Work Yourself Back into Your Job

 

Last week, I asked the question, “Is it Biblical to be trying to work yourself out of a job?”

It is a popular thought, and a popular teaching. Moms everywhere are encouraged, and even told HOW, to train their children to run the entire house so that the Mom can “work herself out of a job”.  Train those kids, so you don’t have to cook, do dishes, mop floors, clean bathrooms, do laundry, or vacuum anymore!!

On the surface, it even sounds right. We all want our kids to grow up and be independent, not needing to bring laundry home for us to do on the weekends. But as we talked about last week, we as women are called to be workers at home. We are told that the wise woman makes her arms strong. Adam and Eve were given work to do. The home is our domain, and turning it over to the kids, no matter how well they are trained, is neither wise nor kind.

I promised you that this week, I would tell you what happened in my own home to strip the blinders off of my own eyes, and to show me how far I had gotten away from being a worker at home, as God has called me to be. It is something so simple, you may laugh. But here goes anyway…..

My kids got the flu.

Yeah, seriously. Five of the eight kids that still live at home came down with the bona-fide flu virus. Once we got the first positive result, I didn’t bother taking the others in when they got sick two days later. And of the three who didn’t get sick, one was my oldest daughter who has a job outside our home, one was my 16 year old son who was working with my step-dad on some jobs for my husband who was also sick (!!), and the other one was my then 9 year old daughter. So, as you can see, it was pretty much me against the world.

The kids had high fevers, terrible headaches, sore throats, stuffy noses, non-stop coughing, and body aches out the back door. In short, they were miserable.  And not at all helpful. Who was gonna do all those dishes/laundry/trashcans/floors/meals??? Guess who?

It was me.

For over a week, it was me. My sweet 9  year old girl helped as much as possible, but she’s 9. She carried a lot of medicine to people for me, and got drinks for people, and helped pick up the common areas. She vacuumed the living room. And she kept people comfortable, with covers, new movies in and out, and whatever else they asked for.

And I did a lot of dishes. And a whole lot of laundry.

housework

 

 

I’m going to be completely transparent with y’all here. Up to this point, I had been sitting for a lot of my days. Between schoolwork, reading, and just feeling “tired/restless”, I spent a lot of time sitting on my butt. I didn’t feel well a lot of the time, and I was way past irritable. The kids would fuss while they were doing chores, and instead of getting up to go settle things, I had developed the habit of just shouting from the chair. It was getting bad. (This is part of the reason I finally went to the doctor!)

The flu woke me up. There was nobody else to do the work. I had to do it. And guess what happened next??

I felt HAPPY!!!! I was oh so tired, but oh so fulfilled at the end of the day. I didn’t mind doing dishes anymore. As a matter of fact, I was doing dishes several times a day just to keep everything clean. I did other people’s laundry; sort, wash, dry, fold, and put in their rooms. I kept the living room clean. I cooked what anybody felt like eating, which means I was basically a short order cook for a few days.

And y’all…I liked it. I felt good. My energy levels were still low, but when I got up in the morning, I was anxious to get the day started. And since the kids have been well, I haven’t stopped.

The kids are obviously still doing chores. I can’t run the whole house AND do school with folks AND make meals without some help. The sickies weren’t doing school while they were sick, so that was a burden I wasn’t carrying that week. But I have continued to do more work than I have done in a very long time.

I wasn’t a total couch potato before. Maybe a couch turnip. A couch radish. I definitely had room to grow.

God used my kids being sick to show me that I had let the sin of laziness, which is a constant struggle for me, get the better of me. It had not only tripped me up…it had me lying flat on my face. Don’t ever let anybody tell you that a mother of a large family can’t be lazy. Oh yes she can. I am proof.

If you are struggling with laziness, my encouragement to you is just to start working. Maybe I will do a post sometime on how to battle the sin of laziness.

But if you are sincere in your desire to teach your children to run a home, then by all means, teach them to run a home! Every one of my ten children have learned or are currently learning how to run all the machines, how to clean everything, how to shop, etc. But I can’t turn my home over to them. This is the place that God has called ME to work. I need to be working right alongside them. 

Here’s what I recommend to anybody needing a little help reclaiming your job. Jump in with the kids. Surprise and delight everyone by loading the dishwasher. Make a meal plan, and assign a child to help you instead of making them responsible for making the meals alone. Grab that vacuum and let the kids move the couches out so you can get under them good. Get in their bedroom with them and help them get things straightened up. Take some trashbags out to the car and see how quickly you can get it cleaned out together! Show the younger ones how to sweep, and doing a little cha-cha with the broom will bring a laugh and make it more fun.

We play a lot of loud music, we dance a lot in the kitchen, we make jokes at our own expense, we act super crazy. We rap, we make up ridiculous songs, we take tons of selfies, we get way too loud. But having fun makes the job less painful. Remember what Mary Poppins says, “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”

When you reclaim your job…when you begin working in your own home again…it is like sugar to your family. The kids will be appreciative as they see Mama stepping in to help, and the work gets done quicker. Not to mention, it gets done better.

Hopefully, it won’t take your kids getting the flu, like it did me, to remind you that your home is YOUR domain. So take it back, Mama. Rule it. Subdue it. And teach the kids how to do it right along with you!