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Once upon a time, there was a girl who wanted a career as a teacher and school administrator. For a while.
But what she really, truly wanted, what her heart desired above all, was to be a wife and a mother.
Hard-driving feminists did not want her as their poster girl.
The dream became a reality after her first child had turned one and her husband had heard enough of the teary lunch-break phone calls and about the “mommy guilt” that plagued her during the workday.
Now the girl still adores the fact that she is able to be the caretaker of her children and would choose to do it again and again.
The girl had no idea how consuming it could be to manage a home and all that’s in it.
The husband. The children. The meals. The children. The budget. The children. The friendships.
The girl is fairly “Type A” but certainly not an overwhelming type. She likes things to be in order and craves “visual peace”. If there is clutter in her kitchen, there is clutter in her heart and if there’s clutter in her heart the adage “If mama ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy” is personified.
OK, who am I fooling? The girl, of course, is me.
When I look at the list of all that must be accomplished in a day, my first reaction is to be overwhelmed by the joy-sucking tasks that beckon because really, when I envisioned being a stay-at-home-mom, I saw picturesque scenes of science activities and arts and crafts at the kitchen table.
And while there are some days in which those little snippets from “Family Fun” magazine make it to our table, more often than not, I’m running around trying to fit in a chore here and there so we aren’t condemned by the State Board of Health.
I’ve always been intrigued by the story of Mary and Martha. In a nutshell, Jesus pays a visit to the sisters and while Martha is running around like the proverbial decapitated chicken, Mary is simply at the feet of Jesus, focusing on Him. When Martha complains of this, Jesus simply answers,
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:41-42
I often find myself asking “Am I being a Martha or a Mary?” as I motor about the day often on turbo-speed.
The truth? I really need to be both. There are times when I must be more like Mary and times when Martha needs some attention, too.
So when Sarah Mae’s new e-book entitled 31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha House the Mary Way surfaced, I was on it. Completely.
The book is written in a 31 day “devotional style” in which Sarah Mae gives the reader a “Mary task” for the heart and a “Martha task” in which we are to do some real, big-girl-panties work around the house.
Luckily, the Goodwill bug buzzed in here the week before and this girl is on a supreme mission to purge and release. So much so that when I asked Sarah if she still played with a certain doll she asked, in a slightly panicked voice, “Are you going to give her to Goodwill?”
After completing Day Two of 31 Days to Clean, I cleaned the refrigerator and let me tell you, friends. I had no idea how bad it had gotten.
We had 11 packages of cheese, four packages of hot dogs, a bag of deli ham and a bag of gelatin cubes in the “Deli” drawer alone.
Yes. It was time.
And now I can find the things I need without having to take other containers out and meddle through the decrepit remains of last week’s Chicken Curry in a Hurry.
Who knew this could bring such peace to the soul, to remove the irritants I didn’t even realize were such irritants so I could do my job as a mother and a wife just a little bit smoother?
Jill Savage writes a book entitled Professionalizing Motherhood in which she champions our choice to be home with our children as a career. Of course I have to agree because I’m pretty sure I’ve never had a job that has asked me to wake up during the night to rub Vick’s on a wheezing chest in a comatose state and sing “The People on the Bus” and change a diaper while remaining quiet as to not wake the other children in the house who are sleeping – all at the same time. I don’t think my last job required that I be a nurse, a referee, a teacher (OK, that one did), a chef, a nutritionist, a chauffeur, a personal shopper, and a maid.
And I also don’t think any of my previous jobs could ever give me as much joy like the career I’ve chosen to do now.
On this Multitude Monday, I praise you God for:
421. Granting me the gift to manage a home, even on those days when I want to run from it
422. A husband who sees it the same way
423. Boys playing in the backyard in nothing but their superhero underpants and rain boots
424. The giggles and squeals after their sister joined in and we had “underwear night” in our backyard
425. Giving mommy and daddy enough sense to not join in this party.
426. The priceless photos
427. The wet clothes from playing in the water spigot earlier in the day
428. Spencer exclaiming “It’s summer! It’s summer! Time for the Sip and Side” several times though it was only 65 degrees
429. Good books like Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel and The Eat Clean Diet Recharged by Tosca Reno that teaches us how to eat just the food You created and not those made by man
430. The month of promise and the respite we’ve been waiting for – welcome May!
431. Mozzarella Basil Bread. Oh my.
432. “Mama’s pretty” with the accent of a two year old boy
433. A new desk for a big girl about to be in first grade
434. A middle boy with black eyes who just wants to snuggle
435. The blooming lilacs and their sweet scent that has captivated us all
This week, may you find ways to clean your heart, clean your thoughts, clean your words, and clean your actions.
Joining in with wonderful Ann from “A Holy Experience” for “Multitude Monday” and Jen from “Finding Heaven” for “Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood.”
Do you have this book Natalie? I’d love to read it!
Yes – I’ll need it for the next 31 days though! :) Click on the link to download it now – it’s only $4.99! However, if you want to wait and do it in June, you can borrow my copy!
I think God meant for you to write this just for me today!!! For the past two weeks, I have been plagued with cleaning instead of relaxing. I am going to school while being a stay at home mom to my two daughters. And Monday is my “day off” of school. I have no homework so I want to sit down and relax. But everytime I wake up, my kitchen is screaming for attention. Dishes needs to be done, or kitchen floor needs to be swept/ mopped, or the counters and stove needs to be cleaned. I often want to be Martha and ignore Jesus until I am done with all that needs to be done. But I still sat down today while there’s still dishes in the sink to get filled up.
But I think I might have to get that book.
And remember what He said to Mary? “Mary has chosen better”…
You chose better. GOOD FOR YOU, girl! We can’t do all of the other “stuff” if we are running on fumes. It’s a recipe for disaster and trust me, I know from experience!
I often do choose the Martha way than the Mary way. I need to pray to God to give me strength to choose better as Mary did.
just visiting from a holy experience. i love your post and your list is absolutely precious. i was just revisiting one of jill savage’s books last night, My Heart’s at Home, that gave me a much needed kick in the pants with regard to housework a couple of years ago. thanks for sharing about the e-book devotional. can’t wait to check it out. time to put on those big girl panties again!
$4.99 and this book could change my life. Even if it doesn’t, I’m sure it will make it better. Thank you for being so real about motherhood. Yesterday, I was intentionally trying to fill Hannah’s love tank. We had just finished doing a craft and I asked if I could please run and go fold the laundry for 10 minutes. “Okay, Mommy, just for 10 minutes. I’m gonna come tell you when 10 minutes is up.” And, oh she did! Yes, friend, it is a balancing act.
I love that you acknowledged why the clothes were wet, “427. The wet clothes from playing in the water spigot earlier in the day” Children grow so quickly. One blink and they are no longer using the water hose for play, but rather for washing their car. That’s where I am. I need to remember to count it as one of my 1000 Gifts, that I have dirty towels, because I have a 20 year old, who washes his car in my driveway, because he still lives at home, so that he can afford the high tuition of the local Bible college. What a blessing that God has blessed me with a young man who wants to study English literature and minor in Bible. And, all I have to do is wash a few dirty towels. Bless you and your sweet young children, my friend.
Stopping over from SDG, and I’m so glad I did! I can relate to your words ALL too well! So much that I was laughing, nodding, and aching all at the same time. I have a copy of the book and was debating whether or not to start it this month. A few weeks ago, I forced (forced!) myself to do a deep clean of the house b/c I had gotten SO (too!) far behind on the cleaning front. This might just be the reminder I need to keep up, start fresh, keep at it!
Thank you Natalie for helping me keep my priorities straight! I too often fixate myself on the house and chores. Especially now that I’m home. :)
$4.99? That’s cheap! I’ve read other’s talk of this book too.
Right now I’m working on peace- peace with my actions, in my heart, in my head. I’m just too Type-A and a total Martha.
Hope all is well with you, girl.