Friday, March 31, 2017

Are You Engaged In Your Calling As a Homemaker?

I know there are some guys today who actively participate in their family's housekeeping, especially when the wife has to work. But, I'm speaking today primarily to women like me who are either full-time or part-time keepers at home and who take most of the responsibility for managing their homes.

We have recently been studying the Gospel in relation to our work in our adult Sunday school class at church. There is a mixture of both men and women participants, including a few stay-at-home moms and grandmothers. It might seem like we SAH-ers would be completely out of place in a class seemingly geared toward those with careers outside the home, but I have been totally thrilled to find our work being recognized and validated in this class as a true occupation emanating from our calling from God. 

One of the handouts we were given was an article written by Susan Adams for where she cites the outcome of a 2013 Gallup poll regarding how "engaged" people were in relation to their jobs.[1] If they felt "engaged," that meant they loved their job and were happy in it, while being "disengaged" meant the opposite was true.

The author gives twelve statements used by Gallup to tally how engaged their pollsters were with their jobs. I would like to take those twelve statements, reconfigure them a bit for relevance sake, and consider them in relation to our own engagement with our calling as managers of our homes.
  1. I know what is expected of me as a homekeeper in my own home. [I say in your own home because so many homekeepers try to meet the expectations of homekeeping gurus who write books and blogs and very possibly hire someone else to do their housework. I want to know if you know what is expected of you in your particular home.]
  2. I have the material and equipment I need to do my housekeeping right. [I'm thinking cleaning tools, detergents, pots and pans, appliances, storage solutions, etc., anything you might need to do a good job in housekeeping.]
  3. In managing my home, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day. [To be honest, this one is debatable for me. I am still trying to figure out what gifts and talents I possess in relation to managing my home and what opportunities I have to use them in it.]
  4. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good housework. [I'm not saying I require it, but I do wonder how much more I would feel "engaged" in my housework if this happened on a regular basis. How much better would our children do at their chores if we were more giving with out praises at a job well done?]
  5. Those who live in our home care for me as a person. [This may seem like a given, but for some women it just isn't so. Sad, but true.]
  6. There is someone who encourages my development in being a keeper of my home. [This might be someone in your home, but more than likely you will have to seek this outside of the home, such as people at church, a ladies' group, homemaking blogs, or perhaps a Facebook group or page.]
  7. In our family, my opinions seem to count in regard to managing our home. [Hopefully, there is no overbearing husband or demanding children who override the homemaker's decisions about her own housekeeping. But, I know this is the case with some women.]
  8. The mission or purpose of our family makes me feel my responsibilities are important. [An aimless family is bound to be a place of dissatisfaction and disaster in the everyday workings of the home. If your family doesn't have a mission or purpose, now is the time to figure that out together. You could also include the division of labor between husband and wife and delegation of responsibilities to the children. Here is a good place to start.]
  9. My husband and children are committed to doing quality work, according to their ability, in their share of the housekeeping. [When it's done right, everything runs more smoothly, and you don't have to worry about having it done over again or doing it yourself when they drop the ball.]
  10. I have a best friend at work. [You might think that should be your husband, but in regard to keeping house, that might be your children, your mother, or anyone else who comes alongside you to make your work in the home more enjoyable.]
  11. In the last six months, someone has talked to me about my progress. [Again, this could be your spouse, but it could also be someone else who is encouraging you in your homekeeping. We need feedback and an opportunity to share our accomplishments as we improve our home management skills.]
  12. This last year, I have had opportunities to learn and grow in my knowledge of managing my home. [This is why it is important for us to read good books and blogs on homekeeping and try to get involved in person or online with groups of other homemakers who are learning and growing along with us.]
Susan ends her article with ways to fix the problem of unhappy workers, "Communicate with your workers, tell them when they do well, encourage them to move forward. Give them the tools they need and the opportunity to feel challenged."

I can see this being implemented with the training of our children in the realm of housekeeping. They, too, need to have their chores explained and taught to them, to have the right tools provided for them to do the job well, and a word of praise given when it is done well. Help them to learn and grow in their experiences working around the house with you, keeping in mind you are training them to be managers and workers in their own homes one day.

 And, while we are at it, let me throw in here it's a good idea to keep in mind that, while being a homekeeper may be our main occupation and calling at any given time, it should not define who you are. Rather, it's what you do. What I mean is we should have outlets for our gifts and talents other than our homes. We can serve in our extended families, in our churches and communities, and even in a job outside the home. This isn't about glorifying housework. It's about finding a way to be satisfied in the calling of housekeeping and pleasure in a job well done.

If you are struggling with the responsibility of being a homekeeper, I'd like to encourage you to seek out others who are successful in managing their homes and learn from them. You can do this with friends, family members, or online groups through email and on Facebook. One of my new favorites is Household Management 101. Though I haven't had time to explore Clean Mama, it also looks like a great resource for improving home management. Others have found success with the Fly Lady. I particularly love books written by both cleaning guru Don Aslett and the 15-minute-organizer queen Emily Barnes. Please feel free to share your homekeeping resources either in the comments here or on the eHomebody Facebook page.

[1] Susan Adams, "Unhappy Employees Outnumber Happy Ones By Two to One Worldwide," Forbes, October 10, 2013,