There is a difference between housekeeping and homemaking.
This includes cleaning and caring for the house. Keeping an orderly house is important for the Spirit to be able to dwell there. “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:119). The Lord wants us to be organized and to keep our houses orderly because his Spirit cannot dwell in chaos.
I know that when my house is messy I feel stressed. I don’t feel like I can concentrate on anything except trying to get the house clean. With such a large family, it’s quite a challenge to keep the house tidy (especially with two young children I affectionately refer to as Tornado #1 and Tornado #2). I do assign each child chores that need to be accomplished every day because it takes everyone’s cooperation to keep the house clean. I simply don’t have enough time in the day to clean up after so many children and also do laundry, cook, pay the bills, and the other things I need to do to keep the house running smoothly. Besides, it’s important to teach children to work and to contribute to the family by helping with the housework.
When the house is clean, I feel so much better. I love to see an empty kitchen sink, vacuumed carpet, and sparkling bathrooms. It’s brought me to tears when I’ve come downstairs to find that my kids have washed dishes and cleaned the kitchen, especially if I haven’t had to beg them to do it.
Housecleaning is really no fun. Who wants to swish a dirty toilet or scrub boogers off the wall? But, it’s essential to keep the house orderly to have a house of God.
Homemaking is taking care of the spiritual, emotional, and temporal needs of each member of the family. It includes teaching, leading, loving, and serving members of the family. If homemaking were a career, it would include: nursing, psychology, linguistics, mathematical expertise, taxi-driving skills, juggling, reading specialist, humorist, writer, scriptorian, organizer, fundraiser, mind-reader, encourager, and comforter. Of course, those who study homemaking are usually expert diaper-changers, nose-wipers, and baby-talkers.
Homemaking encompasses the divine role of being a mother. The world seems to mock those who take their role of mother seriously. There are no worldly awards or recognition for those who spend their lives devoted to guiding and rearing righteous children. In fact, many look down on women who choose to stay home rather than pursue a career.
David O. McKay once said, “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” At the end of our lives we will not be asked how much money we made, what kind of house we lived in, or what career we had. We will be asked if we raised our children in the gospel, if we had family prayer and scripture study, if we kept our covenants, and if we, by example, taught our children to be like the Savior. We will never do anything more important than what we do within the confines of our own homes. The influence of a righteous mother (and father) can be felt for generations.
Both housekeeping and homemaking have a place in our lives and both are intertwined. As we strive to do both, Heavenly Father will bless us and magnify us and at the end of our lives he will say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant . . . enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:21).
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