I was reminded recently about something a friend of mine taught me a long time ago. Her name is Carol and she was my neighbor in northern Utah. Carol and her husband had raised their children and were living in a beautiful home across the street from ours. She had a knack with everything “homemaking”…she was a good cook, her home was beautifully decorated and their yard was immaculate. Carol herself is a lovely person who looks nice and is bright and friendly.
I was standing on the sidewalk in front of her house visiting for a minute one summer morning and as I admired her yard, I wondered how she kept her flower beds free of weeds. I mean, I couldn’t see one! I remember thinking that maybe when I got to that point in my life when I wasn’t on the constant treadmill of cooking, dishes, cleaning, laundry, etc. etc. maybe then I would be able to keep my flower beds free of weeds too…?
So, I asked her how she did it. What was her secret to a weed-free yard? In her sweet, energetci way she said that each morning (or evening) she would quickly go through her flower beds and pull out the tiny, almost invisible weeds that had sprouted the day before. It only takes a few minutes and then, she said, it never became a big chore.
That was about the end of our conversation, but her idea and all it can be related to has stayed with me for many years. Slowly it has taught me some important things about the way I perceive my job as a homemaker.
I decided that the thing I love most about Carol’s answer is that it was full of accountability! We already know that when we have a yard that weeks will grow. We know when we cook and eat that dishes will get dirty. And we know clothes get dirty and laundry needs attention, and that when we start a project it will inevitably be followed by some kind of a cleaning-up process. Yet so often we talk about our dishes or laundry as if it is in charge and multiplying on its own! Like, “these dishes just keep appearing!” and, “when will this laundry ease up?”
For all of us who sometimes feel overwhelmed by the mundane, I hope that a fun an accountable voice might start to speak up and to make plans! When could we plan to pull weeds while they are small? Would having a sink of hot, soapy water ready to wash pots and pans during the dinner cooking make the evening lighter? What about thinking through the laundry schedule (or making one!) and finding a way to do it that doesn’t feel like drudgery?
As Dieter F. Uchtdorf has said, “we are the daughters of the most creative being in the universe!” We are in charge of our homes and we can use creativity in our desire and responsibility to keep our homes and families happy and functioning.
And, besides, now I know that Carol wasn’t in a time of her life when there wasn’t plenty to do! She wasn’t bored or lacking for something to fill up her days, but she was choosing to be in control of herself and win the battle with those elements of our job as homemakers that have the potential of using up our mental and physical energy before we even begin! I’ve learned that even the empty nest is a busy and vibrant nest… and around that nest, the weeds still grow!