Summer Breeze????

Wow. Gotta love Michigan. So after a few days within the last couple of weeks that involved me turning on the heat at night and all three of my kids and husband battling coughs and sniffles, it is now an absolutely perfect clear 82 degrees and has been beautiful for several days. I am feeling worse and worse, but cannot bring myself to be in a bad mood among all this splendor, especially considering what is going on with Hurricane Matthew. The people in the affected regions need prayer and aid.

What baffles me about that though is the people who either have refused to leave or still refuse to leave. A lot of people would rather lose their lives than abandon their possessions, apparently. That is sad. An acquaintance of a relative said she prayed during their last hurricane and God brought her through, so she is trusting Him to do the same this time. Now, I of course believe prayer works, but I also think that we are supposed to use our resources and make informed decisions. God equipped meteorologists and the like to do their jobs and if their research shows that this hurricane is on a collision course with your state, I say better be safe than sorry and get out of dodge.

That is one of the pluses of living here in Michigan. With the exception of the occasional tornado or rare earthquake, our weather is pretty steady. Yet and still if I ever heard a hurricane was coming this way, I’d grab my most important things (documents such as birth certificates, home ownership paperwork if necessary, etc., and photos) and pray for the best–as I headed somewhere else.

It has been a relaxing day so far. Apparently I needed the rest, because although I still feel awful, I don’t feel as bad as I have been the last few days. My husband took my freshly minted 10-year-old son (more on that in a sec) to school. Our four-year-old daughter Layla insisted on going  as well. She is very crafty–I think she knew that my mom wasn’t going to her part-time job today, and she had early intentions on going with Mom back to her house (and that is exactly what happened–Mom drops my niece off, who goes to the same school as my son, in the morning, so we see her every day).

So for the better part of the day I was alone with my baby girl Jayla. She had some struggles as she attempted to sleep through the very obnoxious mystery construction work that is taking place across the street from us, work that got so loud that it actually shook our house on occasion. I have yet to know what they are doing, but rumor has it that they are building a pipeline that will extend thirty miles or so. I have been trying to find out if this was the case and if so, why weren’t we ever notified? It is quite mystifying. They (meaning the construction workers) are literally drilling in people’s backyards, yet no one was ever asked for permission or told exactly what this project is all about. That leads me to wonder how this was approved.

Despite her tiredness, Jayla was still in a good mood, and we relaxed in bed for the better part of the day as I dealt with a left thigh that kept going numb, eye floaters, chest pains, a head that feels as though it is weighted down, sporadic abdominal pain, hand pain, and pain where there was pain. SMH. Luckily I didn’t have to make any major decisions because I have been super confused. It is difficult to explain, but here are a few examples… the other day I cooked a meal at my mom’s house, and she has a stove with cooktop knobs that only show the positions of the burners they to which they correspond.

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 I had the worst time trying to figure out which burner went with which knob based on those little stupid dots.

Mind you I have used that stove countless times.

That is what I mean by this confusion. I am messing up on things I know full well how to do. I am showcasing memory impairment as well. I have gotten stumped on facts and details that I have known for years. If you were to ask me an on-the-spot question, you may get a blank stare as I frantically try to get my faulty brain to process your request.

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It makes me feel like I look like an idiot, and for someone who has spent years and thousands of dollars to get the credentials to show that I am NOT an idiot, that is the most frustrating part of all of this.

On a brighter note…

My firstborn turned ten yesterday. It was bittersweet. I am thankful to God for allowing Jayden to make it to ten, but I sure do miss my little fat curly headed happy baby. He is still happy and kinda chunky, but everyone knows how sweet and special babies are. He is getting to the point where he needs us a little less each day, and I am now putting a great deal of effort into training him for responsible manhood. Each day on my birth board I read stories of frustrated women dealing with obnoxious husbands, husbands who don’t want to work, husbands that don’t help with the children–I’m not raising one of those. Now that he is ten Jayden and I can have good conversations about why he needs to know how to do his own laundry, cook his own meals, etc. I don’t want to have a miserable daughter-in-law and an entitled son. I want him to pull his own weight. Speaking of which, I found this on Facebook, and was, admittedly, offended until I examined my own marriage in relation to it:

Let’s be real, shall we?

In my personal opinion, as for ME, housework flipping SUCKS. In general. Now, there are things I really don’t mind doing. As long as the laundry doesn’t get backed up, which isn’t a problem now that we have a washer and dryer, I don’t mind laundry, with the exception of putting socks together. I absolutely detest matching up socks. Why? Because I ALWAYS, ALWAYS end up with an odd number of socks and it drives me flipping nuts. I have an entire drawer full of unmatched socks. I don’t really mind washing dishes, I don’t mind vacuuming, I don’t mind dusting. I love cooking. Housework also includes things pertinent to our children, including fixing and packing lunches, giving them baths, etc. I don’t mind any of those things either. Other than matching socks the only chore I hate doing 100% of the time is ironing. It is the most boring thing ever.

With that being said, I guess housework doesn’t necessarily SUCK as much as it is super boring and never ending. When I worked outside the home, I got a guaranteed break, a guaranteed lunch, a paycheck, a modicum of respect from my coworkers, an occasional challenge and adult interaction. Working outside the home satisfied my ambition, in that I felt (and admittedly still feel) that productivity is rewarded by a paycheck. I will be honest and say that I would feel better about myself if I was bringing some money into the household. Even still I can see how managing the home is invaluable, and making sure the place is safe and welcoming for my family is priceless.

But, yes it does get boring sometimes to have your life center around the home.

That is why it is important for a stay-at-home parent to still remember who they ARE aside from the chores. I still love to read and write. I still have friends. I still have interests. So I should still pursue them, in order that I don’t feel like an isolated maid. For a lot of the mainly women I have talked to about not working, they too find that it’s not necessarily the work that goes into maintaining the home that they detest, it’s the lack of respect they get from not making money and the isolation and loss of self. When those things are reasonably balanced you will have a happier stay-at-home parent. No, it’s not selfish to still want to be yourself.

As for the meme, I suppose I found it to be pretty condescending, and maybe that’s why it initially rubbed me the wrong way. When I was working outside the home, yes I expected my husband to pitch in some. I didn’t necessarily get that, but it only seems fair that if both husband and wife are working full-time, and both LIVE in the home, that both should work together to maintain said home. In the case of one spouse staying home, then absolutely they should pick up more of the in-home responsibilities. I took umbrage to a few things. Feel free to disagree with me if you will.

The author of this took a lot of heat for it, especially after she defended it once asked if she believes this applies to working women as well (she said yes). I felt the same as the women who got offended–whereas the author explains that we didn’t marry our husbands so they could help us with the housework, we also didn’t get married so we could be treated like maids either. Unfortunately, a lot of people who responded to the meme were atheists who used this opportunity to malign Christianity as outdated, oppressive and sexist. I understand that may have been the takeaway for some, but I wholeheartedly disagree.

  1. Yes, wives are to be their husband’s helper. BUT, a husband is supposed to love his wife as Christ loved the church. Now, that’s some major love right there. A Godly husband who loves his wife as much as our Savior, who gave His very life for us, would not be happy to watch his wife be overworked and unhappy.
  2. A lot of the women had a problem with the word “submit”. It is an abused word, not always clearly defined or understood. One woman wrote that she was having a hard time with her husband because when it came time for a decision to be made that would affect the household, he would always tell her no, with no discussion, and if she attempted to offer her opinion, he would tell her she was not submitting (GAG). What do I believe submitting looks like?
    1. First, you have to marry a man who is deeply rooted and grounded in the Word. Don’t expect a man who is not of God to truly understand what submission is to look like.
    2. An issue in the marriage comes up, husband and wife have differing opinions. Technically, the idea of submission is that the husband has the final say. Here is where it gets hairy–if the husband is indeed one who is rooted and grounded in the Word, he will definitely take his wife’s feelings and opinions into consideration as he makes the final decision. His decision as the priest of the home should also include consultation with God, PARTICULARLY if he and his wife aren’t on the same page. At the end of the day, there should never be an instance where a Godly husband is telling his wife “No” with no discussion. So in the end, the decision is actually a joint one. Husband and wife talk, if an impasse is reached, God will direct the husband as to how he should move forward. A woman with a Godly husband will trust his efforts to lead.
    3. Submission goes both ways, although the husband is the leader… as I have said before, great nations don’t usually have two leaders. They have, for example, a president and vice-president. In the home the husband is the president, the wife is the vice-president. Look no further than Ephesians 5:21-31 to confirm:
“And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.
For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body.
As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

It comes down to me with a mutual respect for each other and a true understanding of the partnerhood that is marriage (and yes, I know partnerhood is not a word, but it works). There are things I do better than my husband. There are things he does better than me. When you know each other well, you go with that. I don’t think the stiffly defined gender roles are absolutely necessary for each relationship because in this society there are too many other variables. Most families don’t have the luxury of having the woman stay at home. In those situations, let’s say both spouses get off work at five. While the wife cooks dinner, can the husband throw in a load of clothes? While the husband helps with homework, can the wife pack the lunches for the kids for tomorrow and iron their clothes? Can they alternate who helps with baths, and both tuck the kids into bed and say prayers? On the weekends, can the entire family roll out a list of what needs to be done and divvy it up? Yes.

Another point that jumped to my mind is that, in a situation like mine, there may be an ill partner who cannot do all of those things. In that case, should the ill partner be made to feel like a burden? No, because when we take our vows we say we will love “in sickness and in health”. Neither partner should be a burden to the other, so if one is in the situation like me where she is a stay at home mom, yes she should do the majority of the housework (the only thing I really care for my husband to do is take out the trash, but I’ll usually do that too) if she can (or he) and be responsible with money if they are living off one income. But it goes both ways. The working partner ought to respect the homemaker’s contribution, because that is work too. I love, respect, and appreciate my husband for going to work sometimes seven days a week on very little sleep, so when he comes home, no I don’t expect him to cook or clean the house. I like for him to spend time with his family. Now could he be a bit less sloppy? That’s for a different blog post 🙂

I do happen to love these memes…

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(And before anyone gets their panties in a wad about the breastfeeding mother, remember that breastfeeding is natural and the very purpose of breasts).

Let me also mention one more thing. I do agree with the meme author’s suggestion that we should do our work cheerfully as to the Lord. When a man or woman goes to a job that allows them a paycheck that can be used to support their family, they ought to do that job cheerfully because God gave it to them that they might be able to make a living. If a woman is able to stay at home and raise her kids, she should do so cheerfully because a lot of moms might only be able to dream of staying home with her kids as opposed to dropping her precious babies off to a stranger for eight hours. I can’t think of anything scarier than the idea of leaving my almost 4-month-old daughter with someone I haven’t known for, like… my ENTIRE life.

We also have to remember that when we are serving others–when we’re at our jobs and giving it our all, when we’re at home working tirelessly to make sure it’s tidy, God is our ultimate boss and he is pleased when we are good stewards of the things he has given us. In due to time he will give us more and more according to his will.

Well this post took longer than I initially intended. I got caught up in one of my tirades and now I do need to make dinner for my family and tend to my kids (all three are home now). I’ll be back later with more Judges.

 

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