Can I give you a new perspective on homemaking today? It comes in this statement:
Homemaking is complex.
For example, making a meal requires keeping an eye on cooking times and multiple pots, setting the table, adding ingredients at just the right time, and cleaning up after ourselves as we go along. But we don’t just make meals. We make meals while we’re folding laundry, playing referee to children, and trying to pay bills.
Homemaking is a complex job, and I hope you’ll start saying that to yourself. I was reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers: The Story of Success, and he said that doing complex work is extremely meaningful and rewarding. Isn’t that true? So can we ditch the word “mundane” and start saying “complex” instead?
But when something is complex, it requires well-designed systems, in order to run properly. So a homemaker must be a systems analyst.
Systems analyst: A person who analyzes a complex process or operation, in order to improve its efficiency.
This is a great time of year, to grab a cup of coffee and analyze some of the systems you have in place. Are some of them inefficient and leaving you feeling frustrated?
Homemaking requires us to think. Why are we frustrated in certain areas of homemaking? Where is the system breaking down? Is there a simple fix? Systems analysts troubleshoot and come up with solutions.
For example, for a few decades (sigh) I struggled to get dinner on the table. After much thought, I identified a significant problem: I wasn’t prepared to make dinner, because I hated thinking about what to make and hated thinking about the grocery list. Solution: I bought a notecard holder and wrote the name of each recipe I have on a notecard. On each notecard I wrote the ingredients I would need, in order to make that recipe. Now, on the weekend I grab those notecards and pull out the recipes I want to make for dinners that week. From the pre-made ingredient lists, I can make my grocery list in less than a minute. No thought required.
I am making dinner now on a regular basis, thanks to an improved system.
Think about magazines for a second. Most of the homemaking magazines you see at the store offer help in improving your systems, in cooking, cleaning, organizing, etc.
But systems are not one size fits all, right? They’re different for every woman and every family. They’re very different if you stay at home versus working outside the house. Systems are different when you have toddlers versus when your kids are teenagers.
So we need to think for ourselves.
Regularly analyze and improve your own systems. Think of the end operating goal and work the problem. What steps need to be in place so that you achieve success in that area?
We can try a system, see where it fails, and tweak it until it works. Sometimes minor changes bring quick success. Sometimes we have to scrap an entire plan and try something new.
Your job as a homemaker is wonderfully complex.
Wonderfully complex, I say. What an amazing, difficult job God has entrusted to you. (You should be in a corner office with windows, sister.)
So rise to the challenge, and work to develop a well-oiled machine. With smooth systems come great rewards and satisfaction.
A blessing on your home,