No Such Thing As A Perfect Routine

Did you ever see the pilot episode of Desperate Housewives? You know the one where Mary Alice takes the revolver from the closet and offs herself? Well, right before she does it she says, “I spent the day as I spend every other day. Quietly polishing the routine of my life until it gleamed with perfection.”

I hadn’t seen the series in many many years and decided to rewatch it recently. When Mary Alice said those words I thought to myself how perfectly it summed up the life of a good housewife. Then she kills herself and I thought about how easily one could end up hating the monotony and work of keeping house if everyday was spent trying to reach perfection.

In my own life, after nearly ten years of running the home as my job, I have noticed an ebb and flow to my work. It seems that just as I get our routine running with practically military precision, something in our schedule will change and I’ll start to rework things. A few weeks or even months will pass where we improvise as we feel out what will work for our new situation. Examples would be when we moved from one town to another, when Fox started preschool or when Mark started working from home. There are so many things that happen that cause the daily routine of our lives to shift and require adjustments. This is true for everyone, of course, but when you are a housewife it can become a near obsession to have everything functioning seamlessly if you don’t check yourself.

Yearly vacations excluded there isn’t much of a change of scenery for the woman who stays home everyday tending to children and animals, cooking meals, washing clothes and cleaning toilets. That was a big adjustment for me when I first started to learn how much work goes into raising a child and staying home full time. I had spent a large part of my early adulthood traveling, partying, and certainly not cooking! So to avoid becoming bitter or depressed I have to remember to allow ‘screw it’ days. That’s right. You need to have days where you just say SCREW IT and do what you want or take a little adventure with the kids or eat chocolate chip cookies on the couch all day while watching movies. Enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Let’s face it, working from home is hard! And the work is never done. Nothing is ever going to be perfect and you shouldn’t live your life trying to make it so. When your time is up you (probably) won’t be wishing you had done more work, you’ll be wishing you had more time with the people you love. So housewives, hold you purpose close to your heart. We work so hard to make a home where we can enjoy our families and create peace and safety for our children. This really is joyful work. If your are one of the lucky who can stay home you know what a blessing it is! Give yourself some leeway, take a day off every now and then. Protect yourself from becoming the cliché of bored and desperate housewife. Homemaking is an avenue to every delight if you know when to tighten the reigns and when to let loose. So put the revolver back in the closet and have a nap instead!

circa 1955: A housewife sleeps on the sofa while taking a break from her housework until her young tries to wake her. A vacuum cleaner and a dust broom sit by the sofa. (Photo by Harold M. Lambert/Lambert/Getty Images)

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