Working Towards Contentment

Calm.  Peaceful.  Happy.  Content.
Happy Family 1955 Eloise Wilkin
No more mad morning dashes out the front door.
No more being late to work.
No more snapping at the kids.
No more schedule rearranging.
No more sick days.
No more melt-downs in the mornings.
No more, “Who is picking up the kids today?”
No more, “Who will pick up dinner?”
No more, “Who will stay with the sick child?”
No more, “Not now, I’m working.”

How would your life change?

He begged her to stay home.  She didn’t feel adequate.  She couldn’t accept his care of her.  She feared abandonment.  “What will it take?” he asked.  She jokingly replied, “A Porsche Cayenne.”  Within a week he had one delivered and demanded she resign.  He told her that he and the kids desperately needed her to be at home.  The chaos and negativity of her job was destroying their home life.  She quit, and the above was her partial list of what changed.  Does your husband really want you to work?

What used to be a normal way of life is now a precious calling for Christian mothers to be dedicated to the family at home, doing the work themselves that others hire out.

I wonder if people really are happier caring for strangers, than for their family?  Are they happier:

  • Teaching 34 kids instead of 2?
  • Caring for 30 patients instead of 4?
  • Waiting on 300 customers instead of 4?
  • Getting meals for dozens of families instead of 1?
  • Doing taxes or bookkeeping for others instead of 2?
  • Cleaning 15 homes instead of 1?
  • Caring for a dozen children instead of 2?
  • Counseling other families instead of strengthening their own?
  • Providing excellent customer service to hundreds instead of service to their husband?
  • Spending hours talking to clients instead of their own children?

If you are a Christian who has children at home, and are working for another, are you sure God is really calling you to do that?  (I imagine some are, but I’ll bet many others are not.)

Are you working for free?  And I don’t mean motherhood or volunteer work!

#1 I was at the doctor’s office filling in my paperwork when the receptionist said to another gal working there:  “You know, I only break even when I get my paycheck.  After I pay for daycare, my car, and gas, I have nothing left over.”  Woman #2: “Then why are you working?!”  Young woman:  “Because when my child is in Kindergarten in two years I know I will be making more money plus I won’t have to pay for childcare anymore.  I’m working for the future.”  

This young woman chose to work for free instead of staying home to care for her own child.  She has chosen to pay someone else to raise her child at the most critical time in her child’s life.  She did not need to work to pay rent and put food on the table.  She said she was paying for daycare and the means to get to work!   This woman was either discontent or believed the lie it is better to work than care for her children.

#2 A friend had happily been at home for over a decade.  Then she got talked into a new car for herself by a salesman (to give her a credit history in her own name), along with a new car they were buying for her husband.  Quickly, she found out she was going to have to get a job to pay for the car.  But when she got paid, she realized that after taxes, the car payment, gasoline, and insurance, her paycheck amounted to nothing. 

#3 Another woman I know went back to work after many years at home.  She is absolutely beloved at work because she is great at what she does.  She is still beloved at home, of course…but she feels like a failure.  And when a woman fails at home, she feels like a failure in everything… and begins to gain weight.  She begins yelling.  She is constantly stressed.  She is torn between her boss’s needs and her husband’s needs.  No one is ever home in this expensive house any more.  What is there to come home to?  It is a place to sleep, and that is all.

#4 Yet another woman could have continued staying at home caring for her family, but she was talked into the “having it all” life.  She went back to school and found a job paying twice what she used to make …but discovered that she too is working for free…because she has to pay back the school loans.

#5 An acquaintance announced that she was putting her six year old in private school and would be working admin at the same school, because they needed more money and she must work.  She reasoned that this would also reduce the expensive tuition.  But it also meant long hours away from home, a new wardrobe, and most important, that her toddling twins would be put in daycare.  Which meant that not only would she now be working for free, she would, in fact –oops!- actually be losing $200/month!  That’s $2400 a year! 

If she had stayed home with the twins, she’d come out ahead financially.  But in reality, she didn’t want to change diapers and read baby books and cook and clean.  She wanted a new wardrobe, dinners out, a housekeeping service, and the kudos her job gave her.  She was discontent being at home.

#6 A retired couple I met have a beautiful dream home with an incredible view.  They love spending time with their grandchildren.  They are very energetic, helpful people.  But apparently, both wanted a second career and the chance to make even more money.  I can only imagine that they were talked into a franchise by a salesman telling them they could leave their kids millions (they won’t), because they bought a store.  They appeared to be living cushy, but instead of retiring and helping those around them, they now work 12 hours a day, 6-7 days a week, have gone through their savings, and have put their lovely home, which they had poured money into for years making it their dream home, up for sale.  Why?  They had it made by most people’s standards!  Could it be…discontent?

Content makes poor people rich; 
discontent makes rich people poor.  ~Ben Franklin

If you are at home and are discontent, look at why, because I don’t want YOU to be caught in one of the disastrous situations above!

Begin at your doorway and choose to see yourself blessed instead. 

If your house is too small, too ugly, bad neighborhood, not yours…start praying over it.  Pray for your neighborhood, your neighbors (meet them!), your house and your family.

Grab a pen and paper and put on a realtor’s hat.  If you were going to sell this home/apt. what would you change?  Write it all down.  This is just a master list.  (See Home Beautification Plan).  You will be done within 15 minutes, and years later when you find this list again, you will be amazed at how much of what you wrote down was actually accomplished!

Some will be easy…pulling weeds, pulling down cobwebs, painting (not that painting is easy or cheap, but it is doable).  Decluttering is a big one that is not only doable, it is cheap and blesses others.  Having clean horizontal spaces makes a home larger instantly.  (See Happy Organizing).

Your attitude can change things so easily.  Pray over it all.  Get a friend to pray with you as well. (When I did this I had a major attitude break-though!)   Pray with your children for the things that need changing.  God loves to answer children’s prayers.

The majority of us, for myriad reasons, will not be able to leave the home we are currently in for a bigger one…we HAVE to make-do with what we have.   And guess what?  God actually cares.  I know, because He has not only answered my prayers about learning to love my small home, but he has helped many women who have written books about it, and many women who have not!  When you pray over it, He will direct you not only as to WHAT to do, but He will provide you the means, the pieces, the people, the WAY to accomplish making your home nicer for your family!  He is a God of order and beauty!  He wants it for us, too.

It all begins with prayer and reading the Scriptures.  

  • Instead of wishing for a bigger home, make your home bigger by getting rid of things.
  • Instead of wishing for more money, pray what you need, in.   
  • Make a list of what you need and want.  Write it down and carry it with you.  When you go to garage sales or thrift shops, refer to it and don’t waste money.  If you need more money you need to track what you spend and plug up the holes.   
  • Read the book "Your Money or Your Life."  (Read I Held The Key to My Own Happiness.)
  • Instead of wishing your children were older, you must embrace life as it is now and bless each stage, because it will be gone in a blink of an eye.  (Read Perfect Conditions.)
  • Look at all the blessings around you.  What are the good things you can see, right this minute?  Can you see the sky, or are you in jail?  Are you at work, or at home?  Do you have a home?  Is your husband working?  Do you have a husband?  Do you have health?  Healthy children?  Good doctors?  A car that runs?  Roses in a neighbor’s yard?  Good neighbors?  Close family?  Write down all these blessings.  
It’s wonderful to read and get encouraged from others’ experiences, but at some point you have to stop reading and start DOING.  (Read Organization and Doing Hard Things First.)

Your attitude is the key to living in contentment.   
And YOUR attitude triggers or calms your husband’s attitudes, and your children’s.   
Are you a whiner? Or do you bless your family?
Start living in gratitude and contentment!

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