Motivation for Good Home Management
Home management includes a doing a lot of 'dirty work' which is seldom noticed or appreciated, unless it is not done and so we need encouragement and motivation in this never-ending cycle.
Before anyone allows the above quote to offend them, let me write the following:
Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them and they stink!
I think they stink especially when you don't agree with them.
Opinions about Home Management and Gender Roles
Having said that, it is my belief that married women should make homemaking and good home management their #1 priority, that a wife's primary responsibility is to give of herself, and her energy to her husband, children and home.
However, I realise that in the culture in which we live, by their choices, many show that they do not agree, while others have not even realised that they have just accepted our culture's norms and values as their own, especially regarding home management.
"Modern girls argue that they have to earn an income, in order to establish a home, which would be impossible on their husband's income. That is sometimes the case, but it must always be viewed as a regrettable necessity..." (Catherine Marshall, A Man called Peter)
I believe that there are only a few cases, where it is genuinely a regrettable necessity that a wife has to work outside the home. For many, a career is a choice. Many choose a particular standard of living and thereby create the necessity to work outside the home.
We modern women have also believed the lie that, "Only men's work has worth. Women's traditional work is useless. Therefore, I must get a job to prove I am somebody. If all the action is out in the men's 'economic-opportunity sphere,' we'll all have to crowd that end of the bus." (Mary Pride, The Way Home)
I can testify, that my husband and I are now financially much better off, with a large family to support, than we were when I was also working in a job and we had no children! Yes, we had some very hard times when I quit, but if we obey God's Word in Titus 2:3-5 and become homeworkers, He will provide for all our needs.
"Feminists have foolishly claimed that woman's roles as a homeworker is the result of male patriarchal bias. The opposite is true. Non-Christian male patriarchal societies have always enslaved women outside the home; Christianity sets us free." (Mary Pride, The Way Home)
Now, whether you agree with my opinion about the role of women or not, as a woman, whether you work primarily at home or not, providing meals and home management is most probably your responsibility, and at times, a heavy one at that, especially if you have an outside career as well.
My Home Management Experience
I had a nasty experience just after I got married. My husband, who used to cook meals for himself and sometimes for both of us at his own flat prior to our wedding, stopped cooking and washing dishes as soon as the rings were on our fingers! This job became solely mine as at first, he was supporting me financially.
I was devastated and sulked, complained and argued to no avail. I made our lives miserable. I could not believe that there in the 90's, where men and women had equal opportunities that these responsibilities of cooking and home management were now mine alone. (I later got a job, but nothing changed and then I finally 'came home' for good!)
Not surprisingly, because of this and other such issues, there was quite a bit of conflict in our marriage. Somehow, I had naively believed that the fairytale wedding was the beginning of 'happily ever after'! What a shock. I became so desperate that I began reading everything I could about what a Christian marriage should be...and there I discovered God's plan for the roles of husband and wife - and that home management was entirely my responsibility. When I understood that these roles were for our mutual benefit, I became more willing to embrace my role, but it was not all fun.
"When a man tries to be a 'better' father by acting like a mother, he is not only less fulfilled as a father, but as a man, too. A father's relationship with his children can't be built mainly around child-caring experiences. If it is, he's a substitute mother - not a father! Similarly, under this 'petticoat rule' if a tired father is bludgeoned into serving as a kitchen aide and handy man, it doesn't enrich his fatherhood either. Actually, a wife who shifts her unpleasant household chores to her husband is downgrading her own activities in her children's eyes." (Larry Christenson, The Christian Family)
As a young girl, I had never had much interest in home management skills. The only cooking I enjoyed was baking sweet treats to enjoy, so I had never really bothered to learn cook much more than a few elementary meals and some microwave recipes, while living on my own as a student. I now began to learn to cook more traditional meals to try and please my husband. I found myself having to measure up to my mother-in-law's culinary skills! My teachers were the authors of recipe books. It has been a long road of trial and error, with many of my new dishes not being found acceptable to my husband's tastes.
The Art of Good Home Management
"Let's get back to that sinkful of dirty dishes we started the chapter with. Feminists think housework, symbolized by dishwashing, is demeaning for a talented woman. I prefer to think of it as art. Is a sinkful of dirty dishes, after all, more beautiful than a cupboard full of clean ones?" (Mary Pride, The Way Home)
After more than 15 years of marriage I am still working at creating a clean, comfortable and cosy home that is a place of refuge for my husband.
Having a tasty, home-cooked meal ready on his arrival after a day's work, is part of that. For me, this is always a challenge.
A Change in Attitude towards Home Management Responsibilities
In order to enjoy some of the rather mundane and to me uninteresting tasks that home management requires, including cooking, I have had to change my attitude. I have come to believe that God sometimes requires us to do things that we do not enjoy in order to teach us to learn to do all things "unto the Lord". It is easy to do the things we are good at or like doing for the Lord, but who really likes washing dishes (or cleaning toilets)?
"Homeworkers who love their husbands and children, instead of trying to escape into a career or becoming gadabouts, are building the precious resource of a home, where people will be attracted to the Lord, and where the hurts of His people can be healed and they can find new strength. We build up our homes not just for ourselves, not even just for our families, but for the church, and after that for the world." (Mary Pride, The Way Home)
Biblical Perspectives of Home Management Duties
In Biblical times, part of offering hospitality included washing the feet of a guest. Jesus, too, used foot washing to demonstrate the love that we should have for one another, when he washed his disciples' feet. God requires us to do foot washing too. Since washing feet is not a part of our western culture in the 21st century, foot washing represents all 'dirty work" done to bless others. Mary Pride says that "ministry that doesn't include foot-washing is mere pride and arrogance." (The Way Home, p190)
In the Bible, our Saviour said; "The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." (Matthew 23, 11-12)
I had to consider whether I was willing to humble myself, was I prepared to do the unglamorous tasks that are required of a mother and wife, was I prepared to cook and do it joyfully!
I find cooking a frustrating and messy job.
To me it is shooting myself in the foot, to clean and polish my kitchen, and then mess it all up as well as dirtying pots, pans and bowls while preparing the meal, then serve the food and dirty more dishes, possibly mess on the tablecloth and with children, even the floor. Cooking creates a whole lot of other work too!
Some women have told me that they love cooking as they find it a relaxing and creative past-time. "I love combining different flavours," one young wife, a professional chef, told me. Not me! I would never cook to earn my living, but now that I have faced the truth about it, I do it to bless my family, to keep myself humble and as far as I can, to glorify the Lord.
Perhaps you also enjoy cooking, but struggle with being disciplined in other areas of home management and house keeping. Consider printing and pasting the Scriptures and other motivational verses that follow in a place where you can see them often.
For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. Colossians 3:23
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:27
Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:36
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12
Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3
And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward. Matthew 10:42
The greatest among you will be your servant. Matthew 23:11
Would he not rather say, 'Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink'? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.' Luke 17:8-10
Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. Matthew 24:45-47
Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant. Matthew 20:26
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God. Colossians 1:10
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. Corinthians 15:58
If you need help and motivation with home management, visit The Flylady's website at www.flylady.net.
She will guide you in 'babysteps' and show you how by focusing on one room per week and doing 15 minutes a day, you can revolutionise your home within a few weeks, even if you are not a stay-at-home-mom!
She will teach you to set up some basic daily home management routines to keep life clean, simple and uncluttered. As she says, "Jump in where you are. You are never behind!"
Free Menu Planner - Prepared to Cook
You will need to install
to open the pdf files after you have downloaded them. In this format they are neatly laid out to print and place in a plastic-sleeved showfile for your convenience in the kitchen.
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