Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Quality Time

"Quality time" is something we hear so often; it seems as though we're under the illusion that it doesn't really matter how much time we spend together, as long as it's "quality time". And more specifically – it doesn't matter how much time we spend at home, as long as "our heart is at home".

How little time is enough, then? If we come late in the evening to a home that has been empty all day long, can we say, "Now we can relax and spend time together?" Not really. Not unless you have a maid and a cook, anyway. If dishes pile up in the sink, the mountain of dirty laundry is overshadowing the poor washing machine, the refrigerator is empty and the floors are dirty, this hardly provides a healthy, nourishing, relaxing atmosphere. It's almost impossible to properly rest and relax until basic things are taken care of.

Allow me to give you a real-life example. As you know, I currently attend a training program in clinical nutrition in a hospital. So, a few days ago, we had a patient, a 7-year-old boy, hospitalized because of a certain condition that requires nutritional intervention. We went to his parents and asked, "What does your son eat?"... They glance at each other -

"Um. Well, in the morning he has some milk and cereal and then we rush him to school - he eats lunch at school - and then he has evening school until 7 PM... He eats dinner there. Then he eats a snack at home, so we don't really know what he eats during the day..."

You know, I'm sure this boy's mother loves him. I'm sure she means well. But the fact remains that she only spends time with him for - 1 hour? 2 hours? - until he goes to bed. This isn't enough. Not nearly enough. And today, it's not an unusual situation at all. What are we thinking? Isn't it obvious we need a certain amount of "quantity time" so that it can truly be translated into quality time?

Things are very different when a woman is a keeper of her home. Even if she doesn't homeschool, she has the opportunity to create a safe, peaceful, welcoming haven, and still has enough time to be cheerful and relaxed when she greets her loved ones as they come back home. Don't be mistaken - reclaiming the lost culture of the home will take a long and hard battle. But I believe it will be worth it.

28 comments:

Adlyn said...

"Don't be mistaken - reclaiming the lost culture of the home will take a long and hard battle. But I believe it will be worth it."
amen sister!

xoxoxoxo,
Adlyn

Mrs. Mordecai said...

I have always been so grateful that my mother stays at home. When I was in school, I was grateful that she was always available to drop off my lunch if I forgot it or to pick me up if I was sick. I always wondered what in the world my friends whose mothers worked would do if they became sick during school.

I am still grateful that my mother stays home now that I am grown. I can call her any time for household help. She can help me out with my children any time. What a blessing she is to our family!

Sheri said...

Wonderful post!

Oh Anna, this is a topic so dear to my heart... I too believe we are in a long, hard battle for the family, but it is worth fighting.

We need women who believe staying at home with their children (home schooled or not) is the most important job they could be doing. That becoming a godly helper to their husbands, teaching their children, and making a lovely home is far greater a goal than a new SUV or the latest GAP jeans.

And, even as a homemaker, I don’t feel I have enough hours in the day just to “be” with my husband and sweet little girls. I can’t imagine the little time they would all get if I worked 40 hours a week outside our home. My heart gets sick just thinking about that.

Terry said...

What a wonderful piece, and what a wonderful real life example. I think we unerestimate the value of having a mother who is available to her family and is working to create a home that is a relaxed, welcomng, haven. It's hard work, but rewarding work. It requires intelligence, creativity, and resourcefulness. I think if more women saw the job of a homemaker for all that it is, many more would take on the challenge. Unfortunately, too many of us have bought into the lie thatr a job isn't worth doing unless you get a paycheck at the end of the week. How sad for our families.

singlemomforgod said...

Amen!!! It is so easy to get caught up in lost culture of the home, working mothers have to fight through harder to reclaim this culture, I speak from experience. I would love to be a keeper of the home, but since I am not, I have to work harder to ensure that my children are well balenced and that means sacrifice. Sacrifice of my own wants, needs and desires at times. Example, I would love to sleep in all the time, and get 8 hrs of rest, but because I have to balence my work and home and family life then I have to sacrifice it to ensure that my children have a nurturing haven of refuge. I trust in God and he gives me the strength to take care of myself, but I have to put my children before me!!!

singlegodlymom.blogspot.com

Stefanie said...

I don't have children, so maybe I am not qualified to comment. However I did nanny, and I witnessed first hand how a dual career life affects the children. I also babysat sometimes for a Christian woman who stayed home with her children and homeschooled (due to bad schools in the area). I observed such a difference between these families choices. I'm not saying they are right or wrong or anything. I just remember how different their "fruit" was.
I just feel it is about priorites. We can make our lives and we can change them. We have to be willing to live with the results of our actions.
If I had a family of my own -
I would stay with those children and love them all day long. I would be willing to do what it required to make that possible. Small house, thrifted clothes and household, no car, WHATEVER!

Linseymommy said...

Anna,

This is a topic that breaks my heart almost daily. I am a young stay at home mom. I married at 17 and after three years of marriage, have had 3 children, one after another, and am now expecting our fourth any day. My mother did not stay home with us. She and my father worked and worked and worked, because (I feel) they chose to. We were well off, we didn't struggle, and we could have lived in a smaller house, had only one car, etcetera, if it meant my mom could have been home with us. We were sent early in the morning to a before school program. After school we walked to the day care center which would close before my parents would come, so the director would sit outside with us, giving us popcorn while we waited. This was my childhood.

Now I'm a mother, and I would never never do that to them. I carry a lot of resentment (obviously) and I am praying to find a way to let it go, to forgive. I wish parents would think of what they are doing. How choosing to work "just a few more hours" a week could do have long term effects on their kids.

Anyway, sorry for the novel, but I'm proud of you for deciding before you have even started your family that this will be your focus. Your children and your husband will thank you, I promise.

Linsey

Gothelittle Rose said...

This is very true, and it's more than just a matter of keeping things clean and the laundry handled. When a home is lived in for most of the day, it does have a different feel to it.

Consider this... Furniture picks up vibrations from everything around it. I've heard of scientists actually able to pick up fragments of speech from centuries-old furniture that correspond with their life-long users. Sensitive people are often thought a bit silly for stepping into a house and just 'feeling' that it's been owned by unhappy people previously, but that feeling may be scientifically valid! I've heard of people falling asleep in their aged relatives' favorite armchairs and having very strange dreams...

In this way you could say that the housewife seasons the physical structure of her home with her very presence, the furniture marinating in the love and care she shows, the walls soaking up her cheerful presence and radiating it so subtly that it's no more than the faintest undercurrent of peace. What an important element in making a house into a family home!

Zeljka said...

I am so sad when I hear such stories! It is so obvious, and yet needs so much, as you say, battle, to prove it... Hope things will be better!

ps My husband, loving and caring husband and father belives we are having great time in our love and family life now just because I am in my second trimester of my second pregnancy... He belives it has something to do with hormones. But, what is true is that during my first and second pregnancy I use opportunity that my country gives me - to stay at home :) I normaly work outside the house... which was my dream while I studied, but now I want to stay at home and maybe work something, but for few hours (and from home)... So...my christian husband still doesn't know and has hard time understanding the change in me since I don't go to work every day... I don't blame him. He grew up with working mom, in communist society, and besides that I think he loves and apprecisiates me in intelectual sense and wants me to realize all my potentials, which is a way he is telling me how much he cares - even if he doesn't have all what a stay-at-home wife would provide.

So, you see, this "virus" is built deeply not only in non-christians, but in good christians... please pray that I manage to convince my hubby it's best if I stay at home after my second child is 1 year old. Or at least that I find good way to earn money in not so much time... I don't want to make him angry or sad at me :) If he thinks we need more money and something for me to work - let it be so. But let God provide job that won't interfere with my motherly and wifely duties.
Thanks for your prayers!

Your regular reader from Croatia, Europe
Love, Željka

Karen said...

I wish my husband would read this! He says there "Is no excuse for a woman not to work if the kids are in school." I asked him hmm...then who is going to do all the housework? He said we'll share...gee...so our quality time as a family will consist of folding laundry and scrubbing toilets. Nice.

Jenny said...

I'm just curious, did you get a BS in Nutrition? I remember a post talking about you doing clincial training, but wasn't quite clear on what you did before that. I am currently preparing for Field training to complete my CDM program.

Anna S said...

Jenny, yes, I have a degree in nutrition.

Anonymous said...

"Quality time" is a joke. My husband rolls his eyes whenever he hears the phrase tossed around. "You can plan a trip to the zoo, but you can't plan that it will be quality time," he'll say.

What do most people mean when they say "quality time"? One of two things, I believe: either a fun-filled, laugh-yourself-silly type of event, or a quiet, restful bonding-as-a-family time at home. Nice thought, of course, but near impossible to dictate this to all conerned in the tiny amounts of time available. To me, it would be the like trying to sew a long seam with several 2-inch bits of thread!

Brenda

Haus Frau said...

I grew up with a career-driven mother. The 60's and 70's were awash in the ME generation and she was in the thick of it. After she divorced my father, drove 2k miles from all that we knew and began a new life, my eldest 2 sisters left the nest and 2 remained (me being the youngest). My mother worked long hours. The hours not at work were spent 'finding herself'. S and I raised ourselves, kept the house clean, cooked, did laundry, grocery shopped. S wrote notes for my absences - the schools never knew my mother's signature.

By 17 I left home, but before then I'd visit my friend's home often. She had a stay-at-home mother. May taught me everything I needed to know about caring for myself - hygiene, what to do during my 'ladies time', make-up and skin care, finances, food, home-keeping. She met her daughter and I at the door when we came 'home' from school...with a snack and milk or juice. I was in 'heaven'. May was my example to follow one day. I knew I wanted to have a homelife like this...if I ever married and had children. After years of following a feminist ideal, I did exactly that. My husband benefits from me being a home-keeper, as does my daughter.

Now my daughter is in college (Bible college online courses) and looking forward to beginning life as a married lady in God's appointed time. My husband and I plan for me to not work outside the home even then. Rather, to be available and a helpmeet to my daughter and others, as Titus 2 shares.

Those of us who grew up w/o our mothers can break the chains and fulfill that deep desire in our souls to be full time wives and mothers...and as a result, bless our families.

Rebekah S. said...

Amen! I truly couldn't agree more! What a beautiful and much needed post! Every bit of it was so true.

My mom has told me how she used to always come home from school to an empty house(her mother worked outside the home, as did her father). She always felt terribly lonely. And, when she became a teenager, things got worse, as I'm sure you can imagine.

The truth is that we cannot, however hard we may try, truly bring up our children in the training and admonition of the Lord and train them to be warriors for Christ, if we only see them 2 hours a day! It's not possible. As the Botkins write in their outstanding book, the close, productive, dominion-minded, loving, Biblical family unit is a huge threat against God's enemies. And this is one of the main reasons why Karl Marx and others sought to begin the feminist movement here in the West.

But, let us fight! Let us gather together and fight for the truth as found in God's Word-for the glory of God, for our health and our good, and for the good of generations yet to come.

I'll happily join you in this battle, Anna! :)

Blessings to you in Christ,
Rebekah

Rebekah S. said...

We have a responsibility to make our homes a haven for our husbands and children (and in our case, as unmarried daughters, for our fathers, mothers and siblings), and we can't do this successfully if we're swamped with jobs that carry us outside the home.

I have thanked my mother repeatedly for choosing to be a stay-at-home mom, and to homeschool me and my brother. I'm 15 now, but when I was younger, I was an extremely sensitive little girl. If someone even did so much as just look at me wrong, I'd run home crying about it. If my mother had not been there for me, to comfort me, give me a hug, and tell me it was all going to be allright, I don't know what I would have done! There would have been no one there (besides the Lord) to comfort me. What a huge influence homemakers have on their children, and what a blessing they are to them each and every day!

Rebekah S. said...

Hi, Željka!

Oh, my heart goes out to you, dear sister in Christ! I know this must be a hard time for you, when you know that the Lord wants you to be a homemaker, but your husband isn't supportive. The best and most powerful thing you can do is to pray for him! Ask the Lord to change his heart in this area. And, remember what the Scriptures say in 1 Peter 3: "Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the Word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward-arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel-rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God." As your showing your husband the truths of Scripture (such as how God commands women to be keepers at home-Titus 2:4-5), do so in a reverential, submissive, loving way. If you speak the truth in love this way, your husband is much more likely to "be won over" than he would be if you were to "beat him over the head with the truth." :)

May the Lord richly bless your endeavors, dear sister, as you strive to glorify and obey Him! You are definitely in my prayers.

In Christ alone,
Rebekah


Hi, Karen! This must be a hard situation that you're in as well! My heart goes out to you. What I said above would be my advice to you as well. One thing that we all need to realize is that Titus 2:4-5doesn't say "Admonish the older women to teach the younger women to be homemakers just when their kids are in the home, or just when they feel like it, etc." But rather it says, "Admonish the older women to teach the younger women to be homemakers so that the Word of God be not blasphemed." This verse leaves no room for ifs, ands, or buts. And God intended it to be just the way it is. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 shows us that all Scripture is God-breathed. In other words, He was in total and complete control of what went into His Word and what didn't, and what His Word said and taught. So clearly, the way Titus 2:4-5 is written, is exactly the way He wanted it to be. To be a homemaker is to be the Christian woman's lifelong job and responsibility.

You're in my prayers as well!

Blessings,
Rebekah

Miss Julianne said...

Very interesting post. I used to work in a school where some children were there almost all day. I felt so sad for them!

I hope those parents are *really* enjoying whatever it is they are buying with all that money they're making -- since it is costing them that time with their son! :(

Lydia said...

My great aunt from China told us that the children there go to school form early in the morning until 9p.m. That is how the communist break down the family and control society, why are we in a free country giving our children to the state in the same way?!

Anonymous said...

This was a very encouraging post for me, Anna! As a stay-at-home-mommy, I obviously spend LOTS of "quality time" with our two little daughters... and sometimes I find myself fraying at the edges and wondering if I'm accomplishing much!!! Your post was a heart-felt reminder of what I already know but needed to hear again- I'm in exactly the right place (at home) doing exactly the right thing (caring for my family). Thanks for the "pat on the back"- I needed it!
~Kristy

Buffy said...

Great post. Spending your quality time together doing chores round the house is rough. And I can't believe those parents knew so little about what their child was eating! It's not even as if he was a teenager, but a 7 year old child! Why does a 7 year old need evening school anyway? Weird.

Brenda said...

And I want to encourage women who are "stuck" seeing their kids for only a few hours a day...as I once was. I was praying for the Lord to get me home, although it totally looked impossible. And was with us--but not with God. Then a friend of mine said, "Brenda, OF COURSE God wants you home to raise your children!!!!" Had I really been praying, "Lord, if it's Your will, please let me get to stay home"???? If you are stuck working and dropping your children off and don't want that----PRAY!!! What is impossible with man is possible with the Lord.

Amanda said...

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PandaBean said...

Thank you for this post, Anna. I've been going thru' a big slump recently in the homemaking/housekeeping department and this was really what I needed to hear to help me start to find the right track to get back onto. Please keep writting and sharing your thoughts with all of us.

God Bless!

Ashley said...

Perfectly worded, Anna! I've also thought about how ridiculous the "quality" time hoax is!!!!

I know if my husband was to come home and say "Honey, I'm not going to be spending as much time with you as I have been, but don't worry, the time we have together will be QUALITY time!" I'd feel so jipped. :(

Quality = Quantity in my book!!!

I'm going to link to this post from my blog. :)

www.homesteadblogger.com/Jonash2004

Lillian the Ponderer said...

I always laugh when I hear the term "quality time", what does that mean? Does spending "quantity time" with your loved ones mean that there is no quality in it? Honestly it is such a lie, quality versus quantity, might work when we are talking about clothes and other belongings, but when we are talking about humans, ALL time is precious and I for one hate to waste the time I have for my loved ones by being away from them.

Good post, keep up the good work and stay true to your convictions Anna.

Karen said...

Thank you Rebekah! I will pray that he changes his mind...I don't know why prayer is sometimes the last thing we think of when it should be first! I also agree that verse applies that a woman can change a man's mind by her right and submissive behavior. That is definitely an area I need to work on! I think perhaps my husband would not be so inclined to favor private school over homeschool if he could saw me doing well at it. My eldest is only 3 right now so I don't like to push her, but hopefully in the future we can do more with that and show him how nice homeschooling can be!

Anonymous said...

A previous anonymous blogger stated that "quality time" was a joke. Yes, the fact that one would "plan" quality time IS a joke. You can never be assured that the activity you have "scheduled in" is going to result in quality time. I am a firm believer that "quality time" comes as a fruit of the quantity time that I spend with my family.
It comes as we go about our day and relate to one another as the day progresses, through all the mundane and repetitive activities that fill our busy days. How blessed I am to be able to answer those questions or help a child deal with a difficult situation or address relational issues as they come up...because I am around to do so. In my home is where my children learn to relate lovingly and compassionaltely with one another first, and then they can take that knowledge outside of our home to the neighbors and to the children at church, etc.

I spent 5 years in college obtaining my degree, worked 6 years full time in a great profession before meeting my husband. As soon as we had our first child, my work schedule was drastically cut, then after our second, I all but quit. We have had 2 more since then. There have been times of struggle financially, but we have never regretted our decision for me to stay home, and have never looked back. I look forward to spending quantity time with my family everyday, out of which will come that coveted and elusive, even hard won, "quality" time.