A sentiment I see a lot often when it comes to being a Housewife comes in two forms. The first is usually something like “I am a Failure” or “I am a bad Housewife”, and the second is often “I would be a failure if I tried” or “It’s impossible to do.
The second sentiment often comes from those who think that being a Traditional Housewife is unrealistic and unobtainable- a sentiment I honestly spit at the feet of (and have, more than once even). The first sentiment, however, often comes from those with their toes- or their whole bodies- in the water, who feel as if they have failed or can’t keep up; I have already expressed my views on the second sentiment often enough… But I have honestly never addressed the first type.
I recently came across the first version of this sentiment in WordPress’s own Homemaker tags- specifically from Mrs. Gedhard, who writes:
Some days I feel like I am a complete failure as a housewife *I’m sure my husband would sometimes second those feelings.* When we first got married and I started picturing our house, in my mind it was always clean and cozy. I should have known better. My house is pretty much always messy, I know I’m the worst housewife in history.
It’s distressing to me to see so many others feel as if there is this much wight on their shoulders, and to see them so discouraged from it. I understand it, though; even I have my own moments like this. In fact, everyone will at least once- even the most meticulously planned Homemaker.
Sure, I talk fairly regularly about the fact that Homemaking is really a lot easier than it seems to those who would make it out to be a consumptive, servile task that allows you no time to yourself. And I stick by that as what amounts to a career Homemaker; Homemaking doesn’t have to be a chore that has us rising 3 hours before everyone else and going to bed 3 hours afterwards, consumed with nothing more than everyone else’s needs. And with the right routine and time management skills, it really won’t be.
But regardless of how simple it truly can be, when you get right down to it being a Homemaker is still grueling work that is on par with any other labor intensive job in the “real” market. It’s tough work, and people often don’t realize the kind of work that goes into managing even a small home: There is the budgeting and finances, the cleaning, the meal planning, meal prep, and cooking, the pets and the children if you have them, the regular home maintenance, and so on and so forth; being a Homemaker is comprised of millions of small tasks that on their own don’t seem all that difficult. But when you put them together and realize that you must do them roughly every day… You quickly realize how time consuming and monumental the ct of Homemaking itself often is.
Throw in one of the hundreds (if not thousands) of Mental and Physical health issues that 1 out of every 5 Americans alone suffer from, and it adds a whole new layer of complexity to the equation. To top it off, there is also an intense pressure for Women especially to do it all to absolute perfection- and while I do revel in it personally and feel as if it can indeed be done with a little determination (and a lot of time management and planning)… Sometimes it’s just exhausting. It’s exhausting, and quite frankly it’s taken for granted and even devalued in our modern, empowered, industrialized society.
Sometimes…..A lot of the time, this is a thankless job. It’s all those little things you do on a daily basis to keep them clean, safe, and happy that they don’t really take notice to, because they don’t really need to. That is our job. – A Housewifes Work
So here is what I want to say to you ladies (and men) who feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of tasks that we must accomplish within any given day: You are not the worst Homemaker in existence- and you certainly aren’t a failure.
So what if the dishes haven’t been done in a week and you’ve eaten takeout for the last 3 days straight? So the laundry didn’t get folded- and at this point you’re better off taking that mountain to the Laundromat just to get it done in a single go (a tip I highly recommend by the way). It doesn’t matter if you’d rather sit and watch Netflix all day despite the fact that you know there are things that need to be done around the house.
You are still not a failure… You are a strong, capable person who provides what is arguably the most important cornerstone of life: A Home. Your work, whether others notice it or not, is valuable. More than that, it is valid… But we are not all Energizer Bunnies capable of running around beating our drums without a stop day in and day out… We are people.
Sometimes people just need motivation; motivation can be in the form of not allowing yourself TV until you have completed at least 3 chores, or as simple as treating yourself to your favorite desert if you get it all done.
Sometimes people need a better routine, or better time management; great time management and planning will do wonders to help you accomplish your goals and manage your work load- and sometimes this means changing your routine entirely in order to ensure that you don’t even have the opportunity to go near the computer until the chores are done.
More important than motivation or routine, though, is the fact that sometimes people just need a break. Taking one doesn’t make you a failure, it reminds you that you are Human and (if you’re willing to listen) teaches you to temporarily prioritize yourself… And prioritizing yourself is an important thing to do.
This can be as simple as making sure you’ve eaten lunch before cleaning the house, or telling your friend “no” about that Coffee Date or favor. But other times it can be as complex as letting the house go for a week because you need to recharge. Either way, the fact of the matter is that you cannot help others unless you have helped yourself, first… And I am sure you have likely encountered that a hundred times, but it is true: You must make sure that your own needs and health are attended to before you start concentrating on making sure that others’ are; you will only damage yourself more in the process if you are not ensuring that your own health, safety, sanity, and needs are seen to beforehand.
So no, my dear, wonderful, and amazing Homemaker… You are not a failure. You are simply human– and you are a Human who may or may not feel as if the weight of the world is on your shoulders when it shouldn’t be; a Human who needs a break. Who needs a little encouragement or motivation. Who needs a new game plan. Who needs Gods’ know what… But you are certainly not a failure.
So breathe… Let the House go a bit longer without you… Relax a little… Regroup… Revitalize yourself… And then give it hell… Because you may often be underestimated and often under respected- both by yourself, and those around you- but you are still one to be feared.