October 07, 2012

Creating a House of Order (an eternal progression)

i am currently working on my PhD in home management.
my estimated graduation day is tbd.  18 years after my last child is born...
perhaps i will never graduate, just simply continue on to specialize in family reunion planning, or life as a grandmother.
i have learned to find joy in the learning.
and thus, creating a house of order is one of my eternal endeavors.
i believe that mine is a divine work, even a divine calling.
i believe that the home is designed to school the soul.
although i do believe that my children are being taught and molded as i strive to create a house of order for them; ultimately, i believe that the soul that is being tutored best is my own.

i am an eternal soul, housed in a mortal body.
my soul craves work and order and cleanliness and peace and joy and rest and knowledge.
my body craves ease and escape and laziness and selfishness and pleasure.
i don't mean to insinuate that my body is evil.
it is no more evil than an untamed, young horse or an automobile.
When my passions are bridled, my body is a tool like no other.
i must learn to drive my thoughts, work with my body and rest.
i am grateful for my body.  it is a gift.  it is a tool.  it is a method of transportation and goodness.
but, i am not my body.  i am not my thoughts.
i am an eternal spirit and i must learn to be the master of my body.
i must choose my thoughts and direct my actions based on my values not my whims.
my soul is strong.
like a trainer "breaking in" a powerful stallion, my soul works daily to overcome my natural man tendencies.
i wake up early.  i work hard.  i am kind and patient and selfless and mortally flawed.
failure and weakness are part of my test.  
i learn and i am filled with joy even in the midst of my progressing.
it is a test.  it is my mortal work.
like love is greater than lust, joy is greater than pleasure, rest is greater than escape, and no man-made, temporary pleasure can replace the fulfillment that comes from a days hard work.
life is good.
i like this test.
a friend of mine asked me to write out my housework schedule for her.
i sat down at the end of a quiet, restful Sabbath day to answer her.
Only, i have a problem with being concise.
And i wrote too much. (can you believe it?)
So, I'm publishing my thoughts here and i'm going to try again to giver her the reader's digest version rather than the extended version.  ha!

Here's the blurb i wrote.

Jenifer Moss is the mother of seven.  Two boys and five girls.  She blogs at www.toddnjenifermoss.blogspot.com.  After graduating with a Bachelors in Human Development from BYU Jenifer entered into her field studies.  As a stay at home mother and homemaker for the past 15 years she is learning the HOW, WHEN and WHYs of motherhood and housework.  She knows this is a difficult yet divine work.  Jenifer believes that the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ teach us how to create a house of order so that we can be temporally and spiritually self reliant.  David O. McKay said,  “A true Mormon’s home is one in which, if Christ would chance to enter he would be pleased to linger and to rest.”

mmm.  know what she is eating?  old ranch dressing from a school lunch Tupperware.  nasty.
And here is my answer to "what is your cleaning schedule?"
i didn't send this to her, by the way.  It is just for my closest friends and stalkers to read.  Ha! 

Schedules??!!!  Blah.
To be honest, aside from learning HOW to keep a house of order, learning WHEN to do it is my hardest struggle.  As a mother of many, I feel that whatever I am doing there are 100 things that I am not doing.  I have to consciously allow myself to do one thing with gratitude and “singleness of heart”. 

My basic rule is “DO GOOD.”
I try to work hard and be nice and NOT worry about when I’m going to do everything on my list.
I believe doing is more important than being done.  Did you catch that?? 
DOING is more important than BEING DONE. 
There is JOY in doing good.

Oh how I LOVE housework when I have a grateful heart!! 
I have SOOO much to be grateful for.  SOOO MUCH.  I am ABUNDANTLY blessed.
Thank you Lord, for dirty dishes.  For we have had something to eat.
Thank you Lord, for dirty clothes.  For we have MUCH to wear.
Oh how I LOVE pairing tiny socks and folding big, teenage boy silky athletic shorts. 
How I will miss the day when my laundry does not overflow with pink or my lint isn’t full of sequins. 
There is MUCH to be grateful for as we do laundry.
Thank you Lord, for shoes and coats and cleats and water bottles and backpacks and papers.  For we are busy and involved.
Thank you Lord, for Polly Pockets and Legos and puzzle pieces and stray cards and plastic animals and books piled everywhere.  For our children are creative and happy.
Thank you Lord, for more goodness than hours in a day.  For I am able to show you what I choose to do.  I am able to sacrifice and I am able to serve. 
Thank you Lord, for carts overflowing at the grocery store.  For pineapples in the winter and cupboards that are full of food for my family.  We are never hungry.  We are abundantly blessed.
Thank you Lord, for dirty toilets.  We have indoor plumbing and water and many bathrooms.  It is a gift and they are a pleasure to clean.
Yes, we have MUCH to be grateful for.  Ordering your home is in reality, caring for that which is in your stewardship.  
Your home, your belongings, your children, your food... ALL is a sacred stewardship given to you on loan by an every gracious God.
You are blessed with much.  Where much is given, MUCH is required.
We should serve daily with grateful hearts!  

My mornings are scheduled.
My days are discretionary and structured.
My afternoons are not my own.
Dinner and bedtimes are my mountain climb.
Evening is my pause at the summit.  To rest, to feel joy, to record blessings and to prepare.
And then the cycle is repeated. 

My mornings are scheduled—
  1. wake up early (before 6am).
  2. make my bed.
  3. kneel to pray.
  4. get dressed (I try to pick out my clothes the night before).
  5. read my scriptures.
  6. get things started for breakfast.
  7. family scripture time starts at 6:30am.
  8. we kneel for family prayer, have a family cheer and a group hug.

After scripture time I dress my little kids, help my bigger kids get ready for the day, serve breakfast, fix their hair, find their shoes, kiss their cheeks and send them out the door to school.

I try to have my kitchen all cleaned before they leave.  If not, it is the first thing I finish once they are gone.  By 8am my house is usually quiet and by 9am my kitchen is usually tidy.  On the days I exercise, I like to run on a treadmill, listening to Mormon Chanel, right after my kitchen is clean and before I start my day.

By 9am, I am on to the discretionary part of my day.  I like having a basic schedule so that I don’t have to think about what I’m doing each day.  My younger children LOVE to help me and follow me around as I work, it is JOYFUL having them with me.

Monday- Organize.  My goal-- pick up, put away, dust and vacuum. 
On this day I try to put everything away.  I use a laundry basket to help me gather and I wear an apron that has a pocket on it for little things.  I go from room to collecting stray books and toys and socks and hair bows.  As I pick up stray items, I have a dust rag stuck in my apron and I dust flat spaces real fast.
This is a HARD day.  I have to push through knowing it is SO nice when I’m finally finished. 
Many Monday’s I have the kids put away a pile of stuff in their bedrooms before they go to bed that night. THIS IS BASIC PICK UP.  Straighten like you would for company.  Pick it up and put it away.  I try to feel HAPPY and grateful not condemning and guilty. 
Note—I try NOT to get distracted by messy drawers or closets or big projects.  This is not my day to reorganize (unless everything is already put away, which never happens). 

Tuesday-Cleanse.  My goal—wash the bathrooms, mop floors, and wipe windows.
This is my favorite day.  I usually talk on the phone to an inspiring friend while I clean and my house I love cleaning when my house is already straightened.  As I clean each bathroom, I gather all the dirty towels and dirty clothes from the kids room.  I will probably start a load of towels on Tuesday night and sort the dirty clothes on Tuesday to get ready for Wednesday.  I also love to wash sheets on Tuesdays every few weeks (or months). 

Wednesday- Laundry.  My goal- all laundry WASHED, DRIED and FOLDED.
I used to HATE laundry day.  Now I look forward to it.  I use laundry day as an excuse to listen to the Mormon Channel or watch a movie on Netflix.  I use discipline to stop when I am not folding and wait anxiously for the next drier to buzz so I can fold and watch again. 
Some logistics. 
I have 4 loads of laundry.  Whites—light colors (pinks and khakis)--- dark colors (jeans)—and towels. 
Many weeks I only do 4 loads of laundry.  Yes, 4 loads.  Once a week.  With seven kids. 
It is not uncommon for me to have two loads of darks or towels, but it still goes quickly.
(When I do my laundry all on one day, it is FINISHED and I am able to follow through and make sure it is put away.  When I do laundry a couple of times a week, I find laundry everywhere in different stages.  Clean gets mixed with dirty and it DRIVES ME CRAZY.)  I do not like daily laundry, but perhaps I haven’t learned how to do it that way yet.)
I fold directly into the laundry baskets.
My boys share a room and fold their clothes a special way (they are more picky about their clothes and room then I am), so I just lay their clothes in a basket.
My girls each have a basket, and Todd and I share a basket.
I just line up 7 baskets in a row.  Dump my laundry in front.  Sit on a little bench.  Give my youngest girls washcloths and socks to fold and watch my movie while I fold quickly.  I am usually finishing up my last load of folding after my kids are asleep, although I love when I am finished by the time they get home from school so I can give them their clothes to put away right when they get home.
On days that I am not home during the day, I try to switch loads QUICKLY.  I don’t mind folding them all at night, but I LOVE having them at least all washed and dried.  I am usually home enough to switch a load real fast before I run out again.   I will have my kids put their laundry all away Wednesday night, before bed (even if it means they have to stay up an extra 15 minutes) or Thursday morning before school.

Thursday- Shopping/Cooking.  My goal—all “in town” errands.
I usually plan my meal and go shopping on this day.  I try to get all my doctor appointments for Thursdays.  I attend an institute class on Thursday.  We have piano/voice/football/cross country/ and soccer lessons on Thursday.  It is a busy day—but my house is clean, my laundry is done and I FEEL SO GOOD leaving order at home.  When I have a Thursday at home I love to make homemade bread and rolls to freeze.  I love to make pies or special treats.  I love to bring meals to friends on Thursday nights. 

**I try HARD to be home Monday through Wednesday so that I have discretionary time at the end of the week.**

Friday- Beasts in all their variety.  My goal—connect with people.
I love Fridays.  I try to invite friends over for dinner (we always have homemade pizza on Friday nights).  I volunteer in my kids’ classroom.  I visit teach, or go help someone I visit teach on this day.  My school age children all know they can invite a friend over on Friday afternoon if they have been happy and helpful all week.  Friday is a busy, fun-filled day to connect with people.  If I am feeling peopled out.  I use Friday to work on a project.  Making a baby gift for someone is a fun thing to do on a Friday.  I also love to plan projects to do with my girls on a Friday that we don’t have friends over... when I get them from school we like to spend our Fridays sewing or crafting or reading together.

Saturday- Man.  My husband usually plans our Saturday.  We have date night Saturday nights that he plans.  We spend all day out and about watching kids’ sporting events or visiting or playing.  We try to stay together as a family on Saturday.  Saturday is a day for haircuts and family work projects.  We all bathe on Saturday (before date night) and get in our pajamas early to be ready for Sunday.  My BEST fast Sundays start on Saturday.  I LOVE when we remember to have a big fast Sunday dinner on Saturday and drink LOTS of water so that fasting on Sunday is easier. 

This is my PLAN.  It is only my reality on my best weeks.  
I have learned that it is GOOD to have a schedule.  
Schedules should not dominate your life or dictate your mood.  
God cares more about the FEELING in your home than the APPEARANCE of you home.  
There is danger in being too scheduled, and too carefree.  
I can honestly say that I have been using this framework for the past ten years.  I have friends with lots of children who live this schedule better than I do.  
My Spirit longs for order and cleanliness.  
My Spirit feels JOY as I serve and gratitude as I see the abundance of my life.  
My natural man is lazy and does not want to work.  
My natural ego feels used and bitter as I serve and as I work I am racked with guilt for all I have left undone.  
As I push through my laziness, conquer my natural man, and exercise my Spirit, I feel STRONG AND POWERFUL.  
There is beauty all around.  
I feel joy and peace in my home.  
My children are blessed by the home I am creating for them.  
I am more able to teach them order as I practice it myself.  

I firmly believe that having a house of order is SEPARATE and distinct from teaching your children to work hard.  
Discipline must start with you.  It is something you can teach, but it must be learned by EXAMPLE.  
A mother can not teach her child to keep his/her room clean when a mother has not learned herself how to keep her room clean.  This is my humble opinion and what I have worked YEARS to master. 

I am SO grateful for the lessons I have learned as my Spirit has schooled my body in the art of homemaking. 
I am still learning EVERY DAY.  My home is not a spotless model home.  I don't think I would be more Godly if my home was spotless.
There is goodness in a house of order.
But, the goodness comes in the CLIMB not in the achieving.
Never stop starting. 
Forget yourself and Go To Work.
Loose yourself and you shall find yourself. 
She that would be the master, let her serve.
Wash and wash and wash and wash and wash and wash and wash (like Naaman) and be cleansed.
I am cleansed as I learn to serve in my home, in my family, in my community.
I love my job. 

Here is a blog where I talk about my cleaning schedule—Creation Cleaning.
Here is a blog where I talk about my summer schedule—Chore Charts and Non-Consistency.
Here is a blog where I LOVE laundry—
sweet orphan child of mine who desperately needs her face wiped.
she is going to be a great homemaker someday!!


Tiffany said...

Thanks for posting! (I was starting to go a little crazy that you hadn't posted for several days. Which just goes to show how often I stalk, er, READ your blog! [Wait... is it "stalking" if I know you...?! :-)]) Anyhow, I really love these ideas, esp. the part about enjoying the "doing".

Missed you! Glad you're back! :-)

Aimee said...

Oh Jenifer! I always love your perspective! You are an amazing mom and inspire me to do better.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...