I work hard all day. Almost from the time I get up until the end of the day, I’m busy dealing with problems, grumpy people, and sometimes doing really back breaking hard labor. No matter how much I remind myself that I have my dream-job, there are days where it’s repetitive, monotonous, and I just want out. The last thing I want to do at the end of a long day is pick up my spouse’s slack. If both roles in marriage are so valuable and important, then why is it that my contribution of non-stop, hard work, day in and day out, every single solitary week not enough?
Oh yeah, I wrote that for my husband. He’s never said it to me (and if he knows what’s good for him, he won’t), but the fact is, it’s true. I don’t work as hard or as diligently as he does. I never have for any kind of consistent basis. I do fear I never will. I want to though. I don’t want to continue feeling as if I’m the one of us that is always needing to be bailed out of my job. Lots of these thoughts have gone through my mind over the past years and today, I’m writing them down for my benefit. I’m also sharing them in case I’m not the only woman who deals with this.
When my husband gets up at four in the morning, he has a few minutes to shower, get dressed, and then he wraps his socks around his jeans (to protect them from the bicycle chain), pulls on his jacket, straps down his helmet, climbs on his bike, and rides off into the freezing morning darkness. He gets in a van, rides thirty minutes to work, and is there for ten hours. He’s a “salaried” worker in that he doesn’t get a lunch, a break, anything. He’s there to work and work all day. If he doesn’t know what he’s doing, that’s no excuse. He’s paid to know and to do it. Twenty-nine years after being on the same job, there is no excuse for not getting the job done, done well, done consistently, and on time. He’d better not expect someone to pick up his slack. After all, it’s his job.
Well, my job is to keep the home. Two thousand years ago, God inspired one of my favorite apostles to write, “Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” (Titus 2: 3-5)
Those words are really powerful words. That phrase “workers at home” has a Greek definition that means literally “house despots”. We’re to take command of our homes! In this day of hearing words like “dominion, vision, and jurisdiction” bandied about like buzz words, I hate saying this, but what that verse seems to say is, “Take dominion over your home,” or in today’s vernacular, “Own the job.”
Do we? Do we get up in the morning and literally work all day? I don’t. I know I don’t. Don’t get me wrong, there are days that I do. Really. There are days where I wake up, get dressed, throw food in the general direction of my face and hope it lands in my mouth as I do fifty other things at once. Before I know it, the kids are in bed, I’m collapsed in my chair, and I don’t even know what I did all day because it looks, by the chaos around me, like I did nothing. The truth is, I can probably count on one hand, how many of those happen in a six month period.
When I had all small children, I did work hard. Even doing nothing, I was working hard. I’d wake up and be working before I got out of bed– becuase I was pregnant. I’d sit in a chair and hold a child that fell out of her bed and bumped her chin. I’d change a diaper or two or help a newly training one to the pot. It was a constant help little kids and try to help keep the house from falling down around my ears because I didn’t know what I was doing, because there was a lot of work by the time I did know what I was doing, or because the old adage is true. A woman’s work is never done. Back then, I had zero qualms about asking, or even expecting, my husband to help switch out the laundry or wash some dishes.
As for today, however, I don’t understand why I think I have the luxury of sitting around and doing what I want to do instead of what needs to be done. I wonder what is wrong with me that I think I can get up, spend most of the day writing, crafting, visiting with my friends, ignoring things I don’t want to do, and then when my husband arrives, expect him to pick p the slack that I have no business allowing.
Now see, the problem comes in that I still don’t have the strenght I once had. Part of that is because I don’t force myself to work, and part of it is because I just don’t have it. So, in my all-or-nothing personality, I either want to over extend myself, or I want to just let him do it all. The man is gone eleven hours a day. Is it too much to expect that he can come home and not have to do my job? It’s not like I have four kids under six anymore.
Wives, particularly younger wives, learn from my mistakes. Don’t wait five, ten, or twenty years to step up and own your job. If you’ve done all you can do in a day and something is left undone for which you need help, then that’s fine! If it’s a rare occasion, that’s fine too. But, if your husband is working all day so you can play, and then he comes home to do the job you didn’t bother to attempt becuase you were too selfish or lazy… ugh. How despicable .
One thing I’m not going to try to do. I’m not going to try to reverse this in a day. I’ve learned the very hard way that it is sure failure for me. I am, however, going to reverse some part of this today.