The ads on television show a harried mother shutting the patio door on the raucous kids – boys bouncing off the furniture, throwing stuff at each other. She stretches herself on the lovely wicker lounge, cushions behind her head. Soemthing inside me wants to yell, “What are you doing? Are you going to let those children tear your house down?” But she needs a refuge. I’m assuming the glass door is soundproof. And she’s taking valium or worse.
People don’t work at home anymore. They work in malls or offices or factories. The house is a home, a haven of rest, not a place to work. So we are led to believe by advertising. Everything in our home environment is about easing our work and giving us comfort. The house is an entertainment and leisure center. Who wants to do work there?
We have a plethora of work-saving devices – laundry machines, dish-cleaning machines, floor-cleaning machines. You will work fifty hours to pay for each one of these, because they are expensive. But work shouldn’t intrude into your home!
This is so foreign to how people lived until the latter half of the twentieth century, and with our short and selective historic memories, we barely know it was ever different. People worked at home and from home. They worked in the home even if their employment took them out of it. We’ve been brainwashed so that we will buy expensive, so-called labour-saving devices, from floor sweepers to dishwashers. These devices don’t save us labour, because they cost us so much of our time to earn the money to pay for them – we exchanged a few minutes with an inexpensive device for hours swapped for money to buy an expensive device. It’s a matter of a twenty-dollar broom and ten minutes of sweeping versus ten hours of employment to buy a cheap $200 vacuum cleaner, and the same ten minutes across the floor.
I’ve written elsewhere of my battle with automatic washers and dryers. Honestly, unless you have trouble with your back, it is not at all hard to wash by hand. Your clothes will be cleaner and will last longer. You will have the same galvanized tubs for years if they are allowed to dry out and don’t get banged around much. I use an antique wringer! Considering the time it takes in waiting for the laundry, pretreating spots, shopping for cleaning products, hauling baskets of clothes up and down two flights of stairs (which is hard on the back) – and the cost of your labour to buy one of those machines, which will run about $500 for a moderately good washer here in Canada, and upwards of a $1000 for a top quality one – well, I think the old-fashioned way wins hands down. If I could, I would set up our front porch for laundry washing and drying, but I expect the church wardens might question the necessity of doing that!
I know I am going to hear “But I work fifty hours a week outside the home – I can’t do all this!” I’m sorry to hear that people get themselves into this mess. I’ve been there myself. All I can suggest is that you work yourself out of that situation purposefully. Pay off the debt, don’t incur new debt, save for the future. Cut back on your work hours outside the home and give some time to work at home, caring for your family and yourself. I always found work in an office or shop to be frazzling – all the travel, all the time given to appearance, all the worry about how the job was going, how the bosses were reacting, whether the business was going to make or lose money. We may have to do that to some extent, but I’d rather do it for my own business effort, or be sufficiently disengaged financially and emotionally that if the business were to fold, I would not be in a panic.
God did not put us in families so that we could serve Mammon instead of Him.
I think this is an important topic, and we’ll come back to it later.