Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Crazy Rat Race We Run

The Rat Race isn't just about corporate America. It's our whole society's way of thinking.

Take moms for example. How many do you know that are running around like crazy women, shuttling their children from one activity to the next, forever complaining that they don't even have time to do their laundry, there is so much on their plate? I sometimes wonder how many people are "complaining" just to let you know how much they do, but there are others out there who are truly overwhelmed at everything they think is expected of them.

One family that comes to mind are our old friends Jeanette and Bob. She was in charge of the nursery, he was on the worship team. She was on the board for the women's ministry and he was a teacher for the kid's Wednesday night programs. They were there every time the doors were open, three services a week and the weekly Bible study night. Their children are well known in the children's programs because they are always there.

I just found out that Jeanette and Bob have separated.

Then there is my friend, Rachel. She's started back to school this year because "it was an opportunity that she just couldn't pass up." She got a full ride and knows that it is the best thing for her family because she'll be able to work from home after she gets her degree. Never mind that her two teenage children will be practically grown and gone by the time she's done. Never mind that her house is in total disarray. Never mind.

I was talking to a homeschooling mom of three this week. She tells me how she's running from gymnastics for her daughter to sports practice (which is five afternoons a week!) for her son. Her older daughter has her activities too. They all attend classes and although they live far out of town, they are here every day of the week for something. She leans in and whispers that they've had Taco Bell at least every other night, and then laughs.

I don't think it's funny.

Each of these stories are real people that I know personally, and only a very small selection of people that I know who do it all. I'm sure the same holds for the people in your life.

I once heard an older woman say, "To homeschool your children you need to be home." It was my first clue in to the whole idea of a stay-at-home mom really, um, staying at home. I used to believe that to have a well-rounded and well-educated, socialized child I needed to do everything. I felt guilty if I said no to any of the fun activities that were interesting to my children.

Let's hold that ideal up to the light of Scripture.

In Titus 2:3-4 Paul gives these instructions as to how a young married woman is to be trained by older women: “...train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands so that no one will malign the Word of God.”

To be busy at H-O-M-E. I remember the days that I used to think that there was nothing to do at home. Ha! That was because I left the laundry, "cooked" out of a box and didn't take pride in my home. We were up early, left the dishes to get on to co-op preschool and Bible studies. Today I realize that there is much to do here at home. Each year I learn more about gardening and canning, cooking and sewing. My floors are swept and my children are in order (ok, those of you who know me, you know that I am still working on both of those!!!)

"So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander." 1 Timothy 5:14

Managing our homes is a huge job! Meal planning, homeschooling, overseeing chores and character lessons, cleaning, cooking and cleaning it all up again! How do we expect to manage our homes from the driver's seat of the car? The more children that I've had, the more I realize the truth. Being the personal assistant to the CEO of our family is one incredible job, especially when the guy is gone for 8 or 10 hours a day at work, I'm left to do the heavy lifting at home. I don't take my position lightly, I want to be the best manager of my home that I can be. That means spending time planning and scheduling, watching and paying attention. Which is a perfect lead in to the next scripture.

"She looks well to the ways of her household, and eats not the bread of idleness." Proverbs 31:27

Or how about this one? It characterizes the foolish woman.

"She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house." Proverbs 7:11

God, the maker of all things, the guy who invented the parent/child relationship, believes it best for the mom to stay at home. I'm just guessing here, but in all probability, it is good for the children too. I think of the pastor's wife I knew who's fourth child, an infant daughter, would cry every time she saw the car seat because she was strapped in it so much. What about the many toddlers who catch a 15 minute nap on the way to choir practice for their older siblings? Ever read the research on the correlation between the sleep deprivation and ADHD? Just my thoughts.
And, remember that woman who spent so much time at the Taco Bell drive through? Something she said really shook me out of my stupor. When I suggested that she stay home more, she said,"My son would be fine with that, but it's my daughters that are not content with being home." Breeding discontent with the work and cycles of the home life starts young.

Helping out to serve meals at the soup kitchen or taking your child to piano lessons are not bad things in themselves. But, please realize your priorities. Being home to care for the family in every way is our God-given calling.

And, lastly, I leave you with this scripture:

Proverbs 14:1 "Every wise woman builds her house: but the foolish plucks it down with her hands."


Anonymous said...

That was so right on, Jennifer. The older I get the more important I see my job is at home. Things don't get done at home...if I am not at home. Thank you for sharing this.

MommaMindy said...

Thanks for the thoughts and encouragements this morning. I was just talking to another mom about being a keeper at home menas to be at home. I also just read Proverbs 14 and was doing a study on verse 1. Very timely for me. Also so thankful I dropped by this morning, I needed to find out about buying food bulk and found the Azure link I needed on your site! Blessings to you today.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree. We HOMEschool and I am a stay at HOME mom. A keeper at HOME. I was just talking to a friend yesterday about this whole issue. Neither one of us are part of the local homeschool "co-op" and are both pressured about it from time to time. Yet those who are part of it tend to be in a frenzy certain weeks of the month. Why would I want that? For a "class" or "subject" that I don't want to teach or for socialization? HA! No thanks! ;)

Sorry for the tangent, but this has been an issue near my heart lately too.

The Quiet Life said...

Thank you for the much needed encouragement! I dread leaving my house. Though I don't count the park, camping, or hiking "leaving the house." Hopefully, I will remember your blog every time someone tells me my kids are not in enough activities and aren't getting enough so-called socialisation. We are aiming for relationships and lifeskills and of course the basics and interests. :)

Carrie said...

Great, Great Post Jennifer...You are spot on...We have cut out many things this year and I am so loving being HOME....things ARE MUCH MORE IN ORDER...meals ARE HOMEMADE, DELICIOUS AND NUTRITIOUS...etc...we save money on gas and are working on growing closer together as a family rather than as individuals who go here and there doing their own things...LOVE your post today!

Becki said...

I've been learning to cut back on out of the house times. I was talking with a friend before church last night and this subject came up. She looked at me like I grew an extra head or something when telling her why we didn't do that class or this. We do some, but not all available.

Gail Heaton said...

WHOO WHO, Jennifer! I am so happy to read your post and so happy to see so many comments agreeing with you (and the Word). Preach it sista! The allure to fill our time with busyness is overwhelming for many younger moms. They need to hear and take to heart what you wrote. Way to go!

Dalyn (AKA The Queen of Quite Alot) said...

beautiful post Jennifer. LOVE it! Thanks for writing truth. We are normally homebodies and this season of football has been grueling- I can't imagine doing this all the time! 3 months has been more than enough for me.
Could you email me your address please?

Rachel said...

Nodding in agreement here. Every year presents its new challenges with what activities we will do. Every year I get better at balancing it all out.
(from the Rachel not in your post. LOL)

Karen said...

I really like how you back up your comments with scripture.

Dawn said...

Great know I agree with all that you said.
I know a couple who is divorcing as well...she is full time in school, just spent a month abroad (alone) for some "me" time. So sad to see families fall apart.
Keep on doing what you do!

~OurCrazyFarm said...

Amen! I needed that reminder! I love being home on our farm with my family, but do tend to get sucked in sometimes by other families that "do it all". A reminder from scripture was just what I needed:) I want my kids to remember the good times we share together at home, not the times of rushing to get ready and driving in the car.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Jennifer! I used to be one who was concerned about making sure my girls (the older 3 mainly) had enough to do to challenge them and make sure they were well we are trying to be home 4 days/week, and I am wondering why in the world I signed up for such a long commitment like chior! It is a wonderful program, and my older 3 are loving it...but is it really worth it?! said...

I loved this post. Too often, I hear women say, "Well, this is good for us, you do what is good for you," or, "I couldn't STAND to be around my children all day."

I think thats the truth of it, for many women. They can't STAND their children. They dont want to be home with them. They don't want to teach them. They sound like children... "I DONT WAAANNNAAA!"

Now, we see a bunch of "homemakers" who are never home (therefore, they can't MAKE anything at home). They are taxi drivers.

I have busy days, but I often wonder if I am the only woman who hasnt overscheduled my days, who actually has time to relax, and who feels that my days are not that stressful (well, yanno.. I mean, until the toddler tries to flush a rag down the toilet and flushes the bathroom).

LOVED this post. :)

His Talmidat said...

Thank you for this. Most of the people around me are stay at home moms, but, as you mentioned, that can look really different in each family. But my family doesn't think much of it. Back before we were married, a couple female members of my family asked my (future) mother in law if she had it to do over, if she would stay home again. So embarrassing! So I know I'll need this reminder soon.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post, Jennifer. My problem is that I tend to let the chores take second to spending time with Emmett just sitting and reading or jumping and dancing. We don't go out much the six nights of the week but the one time we go bowling, we have so much fun and we eat a decent dinner. But I can always be reminded to plan for more nutritious meals. I take every opportunity I get to "work from home" as it's the moments I am missing that break my heart every day. I am proud to be your sister-in-law and I also loved how you tie in scripture to your thoughts.

Love to you and your family!


Norma Lee @ Norma Lee Good said...

I've had serious health problems since my only child was born 3/08. Because of that there are times we don't leave the house until the weekend. {FYI...there is such a thing as leaving your vehicle parked so long you get sugar ants.}This past year and a half I have bonded with my boy and really appreciate my role as the mother. We have created our own meaningful experiences without running errands. I know that I would have been a great mother without having my health issues- but I know that God has blessed me and my family. I love being Mom and I know that my health has provided me with an opportunity to be the best mom that I can be.

Rebecca said...

So good to hear your wisdom as a mother of small children. Ours are raised, but it makes me sad to see stressed out moms, living out of an SUV, grabbing meals at fast food places as they make sure their kids are in soccer, gymnastics, piano, nursery school, etc. etc

I guess as a whole, we "Titus Women" aren't doing a very good job of helping our young women become keepers at home....

Jennifer said...

as an actual stay at home momma, I loved this post! Thanks for writing it.

I'm adding you to my favorite blogs to read!

God bless,
mom to 7