As with all things, we must know the why before we begin the what, so I am going to do my best to explain the why of my homekeeping before I get into some practical tips. According to Genesis, I was created to be Bill’s helpmate. That means all I do in managing my home brings the most glory to God if it fits into the plan of helping Bill, but with what am I helping him? Well, some things Bill is called to are his own spiritual well being, the spiritual well being of me and the kids, serving others (both believers and unbelievers), and some things around the house that require muscle (of which I have little). My purpose for managing our home must help serve him so he can be freed up to glorify God through his duties.
What I do must not necessarily be according to other Christians’ standards but according to God’s word and my husband’s needs. For instance, I had a friend who told me she felt like a failure because she wasn’t making lunch for her husband every morning. Upon prodding her a bit, I discovered her husband didn’t even want her to make his lunch. He didn’t feel it helped him with any of his duties, and he enjoyed his lunch more when he made it himself. 🙂 At one season of our lives, Bill wasn’t getting much time in the word. Mornings seemed like the best time for him, so I began preparing his lunch in the mornings to free up some time for him to pray and study scripture. Being a helpmate to our husbands looked different for my friend and me. Because there is no biblical command to prepare your husband’s lunch, she did not need to do this task, but it was a great service to Bill and our whole family.
This is what some of that looks like for our family. Some things Bill feels like are important for our family on a daily basis is that he gets to spend time in the word and in prayer (he gets most of this during his long bus rides and walks in the morning and afternoon), that he is the main theology teacher in our home, that he spends individual time with each child, that we spend some time together as a family, that he gets sufficient time connecting with me, that we get sufficient time for sleep so he can be rested enough to serve us, and that he gets work done that I can’t do. Approximately, we take one hour for dinner, training, and talking as a family, 30 minutes of individual time with each child, 15 minutes for family worship, one hour at least of uninterrupted talking time with me, and some time for us to do something fun together like play outside, play a game, read, or whatever. He also almost always has some kind of job to do around the house. For example, last night our closet shelves randomly fell, so Bill spent an hour reinstalling. 🙂
With all those duties (and that’s just the bare minimum) and considering he only has about 5 hours from the time he gets home to the time he goes to bed, how could I expect Bill so split homekeeping chores with me when he gets home? No one (including me) would be served in that instance. Bill would miss out on some quality time with at least some of us, and all of our spiritual growth would be stunted. Also, if we lived in a house of chaos and disorder, it would be difficult to have places to romp together or to find things quickly in the limited time he has. With how easy it is for our family to pass sickness around to each other, cleanliness also becomes an important factor. Therefore, I strive to keep a clean and ordered home (just ignore the plethora of toys on the floor during the day), and I strive to do it all on my own before he gets home. Granted this does not usually work out perfectly, especially in our season of having 100lbs of little ones running around, but this is my goal, and I do it joyfully (sometimes) for God’s glory.