Saturday, October 27, 2007
Joy: Problems and Solutions for the Homemaker Part III
6. Problem: Loneliness Possible Causes: Fewer women at home today during daytime, when keeper at home often wants to make friendship (Note: This trend may be reversing a little bit as more women do make the decision to either work from home or make home their career ); moving to a new community, away from relatives and old friend; friends move away from your community; not being part of a church that is committed to following God's pattern for relationships; not making the effort to have friendships; real distance in your relationship with your husband; unrealistic expectations of what romantic closeness in a marriage means; unfavorably comparing your overall, daily relationship with your husband to your dating days or to romantic movies and books or to what you think someone else's husband is like; focusing in on your family so exclusively that you are at a loss when children grow up; health challenges that may prevent you from participating in outside activities; being widowed or spouse leaving; being single; having a hard time finding people who share your interests; trying to get all your need for fellowship met through blogging friends though you need irl friends, too; not being close to the Lord; our God-giving longing for heaven; Possible ways this can manifest itself in your life: Feeling lonely; sense of emptiness; placing too much pressure on your husband or your children or one best friend to meet all of your needs; feeling resentful if your work seems to go unnoticed or if you think you are under-appreciated; escaping into business or using other escapist behaviors to avoid feeling of loneliness; slacking off in reading Bible and praying Possible solutions: Stay close to God; study scriptures so that you can watch your life and your doctrine closely (I Timothy 4:16; Acts 17:11) study these scriptures and others about how God wants his children to interrelate and think how you can put these into practice: Acts 2:22-47; Romans 12:10; Romans 12:16; Hebrews 3:13; Hebrews 10:24-25; I Peter 1:22; I John 1:6-8; John 13:34-35; I Corinthians 1:10; I Corinthians 4:6; Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 4:2; remember that God often uses loneliness to drive us to seek Him and to remind us that this world is not the final home of a true Christian; Be the woman in your neighborhood who always takes food or a little house-warming gift to a new family; participate in some kind of charity; read a few Biblically sound books on marriage and put some of the principles into practice; have at least one close friend that you can talk to on a deep level in addition to your husband and children; do deeply enjoy your children while they are in your home, but cultivate some interests that you can expand once your nest empties; go where other keepers at home are -- the park; the library, the grocery store, a cooking or sewing class, etc. -- and strike up a conversation; host a coffee or tea in your home; if you know only a few people, ask each guest to bring a friend with them to your tea and you'll meet new people that way; plan dates -- even "at home" watch a movie together dates -- where you and hubby have some time to enjoy each other alone; plan special times with each of your children; get to know parents of your children's friends (Note: This is important for your children, as well. You need to be up on the influences in your children's lives.); keep a prayer list with people's names on it; write cards of encouragement and send them to other people who might be lonely, such as those in bereavement or recovering from an illness. (See Jane McWhorter's book, "Special Delivery" for ideas about how to write encouraging letters for a wide variety of specific situations; she has some great ideas to help you know what to write to people with many different kinds of needs.)
7. Problem: feeling blah due to not taking care of physical self Note: On the one hand, a busy wife and mother -- even a full time keeper at home -- may find it hard to take the time to stay in shape and to get the rest and relaxation she needs. On the other hand, the woman who is a full time keeper at home has a flexible schedule which can help compensate for this. In fact, you may enjoy better health than your dear hubby, if he has a sedentary job. If he does have a sedentary job, you may want to find creative ways to help him feel better. Ways this can manifest itself in your life: feeling too sluggish to tackle tasks you normally accomplish with vigor; losing cardiovascular stamina if your daily activities don't provide for it; losing muscular strength if your daily activities don't provide enough exercise in this area (Generally a mother of children who are preschool and younger does get the bending and lifting she needs for at least minimal muscular health; so does the woman who gardens or is a farm wife or who engages in other domestic activities that require you to use muscular strength. But, there are some keepers at home, particularly older ones, who need to do a little extra work in this area to keep bones and muscles healthy and the metabolism working as it should); pooping out at the end of the day; being too tired to feel very romantic or companionable with hubby; becoming irritable and tense. Possible solutions: Get at least 15 minutes of sunshine and fresh air a day -- more if you can. Fair skinned people should have 15 minutes of sun without sunscreen, while darker skinned people should aim for thirty minutes. This allows you to absorb Vitamin D and other health benefits from the sun in the best way that the body can use them. If you will be out longer than the 15-30 minutes, slather on the sunscreen with a liberal hand and use hats for protection. I am living proof that the sun damage you accumulate in your skin can have some ugly results later on. And, skin cancer runs in my family, as well.
Read a good book about the hormonal seasons of your life; although I don't necessarily recommend everything in it, a great book to help you find natural and medical solutions to women's common needs in this area is Emotional Phases of a Woman's Life by Jean Lush. The author passed away sometime during the past few years, but you can probably find this book used on Amazon.com)
Include lots of fresh foods in your diet. Unless you have a certain medical condition or an hereditary disposition towards some disease, you probably don't have to be fanatical about your diet. But, remember moderation in all things, especially when it comes to fats and junk foods. And, thank God for the fresh, wholesome foods that he provides for us.
Moms need an "energy break" in the late afternoon, as do kids. There's a reason why women of my mother's generation called the time around 4:00 to 5:00 in the afternoon "the crying hour". Even the sweetest of children and the most loving of mothers may find that their energy flags sometime during the later afternoon , leaving everyone feeling on edge. So, find some time between 2:00 in the afternoon until 5:00 in the afternoon to help your children take a break. You try to take a break with them, as well.
Start with a nourishing afternoon snack. Sometimes, the temporary energy dip can be corrected with a little nibble. I have found, however, that for an adult to eat too much at this time can cause even more sluggishness and weight gain. Set an appropriate snack amount. Then, if you still feel "peckish" have a cup of tea.
Around 4:00 to 5:00 in the afternoon, make the house as soothing and comforting as possible. Now is the time for quieter music, scented candles (if your children are old enough they know not to touch them), or other little touches that calm things down.
Letting children soak in a sudsy bath can do wonders for their spirits, provided that you know they won't be going back outside to get dirty again. Even if you do have to help them wash up at bedtime, it still might be worth doing the afternoon bath.
Train children who are growing just beyond the need for a nap to rest quietly on their beds for 20 to 30 minutes in the afternoon. They don't have to sleep. But, they should play quietly with toys or look at interesting books or color during this time. Train them to respect this as a quiet time for mom, for themselves, and for siblings. While they are resting quietly, you put your feet up and rest, as well.
Create a space where you can relax for even five minutes at a time. It could be one pretty chair, with a little table beside it to hold a drink or a book, and an afghan.
Have an afternoon devotional with the kids.
Accept that you will have an occasional day when you're just the faintest bit blue or your body seems extra tired. We all have them. However, if the "down day" extends into "down weeks", do whatever you can to identify and to resolve the problem.
Pick one hobby -- such as playing the piano -- that you really enjoy. Even if you can only find five minutes a day to practice the hobby, keep it up as best as you can. This will give you a creative outlet that will take you away from the problems of the day for a few moments and that will also add pleasure to your day and, possibly, to your family's day.