Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Work Habits

As I turned the corner driving to my in-laws house to prepare dinner for my husband, in laws and anyone else who was at our new house working, my cell phone rang from somewhere in the depths of my purse. I was running late and was worried about having enough food and having it taste good. The ringing of my cell phone only served to further frazzle my already frayed nervous system. As I reached across the seat to blindly dig and poke through my purse, I regretted not putting my phone in the convenient cell phone pocket built into my purse. Why didn't I use that more often? Even though Madison and Eden surely would not understand what I was talking about, I audibly said, "Once upon a time, I used to be an organized person.!"

It's a feeling I have a lot these days. Half of my belongings are at our new home, while half are still needed at our current home. The time is constantly getting away from me and I can physically feel the gray hairs forming under my scalp.

I used to be an organized person.

And then.... and then... I stopped.

Why? When?

While I worked on dinner, I gave these questions some consideration.

I thought of times in my life when I really did feel organized and hardly ever felt frazzled and stressful about getting "it" all done and on time and in a decent fashion. Sure, children and the responsibility of their care adds new challenges to our lives. But my lack of "have it together-ness" could not be blamed on the munchkins.

Thinking back to when I worked, I remembered some habits I used to have that I have let slide. I had a full time job for 4 1/2 yrs. in college at a telemarketing company. 2 of those years were spent manning the phones (let's all be nicer to the poor telemarketers who call our house! ☺ ) and then I was gratefully promoted to a supervising position. After marriage, I had a part time job that was much less stressful.

Here is the list of habits that came to mind. These are things I once did, but for various reasons stopped as I grew used to being a stay at home mom.

• I got dressed, from head to toe, every day.
• I selected my clothes and made sure they were ironed, if needed, the night before.
• I took the time, every day, to clean my purse and desk. I never carried trash in my purse. I had a place for each item in my purse and desk.
• I did certain house hold chores on certain days of the week.
• I made many lists. I wrote everything down right away. I never trusted my memory to be enough.
• I "cleaned out" my email every day.
• I made it my responsibility to save my boss money and make them look good.
• I always left for work early in case of unexpected delays. I NEVER clocked in late.
• I never left projects incomplete, unless instructed to do so by my boss.
• I appreciated the value of 5 minutes. In college, I did all my laundry during passing periods during the school day. I'd run back to the dorms, throw in it and dash back to classes. I refused to stay up until 2 am waiting for my clothes to dry.
• I kept extras of necessities so I never needed to run out for something last minute. (As the girls riding with us to church last Sunday can attest to, Miss Kayte had to stop at RiteAid for some non-wholly nylons for church! At our church, we want to be holy, not wholly!)

Now... why can't I still do these things? Why did these good habits fall to the wayside because I no longer have a clock to punch or deadlines to meet? My "job" now is so much more important than ANY telemarketing offer I ever gave! Don't tell my bosses at the telemarketing company though; I'm pretty sure they thought it was the more important thing in the entire universe! ;)

I have some friends who are working moms. When we talk about being a stay at home mom verses being a mom who works at an outside job, sometimes they will say that when they've had time off from work, they don't seem to get much done. With no deadline or schedule, housework doesn't demand to be done and it's easy to let things slide since, after all, we can always get to it tomorrow.

I agree that sometimes the more time pressed we are, the more productive we can be. And it is a tempting habit to just "do whatever" as a stay at home mom. The prospect of scheduling housework and activities with the kids can sound unrealistic since certain things, such as sickness, whining, etc can not exactly be written down on a dry erase board.

"Um, excuse me, Madison, but you were not schedule to have an asthma attack until 2:30! And Miss Eden Grace, that whining business shouldn't be happening until 3pm!"

I have not be keeping to a house cleaning routine because let's say Monday is sheet washing day, you can bet my girls wake up with wet beds on Sunday. So Sunday has now become sheet changing day! And Wednesday may be window washing day, but Friday, the little darlings pressed their jelly laden hands on the windows! Do you see what I mean? All this time I have been telling myself that when they are older, I will get back to housecleaning schedule.

But I am reconsidering. Perhaps some things are going to be more damage control than a scheduled routine for now, and many things just have to happen every day (vacuuming, laundry) but as I was packing our house, I was disgusted by the dust lingering on my curtains. How long had it been since I washed those? Yikes. I don't want to answer that publicly!

And my purse... oh my purse. We have a love/hate relationship. When I was working secularly, I did not at all feel that tidying my purse, or desk, was a time consuming waste. On the contrary. I knew if my work area was clean and organized, I was going to be more productive and less frazzled. And since it was constantly being cleaned, it did not take very long to keep up on a daily basis.

As I look at my list of habits, I see many that can be used in my life as a wife and mommy, and some that can be modified to be helpful in this wonderful life of mine. My "bosses" are the Lord and my husband. My aim is to please them, and I know Seth is pleased when I save him money! He doesn't need any help looking good though! ;) If they decide a project isn't the best idea, they have veto power to nix it. I can think ahead, and be prepared so that my household has no fear of winter, just like the Prov. 31 woman. "Proper prior planning prevents poor performance, right?" ☺ I can utilize those small patches of time I have throughout the day. It's really amazing how much can be accomplished in small increments of time.

I suppose what it all boils down to is whether or not I view my role as a wife to a hard working youth pastor, and mommy to our children as ... important... vital... worthy of the same good work ethic I would automatically put into a secular job. And truly, a wife and mother is the highest calling a woman can have. There is nothing more paramount.

As I am about to go retrieve another load of wash from the dryer to fold and put away, then go take care of lunch dishes and then begin packing again, I have no coworkers to take notice. I have no prospect of a raise. I have no hope of promotion to a higher position. I do not expect any guests today, so no one but me and my family will know if I lift a finger today. Although Seth often does express gratitude to me, he will not be home until very late and will be so tired, I'm sure he will head right to bed without noticing any of the housework that got done. And yet, I have no lack of motivation because:

"Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers, but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,"
I have landed the job I have always wanted. Well, other than being the first female U.S. president but I have just about let that dream go. My parents, however, may still be holding out hope. ☺ God has blessed me with a fantastic family and its my honor to take care of them. And truly, with a washer, dryer, dishwasher and other modern conveniences to aid me, I really have it made. Maybe I need to just start using a smaller purse....



Mrs. Julie Fink said...

Great thoughts!

kauffeegrl said...

Every time I read another of your posts, I think "That is SO me!!" We really should meet someday. I totally understand every thing you talked about in your post!! I'm reminded of that poem where the last line is something about, "Dust can wait, I'm rocking my baby right now." It can be hard, sometimes, to set aside those organization urges. :-)

Beth said...

Thanks for posting that, Kayte! I really needed to read that. It made me think of al the areas I've been slacking off in lately. Time to get reorganized!

Amber said...

Thanks for the reminder! I now need to get off the couch and pick up toys :)

raising3princesses said...

great post! - Maria

Hope.Faith.Love said...

Sometimes we are a "Martha" and are worried because we should be more of a "Mary". Sometimes we are a "Mary" and are worried because we should be more of a "Martha".

Even though I do not have children, I do have a job outside the home and it is hard to be motivated to do house cleaning. I have prayed a lot lately concerning this and God has given me the motivation that I needed to finally start my spring cleaning.

We women will never be perfect and we will always think that we should do more or be more. There are not enough hours in the day, but at the end of the day, let's remember what is important.... God, Our Family and the rest after that. Betty Crocker should not be our goal, as that is almost impossible and still be able to remain sane.

Just like the Bible says...

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (King James Version)

1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

When we think we should be in another time phase, maybe instead we are right where He wants us to be.

Hope.Faith.Love said...

I noticed that you and Amy both a have such beautiful signatures at the end of your posts. Can you tell me how you do that? I know that you are crazy busy now so no rush.

God Bless

Kayte said...

Hi Rena,

I actually have forgotten exactly how I did that! =P But maybe this link will help you:


joshsgirl said...

Great post. So true!