I’ve recently heard of a housekeeper who accepted a job. It was a very hard case. Few would consider the position at any price. The house was not a pig sty by any stretch, but it needed much work. The organization of the home left much to be desired and yet it ran fairly smoothly considering the lack of attention to detail. The financial records were embarrassing to the owner though they usually showed bills as paid, in full, and early or on time. The decor was homey but the servants were poorly trained in their duties so often much was left to be desired.
This job would be hard work. In addition to keeping the house, this woman would be governess, nanny, chef, and also run a small business for the home owner.
The housekeeper wandered around the house overwhelmed. There were so many areas needing attention. The house needed remodeling both inside and out. Major changes and minor repairs both clamored for her attention. The general surface was clean but corners found dirt lurking under this and behind that. The kitchen had walls that needed deep scrubbing while the bathroom needed to be gutted immediately.
It occured to her, that perhaps she should consider organization rather than remodeling. To organize and establish orderly routines with the organizational plan might solve many problems. What she couldn’t decide, is if her organization plan would be a waste of time, once the remodeling began.
The family’s wardrobe appeared to be in sad repair. The sweet little girls appeared to wear thrift store rejects. The housekeeper was appalled to discover that the clothing was purchased or created for the little ones. Their socks were mismatched, and their dresses limp. Their hair was disheveled and showed neglect. The underclothing of the entire family showed a terrible lack of care, forethought and every one needed everything replaced.
Christmas was coming… some expenses couldn’t be avoided. The family had traditions that they chose to uphold and it was the housekeeper’s job to ensure that everything worked well. Things needed to be purchased, packages wrapped, time taken to observe traditions and visit friends.
The housekeeper looked over the business plans and rolled her eyes in disgust. There was nothing salvagable in this area. Once she dispached of the very few pending orders, she must begin fresh. Start the business over from the ground up. This would require time and effort. She had three weeks to be up and running. Could she do it?
She thought perhaps the financial books might be the wisest place to begin. Looking over the accounts, she found that there wasn’t the resources to begin her remodeling projects, do all of the shopping she desired and it would take wisdom to create a budget the paid the regular bills, covered the remodeling, provided the necessary family items, and ensured a happy Christmas for all.
One glance at the children’s lesson plans and the housekeeper considered whether she should renegotiate the governness part of the contract. Perhaps if she was excellent with her management of the resources, she could provide for tutors. However, she was also challenged to know that many women managed to fill both roles and she didn’t want to give up without giving it a fair chance.
She looked about her… the task was overwhelming. What had given her the idea she could do this job? She was lazy by nature. She liked to rest, to reflect, to read, to ponder, and to research. She enjoyed interacting with friends on the internet and writing. All of this work enticed her to forget the job, reneg on the contract and go back to her indolent life.
She sought the scriptures. It is no surprise to Christian women everywhere, that she turned to the last chapter of the book of Proverbs. She read of the ultimate house hold manager’s ‘plan of attack’ and took a deep breath. She didn’t sign up for an easy ride. No one with any intelligence would pretend that being a house keeper/manager is a simple job. It is a ‘rising early/retiring late’ 24/7, 365 days a year job. She might have to negotiate a few days off and an annual retreat to refuel. She’d need it to give this job her best.
She looked around at the sheer volume of work again and sighed. She could whine, pout, stomp her feet.; she could yell, scream, pitch a fit or quit. One more look around showed that there was more to do than she’d ever hope to accomplish. She sighed. This was the reckoning moment. Would she escape into her usual pasttimes, or would she bite the bullet and begin her new tasks?
A quick glance at the children of the house almost sealed her resolve. They needed her to do her best. Another look at the house weakened it again. She really didn’t want to do this job. It just occured to her that this was the truth of the matter. She didn’t want to do THIS job. She wanted a household up and running smoothly. She wanted one that didn’t need to be repaired, redesigned, or remodelled. She wanted one that wasn’t overwhelming to begin with.
Shame was a new feeling to her. She felt it though. Shame. What a sad word. But she deserved it. Had she prepared over the past years for her position, she could step in and conquer without feeling so overwhelmed. Had she been faithful in the little things, this much wouldn’t feel so daunting. She looked at her books stacked by her favorite chair. She looked at her projects beckoning her. She looked at the computer with it’s world of escape from the responsibilities she really didn’t want to face. They tempted her. They called to her. Just as she reached for her book… she looked at the owner. He was good to her. He gave her a great contract and almost no limitations in how she chose to fill that contract. He was a good man, a responsible man. How could she let him down.
She reached again. She picked up the book. She opened it and turned to the appropriate date… December 12, 2005. Picking up her pen, she began filling in a to-do list. She clicked on her word processing program and began goals and project lists. By next year at this time, she wanted to see attainable goals… attained.
She went to bed exhausted but rewarded.