Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Treat it Like a Job

We say that homemaking is the hardest job that a person will ever do, and this is true.  However, something a friend of mine said to me the other day got me thinking, do I actually treat it like a job?  What I mean by this is, do I always work as hard/put in as much effort, as I would at a “normal” job?  I am not arguing that homemaking is more tiring than any other job I have ever done, or that I put in more hours; what I am questioning is whether or not I am as efficient as I would be if I my work was being critiqued?

   One of the best/worst parts of being a homemaker is that you are your own boss.  This is a good thing in that no one is judging your work or looking over your shoulder.  At the same time, it is bad because no one is judging your work or looking over your shoulder.  In all jobs we always have a “to do” list, tasks that we have to accomplish.  In a “normal” job, there are consequences for not accomplishing tasks, perhaps eventually being fired.  At home, there are times where only we know what the consequences might be.  For example, I need to mop my floor.  I plan on doing this today but I could leave it until tomorrow because it really doesn’t affect anyone.  So, it is entirely up to me how often I mop that floor because really, what harm is there in waiting? But yet, mopping is still a task of my job just like proofreading books, organizing files, or sending out invitations used to be tasks of my old job. My getting the floor mopped is just as important as it used to be for me to keep track of RSVPs to lectures.  The difference is, here no one is watching to make certain I actually do my work.

    Once I started to think about homemaking this way, I began to ask myself some questions.  Do I get up and dressed by a specific time? (I’m always up, but we all know it might take a little bit for us to get ready for the day.) Do I work hard all day? Do I waste a lot of time? Am I efficient in my work, doing the best job that I can, or, on the days where I am in a funk, am I just downright lazy?  Do I use my time wisely?  So I started to address these questions and here are some changes that I made.

·         Each morning, be up and dressed (a little bit of make-up on, hair at least brushed and pulled back—I’m not talking about getting up and fully doing my face and curling my hair like I would if I were headed out for the day—just look nice enough that I wouldn’t care if someone came to the door and saw me like that.) by a specific time—8:00am, and ready for the day.  Up to this time, I can be in my robe, drinking my coffee, saying prayers, reading a book, being with kids, whatever, but at 8:00, my work day begins and I need to be ready for it.  I also found that once I started doing this, it was easier to get going and do what needs to be done.

·         Make breakfast for everyone and sit down as a family to eat it.  This is also a nice opportunity for us to be together as a family before Patrick goes to work.  By about 8:45, we are done with breakfast, the dishes are done, and we are waving goodbye to Patrick as he heads off to work.  

I don’t have my day scheduled after this, but I do have my “to do” list.  In the mornings I do school with Sebastian (this takes about one hour) and I work on tasks around the house. (i.e. laundry, put dinner in the crock-pot—if necessary—dust, vacuum, etc.)   Interestingly enough, as soon as I started doing these things, I found that I had a lot more time to spend with the kids.

      In general, from 8 till 7:30 (when kids are in bed) I try to work hard throughout the day, the same as I would if I were being paid for my time.  I take one hour during naps as my “lunch break” and I relax and get some energy back for the rest of the afternoon.  After kids naps we go outside for a walk or to play, and when we come back I finish/start dinner.  After dinner, I do the dishes while Patrick plays with the kids and gets them ready for bed (we have the deal that he takes care of the kids while I do dishes as it is the only time all day that he gets to spend with them.) and once they are in bed, I relax.  

    I am not saying that to treat this like a job I should work, work, work all of the time.  I just mean that I need to use my time wisely and not waste it.  If I were sitting in my old office, I wouldn’t be checking my email, browsing the internet, or looking at facebook when I should be working. Just because we don’t have a boss watching over us or because we don’t receive a paycheck, doesn’t mean we should give this job less time and attention than we would a job outside of the home.  In fact, we should give it more because this is our own business and our efforts are the ones that determine whether or not it thrives. 

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