I think the bruises have healed now; dare I approach this topic again? Yes, because I left it completely one-sided. Now, do not take that to mean that anyone who is at fault—just as I was, oh, so many years ago—has an excuse now not to improve. Other people’s failures never make mine acceptable in God’s eyes. On the other hand, there are people who may well stand in line with me and take their rebuke as well. The problem with short articles is you cannot cover every aspect at once. So here goes: Some people out there help create these hot messes.
Parents! What are you teaching your children? When you teach your daughters that they are little prima donnas who are to be waited on hand and foot and every desire indulged, you are making it nearly impossible for them to function as the workers at home that God commands them to be. Even if they want to work, they won’t know how. They need regular chores. They need instruction on how to accomplish those chores and what you expect of them before those chores are considered “well done.” They need to actually sweat a little and to understand that work is not a punishment. Work is the life God has ordained since Genesis 2. It became “hard” work in Genesis 3 and that is totally OUR fault, not God’s. Teach them to face the facts and deal with them.
Don’t make whiny sissies out of them, either boys or girls. If they get a boo-boo, give it a hug, a Band-Aid, and a mama’s kiss, and send them off to play some more. Tell them [their favorite super-hero] would just laugh it off and keep on saving the world. That’s exactly what the world will expect of them.
Mothers! Do not teach your sons that they have no duties in the home by picking up after them like a slave. Except on birthdays or other special occasions, do not cater to their every whim by cooking their own special meal even when that is not what is on the menu that night. My mother used to tell me, “I am not running a restaurant.” When you go out of your way, especially when it means your already stretched time and energy are spent mollycoddling him, and the grocery budget is blown because he hasn’t learned to eat what is put in front of him, you are making it extremely difficult for your future daughter-in-law. If everything has to be just so before he is satisfied, your indulgence on him will impose far more labor on his already overburdened wife than even the Lord expects.
Fathers! When he sees you requiring all these things of your wife—his mother—he will grow up thinking that’s the way the “king of the castle” is supposed to behave. It is hard enough to overcome being a “hot mess” without the other so-called adult in the house making your life even more difficult. Do not turn him into a liability instead of an asset to your new young daughter.
And that brings us to young husbands. If your mother treated you like a little prince, it’s time to grow up. When you married, you took on the leadership of a home and the buck now stops with you. If your overworked and frenetic young bride becomes a hot mess, you may well deserve some of the blame.
Is she picking up after you? Does she have to clean your mess from the previous evening off the table before she can even feed the children every morning? Is she picking up adult-sized clothing in practically every room of the house? When you leave for work in the morning, are your breakfast dishes still on the table? Why can’t you get up early enough to clean up your own mess before you leave the house—like a responsible adult should. NO SIR! That is NOT what SHE is there for. She is not your slave any more than your mother was.
And as for the children, the last I checked, they are yours too. It raises my hackles like nothing else to hear a young father tell his friends that no, he cannot go watch the ball game with them tonight because he has “to babysit the kids.” You have to stay home tonight because you are a FATHER! Parents do not “babysit” their own children! Especially if the activity the mother is leaving the house for is a Bible class, the young man ought to be ashamed of himself. (Yes, I have heard that one more times than I can count.) As the spiritual leader of the home, he should willing to do whatever necessary to help his wife grow spiritually.
And you need to tell her often, not just on her birthday or Mother’s Day, that you know how much she does for the family and how much you appreciate her. Tell her you are proud of her and her work. Tell other people in her presence how much she means to you and that you don’t know what you would do without her. Don’t fall for society’s disdain of a woman who is “just a housewife.” No woman who follows the guidelines set out in the Bible is “just” anything—and “housewife” is a demeaning description. She did not marry a house, although sometimes it becomes apparent to all that she did marry a spoiled child.
For a couple of years in our marriage, when we had two children under the age of 3, my poor husband was working two part time jobs, preaching by appointment three Sundays a month, and going to school to finish his degree. Yet every evening he took those two babies and bathed them right after supper so I had time to do some things I needed to do—washing dishes, folding laundry, picking up toys, and sometimes just sitting down for a moment. He also wanted special time with his children. I had no excuse for falling into the hot mess mentality. That was totally on me. I give you him as your example of what it means to be a leader in the home.
Regardless the cause, giving in to the “hot mess” mentality is still wrong. But maybe if all of us examined ourselves and the effects our behavior might have on our children’s long term future, from parents to husbands to young women themselves, maybe this thing would disappear altogether. We are here to help one another—with examples, with service, with advice, and yes, even with rebuke.
Her children rise up, and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying: Many daughters have done worthily, But you excel them all. Grace is deceitful, and beauty is vain; But a woman that fear Jehovah, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; And let her works praise her in the gates. Prov 31:28-31