Dear Lucy: My husband works evenings and I work days. We have 3 very busy school age children. I pick them up from school, help with homework, take them to events, cook and clean. Our house always looks like a tornado struck it. My husband helps out by cooking and washing. But we are both exhausted. I have a friend who wants to clean house for me but my husband says we can't spend money on that. It wouldn't be much and I am tempted to just pay for it and do it anyway! I am so tired all the time. What do you think?
– Living in Chaos
Dear Mrs. Chaos: I cannot tell you what to do but I can share some insight. The good news is that you and your husband are a team. Ideas that we are taught about money by our own parents can get in the way of good decisions. Maybe your husband was taught that paying someone to clean for you is not a good use of money. Or maybe he believes that it is "uppity," or maybe he is OK with the chaos.
First of all, children learn about money, responsibility and work ethic at home. If you guys are fighting over this, the kids are learning from you how to value time, work, money and priorities. A first task would be to make sure that the things that your children can do to pick up behind themselves and participate in housekeeping are being done. Order is a prime rule of the universe and God. It starts at home.
What are the priorities in your lives? Preparing good hot meals, having clean clothes, helping with homework, and taking your children to participate in character and skill building activities are all great priorities. Presenting an agreeable, united and loving relationship for your kids to see is also important.
Ask yourself why all of this is important for your family's future. Now weigh that against the smaller cost of paying your friend to help with the housecleaning. Your friend gets to earn extra money, you get more time, rest and freedom to be fully present for your husband and children and you can let go of the resentment and sense of failure because you cannot do everything!
When viewed this way, the solution to pay for help becomes much easier. Once your friend helps you to bring the cleanliness and order to your home that you crave, you can insure that your children do their part to help maintain that order. The time that you and your husband spent talking about it and being frustrated can now be spent doing something that brings lasting value to your relationship and your home.
Many of us have never learned the value of clearly setting our life goals and purpose or simply knowing what we really want out of life. Decision-making is much easier when we know what it is we truly want to experience in life. When we know that, we have something to weigh our decisions against.
Then we can ask "will paying someone to help with the housework help take us closer to what we really want for ourselves and our children?" A wonderful scripture regarding this is Luke 13:28..."for which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth down first and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?" The tower of your own lives and those of your children is the building you have set out to erect.
Count the cost and choose your expenditures wisely so that you can finish the job with joy.
(For help with the feelings that get in the way of prayer and peace of mind, get Lucy's new book, "BE NOT ANXIOUS." Order it directly from her at 901-907-0260 or from her website.)