Thursday, October 8, 2009

My Current Much-Needed House-Keeping Inspiration

Every so often I will receive an email from some lovely lady who shares how much I have inspired her. She says because of me and my blog, she does more in her home, she keeps it cleaner, she does more with her children, she cooks more naturally. This is always entirely shocking to me. I shared one such email with my mother recently and she said, "I think you should tell them you don't spend all day cleaning your house." I agreed with her. She did feel bad about saying this and later apologized, but I told her there was no need to, as she was right. I don't spend all day cleaning my house and I think you need to know that. When I take photos for my blog, I try to veer away from photographing super messy areas and I often crop out random toys, crumbs, or other clutter which would make for an unseemly photo. When I take photos of food on what looks like a pristine granite island countertop, what you don't know is that I just push the dirty dishes, onion peels, and mis-matched measuring cups off to the side where you won't know they're there.

So there, I admit it. I'm not a good housekeeper. But I want to do better. I really, really do, so below is my current inspriration. I am going to print this quote out on cute cardstock and stick it on my fridge, just as soon as I put away the laundry that's been on my couch for three weeks, load the two dishwasher loads of dishes that are in the sink, and file the mail that has been sitting on my island for nigh unto 2 months now. Wish me luck.

The following quote is taken from a talk given by Julie B. Beck, the general president of Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the largest women's organization in the world. Enjoy...

"Mothers who know are nurturers. This is their special assignment and role under the plan of happiness. To nurture means to cultivate, care for, and make grow. Therefore, mothers who know create a climate for spiritual and temporal growth in their homes. Another word for nurturing is homemaking. Homemaking includes cooking, washing clothes and dishes, and keeping an orderly home. Home is where women have the most power and influence; therefore, Latter-day Saint women should be the best homemakers in the world. Working beside children in homemaking tasks creates opportunities to teach and model qualities children should emulate. Nurturing mothers are knowledgeable, but all the education women attain will avail them nothing if they do not have the skill to make a home that creates a climate for spiritual growth. Growth happens best in a “house of order,” and women should pattern their homes after the Lord’s house (see D&C 109). Nurturing requires organization, patience, love, and work. Helping growth occur through nurturing is truly a powerful and influential role bestowed on women. "

To read Sister Beck's entire talk, click HERE .

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alessandra said...

Oh well, so you're human after all, thank you for specifying it...I want you to know I voted several answers on your poll, your sexiness too, but...just for fun ;D

alessandra said...

Oh, and I would add this...
- because you make me start my day with a smile on my face :)

Kami said...

I think that homemaking is a task that many of us SAHMs find difficult to stay on top of! I agree that I feel like there could be more that I should be doing during the day, and oftentimes I'm struggling to find that factor of "more time to get it done"! More than anything, though, I look at how much time I spend playing with my kids, how nurtured and loved they are. If the housekeeping has to fall by the wayside this week, it will be well worth it because my kids got the attention they deserve!

Cassie said...

I basically agree with everything Kami said. Sorry to not be original!

ProlificMom said...

I LOVE YOU for sharing this story. I do the exact same thing when taking photos for my blog (or for anything else) so no one can see all of the clutter and crumbs. There is no way I can control all of it all of the time. Otherwise I would be doing nothing but housework 24/7 and never really enjoy my children. Now I undestand why you said you
could die happy everyday as long as your kitchen is clean. (And the truth shall set you free!)

I too am inspired by your posting to be a better homemaker and set a better example for my children. I want to be a Proverbs 31 woman. :-)

Thank you for sharing.

Keeley said...

Oh my, I needed that quote. Thank you so much. My house is the messiest and dirtiest it has ever been in my entire two decades of marriage. I'm so embarrassed by it.

I'm working on it let's not talk about why I've been on the computer for the past hour, mmkay?

I hearby declare!!!!! Today I will clean up:
1. The Stairs
2. The Dining Room
3. The Laundry
4. And I will do the dishes.

If I do anything else, it will be the cherry on the cake.

Hold me to it, y'all! Hound me til I do it. =)

Blogging and Bliss said...

Thanks for that great post. I needed some motivation to clean my house today! I stalked your blog yesterday and loved it. I really enjoyed the pictures of your house and the building stages posts. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Great thought Jen! Thanks

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

ProlificMom, I love Proverbs 31 as well. It is so inspiring. There is one verse that my cousin and I actually find kind of funny because of our situation...

14 "She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar."

Living in Mexico, most of us Americans make trips to the states every month to buy food at Sam's, thus bringing our food from afar!

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Keeley, how's it coming?

Keeley said...

Haha, thank you for checking up on me. =)

I have: picked up the hallway by the front door (I know it wasn't on my list, but I added it because it was baaaaad and people can see it's bad without even coming in the house), vacuumed and moped it and the downstairs bathroom.

I have also: picked up the stairs and vacuumed them. Ho boy they were NOT good.

I have also: picked up the floor in the dining room. Unfortunately a lot of the stuff needed to go upstairs so the stairs are cluttered again...but not to worry! They will be uncluttered by the end of the day.

I am now on my 15 minute computer break. The timer's about to go off. I will then vacuum the dining room floor and *gulp* tackled the dreaded dining room table. Oooooooh I am SO not looking forward to that.

Keeley said...

Should it be spelled "mopped"? Because as I'm re-reading my above post I realize it sounds like I hopped on a moped scooter and rode around on it through the hallway and the downstairs bathroom.

Not that a moped could FIT in the downstairs hallway and bathroom, but it still looks like that's what I was doing.

Dang it! The timer's just gone off. I don't understand how 45 minutes cleaning can last 3 hours and a 15 minute break lasts 30 seconds.

Keeley said...

1. The Stairs - DONE! Needs to be done again

2. The Dining Room - DONE!

3. The Laundry - UP NEXT!

4. And I will do the dishes. - DONE! And I wiped half the counters. I know, I know, but it's better than not wiping them at all, you know?

Addendum: The Hallway and downstairs bathroom - DONE!

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Oh my goodness, Keeley! You are doing great! YOU inspire ME!

Keeley said...


a) I forgot to set the time for this particular computer session and I have no idea how long I've been here. Probably about half an hour. Oh well.

b) Shall I take a picture of the youngest boy's bedroom? Maybe I'll post it on my blog so you can go "Oh. Yeah. Maybe not so inspirational" =D =D

c) My house attracts clutter so fast (read: I'm too stinkin' lazy to put something away where it's meant to go when it's in my hand and thus end up having to "put it away" three or four times before it's actually put away) that the stairs are already cluttered and the dining room table had more stuff on it before I'd even put down the dusting rag. I joke not. I was dusting with one hand, picking up clutter from somewhere with another, and I PUT IT ON THE TABLE. Obviously I immediately came to my senses and removed it, but you see what my house's problem is? What my house's problem is is me. =D =D

d) I forgot to exercise. And I forgot to prepare dinner. So I have to do that now. Prepare dinner, I mean. Actually, I also forgot to plan dinner so I guess I need to do that before I prepare it. It will be a miracle if I actually get to exercise today.

e) This is the most work I've done in the house for several weeks. Read that again. Several WEEKS. Gack!

f) I guess that's what working outside the home will do for ya. Though, honestly, The house was a mess before I started back at work, and I only work MWF.

g) I find it interesting that I'm currently using posting on your blog as an escape from folding laundry. =Þ

h) Ok, back to it. I can't tell you how much I've appreciated your encouragement. It's really helped me get the jobs done! =) =)

The Fisher's said...

Thanks so very much for that quote!! It's been a hot topic around my house lately - I slack on things around the house and my husband feels so uncomfortable in any type of clutter - this was a "nice" way of making me feel better! :) (And helping me to be better around the house ;))

Keeley said...

1. The Stairs - DONE! Needs to be done again - DONE AGAIN!

2. The Dining Room - DONE! - AND DONE AGAIN!

3. The Laundry - DONE!

4. And I will do the dishes. - DONE! And I wiped half the counters. I know, I know, but it's better than not wiping them at all, you know?
- need to be done again - DONE AGAIN!

Addendum: The Hallway and downstairs bathroom - DONE!

Also done: Shopping. Work cheque cashed. Dinner made. Children fed. Lunches mostly done for tomorrow. Youngest bathed, prayered, read-to, kissed, and in bed. Homeschool bag read to go for tomorrow. Christmas present wrapped for family I work for and ready to be delivered tomorrow. Birthday present for middle boy of the family I work for wrapped and ready to be delivered tomorrow. Teenage son grumpiness ignored and thus fight avoided. And also some other stuff I forgot but will probably remember as soon as I post this.

Didn't exercise and 8.51pm is too late to start now, dang it. *sigh* Oh well.

Thank you so much for holding my hand through it. =) It was extremely helpful to be accountable. =)

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Keeley, you crack me up! You did good, Lady! Now I think I need to be accountable to you now!

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Fisher Fam, right there with ya on all of your sentiments!

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Alessandra, YOU'RE comments always make ME start my day with a smile! Thank you!

alessandra said...

Oh My! I'm so glad about it, Jen :)
and to all the ladies around: Who really loves to clean? me not!
And what I do to effectively work less, is to have less and less stuff, eliminate the unnecessary.

Cheryl B. said...

Okay, so-o, I feel like I'm wading in where angles fear to tread .... but the more I thought about this posting, the more things came to mind that I wanted to share with you ...

Oh yeah, warning - this is most likely going to be one of those extremely l-o-n-g comments I seem so good at (prone to) leaving o;-p

My Aunt has a cross stiched plauge hanging in her entry that I have always liked. It states, "If you came to see me - WELCOME!! If you came to see my house - Make an appointment!!!!!!!"

A friend has another one of my favorites, "Picking up the house while the kids are still up, is like shoveling while it is still snowing out."

I have always had troubles with the 'movement' of spending "quality time" with your kids. Yes, spending good quality time with them IS important!!! No two ways about it. B-U-T, it takes quanities of time to REALLY have an impact/be a part of, your kids lifes. No two ways about that either. You cannot 'schedule' when they are going to come up with the stop you in your tracks questions, nor when life is going to 'happen' and they need your parental support, or in-put, or coaching, or just being there in the back ground as a silent but solid strength.

Personnally, I feel that a whole lot of the promoters of the "quality time" thing are ones that are wanting to make sure they (themselves) have time to do what they want, but still be able to pull off the "I look like a caring parent" image.

Now for the record, I am in no way implying that was what the Lady you quoted was about! NOT AT ALL. That little soap box of mine just came to mind while I was mulling over this posting.

Her points about keeping a clean house hold much merit. However, it also comes down to a thing of priorities. Is the house itself, and it's cleanliness, etc. what's important, or is tending to, nurturing, etc. your family what's important? There really is a difference.

My MIL was/is an extreme cleanliness, I hesitate to use the word "freak", but you get the idea. The thing is, to this day, both of her sons resent that!!! And they leave their evidance of that fact in their current homes - with wives they've been with for 29/25 years.

There was a whole slew of us whom had grown up together in our local church body, whom all got married with in a six year time frame. We formed a "20's" (that didn't stop when we left our 20's) group. We did activities together, we took our kids and went camping as a huge group, etc.. "D" was in our group. She was one of those "super mom's". You know, always had homemade {made from scratch} dinners ready, on time; her kids always appeared well groomed and spotless; she could sew; she grew a garden; her house work was ALWAYS caught up- the laundry, the dishes, the floors scrubbed, the ceiling dusted ... .

But I always held to the notion that there is no way you can be that good at EVERYTHING. 'Something' in your life has to suffer. EVERYTHING can't be a priority. The sad news is I was proven right, when her marriage finished unravelling in a hoorific 'I'm going to tear him to shreds, while twisting information about him, and creating lots of gossip before church services, even though, no, he has not been involved with some one else' type of sceniero.

continued ...

Cheryl B. said...

part two ...

And then there was the couple whom believed in extreme cleanliness, and extremem disipline, and extremely he was the head of the family, and ... And yes, they taught their kids to do the housework, but seldom were their kids alllowed "free time" - EVERYTHING in their lives were regulated - to the extreme {are ya getting that word?}. They literally shined their dad's shoes - while they were on his feet, but it was a rariety indeed to hear laughter come from that family. Sad!!

Jen, I've shared all of this with you because I care about you. I took your current poll - and chose "other". To be honest, I'm not 100% sure why I started comming back. The Lord just touched my heart strings for you. Yes, your stories do bring back lots of memories for me. Yes, you often do make me laugh. And other 'things'. But most of all, I've learned to care about/for you. That is the reason I'm going on (and on ...)here.

In your other comments, The Proverbs 31 lady was mentioned. YES, she is an inspiration, and an example, and many other things. But we must look at the base of it - she was a provider for HER family. She did what needed to be done to meet the particular needs of HER family.

All of us have families which have their own particular needs. We are responsible for THOSE needs, which oft times are far different than even our friends families needs are.

And yes, every family should live in a 'clean' home. But each of us must determine just how clean 'clean' is in our particular household. Is that cleaning project over there more important than reading the kids a book? Must all of the last meals dishes be cleaned and put away before we can start preparing the next meal? Is the house stinky dirty, with rotting 'stuff' scattered here and there, etc., or is it just 'messy' because it's actually lived in?

At one point in time, when all four of our sons were in elemtary school or younger, and Brian was averaging 80 hour weeks between his two jobs, his grandmother lit into me in a conversation with him, about my {from her perspective} lack of good housekeeping habits. At that point in time, by the end of the day, if all diapers that needed changing had been, and everybody had been fed three meals, and people were dropped off and picked up when they were suppose to be, etc., I went to bed feeling like I had succedded that day.

Anyways, her perspective was far different. My husband had looked his grandmother in the eye and told her that he preferred I keep some of my energies for him, for when he finally got home at night. I was SHOCKED!!!!! He went on to say that he much prefered I invest my engeries into rearing up and raising up his kids and caring for them and him, than to live in a museum like house.

Jen, you feel like you need to strive to "do better" in the housekeeping department. Then perhaps you do. HOWEVER, first - PLEASE talk all of this over with your husband. He loves and cares for you so darn much. He knows your abilities and your limits. He also knows your heart. And ultimitly, HE is the one responsible to God for your home life. So talk all of this over with him, and then with his support and encouragement - strive forth in the areas you both deem you should.

Us, your 'readers' ("Friends"!!!) are here to encourage and aid you in any way we can!!!

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Cheryl, you comments were very sweet and heartfelt. Thank you so much for all the time you take to inspire us! I will take what you said to heart.

Heather said...

I love that you show your human-ness to us; it gives me hope that some day I'll be able to find a balance that works for me.

Chery B., I love your comments and thoughts you shared!

Heather said...

P.S. I'll be mentioning both of you on my blog; you're so inspiring!