"You will be a better mom because you are a theologian, and a better theologian because you are a mom."

Is it true? In this blog, I explore the interplay and intersection of motherhood and theologianhood.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Secrets to Success of a Happy Homemaker

I've been surprised at how happy I've been since I made the change to being a really, truly full-time mom (who is "only" writing a dissertation instead of being a G.A. and a full-time student). So I thought I'd write a quick post on what's made it work for me (in no particular order):

1. One assigned chore for each day: Monday-laundry, Tuesday-vaccuuming, Wednesday-glass, Thursday-laundry, Friday-bathroom, Saturday-kitchen floor. This way I'm not likely to feel overwhelmed by all that has to be done. It's also important not to feel like you shouldn't do chores because your kids need your undivided attention. They can help out (or not); vaccuuming takes me forever because both girls want to use it the whole time. I try to maintain some organization and cleanliness but not let it control my life. Another tip: it's never too early in the day to start making dinner.

2. Assigned chore for husband: dishes and any remaining pick-up of living/dining room + taking out the trash.

3. Being a homemaker doesn't mean staying at home; both the kids and I need a chance to get out. It's harder in the winter, but we've still managed lots of time at the swimming pool, going for brief walks, and the occasional shopping trip.

4. I get some time alone, and I'm very protective of those morning hours when I'm exercising and then going to Mass.

5. Spending individual time with the kids is crucial. I love reading to both and find the opportunity with Maia when Eva's napping and with Eva when Maia is doing her artwork.

6. Having an open home has allowed me to feel like my homemaking has a purpose greater than my nuclear family. We have neighbors and neigbor kids stop by practically every day, and we frequently host people for meals, etc.

7. Making "To do" lists has forced me to make all those telephone calls that I really detest (the pediatrician for making an appointment, the handyman for minor home repairs, etc.). Procrastinating on these "chores" only seems to make the tasks worse. "To do" lists also help me to feel like I'm accomplishing the details of running a home.

8. Having fun, listening to music, getting out in the sunshine - the real benefits of being at home all day.

9. Jeff has been awesome at thanking me for all I do around the house, and eagerly accepting his thanks and praise has helped me feel like it's all worthwhile.

10. The last thing that's been important to me is not accepting the stereotypes of society - being an economic "dependent" does not mean I'm not contributing, nor does it mean I'm dependent. Changing diapers, nursing a baby, preparing meals, hosting guests, paying bills... all these are worthwhile activities in God's eyes.


Clara said...

Actually, I'd say you are a dependent... but so is he.

There's certainly no shame in dividing up the things that need to be done and taking on different tasks. The best marriages work that way. And it's great that Jeff knows how to be appreciative of the things that you do. Everybody needs to be reminded that their efforts are making a difference.

The making dinner tip... ugh, yes. No matter how early I start it always seems like I end up in a rush to finish. I hate Lent, because the husband is fasting, and thus comes home ravenous and therefore grumpy.

AB said...

Have you read Sex and Love in the Home by David Matzko McCarthy? I just finished it (like 3 min ago) and your numbers 6 and 10 sound just like some of his points in the book. It's a good read - I recommend it if you haven't read it!

Jana Bennett said...

Say, a lot of this describes me, even though I am a full-time professor and full-time mom. I have found it so crucial to designate days for chores (started using Motivated Moms - it's meant for stay at home moms but I have appropriated it) and what I love is that basically, my weekends are now totally free to spend with my family! And I just have to aim at stressing less about what the house looks like. Also, ditto the open household, and the getting out as much as possible.

Theologian Mom said...

Thanks for the comments!

As for dependent - I just meant it's important to recognize that as a stay-at-home mom, you are actively contributing to the betterment of society (which is often overlooked). But of course couples are dependent on each other.

AB, it's been awhile (maybe three years) since I read Sex and Love in the Home. It is a great read, but I just worry that he doesn't give adequate place for prayer and catechesis in the home - not really an emphasis of his in that book.

Jana, what is Motivated Moms? I've never heard of it. Maybe I'll do a web search - it sounds cool! Glad it's freed up your weekends, but I just wish WE were involved in your weekends, like days of old.

LKF said...

This is such helpful advice, as are your words of wisdom for balancing doctoral work with motherhood. I will certainly take this advice to heart whenever it comes time for me to start my own doctoral program! But it still holds true for those working in the theological world, no matter in what position...I'm very glad your brother led me to your blog - I have really enjoyed reading it over the past few years! Thank you.