Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Deciding to Be a Homemaker

Cooking and cleaning full time seems like an awful way to spend my day. I mean, seriously. Boring. And not just boring, but I can do so much more with my time if I don't have to cook and clean. I could save the world if I didn't have to cook or clean. I never understood people who hired others to clean their house for them, but I understand now. And they are brilliant thinkers.

There are other reasons why I have not wanted to full-time keep house. They are as follows:

1. I do not want to have "dead brain", or be a "zombie mommy".
I have seen women who dedicate their lives so much to housework that it's like they're not really "there" anymore. It's like they do nothing that stimulates their brain and they just go through life without living. I have been a zombie a couple times in my life and it's awful and I don't want that to happen to me, especially while taking care of my children.

2. Feels like a waste of time.
Until a month ago, I understood the value of housework, but just not the value of full-time housework. Isn't part-time enough? Because with the rest of my time, I could be saving the world one musicological article published at a time. (That's just one of the things I would love to do with extra time.)

3. I hate housework.
Okay, sometimes I like it, but I'm so slow that it becomes troublesome the fact that everything must be repeated--dishes must be done multiple times a day, etc. and it takes me forever! Rarely is the day when it feels like everything is clean. And I think that's what I hate about it--I'm never quite satisfied because it never seems to be perfect.

This was my thinking until about a month ago.

And before that month ago, I was constantly feeling stressed and overwhelmed. I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water. (And, yes, I only have one child and live in a small two-bedroom apartment. ;)

And then I was in the temple and had some time to ponder. I was thinking of all the cool things I'd love to do and wanted to know how to do them. And then, a thought came into my mind, and I know it was Heavenly Father speaking to me. He said, "Annie. You just need to be a mom."

The thought kind-of shocked me. And then a peace overcame me and I knew that that was my answer. I needed to focus on what was most important. All-of-a-sudden it felt like a huge burden was lifted off my shoulders. I had one focus! Just one! And it felt amazing.

Heavenly Father knew that it was the right time for me to hear this. I don't think I would have heard Him if He had tried speaking to me about this a couple weeks before.

The last month has been awesome. When I'm not playing with or taking care of Adaline, I'm organizing the apartment. I've put stuff into a storage unit, taken loads to D.I., returned and mailed things to people, organized and organized. The home is now easier to keep clean and it's so cool! It's not like I have more time than I did before--it's just that my focus has changed. For some reason, when all of my thoughts were constantly on multiple things, I couldn't use my time wisely. Now it's so much easier! I even have the brain capacity to think about dinner and to make it!

I still have a long way to go until I'm even an averagely good homemaker, but I'm working at it and it's a fun challenge. I also know that not all of the coming days will be as exciting, but that's what my brain is for--to come up with better and funner ways of accomplishing things around the home and with Addie.

My new thought is that I don't have to change the world. But I can be the mother of those who change the world. And that is a cool thought.

Yesterday I listened to and read Julie B. Beck's talk titled "Mothers Who Know" and I remembered how amazing that talk is. I recommend that you read it and that you listen to her while you read the talk. Here are some excerpts that apply to my new focus:

"Mothers who know [the gospel of Jesus Christ and have strong testimonies of such] are nurturers... 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... 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."

So. Cool. Read the talk.

In closing, I want all of you reading this to realize something. This is my blog. Not yours. This is my story. Heavenly Father has a different mission for each of us and it will not be the same, so everything I've said may not apply to you or may not be for you yet. I just wanted to make that clear. ;)

Oh, and if you're LDS then you should go to the temple often because Heavenly Father can prompt you in wonderful ways! And if you're not LDS, you should take the time to ponder for the same thing!

Love you all!


  1. Beautiful post, Annie. Thanks for sharing this experience. I know I had (and sometimes do still have) the same feelings about housework/homemaking.

    I had a similar nudge recently, telling me that no matter what else I do, I am a mother FIRST. It has really helped me to remember that-- no matter what else the Lord may have in store for me, my children and family will always be first priority! It's funny how that helped me really focus on the home again, and how things fit together so much more neatly when I have the proper perspective!

    Thanks for this reminder. :)

  2. Great thoughts and I'm sure you put MANY homemakers to shame already! As one of the kindest people I've EVER met, I am sure you are way too hard on yourself and I am positive Heavenly Father is pleased with all that you have done so far in your life and the many wonderful things you will still do. Best of luck and warm wishes!

  3. I had a similar change of heart several years ago, and still have to remind myself every few months. I have not always liked housework, and I struggled letting go of some things I love as I grew into my new identity as "mom." I enjoy mothering and homemaking more when I actively search for joy in it, rather than thinking I can only find joy in the things I did when I was "my own." That being said, having regular time set aside to enjoy hobbies and interests (without guilt) is important too.
    You sound like a wonderful mother who will someday be able to return to that musicology research without regret.

  4. Oh Annie, I always enjoy reading your blog posts! They are so honest and always feel parallel to my life. It's probably been a blessing that I've been "stuck" here in the Bronx because I don't venture out often. It's too hard, too stressful, too time consuming, etc. So it forces me to keep a clean house, cook meals, and so on. I don't enjoy it, but I've really found joy in the end results; that is, being in a clean environment (totally opposite of what's out my window!) and we've been eating a lot better and are losing weight. So I guess I've been able to refocus the everyday chores into means to accomplish goals & positive feelings.

    Also, there are NO stay at home moms here and it's helped me feel so grateful for the sacrifice that Tyron and I are making to forgo income and focus on what matters most- our family.

    So, Auralia and I will be coming out to visit for a month! (May 14-June 12) and we'll definitely be by the apartment to say hello! We'd love to do a pool trip or picnic or park trip or whatever with you! I'll be in contact with you about it :)