Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Stephanie, where have you been?

Sorry for my blog neglect. I've been busy cleaning my house.

It all started last week. I went to the library with the kids and stumbled upon this book called Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelson. I thought it looked interesting and informative. (I know, I'm a nerd.) Little did I know what change it would inspire inside of me.

I feel like I have been preparing to make a big change in my housekeeping habits for a while now. It has been a change that I have needed to make for YEARS, and it's been a process for me. I really feel like the Lord has been preparing me to finally make the switch - my friends of other denominations use the phrase "being convicted." As foolish as it may sound, I feel like the Spirit was lacking in my home because of the way I kept my house, and I had been preparing to change for a long time now.

This book is what clicked for me. It turned on the light of understanding for me and helped me realize what I needed to do to make my house into a home.

My mother definitely raised me to be a good housekeeper. She was what I used to call a "clean freak" and drove me absolutely crazy with her nagging for me to clean my room and do my other chores. I liked the feeling of a clean house, but I didn't see the value in doing something that would just need to be done again a few hours later. The repetitive nature of housework is what always drove me bonkers. My mom always teased me that she could tell me something until she was blue in the face, but I wouldn't really listen until I had read it in a book. And apparently she's right. Maybe I need things explained to me in an intellectual way for me to truly respect what I'm being taught.

"Seen from the outside, housework can look like a Sisyphean task that gives you no sense of reward or completion. Yet housekeeping actually offers more opportunities for savoring achievement than almost any other work I can think of. Each of its regular routines brings satisfaction when it is completed. These routines echo the rhythm of life, and the housekeeping rhythm is the rhythm of the body. You get satisfaction not only from the sense of order, cleanliness, freshness, peace and plenty restored, but from the knowledge that you yourself and those you care about are going to enjoy these benefits."

I simply had to blog not to tell about the great change this book brought about for me, but to recommend it to anyone whose life revolves around taking care of their family everyday. The preface of the book says, "When you keep house, you use your head, your heart, and your hands together to create a home - the place where you live the most important parts of your private life. Housekeeping is an art: it combines intuition and physical skill to create comfort, health, beauty, order, and safety. It is also a science, a body of knowledge that helped us seek those goals and values wisely, efficiently, humanely. Such knowledge is drawn from practical experience, family traditions, the natural and social sciences, and many other stores of understanding and information."

My eyes have been opened to the importance of my role in keeping my house clean and beautiful, and fulfilling my stewardship over my material posessions. I want it to be a safe haven from the world, a place where my children will love to be. This book, along with my mom's lifelong, largely ignored till now, lessons, has shown me how to do that.

The past few days I have found that I truly enjoy what I might previously have called the monotony of housework. I like scrubbing. I love (and always have loved) vacuuming. Folding laundry, always the thorn in my side, is not half as bad as I thought. Picking up after myself isn't so hard after all. I just needed to embrace that side of me and allow myself to recognize the satisfaction I get from bringing order to my home. I am so much happier (so is Andrew!!) and feel so good about what I am doing. Not to say I'm a fanatic now - I'm not - but I have finally made a good routine and have made housekeeping a priority of my day. And I absolutely love it.


Elise said...

I just might be inspired by you...maybe I'll go make my bed.

Charity said...

Oh I need to be inspired to keep a clean house too. What kind of schedule do you use? I love reading your blog- keep it up:)

Watts Family said...

I feel so much better if my house is clean too.
But Steph, your house was ALWAYS clean. I don't think you have anything to worry about.