Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sacred Housework

I know your thinking – “What is so sacred about cleaning the toilet?” I fought the idea that I could hold these chores in such high regard from the very start. Of course when I began my career as a "homemaker" things were much easier. My husband and had I just moved in together and our tiny apartment housed no children and little to no furniture. The T.V. – which we bought on credit – sat on two cinder blocks atop a piece of plywood. The idea of mopping made me feel grown up and took all of 10 minutes. My husband and I shared tasks and it seemed to take no time at all to straighten things up. Now, cleaning up after a family of seven requires serious skills and timing. The words “Are there any clean towels!” can send shivers up my spine and a burst of resentment if I’m not careful. To some extent I’ve lowered my expectations but on the other hand I’ve raised them too. I am the keeper of our home. I carry this with great pride like carrying the Olympic Torch. Of course it helps that I only work this gig and believe me it is a seven day a week round the clock kind of schedule. I wouldn’t even attempt to work an outside job although I do also run a Girl Scout Troop at my daughter’s grade school and I consider that to be just like another job - once again done for for free. It seems everything I do is gratis. Some years ago I was lucky enough to come across a book called Simple Abundance (http://www.simpleabundance.com/) and it changed everything for me. It taught me the value of being organized (which has saved my sanity numerous times let me tell you) this book really resonated with my “authentic self” pardon my lapse into the world of Sarah Ban Breathnach. Our homes are our shelter from the world. The place we come to escape the harshness of life. It’s a place where people greet you with warmth and are happy to see you coming through the door at the end of the day. Well… most days anyhow. This really does matter and I realize that my work here is my expression of love for those faces. If you believe that God is part of everything then it’s part of washing the dishes and sweeping the floor too. So it is sacred - even if the profoundness of it is only visible to me. Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against women working outside the home. I am not one of those religious types either that think they are their husbands helpers. No, I am a serious feminist woman. I am proud of the fact that I kept my name (no man would give his up) and after all it’s who I’m known as in this world. What I am most proud of though is that I know the value of real family life and so does my husband. Maybe we don’t have all the monetary things we could have had if I would have been focused on bringing home more money and maybe we never would have taken on 3 more kids (although someone would have had to do this even if it was the State of California) but what we do have is sacred and I’ll clean that toilet over and over to keep that.

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