Friday, January 21, 2005

Homemaking and Motherhood

I've been thinking for quite some time about my "job" as a mother and homemaker. I struggle almost daily with thoughts about what I am to be doing day in and day out. In 8 years of being a mother and homemaker I still have not really figured out how my day should run. I know there are certain things that ought to be accomplished such as dishes and laundry and general cleaning, but I do spend a great deal of time feeling overwhelmed with thoughts of "where do I start?" and "what do I do next?" Fifty or more years ago our families had the help of their extended families.
(I want to share something I just read about extended families a little later.)
If you didn't have your extended family, even as little as 30+ years ago, you had community. People knew their neighbors! They helped one another. Our extended families not only helped us with our families, but they taught us! Children were taught from an early age to do things around the house. As they got older they were then given responsibilities, not because it was good for them but because it was expected of them. EVERYONE helped. They were taught how to cook, clean, milk, sew and garden. They helped with younger siblings. It wasn't a burden to have a big family but actually helpful because they typically had so much more to do in a day. They did not have all the modern conveniences that we do which, in my opinion, leaves us with so much time on our hands (wondering what should be done next). The we fill our time with empty activities; tv, computer, extracurriucular activities. We feel like we must 'entertain' our children rather than teach them to take care of themselves AND others. They have PBS and Noggin as early as two and three-years-old. The finger is pointed directly at me for I am the perfect example of one who uses the black box way too much!

As this has been on the forefront of my mind the las few weeks and as I've also been thinking a lot about my children and the world that they must face, it's come to my attention that I have no vision for myself or for them.
I know that this is the most important job I could ever have. I know that I want to raise my kids love and obey God and so much more, but what does this all really mean? I think that if I plug along day in and day out but have no vision for myself or my family then I am really missing out on a lot. If I were to create a vision, it would create a path for me to follow, it would turn on a light.

What is my vision for my family? To know the answer to this question I think I'd like need to understand the following a bit better:
-What does it mean to Love?
-Why do "idle hands make mischief"?
-What is orderliness? and why is it so important?
-What traditions are important to me?
-What is education?

I hope to answer these and more in future posts. My goal is to develop a vision in order to help better prioritize my tasks and responsibilities.

Now, I must run to clean up lunch, vacuum and fold laundry.


alana said...

I like where you are going with this.
and additionally, as the years go by, I have found myself asking: What is my role now that they are all in school? Is it still worth it to the family to have me at home. This years that got answered by my illness. I wonder what the answer will be in a few more years when I'm better. Any thoughts on that score? Your kids are not too much younger than mine, I'll warrant.

Karl Thienes said...

Great post, Susan.

These are questions my wife and I have been musing about for a while ourselves.

I look forward to your future thoughts.

Susan Sophia said...

Hi Alana!
I'm still delving into this "while they are still at home" thing but it's only 3 years and they will all be in school. My thoughts for now would be that I think I will be very active in my children's education and with four of them it will keep me pretty busy in the classroom volunteering. In just the one short year we've been in the public schools one thing has come through loud and clear and that is that the teachers have way too much responsibility and very little support. With so many children in a classroom (24 six-year-olds to ONE teacher) and so many different backgrounds! I don't know how they do it.
Not only do I want to volunteer but I want to be home when they get off the bus and want to be home when they have vacations. And there is so much more to my thoughts on homemaking and motherhood that incorporate the children even when they go to public school, because it's only 6 hours in the day that they are gone. They don't teach them how to cook, set a table, bake bread, do their own laundry, grow vegetables and can them or prune roses. Okay, okay, well I think I've gone too far and have run into more to talk about in "homemaking and motherhood". Thanks, Alana.