Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Cost of Clutter

Alexandra linked to a helpful and practical site. The following insights struck me:
When both spouses work out of the home, who takes care of the house? Frequently, there is a constant battle between them about whose job it is to take care of some element of the housework. After all, the husband has been out working all day, so he doesn't feel like it. Oh, but the wife has been working, too so why can't she take a break?

Imagine if your boss at work decided to work a second full time job. How would this impact your work place?
Who would you ask if you couldn't find products for your customers? What if there was no change because your boss was at his other job until after the bank closed? What if you needed help or advice from your boss, but he said, "Not now... I'm too tired from my other job?" How long would that company last? The same thing happens in many homes every day.

Would your family be better served if one spouse stayed home?
Someone needs to be responsible for the bulk of the care and maintenance of the home and family. Ideally, everyone will share the work, but like in any other business there has to be one person in charge. Otherwise, everyone will avoid the work and everything will descend into chaos.

If this sounds like your home,
you might sit down with your spouse and seriously consider whether one of you might take off of work to try to get your home in order. Instead of thinking of staying at home as a prison sentence, think of it as another job to help save you money, reduce family stress and add more family comfort.

If you're considering staying home, get rid of the emotions and, with pen and paper (hopefully you can find one) in hand, write down the ways that being disorganized is costing you money. Be honest and try to cover even the small things. You might find that the money you are spending dealing with disorganization is equal to or more then one spouse's take home pay.

Organization has nothing to do with what is politically correct or what the media or other people tell you you need to do. It is a practical choice that you can make. I am NOT saying that you can't work doing something that you love. I am saying that regardless of how your family handles it, the work of keeping the home has to get done.



Anonymous said...

My observations of families where both work outside the home is the cost involved.....hiring a cleaning service, child care, pre-packaged food or lots of carry out, gasoline for 2 cars, or metro costs, parking, or car pool costs, work clothes and shoes, not to mention the hidden costs of: added stress and tension, over work, time spent in commuting to work, less time for the children and their activities,guilt, feeling stretched from both ends/and or burning the candle from both ends.

healthily sanguine said...

It seems the cost could hardly outweigh the extra income. In fact, in the case of neglect of children certainly couldn't!

Anonymous said...

I have been a homemaker for nearly 18 years and I agree that we should be encouraging married couples to rethink the whole homemaking gig. It never occurred to me to work when we had children; it seemed the most natural and obvious thing to do. I told a friend of mine, who is a working mother, that I had embraced motherhood and homemaking. My enthusiasm for this 'ordinary' vocation kind of stunned her. (I wish more mothers were as vocally upbeat) Homemaking makes sense financially, organizationally, etc. In fact, my husband and I have boiled it down to this: He is the head of the household and I run the household. It's a rather simple arrangement. However, we should go deeper, shouldn't we? There is more at stake here; we are to sanctify ourselves in the vocation God has called us. There are many benefits to staying home with the children and managing the household, but doing it while working toward holiness gives it true meaning. And perhaps others will be drawn to this sweet vocation if we make it more appealing by being more cheerful and holy.

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, julygirl and healthily sanguine, sometimes the costs of both spouses working is just too high!

Thank you, Liz, for such a beautiful description of a holy vocation.

Unknown said...

I'm glad you found something in that article. I've been enjoying that site quite a bit.

I agree with Julygirl. The emotional and financial cost was too high for me when I worked outside the home.