"What Do Women Do All Day?"
Every minute to and fro, that's the way my hours go.
"Bring me this and take me that," feed the dog, take out the cat.
Standing up, I eat my toast, drink my coffee, thaw the roast.
Empty the garbage, make the bed, rush to church, then wash my head.
Sweep the kitchen, wax the floors, scrub the woodwork, clean the doors.
Scour the bathtub, then myself.
Vacuum carpets, straighten shelves.
Eat my sandwich on the run; now my afternoon's begun.
To the baseball game I go; when will there be time to sew?
Meet the teachers, stop the fight.
See the dentist, fly the kite.
Help with homework, do the wash.
Iron the clothes, put on the squash.
Shop for groceries, cash a check;
fight the crowds, now I'm a wreck.
Dinnertime it soon will be.
"What's for dinner?"
"W a i t and s e e."
Dirty dishes crowd the sink. Next there's popcorn, then a drink.
Will they ever go to bed?
Will I ever get ahead?
"Bring me water," get the light.
Turn off the TV, lock the bike.
"Where's my pillow?"
"Hear my prayers."
"Did you lock the door downstairs?"
At last, in bed, my spouse and I,
too tired to move, too weak to cry.
But ere I doze, I hear him say,
"What do women DO all day?"
(Author: Marshall H. Hart
From Home Life, Aug. 1976 The SS Board of the SBC
All rights reserved. Used by permission of author.)
Many of us know very well that we have done all of the things mentioned in this poem in one day without thinking about it. How can we possibly explain to our husbands or other men the varied and multitudinous tasks that we are responsible for every day?
Many women feel frustrated and defensive when their husbands ask them that question. And no matter how we answer them, they never seem to fully comprehend all that we are required to do on a daily basis. Perhaps they never will, after all, the keeping of a house is something inherently foreign to them. But we were specially designed by God for the task. God would never give us a specific task to do and then not give us the tools to accomplish that task. Once we willingly accept our God-given duties, our attitude will become more positive, and hopefully, we will come to be grateful that God has allowed us to serve Him in this special way.
Many years ago, I heard what I thought at the time was a corny speech on the "I get to" attitude. But it stuck in my head and was brought to mind every time I said, "I have to fix dinner, or I have to do the laundry, or I have to go to the grocery store." It is like that Disney song, "It's a Small World." It just kept repeating itself in my mind and countering with "I GET TO fix dinner, I GET TO do the laundry, I GET TO go to the grocery store, etc." And that small attitude shift actually did lift my spirits then and still does today. God has blessed us with the amiable and rewarding assignment of "getting to" care for and serve those we love so dearly.
In the early 1980's when the children and I were enjoying reading through the "Little House" series of books, I found this little poem written by Laura Ingalls Wilder:
Nor seek the calm that others give,
For thy, thyself, alone must stand,
Not held upright by others hand.
I really like this poem. Each individual is responsible for maintaining their own cheerful spirit. Regardless of our circumstances, we can rejoice in the unchanging reality that God is good and gracious, and all things are working steadily forward toward our eternal joy.
We are blessed to have a sister in our meeting with a cheerful spirit. Sharon is always laughing and singing a hymn softly to herself. It is so pleasant to work with her. After Bible class we all find ourselves humming or singing along with Sharon as we tidy up the kitchen together after our weekly shared supper. Sharon was sick last Wednesday night and it was not as much fun to clean the kitchen without her. So we just started singing and humming and the smiles returned and the joy in our task increased.
They have a tale to tell,
While other may go hungry,
We're eating very well.
With home and health and happiness,
We wouldn't want to fuss,
For by this stack of evidence
God's very good to us!
The keeping of the home has been turned over by God to women (Titus 2:5). The keeping of the house is our service and responsibility - not our husbands. Gal. 6:5 states that "every man shall bear his own burden." The word for burden is Strong's 5413 - phortion - an invoice as part of freight, a task or service. Earlier in Gal. 6:2 is that wonderful verse, "Bear ye one another's burdens." This is not the same word for "burden" as is used in v. 5. This "burden" is Strong's 922 - baros - (from the word for foot) meaning a load, abundance.
Woman's liberation has deceived many of us into thinking that the keeping of the home should be divided equally between the husband and wife, especially if they both work. But God has many years ago distinctly divided up the different tasks between men and women. The principal job of a man is to provide for the economic security, emotional well-being, and spiritual leadership of his family. The primary responsibility of a woman is to serve as the keeper and manager of her home.
Certainly it is always right and Christ-like for our husbands to voluntarily help us often in the abundance of our service. But so many wives are making themselves and their husbands unnecessarily unhappy by becoming angry and contentious because they expect their husbands to take over a part of their service that God has not turned over to the man. Consider how many arguments and bitter words have passed between a husband and a wife as a result of the wife's constantly nagging her husband that he never does "his share" of the housework? Once we wives willingly take the full responsibility for our God-appointed service, it gives us great relief from the burning root of bitterness that the world's way produces. It frees us to fully appreciate it when our husbands do step in and help us in the abundance of our tasks. God's Way promotes contentment and peace, and eliminates much strife and contention.
Another blessing that can come to our husbands by our willingly taking full responsibility for keeping the home is that it can allow them guilt-free time for Bible study and thorough preparation for the many Ecclesial responsibilities God has turned over to them. This extra time spent in the Word can only strengthen our husbands in their role as the spiritual leaders of our families.
So it is true - "A man works from sun to sun - but woman's work is NEVER done." We can take comfort in the hope that soon, by Yahweh's grace, we will be powerfully strengthened to carry out all our God-given service free of bitter thoughts and weary weakness (Isa. 40:31).
But in the meantime, let us cheerfully bear our own burdens with joyful and thankful hearts.
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