Monday, June 4, 2007

Nothing to do at home?

At this point of my life, as an adult unmarried daughter living with her family, there are periods when I spend more time outside the home, and others, when I get to spend plenty of time at home. And always, but I mean always, a well-meaning acquaintance will ask me: "Aren't you bored?"

I had worked in a variety of jobs, and let me tell you something, none of them were very glamorous. The majority of jobs aren't. As a secretary, I was chained to the fax machine. When I worked as a cashier in a supermarket, I couldn't move from the cash register. I couldn't take a short break to stretch my legs and I only saw sunshine on my way to work. That was boring.

At home, the activities are so different. Yes, not all of them are exactly thrilling. For example, I like ironing and cooking, while I'm less fond of vacuuming and washing the dishes. But in a way, even what I don't enjoy so much feels satisfying, because I see the result of my work, and I work in my home, for my family, and on my time. I can make my own schedule and go out for a wee break when the weather is good, or watch a bird flying to and from her nest on the tree in front of my small balcony while I hang the laundry. If I have a free hour, I can read or write or do various crafts and projects.

At home, I'm peaceful and relaxed, and I believe this is so much more natural than always rushing somewhere. Think about it. For many centuries, people lived simple, peaceful lives, and they didn't have the amount of depressions and nervous breakdowns we have now. Doesn't it feel good to slow down?

Not long ago, I visited a friend who is going to get married soon and lives with her parents. "I'm so bored at home," – she said, - "I have absolutely nothing to do!" – And while she complained, her mother was mopping the floors and her grandmother washing dishes in the kitchen. Nothing to do at home? Maybe you're just overlooking things that need to be done?

To tell you the truth, I find it difficult to imagine a situation when there's nothing to do at home. There's always dusting and cleaning and mopping and scrubbing; laundry to be washed, ironed and folded; taking care of animals or plants if you have them; creative activities like organization and re-decorating; honestly, I currently live in an apartment so small I'm sure it would make some of you laugh – and yet I never run out of things to do, even if I have all day.

Our time at home – like pretty much everything in life – is what we make of it. We can make it useful and productive, peaceful and relaxing, meaningful and happy. We can find joy in the simple things and excitement in our everyday surroundings. I honestly believe it's up to us.


AnneK said...

Good post, Anna. The key is our attitude. How we see things that we do everyday. I think it also helps to remember why we are doing what we are doing. Are we doing it out of love or selfish needs? Are we glorifying God "Do it unto the Lord and not unto men." Always helps for me when I get discouraged.

Emily said...

I really enjoyed reading this Anna, and thinking how true it is. I love what you write here: "Our time at home – like pretty much everything in life – is what we make of it. We can make it useful and productive, peaceful and relaxing, meaningful and happy. We can find joy in the simple things and excitement in our everyday surroundings. I honestly believe it's up to us." So true!

I can't understand why anyone would be bored at home either. There really is always stuff to do! Last summer I spent back home living with my family again, and I truly loved it. I loved serving them, such as helping around the house and cooking meals, and also setting up my accessories business at my leisure. It was a really enjoyable time and I was free to improve on my skills and begin something productive (which now pays for my rent and bills!).

Hope you're well! Blessings :)

Anonymous said...

This is one of the big reasons I want to become a SAHW/M. Not only to take care of my daughter and home, but because at home I can take care of myself.
The job I have at my mom's store is what most would think is a very stress-free job, but I don't get along with all my co-workers, and I have to rush around in the morning to get some breakfast in me, even if it's just a cup of coffee (lots of cream makes it a food, right? :) ).
I don't have the time to eat right, I don't have the time to cook and bake from scratch the way I really want to, I don't have the time to shower everyday and still get everything else done (tho' I could get off the computer more often! :P) and if I'm worn out for a day and would like to take a nap, or sleep in, forget it!
There are people who say I should be grateful for the time away from the stress of a new baby, sorry, I don't find that stressful. There are some people who say that my job is a walk in the park, maybe it is to you, but I'm on edge all day long and I never know which "downtown character" is going to walk through the door. And there are people who say I should be grateful I even have a job, and with the job market as nasty bad as it is right now, I can't argue with this one too much, except to say there are lots of people out there who would love to have this job and would put more of themselves into it.
I find it so hard to work outside the home, when my heart, mind and soul are there. Some people need to put a concious (sp?) effort into leaving work at work and focus on being home when they're at home, I'm the opposite. I'm always thinking about better things, IMO, that I could be doing: dishes, marketing, laundry, cleaning, playing with my daughter, etc etc etc.
Sorry about the long comment, it's almost a post!
Have a blessed day!

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna,

You are so right about all the things to do at home. I don't know how someone could be bored. In my opinion, the world is very misled and ignorant about making a home. How anyone could think life is better beyond the walls of home is beyond me. I don't anyone with an "exciting" job outside the home.

Kaye :)

Perennial Pioneer said...

I agree with AnneK. It has everything to do with our attitude, how we come across, to others. There is a short phrase that I like to use. It is, " It's a Choice". I have it on my wall in my room, and I see it everyday. It is a good thing to have there to remind you!
Anyway, just some thoughts!
Perennial Pioneer

Alexandra said...

Small apartments are wonderful! We lived in small apartments for years, and they were so easy to clean. I always had a spotless home. I could run that vacuum from one end to the other in no time(no stairs either!). Dusting was easier too. Now that we have a larger home to fit a larger family, it's a lot more work! I miss the little home.

You are right, there is always something to do. I'm plenty busy at home, and I do have time for the internet, but even that is spent doing something useful. I am always researching new ways to be more frugal, learning from others. It's didactic surfing. ;)

Anonymous said...

The idea of being bored at home has always puzzled me too. I have hardly ever been bored at home, but I've often been bored at my various jobs (especially the summer I worked at a factory-doing the same mindless task over and over again for 9-10 hours straight-definitely boring!) Great post!

PaulaB52 said...

I agree, attitude is the key. I used to have the "poor me, why do *I* have to be the one to clean the toilets, etc", but then I started thinking about how LUCKY I am to have a toilet to clean and a family to clean it for. Very different type of attitude.

Funny thing I was emailing with a really old friend and she was complaining about her housework, etc. She had the same attitude I had before. I gently told her to think of gratitude before cleaning the house. I don't think she gets it though.

Anonymous said...

There's no time to be bored!! It can be so enjoyable to be a SAH. No, every task I do doesn't fill me with excitement, but there is (as you said, Anna) such satisfaction in a job well done. The look of the furniture dusted, the smell of laundry coming in off the clothesline, just the general feel of one's home when it's orderly & comfortable-looking.

I am hardly ever challenged on my decision to be at home. If I ever am, I try to answer any questions with a very "upbeat" attitude, always looking the person in the eye, and treating the questions as if someone were inquiring about my plans for a vacation, or a recent project I'd started working on. This isn't always easy (if I'm having a bad day or I'm particularly tired), but I never want to give people the impression that SAH's are to be looked down on, or pitied for not having a "real job", and are unpaid scullery maids, forced to do the lowest of tasks. Or, for that matter, as though we are pampered beings, with nothing more to do with our time than get our nails done. I guess you could say that I try my best to "sell" my job, & be proud of it.

I will probably always be mystefied at the folks who can't, or won't, see that the rhythm of keeping the home is so necessary, that there is less drudgery to it than they think, and that the benefits far outweigh whatever I might be giving up.

Good post, Anna. Thank you.


Lean Not said...

I cannot imagine getting bored at home. In any office job I have ever had, I watch the clock all day and look forward to bathroom breaks because I am so bored. I just cannot wait to get home. But at home, I would never run out of things to do.

Right now, I have a few rare weeks to stay at home and be a homemaker. If you could only hear how frequently I have been saying, "I love this! I could do this all the time!" And I still have a ton left to do.

There will always be cooking and cleaning to do. Then there is organizing, decorating, yard work, etc. When the house is caught up, there is always some sort of personal study that can be done. Then sewing, doing crafts, exercising, writing, reading, ministering to others -- how could anyone think that there isn't anything to do?? And that's not even mentioning all there is to do if children are in the family, too!

It is so rewarding to do work that actually benefits you and your family, instead of working for a company just to get a paycheck. After I vacuum, my family and I can immediately enjoy our nice clean floor. After we cook, we get to enjoy the meal.

There is just no feeling like knowing that you have taken care of your family!

Anna S said...


It really IS all about attitude! If we treat our work at home like meaningless, boring drudgery, it will be meaningless, boring drudgery. But if we see it as an opportunity to serve our family, it can bring so much joy!

Anna S said...

Thank you ALL for your wonderful comments, I love reading them!

When people hear my goal is to become a homemaker, I often receive comments such as, "you'd get bored doing the same thing every day, over and over again!".

Yet of all the normal, everyday jobs I know (that is, unless you're a treasure-hunter or something like that...), homemaking, in my opinion, offers the biggest variety of things to do.

Karen said...

Anna, so sorry I'm just getting back to you. I have been out of the blogging world for a couple days, life gets in the way. Loved this post, by the way. Attitude is everything -- absolutely. You asked about steam cleaning. We have a carpet cleaner -- looks like a vacuum cleaner, but you fill a reservoir with water and cleaner and it "washes" the carpet (very lightly) as it sucks up the water. You can rent machines at grocery stores or home improvement stores. It's a cheaper way of cleaning the carpet than hiring a professional. The trick is to spot clean beforehand, and then the results are usually very satisfactory. Another on of those things that keeps us from getting bored!

Coffee Wife said...

Anna it's like you read my mind! I was just walking around the farm planning out ways that I can help us to become more self-sufficient.

There's so much to do at home even in an apartment! And like you said, it's so very rewarding because you aren't working at some never-see-the-sunlight job in order to make *someone else* rich. You are working for you, your family and your home!

Wouldn't it be nice if women would get together and buy a plot of land so that they could raise herbs and veg and maybe even some hens and honeybees? And they could bake their own bread and cook their own meals and come back to the richly rewarding life at HOME?

Why has a paycheck become the ultimate goal in life?

Women just don't realize what they are missing. Bored? How on earth can a woman be bored if she puts her mind and her skills to all of the many rewarding "jobs" to be had at a woman's hands??

Anna S said...

Karen, thank you for getting back to me with the steam cleaning tip!

Michelle, like I said earlier, I really think that most of the time, when women say "there's nothing to do at home", so many wonderful opportunities are overlooked! We can have a wonderful, rewarding, peaceful, creative and fulfilling life at home.

More coming soon...

Ways of Zion said...

A firend of ours recently commented that since her husband puts in a full day at work, she aims to do the same at home...I thought that was a great additude to have.

I will admit to having days where it it not peaceful....and often rushed, especially the 30 min before hubby gets home. Or there are the few days when all I want is some decent adult conversation....but it is all worth it and "will work out according to His purpose"

Sheri said...

Anna, I sincerely can't imagine someone saying there is nothing to do at home! How absurd!

My days are full, full, full and I'm at home for most of them. I don't watch tv either and I still never have enough time to do all I want to get done. There is ALWAYS something to do!

Great post.

Bethanie said...

Your posts keep getting better and better. We can all see how your growing.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, as always :)


Buffy said...

I am always amazed when I hear people say they get bored at home. I never have enough time to do all the projects I have. Even if you don't have children and have done all the housework there are so many other areas to address. As you said, decoration, plus educating yourself, helping out others in need, reading, writing letters, blogging (of course!), self-improvement, studying the Bible etc etc. And let's not forget playing with the cat (or dog)!

Mrs. Brigham said...

This post made me smile. Your attitude about home is so very beautiful.

Katrina said...

I usually get the question "Do you like your job?" I wish I could stay at home. I have piles of sewing and we eat fast food or prepared walmart fare way too often. And thats with 3 girls and a boy all living at home. We all have to work though and have no time for anything. I can't wait for the day I can stay at home.