Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Homemaker's Despair

On Friday, I was given the grocery money. I carefully put aside a small portion for savings and then planned what to do with the rest. I checked the ads and made my list. I bought extra bags of flour for baking muffins, pizza dough and biscuits. I bought marked-down meat for stews. Everything I chose would require more work from me.

When I finished the shopping, I was discouraged. I knew there was a week full of hard labor waiting for me at home. I knew it would take tremendous effort for me to make the food last and make sure my family had nutritious meals. I was devastated by the cost of groceries and I almost cried.

Sometimes I think about the families who happily enjoy a night out at a restaurant. I think about those who can buy anything they like. I remember the old days when we used to order pizza once a week, but that no longer happens.  Yet, I have to realize that my work at home - the hard labor of endless laundry, scrubbing, sweeping, cooking, baking and washing is the greatest work a mother can have. I am living the life of my ancestors and I have it far easier than they ever did!

It was had work that built the characters of the citizens of this nation. It was sacrifice, service, endurance and patience that created virtue in the mind and heart.  Mothers who kept the home running with their own hands were the hearts of this country.

Instead of being a wimp, I have to feel honored and brave! I have to gratefully work hard and thank God for my lot in life.  I need to boost morale in the family. I need to be the example of virtue.  I need to smile through my work and make it look fun, much like Tom Sawyer did when he painted the fence.

The other day, Matthew (18) was using a mop to wash the third-floor staircase. It is off in a corner behind our kitchen. John (13) heard the noise and came running. "What are you doing?" He asked his big brother. "It looks like fun!" Can you imagine that? We about died laughing.  But it made me realize something. . .

Home should be full of laughter in the midst of labor. It should be the place where we faithfully work, side-by-side, as a family to keep the home running.

Instead of being in despair at all we have to do today, let us find ways to make it look fun. Let's make it a delightful adventure. It will be something to write about in the history books!

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Enjoying an Afternoon Tea Break.

Of Great Importance - Morning Devotions for the Family.

Always remember that - Mother Makes the Home.

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Gail said...

What a great reminder! Thank you for this! Sometimes I also want to cry after going grocery shopping! It is one of those things I don't enjoy doing because food prices just keep going up! You are so right, the home needs to be a place of labor and laughter! I needed to hear this today! Thank you! :)

Heather said...

Ah, this post comes so perfectly timed! We are currently in "make it last" mode (well, we always are, but lately more than usual). As I stood surveying my kitchen cabinets and near-empty refrigerator yesterday, wondering just how I was going to make things last 2 more days til payday, I was reminded of the time in the Little House books where Pa says that if anyone can make a meal from what they have, Ma can. I had to smile. Well, if Ma can make a meal from 4 potatoes and a little flour, surely I can make something from what I have!

Unknown said...

Thank you for this reminder, I needed it today. It was a great post and the other comments are also encouraging.
Have a blessed day,

Anonymous said...

What a great post. It comes at a time when so many have to make the grocery money stretch far.
Yesterday morning our dryer stopped working. I had to go spend around 4 dollars on line, pins, and hooks and I made us a nice clothesline (we live in a city where clotheslines aren't allowed, but I had to break the rules!). It made me thankful to have the option of using a dryer, but also glad that when the "easy" way is unavailable, we can still make it work and make it fun! My 4-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son thought the clothesline was amazing and wanted to help me hang everything up! Tehehe :)

Alina said...

All those points you make are great points, and I have one more to add: think about how much healthier the food you make for your family is, than the ready-made option! The home made/baked food is wholesome, while the processed, chemical-laden, grocery-store bought counterpart is a poor excuse for food in the first place. I do exactly what you do without monetary constraints: I cook all the food my family eats from scratch, bake all bread, snacks and other goodies, hang the laundry out on the line etc etc just because it is the healthy, natural way to raise a family. I can only imagine how hard it is with a larger family though; you are doing a great job and your family is lucky to have you!

Anonymous said...

Mrs. White,

The reason I like reading your blog is because you are real. You share the fact you wanted to cry and you knew how hard your work was going to be. Then, you turn around and say how you should think. It is so encouraging to me, and helps turn my thinking around when I find myself in a similar situation.


Anonymous said...

Oh what great words of encouragement, Sharon. I pray the Lord blesses and sustains you.

Dawn E. Brown said...

what a great posting, we are all in the same position, as Mothers who choose to make a home for our families,praise God for the health to keep going...bless you

Nicole said...

I always look at it this way ... I could be doing all of the housework, cooking, organizing, laundry, children's activities, etc., on the WEEKENDS because I have worked at a job outside the home for 40 hours all week! All of a sudden I am grateful for having the TIME to do those things all week long.

Kristi said...

I could have written this post a dozen times and then God brings me back to a place of contentment amidst my exhaustion and physically demanding life.

Then I realize, like you did, that even though I am exhausted and life is full of never ending physical demands, I still have it pretty easy-peasy compared to those who walked these trails before me. At least I don't have to carry water into the house. I have an electric stove and don't have to stoke that hot wood stove up to cook in the hot summer. I have toilets, vacuum cleaners and I don't have to make my own soap (if I don't want to).

God is good, he will give you strength to do the right thing for your family. Lean on him and remember that contentment is very freeing. Contentment is not equal to happiness... happiness can be present too but contentment is so much more than just pure giddiness. Contentment flows deeper and washes a peace through your soul.

May God give you his peace and contentment.

Anonymous said...

Some young people want to do amazing things with their lives, but the truth is that growing up and becoming an adult, staying faithful to your spouse, paying your bills, raising your kids, staying busy with your hands minding your own business and quietly taking care of your own life...living an honorable life, being responsible, doing your duty, and living for God...these are all amazing things and things that are lacking in many people today. While they go in search of some big purpose, these qualities go by the way.

As some young women speak to me of their hopes for a future husband, I counsel them that it is HARD ENOUGH to just live a life as I mentioned above without marrying someone of a different faith, or with a drinking problem, or a drug problem, or a work ethic problem...because he's a 'rockstar' or handsome or exciting.

All the ladies that have commented here on this post, and on others, are doing just that with their lives. Living responsibly and quietly doing the right thing day after day and taking care of their little corner of the world. The home, the family, is where everything in life begins and all you ladies on here are to be saluted for quietly and consistently doing your duty each day.

God bless you all and may you catch a vision for the beauty of your roles as homemakers!! No one can take your place in your home...it's all yours!

Anonymous said...

"Instead of being a wimp, I have to feel honored and brave! I have to gratefully work hard and thank God for my lot in life." So true! Thanks, I really needed to read this today!

Jennifer-Eighty MPH Mom said...

Thank you for putting things in perspective for me. I am a SAHM, and I sometimes get resentful of all that I am responsible. I need to remind myself that I am very, very lucky, and I should take pride in the fact that I get to do this.

Awesome post!

Unknown said...

Hey Sharon, Silly me I thought I was already following you. I'm glad I can back to check because I got to read this post. Thanks for reminding me how lucky I am and not to complain so much about what work I do have. Half of the struggle is in the attitude. I've been so lazy today (well, not just today). Thanks for that gentle reminder to get my house in order. I love your blog.

OOXX's...Tracy :)

P.S. What really kills me at the store is the price of toilet paper and paper towels. I hate paying for that.

Joyce Ackley said...

I don't have a family to feed, but the grocery bill for myself is increasing each time I shop. I notice how things are going up. I try to buy shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, and other toiletries at the dollar store. I find good deals on toilet paper, paper towels, and laundry detergent at Walgreens or CVS.
If families are able to do so, I think gardens are a great way to supplement the food budget. Even a few tomato plants and a small plot of peppers, beans, squash, etc. would supply a few veggies for sides and salads.
I admire mothers like yourself who are able to cook and bake from scratch in order to stretch the food dollar. It's really hard these days to make ends meet.

Kimberly said...

Thanks for your honesty! Oh the days I have felt the same way! It is so much easier to buy the frozen pizza instead of making it from scratch!

But, I commend you for going the extra mile! It is worth it!
God Bless!

Finding Joy said...

I cook everything from scratch and I am sure it is much cheaper and tastier than processed foods. I often cook more than one meal which means I can have another meal in the freezer when I am tired. And it is amazing how you can bulk out meals, eg by adding rice or pasta to a casserole, cracked wheat (to meat balls), legumes are very filling in soups. These are cheap additions that can fill up a family.

I buy bulk items when on sale eg shampoos, soaps and
cleaners so I always have plenty stashed away for when I can't find them on sale. I do likewise with meat and freeze.

Even though grocery shopping isn't an issue for us, this is
a very good reminder not to be wasteful and to think
careful when buying.

Is growing your own products a possibility as that will help with the budget?

In Gods Grace

lisaplus6 said...

"Instead of being a wimp, I have to feel honored and brave! I have to gratefully work hard and thank God for my lot in life." So true! Thanks, I also really needed to read this today! Let me be the example in this home of cheerfulness in duty!

Create With Joy said...

Thank you for this fabulous post - you are always such an encouragement and blessing to your readers!

Have a fabulous 4th!


patty said...

I couldn't help but stare at the photo you have posted with this message...and my thoughts were that they really didn't care what the house looked like...no fancy pictures, no frilly curtains at the windows, no carpeting...but that at least they had a roof over their heads, a place to cook, food on the table, and even a place to hang the laundry! They were blessed...and I hope we can remember to feel that way when our homes aren't as prettied up as we'd like them to be!!

Katie said...

Stretching the grocery money is always work, but I often think of just how RICH we really are compared to most of the population in the world. I live in a house, a house...not a tent. I have running water...even hot water at that. I have a stove, oven, washer and dryer. Many women lug their laundry down to the river and beat their families clothing on rocks to clean it every week. Oh, I am blessed and have my servants (washer, dryer, crockpot, dishwasher, etc.) do the hard work for me. Oh we are blessed indeed.

Mrs. Laura Lane said...

Dear Mrs. White,
I am always encouraged when I visit you.
Your older posts are still so relevant.
I'm about to get busy on my work for the
day. I'm going to tie on my old flannel
apron and do my best to make this home
a place of love, acceptance, good food,
and happiness.

God bless you with all you need and some of your wants in Jesus Name!

Please drop by and say hello!
Harvest Lane Cottage
...doing what I can with what I've got where I am
on a short shoestring budget!