“The bed is made but I still don’t have the first load of laundry in the washer. The load from the night before needs to go in the dryer; it’s breakfast, lunches, hair and book bags! After the four older ones are off to school, I have one half hour to be at work in the den at my computer. I work at home until lunch for a private company, but clock in on the honor system, and work the specified number of hours. My youngest son looks at books, plays, and generally occupies himself during the morning hours while I work,” she said. “He seems to understand his time is in the afternoon. It seems there are always toys about and the laundry nags at my mind. My little one needs tending to occasionally, I know the floors need to be vacuumed, there is ironing and invariably mending and the list goes on.”
This problem isn’t unique to any working mother. It’s unique to a mother working at home because unfinished domestic duties can be seen all the time. It’s a conscious effort to not do those household duties that are calling.
Having a large family also makes the situation a bit more demanding. It was necessary for my friend to work out a system that enabled her to get most of her work done and see to the children without losing her sanity. “I’ve come to accept the fact that my house will never be totally clean,” she said, laughing. “I’ve come to believe there will be toys on my floors until all the children are in college!”
A friend of mine told me she once saw a plaque hanging in a kitchen that said, “My house isn’t dirty; it’s decorated in early childhood.” I can appreciate that, since I too worked at home. My house was decorated in early childhood for over twenty years! Like my friend, to accept that was a major accomplishment!
I admit, when my children were young I would cringe every time I visited my sister in law’s house. She was a “stay at home” mom with three children, all of which were in school and her house was always spotless. I tried to remember God gave me my children on loan and eventually they would grow up and lead lives of their own. Until that time, it was my duty and my pleasure to see that I loved them and accepted them for what they were: children.
It was important for me to remember that we were a family, and not in name only. We all shared the fun that comes with being a member of a large family and we shared the responsibilities that comes with being a large family. I had to remember to keep my priorities in order and keep a sense of balance, as well as, humor. I hoped my children would appreciate my efforts, as well as my husband, as they recognized that our house, like my friend’s was indeed, “decorated in early childhood” ……..and it was perfectly acceptable!