As a new wife and graduate, there were a lot of things I had to adjust to. Working a 40 hour work week, learning how to communicate with another human I had never lived with before, and looking at the gritty parts of my finances. This was a lot to process, and there were and continue to be ups in downs in all of these things.
Things I never really cared to prepare for though was maintaining a home. Cooking, cleaning, and organizing were not my strong suit, and is still something I struggle with. As I’ve settled into my role as a working wife, I’ve slowly started learning my role as a homemaker.
Growing up, I always thought a homemaker meant a stay at home wife or mom. Someone who vacuumed in their pearls on, always wore a lace apron when they prepared a meal effortlessly, and said things like “yes dear, of course dear”. Interestingly enough, I’ve never met someone like that, only seeing these images in movies and TV shows. My mother was a stay at home mom for several years before becoming a nurse, and I remember her wearing comfy shirts and shorts, and her hair held together by a scrunchy. My mother had learned how to keep the house organized and cleaned, all while being able to take care of four small daughters while my dad was working to provide.
When Ryan and I got married, I would easily become overwhelmed with maintaining our home. How could I keep it clean? How can I do this and do my job well AND maintain my marriage? I’m aware that my husband is also my team mate, but I think I more so felt the pressure and anxiety well up inside me as things became disorganized than he did. And as things became more messy, the more overwhelmed I felt about accomplishing any tasks.
So I simply just stopped cleaning or worrying about things being clean.
One thing I’ve learned since this journey began is that all things come in their own time. For me, I’ve been able to learn how to manage my home for the most part, make time to communicate with my husband, and learn how to balance by full-time job. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
- Nothing is perfect.
I know — shock and awe, right? No matter how many times I organize my home, perfect my tasks at work, or have really good communication with my husband, nothing is going to consistently maintain that happy-go-lucky status. Why? Because life happens. Dishes are used, clothes are worn, conversations get tense, and deadlines become stressful. And sometimes these could be happening all at once. And sometimes you’re not going to be able to handle it. You’re gonna maybe freak out, maybe have a good/ugly cry, get angry or upset, or feel the need to run and hide. Maybe even a combination of all of these emotions. There are things I constantly pick up and put back down at the Lord’s feet. Sometimes it’s a weekly or monthly struggle, sometimes it’s a daily or multiple times a day struggle. For me, acknowledging that nothing is perfect, nor will it ever truly be perfect. It’s so much easier said than done, but it’s helped me look past my need of needing to feel perfect and has replaced it with what I can do to keep myself in check.
2. Ask for help.
Seriously. Ask. For. Help! There have been SO MANY times where I wouldn’t communicate my needs and what I needed help with. Whether that be cleaning the house, cooking a meal that night, or being okay with take out instead. Realizing these things are not meant for me to bare on my own has given me so much peace. And it feels good to work as a team with my spouse.
3. You’re worthy, regardless of how messy things are.
If I have to get a tattoo of this on my body somewhere to remember, I will. I’m worthy, regardless of whether or not the dishes are done or laundry is all folded and put away. You’re still worthy if that sink is still full from yesterday and today’s dinners and meal preps. It’s more than okay. You are still the same in our Father’s eyes. Because he cares more about the junk that’s going on in our hearts than the junk that’s everywhere in your house. There’s a sweet phrase I often here members of our church say: “It’s okay to not be okay, it’s just not okay to stay there.” it’s okay to feel the craziness of life take you for a ride, but at some point I’ve got to get off the roller coaster and lay my want for control and status of perfection at the feet of Jesus. If He can lay down his life for me, I can lay down my illusion for control to Him. He reminds me that I am His beloved, and that I am worthy of that love, regardless of my home or cooking and cleaning skills.
All of this to say that writing this out now may seem like I have it all together. Half the time I’m just winging it and hoping that enough trial and error will get me to where I’m going. As long as I’m giving up my control to feel perfect, and let the Lord work in me and where he wants me for his purpose, I can rest in that, and I can rise in that. I hope you can, too.