thanks for the encouragement to do better as Godly wives. I needed the gentle push :))

Nicole @ BugaBoos said...

This post is Awesome! I so needed to read all of this, seriously it was like it was written for me! I do need to focus more on my husband and definitely to start praying for him more as well as praying in general ( shame on me, I know ). It's so hard sometimes, I get caught up in my own things, the kids, projects, my business, etc and lose track of these things.

Oh and I too AM A NIGHT OWL! It is soooo hard! I am always up til almost 2am, it's so hard to go to bed early as once the kids and my husband are in bed and it's quiet, I just can't! I want to take advantage of the quiet and have me time to do my things. I still get up early but it's not always pretty and that is no way to be starting the day.

Thanks So much for This!! I am going to make it a new goal to work on all of these things!

sunshine said...

Wonderful post! I was really looking forward to this one and was not disappointed. :)

I think that the one thing that struck me the most with this post was about praying for my husband and watching my words and actions.
With the kids, they just seem to take so much of me and my time up that I have very little left to give my husband. This is something that I noticed awhile ago.

I also need to use my time more wisely. Angela and I have talked about this so many times over the years it's not even funny. I walk around, taking note of everything that needs to be done.. feeling overwhelmed and then casting the ideas aside as it all seems too much. I have learned over the years to do one thing at a time. I used to take on too much at once. I'm getting better but it's definatly something that I need to continue working on.

Meal planning is also a biggie for me. I desperatly need to get moving on this. Not only would it cut costs, as you mentioned, but it would also save me a lot of grief about "what to make tonight". I hate looking at the clock, seeing it's 3pm and knowing I have NO idea what I'm going to make. Probably one of my biggest pet peeves about myself.

Again, great post. I'm sure I'll be back again to re-read it as there is a lot of information in it. Thanks so much! I love discussions about homemaking!!! :)

Armchair Housewife said...

I wanted to thank you ALL for coming by, reading my post, and leaving the sweetest comments, and sharing your journeys. There is nothing I love more than encouraging,and being encourage, by sisters to be better wives and homemakers (and moms if it applies!) :)

God bless, ladies,


Anonymous said...

Loved this post, Nicole. You and the lettuce thing: that's a big deal, huh? That means you eat a lot of sald in your house, which is very healthy. Good for you!

I, too, was convicted by the Spirit for not praying for my husband as I should. It's amazing how much cleaere you can hear when the number of voices is cut down dramatically.

My local library has the miniseries about our 2nd POTUS. I am going to get it tomorrow. Will compare notes with you after I've watched it.