As a mother of three children, my days are never the same. I may try to stick to a number of routines, but only a few seem to hold steady. One of the routines that we have yet to stray from is the one that begins at 4 p.m.
Every day at 4:00, we start to clean up the house. All of us pitch in and do the best we can to pick up the toys. The children start in their rooms, and I start in the main living areas. Once all the toys are picked up, we move onto the next task.
I round up the children, sit them on the couch and turn on some cartoons on the television. While they quietly sit and watch TV, I sweep and sometimes mop, if time allows. By 5 p.m., the house is clean or, at least, tidy.
At this point, the children are allowed to either continue watching TV or take out one toy apiece to play with. I begin the second part of our routine, which is getting dinner started. I try my hardest to make sure that it is not only done by 6, but it’s still hot and on the table.
Why do I do all of this? In case you haven’t already guessed, it’s for my husband. I wasn’t always a mother. I worked from the time I was 14 ½ until I became a mother and even a little bit afterwards. The day I started high school, I also started my first job.
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I know firsthand what it’s like to work hard all day. I know the kind of stress it entails, no matter what the job is. I wouldn’t want to come home from work to a messy, noisy and all-around chaotic home, so I don’t expect my husband to.
Now, he’ll be the first one to admit he is spoiled. He knows he is, and that makes it all the better for me. I know he’s happy, he doesn’t dread coming home, and he actually looks forward to it. That knowledge is reward enough for me and makes all our hard work worth while.
The kids even enjoy their chore. While they clean, they talk about how happy daddy’s going to be when he comes home. They have learned that a clean house means a lot to him, which in return means a lot to them. Granted, there have been times when, for some reason or another, we were unable to accomplish all this. Sometimes the house was clean, and dinner wasn’t cooked, or maybe dinner was ready, but the house was not picked up.
Sometimes mommy or one of the children is sick, so none of these tasks are performed.
They are also the days when I see just how blessed I am to have my husband. When he comes home and sees that for some reason I couldn’t do these things, he take it upon himself to do them. He has even prepared dinner a time or two. The best part about it is that he’s happy to do it and does it without my asking.
It’s amazing how large of an impact one simple little thing can make. By no means am I the “virtuous woman.” Very few are. But I can say that I try to be a good wife, and I try to give my husband a home, not just a house.
I want to end this column by thanking my husband, for making it so easy for me to do this, for not taking advantage of it and for giving back as much I give him.
Tanya Nave, who lives in Kensington, is a wife, mother and writer. She can be reached at BlessedwHislove@aol.com