Recently, I was at a mom’s get-together. I don’t remember what we were talking about but, in the middle of the conversation, one of the moms said sheepishly, “Well, actually I have a cleaning lady who comes every other week.”
She looked ashamed to even admit this audibly, but I quickly set her at ease by looking directly in her eyes and saying, “Good for you!”
We women tend to think that unless we’re doing every little thing to run our homes we are failures. We beat ourselves up if we can’t do it all. We feel guilty for even considering bringing in a little outside help on occasion.
I know the feeling. For years, I tried to do it all, too. I tried to juggle babies and toddlers and moves and job changes and homemaking and home businesses and financial struggles and potty-training and blogging and friendships and church and exercise and everything else that I thought a good wife, mom, and business owner was supposed to do.
I was left exhausted, spent, and overwhelmed. I knew things weren’t working well, but I refused to admit that it was because I was trying to do too much.
Instead, I thought it was that I just wasn’t using my time wisely enough or being efficient enough. I’d resolve to try harder, work longer hours, sleep less, and cut out anything that wasn’t a necessity.
After my third child was born two years ago, I experienced a dark and frightening months-long journey with postpartum depression. For the first time, my try-harder, sleep-less method didn’t work at all. And, after years of being too proud to admit it, I finally said, “I can’t do this by myself.”
We hired a young lady from church to come over once a week and help me with laundry and cleaning and other tasks around the house. I cut back on a bunch of commitments that I realized I didn’t have to be involved in. And I brought on a skilled team of people to help run my business.
I struggled with guilt at first over the fact that I wasn’t always doing every piece of our family’s laundry or that someone else was mopping my kitchen floor once a week. But I quickly got over the guilt when I realized how this freed me up to be able to breathe and love on my husband and children instead of living in a continual state of exhaustion.
Truth be told, I’ve searched the Bible high and low and have yet to find where it says that I am commanded to scrub my floors or clean my toilets. Sure, I still often scrub my floors and clean my toilets, but I’m grateful that having some additional help on a regular basis has enabled me to focus on those areas the Bible has commanded of me: loving my husband and nurturing my children.
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