She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’ Proverbs 31:27-29
It is very easy to fall into the sin-habit of ‘eat[ing] the bread of idleness’ especially as a housewife with no or young children where we don’t have a boss setting goals for us or specific demands from 9-5 everyday. Laziness has become an especially prominent stronghold with the advent of such luxuries as television, computers, and social media (especially Facebook).
So how do I spend my time inside and outside of the home such that laziness does not become a pattern for me?
I will not lie to you that laziness is a weakness/temptation that I am not always successful at overcoming. There are many times when I end up doing everything except for what actually needs to be done. For example – I am not a fan of cleaning bathrooms, so this household duty is last on my list of things to do and if I can find anything else to do then cleaning the bathrooms always gets moved farther down the list! So being able to pinpoint some of my weaknesses like this one allows me to take specific and practical steps toward guarding against those manifestations of laziness. Just about a week ago, I purchased a dry erase board with a calendar on it and all I have to do is fill in the correct dates for each month. This calendar allows me to plan when I want to clean specific parts of our home, run errands, exercise, etc. Planning ahead like this prevents me from getting to Friday or Saturday and realizing that I have to spend the whole day doing everything that I could have done a little bit everyday during the week.
To be honest, cleaning our 2 bedroom, 2 bath, 1200 sq ft apartment does not require much of my time (if I’m diligent to actually do it and not just lolly gag around) and Abigail sleeps for about 16 hours of the day, so what could I possibly do in the meantime other than watch television and stalk people/invent funny status updates on Facebook?
During this time in our life I have taken on the responsibility of being creative with using/saving our money. We don’t have much left after we pay our bills so it is essential that we use our money wisely so that we are not spending more than we make. Couponing is certainly a worthwhile time investment, especially if there are coupons out there for items you already use. There are many times, through using coupons for items on sale, that I end up saving just as much money as I spend. Couponing does not require much of my time during the week, but we do get a Sunday paper almost every week and I frequent certain websites that do all of the sales research for me. There are many websites that list sale items at certain stores and draw attention to high-value coupons – I use Money Saving Mom and My Frugal Adventures. Aside from couponing, I also try to find creative ways to make cheap, healthy food (which sometimes requires more work but is definitely worth it). Right now, for example, I have a whole chicken waiting in my freezer. I bought the chicken for $0.79 per lb, which is MUCH cheaper than buying frozen chicken breasts and I can also use the carcass to make chicken broth. This will be my first time using a whole chicken (I’m not a fan of cleaning out the middle part), but I have a dear friend who will be teaching me soon!
I also have decided to make our own laundry detergent. The recipe (recipe #2 on the linked page) calls for 1 bar of Fels-Naptha soap, 1 cup of washing soda, and ½ cup of Borax. It makes a 5-gallon bucket of double-concentrated detergent and costs between 2-3 dollars. The bar of soap is the most expensive component (about $1.50) but you can use whatever soap you want; Fels-Naptha soap is specially formulated for cleaning clothes, so that’s why I use it. I find that this detergent works well and I use Shout to spray especially tough-looking stains.l There are other ingredients you can use to make your own laundry detergent, but I think this might be the cheapest. Some people have problems with using Borax but nobody in our family eats the laundry detergent so I don’t have any issues using it.
Since we have a baby who is eating baby food (another super-overpriced grocery item) I make it all from vegetables and fruit I buy at the grocery store rather than buying jars of food. This chart can give you a rough idea of how much money we save by making homemade baby food. It is a little more difficult to make cereal (fruits and vegetables only require cooking and pureeing) but so far I have been able to get all our cereal for free.
Aside from making sure we are spending our money wisely and keeping our home relaxing and clean, Raymond and I both find it a top priority to invest a lot of our time in our church family. Since I have ‘free’ days, I am able to spend one day a week at the church making copies, organizing closets, and making phone calls so that the church can use what would have been somebody’s salary to pay for a mission trip, provide childcare for Bible study, help a couple with their adoption, etc. I am also able to attend a woman’s Bible study on Thursday morning which allows me to form relationships with women in the church I wouldn’t normally interact with. These women are an encouragement to me as I am able to learn from their wisdom and experiences in life.
In conclusion, I am very joyful as a stay-at-home wife/mom. I know that this position best serves our family and it gives me opportunities for service and growth that would be squelched if I were putting Abigail in a daycare and working from 9-5 during the week. I am grateful for a husband who is willing to work hard to provide for our family so that I can stay at home with our children. As I mentioned in a previous post, our ultimate goal is to honor the Lord with our marriage and the structure of our family and Raymond and I both believe that this is best done with him providing for/leading our family and me staying home to care for our children (Lord willing, there will be more) and our house.
Thank you to all who read these posts and I openly welcome questions, comments, and ridicule :)