Our modest three-bedroom boasts of about 1200+ sq. ft. plus a detached
shack garage in our large backyard. Big windows, a hallway long enough for little ones to run up and down, and a pokey kitchen to keep me humble are the very dearest parts of my house. It’s a darling little place with plenty of wear from its 60-ish years and heaven-knows-how-many previous occupants; and though I often bemoan the bigger items on the House To-Dos, I really do love it and delight in the fact that it’s ours.
Of course, more precious than the house itself are the occupants that make it a home. My men (husband, little boy, littler boy, and unborn littlest boy) stomp around the house, fill the air with dinosaur noises and tickle fights, and go through a gallon of milk 2 days after the store. There are mate-less socks under the couch, pairs of boots and sneakers all over, and the looming question of “What’s for dinner?” staring me in the face on a daily basis. There was a time, I’m proud to say, that I felt like I had it all in place – the laundry, the grass-mowing, the “is there any more?” meals; but at some point last summer we all got sick and when you’re sick the housekeeping goes right out the window. I’ve spent the time since trying to recover and simultaneously hide the fact that I’m trying to recover. It turns out drowning doesn’t really look like a butterfly stroke, no matter how hard you splash.
Right now it’s 5:15 am on Wednesday and this morning I plan on asking Andrew an all-too-dreaded question: When you come home, what do you want to see done from me during the day? How can I serve you? Yes – in my mind, they’re the same question. To tell you the truth, I’m slightly nerveux about the answer because I know it’ll force me to face my own shortcomings. Andrew is a patient man, sweet and charitable, who would probably admit if bribed with allotted time in a deer stand, that I am the World’s Worst when it comes to execution, follow through, and completion of laundry. The master bedroom that I so desire to be a sanctuary away from children and responsibility is lost somewhere underneath both clean and dirty piles – all items of which probably need the sniff check before being sorted. In addition to the laundry, no doubt a tidy kitchen and fed children would be on his wishlist. Ah yes, I’d love to be Super Wife-n-Mama but in these days of pregnancy fatigue and incessantly taming my beloved Wild Things, I just can’t do it all. (It doesn’t help that I’ve let my copy of A Mother’s Rule of Life collect dust for a few months, so I’ll be picking that back up this week.)
Now, when it comes to taking a stab at Andrew’s list of Honey-Dos for me, I’m shamefully aware of what needs to be done around the house. I was raised in a home where there was a place for everything (with a kitchen drawer for the excess ;) and I took this to an extreme as a new wife with my Type A personality. When it comes to neatness, there are fewer stiffs who are stiffer than I, but I’ve had to let that go in forced humility and in some ways, pure laziness. I think if we all examine the day-to-day standards in our own different homes, it’s pretty clear what needs to be done now and what can wait.
The thing is, I know exactly how I want Andrew to answer the Dreaded Question, “Aw Katie, you’re so good to me. I just need your love and support and my cup will runneth over.”
Mmmm yes – what a sweet answer it will be. And true, too! Though women wonder what men want, I can tell you with ZERO hesitation or uncertainty that what Andrew wants – what he really wants – is a happy, attentive, supportive wife. From my side of things, life goes along more merrily when my hard-workin’ breadwinner is content all around; and from his perspective, I can only imagine the pleasantness of coming home to pleasantness. He wants me to be happy, which means taking care of myself in all areas from the spiritual, to the social, and physical. He wants me to be interested in what he’s interested in, and if I can’t manage that (because my enthusiasm for fishing isn’t as infinite as his), then I should be interested in him – what he thinks, feels, and does. Though men don’t typically chat about their emotions as womenfolk do, Andrew wants my undivided attention when the occasion arises. He wants to feel loved and the Love Language he receives best is acts of service, so preparing meals and running errands for him are a big deal.
I “look well to the ways of my household” because it’s our home – our yard, our crumb-covered floors, and our hungry family. The sweeping, cooking, daytime child-rearing, etc. are all essential to my job description as a housewife, but they are nothing without deliberate love and devotion behind them. Andrew would care little for a hot meal if I didn’t hold his hand, listen to him, laugh with him, and demonstrate general TLC; without all that, I’d be just a nanny and a maid (with free room and board!). What’s important is that I’m present in matters of Andrew’s heart, and supportive in providing a happy and holy home to the best of my ability.