Saturday, May 22, 2010

Drudgery

n. dull, irksome, and fatiguing work: uninspiring or menial labor

I have been working on planning the summer book study for moms at our church this summer, so have been getting to do one of my favorite things in life: research. (Are you in the area and want to come? We'll be discussing, Professionalizing Motherhood: Encouraging, Educating, and Equipping Mothers at Home by Jill Savage. Let me know and I'll get you the details.) I had been looking into other, complementary sources to bring in to add to the discussion, when I came across a statement in a review on Amazon. (I find the review section of book listings fascinating... though more for what it says about each reviewer than for what it says about the book being reviewed.) Anyway, the reviewer believed that the author of the book in question was committing the sin of contradiction. The reviewer believed that the author couldn't at one point give ways to deal with the drudgery of housework while at the same time claim that being at home afforded a myriad of opportunities for imagination and purpose.

The criticism is only valid if indeed these two ideas are contradictory, and I don't believe they are. I don't think anyone will disagree that there can be a certain amount of drudgery in housework. Sometimes there are aspects of keeping a home clean and presentable that are indeed dull or irksome or uninspiring. I suspect that it is the repetitive nature of such tasks that give help give them this nature. I also suspect that each of has certain household jobs that seem more irksome (I like this word) than others and that our lists would not be the same. But every job has aspects to it that involve some sort of drudgery, and the existence of drudgery in those jobs does not negate that fact that they are useful professions that have many other interesting aspects to them. How many teachers really enjoy grading or police officers completing paperwork or contractors requesting permits?

But making and keeping a home is so much more than just keeping it clean. It is about creating a place where one's family and others feel comfortable, safe, accepted, understood, and loved. And these aspects of homemaking, the intangibles, are what gives it such scope for imagination and such purpose. How can we make family and friends comfortable in our home? What memories can we create for our family? How can we make our home peaceful, so that it is a refreshing place to be? These are not easy things to answer and take work to achieve. But what a great purpose we have if design a place (from rented room to mansion) where others are able to find God's love communicated to them in a tangible way. With such a high calling as this, it makes even cleaning toilets have a purpose. And with great purpose, drudgery is transformed.

2 comments:

comemorning said...

I am enjoying all of these parenting/mothering/homemaking posts! Thanks!

Deborah said...

Amen!!

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