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Sharing the Responsibility for Household Chores

Air Date 08/13/2015

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Sheila Gregoire and Eva Daniel describe how couples can prioritize and allocate household chores, get their kids involved and find time to relax in the midst of a busy schedule.

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Episode Transcript



Jim Daly: Sheila, what does it feel like to be [a] maid—it makes me uncomfortable even saying that—to be a "maid" in your own home?

Sheila Gregoire: You feel like your life is one big to-do list and everyone takes you for granted and you just so want to be a wife and a mom again, instead of someone who works for everybody.

End of Teaser

John Fuller: Well, you may be right there, feeling like you're spending your days cleaning and cleaning and picking up. It's always a mess. No one gets it, but you're not alone. It's a pretty common malady and you'll get some encouragement today on "Focus on the Family" with Jim Daly. I'm John Fuller and we have an imminently practical program for you today.

Jim: John, there are so many expectations placed on women today and I see that in my own wife. You know, they're often expected to be working, to take care of the kids, to be a good wife—someone who measures up to their husband's expectations and in all of that, maintain the home so it's a nice comfortable environment.

John: Uh-hm.

Jim: And we had one Facebook listener share this with us. "I sometimes feel so discouraged. I work full time and then come home to cook, get my kids down to sleep and spend another two hours cleaning and doing laundry, only to wake up the next day and start it all over again. Wow! That says a lot right there, doesn't it?

John: A lot of emotion and frustration in that woman's voice and we've invited a guest here to "Focus on the Family" to address that. She's the first time in the studio with us here. She's a blogger, speaker and author of several books—Sheila Gregoire is the author of a book called To Love, Honor and Vacuum. (Laughter)

Jim: I love the title.

John: And that is a great title (Laughter), isn't it, Jim.?


Jim: It is. Sheila, let me welcome you to "Focus on the Family."

Sheila: Well, thank you. It's great to be here.

Jim: Okay, how'd you get that title, To Love, Honor and Vacuum? (Laughing)

Sheila: Because we women, we want to be signing up for a relationship when we get married and then I think five years later we feel like we signed up for a job.

Jim: Oh, man, that is good. That is well-said. We also have invited one of our producers here at the broadcast, John, Eva Daniel, to join us, 'cause Eva is livin' in this moment. Eva, it's great to have you on the microphone.

Eva Daniel: Great to be here, thanks.

Jim: Yeah and you are livin' this moment. Just describe where you're at, your life stage.

Eva: Well, I definitely resonate with that comment a moment ago. [I] work full time, I have two little boys—a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old—been married for five years and wow! Life is busy and we have a puppy, so I basically have a third child.

Jim: And we talked about that the other day. You and your husband decided to bring a puppy into that chaos, right?

Eva: We did, yeah, so--

Jim: What were you thinking?

Eva: Well, I wasn't clearly, apparently (Laughter).

Jim: Oh, man, well, you are livin' it and I felt as you did the preparation for this program and I was reading all the great things that you wrote about Sheila's book, I thought, you are livin' the moment, so—

Eva: This can be a self-help—

Jim: --we need you here.

Eva: --session for me.

Jim: Yeah (Laughing), this is really basically self-help. Sheila, let's talk about that. Five years into it, like you just said, you're feelin' like you're just executing a job description. Why is that happening? What is missing to be more fulfilled as a woman in today's world?

Sheila: I think we need to go back to what is our purpose? Many women think that your purpose in life is to create a comfortable home for your family.

Jim: And you feel that burden.

Sheila: Right and where in the Bible does it say that our lives are supposed to be comfortable? (Laughter) Maybe we've got this whole thing backwards. What if God is not as interested in us creating this comfortable home where everything is in place and where everyone is happy and He's more interested in us looking at our family and say, "How can I point people to Christ?"--

Jim: Hm.

Sheila: --because those are not necessarily the same thing.

Jim: Well, what has given us, what has given women that drive? What has compelled, what are the external factors that have created such a bent to show perfection, to exhaustion?

Sheila: It's certainly cultural and we can blame it on the culture or we can blame it on the media or any of those things, but I think it's even greater in the Christian circle, because what we're told is, that women are supposed to get our greatest fulfillment from our roles as wives and moms. And then we get married and our lives become drudgery. It's always cleaning and it's always cleaning up after kids and no one stands over you and says, "Look at that pot. You did such a great job shining that pot." (Laughter) "I mean, that is a clean pot." No one says that, so there's no feedback for us. And it can be really difficult if you think that these cleaning and cooking and all of that is supposed to give you a greatest fulfillment.

Jim: I don't remember the exact percentage, but it was a crazy percentage that thought this statement was in the Bible: "Cleanliness is next to godliness." (Laughter) I mean, something like 80 percent of people think that's in the Bible.

Sheila: Right.

Jim: Isn't that crazy?

Sheila: And you know, clean is important. No one wants to fear catching a communicable disease in your bathroom, right? (Laughter) So, there is a certain level that's important, but I think the way that we manage our families should not be about having perfect homes. It should be about how can I point my kids and my husband closer to Christ?

Jim: Eva, let me ask you this as a young mom livin' the dream with two young kids and a puppy—

Eva: Sometimes a nightmare. (Laughter)

Jim: --I didn't want to say it that way, but you know, you come into marriage with expectations as a Christian woman and then as Sheila was saying, it seems those expectations don't match the environment all of a sudden. How do you deal with that? How do you say, "Lord, okay, I think I'm getting reality now" and then kind of emotionally detach from the expectation, get down to life?

Eva: Well, I think for me, I was surprised that I didn't suddenly change. I've always kinda of been a cluttered person and I went into marriage not being overly organized and for some reason, I thought once I got married, that I was—

Jim: Gonna change.

Eva: --[gonna] suddenly change (Laughter) and suddenly become organized and come up with these systems and even though I knew that my husband was kinda a little cluttered also, I expected him to change, as well. And so, then when I got married and it was, oh, wow, I feel so overwhelmed sometimes, I guess, by all of my stuff. And so, I find it challenging a lot, because I do feel everybody else has it together and—

Jim: So, you feel guilty.

Eva: --I know it's perception, is this guilt 'cause I feel I really do have a lot of friends where you walk into their home and everything is immaculate and I think, "Did I just miss this gene? Is it something that everybody else is just sort of given and I don't have?" And I'm not sure sometimes.

Sheila: But maybe those friends that have the immaculate homes, maybe their children will prefer to hang out at your house--

Eva: Maybe so.

Sheila: -- because your house is more nurturing. You never know.

Jim: Well, and that's a good point. That burden that you're expressing so well, Eva, I mean, what do you do in those circles of friends? How do you talk those things through? Do you actually go there and say, "You know, I feel like your home's too clean?" (Laughter) What do you say to the friend that you're getting all this guilt from?

Sheila: I don't think you say that. I think we just recognize that everybody's different and I think God made us all with different gifts. Some people have the gift of hospitality. I don't. I have the gift of Dunkin' Donuts. That's (Laughter) really about it.

Jim: I like that gift. That's a great gift. (Laughter)

Sheila: You know, so some people have that gift. Other people have more the gift of spontaneity and just being nurturing and creative and people love hanging out at your place, 'cause they never know what's gonna happen—

Jim: But how—

Sheila: --and that's good—

Jim: --how—

Sheila: --too.

Jim: --how do you as that person, that woman, how do you become comfortable with that and not wear the guilt?

Sheila: I think it all comes back to the why. You know, why are our homes supposed to be a certain way? Why are we doing what we're doing? And most of us never ask that question, because I was drivin' myself nuts, too. My husband's a pediatrician and when my kids were little, when they were in your space, so, 1 and 3, he was working 120 hours a week literally on his residency. He just was not home.

And then when he was home, I certainly didn't want him to clean, 'cause I wanted to enjoy him being home and being with the kids, so I did everything and my kids didn't sleep well for the first year, so I wasn't getting any sleep and it was just exhausting.

And I finally had to realize, you know, if things are not clean at the end of the day, but we've been out to the park and we've been to the library and we've created some memories, who cares?

Jim: Well, that's a good way to say it. Now a lot of women hate this Scripture where we talk about Martha and Mary.

Sheila: Uh-hm.

Jim: Talk about that comparison, even in the Bible. There it is, Martha and Mary, ole Martha workin' hard, doin' the dishes and—

Eva: Getting things done.

Jim: --complaining to Jesus (Laughter), "Come on; Mary needs to be helpin' me, Lord." Talk about that guilt-ridden Scripture there.

Sheila: (Laughing) I think that maybe we read that Scripture a little bit wrong, 'cause I wonder what Martha was really thinking. I have my own personal theory on what was going on with Martha and Mary and it's really a Jane Austen theory.

Eva:Pride and Prejudice.

Sheila: --yeah.

Eva: Jane Austen.

Sheila: Exactly.

John: We have watched these kinds of films and read these books with our wives.

Sheila: It's (Laughter) the Pride and Prejudice thing, so Lydia, okay, so Lydia's the youngest of five daughters and Lydia goes off and runs off with Wickham without being married and this means that the oldest girls will never be able to marry, because Lydia has wrecked their reputation.

John: She's brought dishonor on the family.

Sheila: Exactly and so, here's Mary, who has brought dishonor and as far as we know, Martha isn't married and why isn't Martha married? I've always wondered if it was because of Mary. And so, Jesus shows up at their door and Martha's thinking, "This is my chance to redeem our reputation and this is Mary's chance to redeem her reputation, because if Mary starts cleaning, people will see her as marriageable material and then—

Jim: Hm.

Sheila: --it won't wreck our reputation anymore. And so, she's like, "Mary, will you get with the program?" And Mary's saying, "I don't care what other people think of me. I just want to listen to Jesus." And I think that's a lesson that we all need to remember. I don't care what other people think of me.

Jim: Well, that is a powerful statement, not just for women, but for every human being, men and women alike. That is powerful.

John: And it's a hard one though for a lot of folks to turn toward and to let go of, "I don't care what other people think." I mean, how practically—

Jim: That's a lifelong task.

John: --do you let go?

Sheila: (Laughing)

John: I mean, I remember when we had kids early on, I told Dena, "I just want happy, well-adjusted children. I don't care (Laughter) if the house is—

Jim: That's enough.

John: --I said I don't care if the house is a wreck and she's usually pretty good about cleaning, but about that point in time, she couldn't keep up and so, she chose well-adjusted kids and it's hard though if somebody shows up at the door. We sort of let them stay outside the house just because there's so much sometimes inside. How do you get over worrying about how people are gonna think about you?

Sheila: Well, let me tell you a story. I have a friend who epitomizes the gift of hospitality and her house is very put together and if you were to look at her, you would think, she is the perfect homemaker. Every night, you've got the roast and potatoes. You have dinner at the table. There's always multiple courses and everything's in its place. It's wonderful.

And yet, if you were to look closer, you would see that maybe things aren't as they seem, because every night she makes these meat and potatoes meals, because that's all her husband and her kids will eat. And if you were to ask her what she would prefer to eat, well, she'd rather have some stir fry. She's trying to lose weight and roast and potatoes aren't the best way to do it.

And they don't have a lot of money and roast and potatoes are really expensive. It's not bad if you can use the leftovers for soups or stews, but her kids won't eat soups or stews. And so, every night she makes this.

And I'm thinking to myself, okay, so what are you teaching your family? You're teaching your family, my needs don't matter, because I'm cooking what you guys want and not what I want. You're teaching your kids that money doesn't matter. We're not necessarily gonna be good stewards of our money, because we're eating too expensively. And you're teaching your family that I am here to make you happy and you never need to be stretched.

We live in a world where the majority of people eat the same thing every day. They eat beans and rice and she is catering to her family and she's teaching them, I'm invisible. My needs don't matter.

Jim: How do you correct that?

Sheila: You start sayin', okay, here's the one practical way, you say, "All right, guys. You know what? There's five of us. Each of us get a night of the week and there's two night where we're gonna be budget busters and we're gonna eat as cheaply as possible." And there's nothin' wrong with that, but her family would complain and she doesn't want her family to complain. She doesn't want to deal with the stress of that.

Eva: Don't want to make people unhappy.

Sheila: Exactly and so, instead, you're reinforcing values that aren't right.

Jim: Yeah.

Sheila: So, it all comes down to the why. She looks like she's a good homemaker, but what is she actually teaching those kids?

Jim: Yeah, that's good. There is a level of teaching your children how to live in an organized environment.

Sheila: Absolutely.

Jim: Talk about the importance of doing that, even if you're a "messy."

Sheila: Yeah.

Jim: How does a messy mom, who's comfortable in it—

Sheila: Yes.

Jim: --she's come to the place where I'm gonna be about bigger things than a spotless home, but how do you still teach your children how to live organized?

Sheila: Yeah, because there is a difference between organized and spotless. Let's aim for organized. We don't have to aim for spotless and when you're aiming for organized, you can't be the only one who does it. You have to get kids involved.

I think talking about all the work that goes into the house and then dividing it up is helpful, because often people don't realize how much work does go into the house. Another game that we used to play was "The Top Five." So, choose your top five things. So, let's say that your kid's room looks like a hurricane hit and what is our, as moms, our impulse is to go up to them and say, "You guys are slobs. This is awful. You better get this all cleaned up." And our kids look at it and it's overwhelming.

Jim: Yeah.

Sheila: But what if--

Eva: Well, they like it. (Laughter)

Sheila: --yeah, but what if you were to say, "Okay, there's five things I need. I need no clothes on the floor. I need your bed made every day. I need your desk cleared so that your schoolwork is on your desk." And you could pick whatever other two you need, but you pick your top five things and then if there's some things [sic] on a chair or if there's a little bit of mess here or there, it doesn't matter so much as long as the top five are done.

You need to ask your family for help. You can't expect that they will suddenly realize how hard you're working and that they should pitch in, because the simple fact is, ladies, your family thinks that you like cleaning.

John: Hm.

Sheila: They do, because what do they see you're doing. They see you getting up and cleaning all of the time. Kids will not do something they don't like unless someone makes them and nobody is making you clean.

Jim: That's so funny you say that, 'cause I can hear Trent and Troy goin', "All mom wants to do is clean."

Sheila: Yeah.

Jim: That's funny. (Chuckling) She doesn't enjoy it though.

Sheila: And men don't tend to do things that they don't really want to do unless they absolutely have to either. And so, everyone sees you running around after the house. They think you like it.

Jim: Sheila, It's true; one thing we have to say though. What about the person that does like to clean?

Sheila: Uh-hm.

Jim: I mean, there are some people—

Eva: I have friends that—

Sheila: There are.

Eva: --get excited over the vacuum running.

Jim: And they like the affirmation of that, Eva. When you go to your friend's house and you say, "Wow, your house looks great," they beam. So there are people that live with that desire. Are they unhealthy? Or is it okay?

Sheila: No, no, they aren't unhealthy and God just gave them a different bent than He gave me.

Eva: A clean gene. (Laughter)

Sheila: And that's perfectly fine, but let me just give them a little bit of a warning. You may love cleaning and you may love keeping your house up to a certain standard, but do not deprive your children of the chance to learn how to clean or the chance to learn how to be independent and responsible adults.

Jim: Look for those opportunities.

Sheila: Look for those opportunities and let them do some chores even if they don't do them to your standard. How many times have we women thought to ourselves, I'm sure you have, too, Eva, you know what? It would just be faster if I just did it myself.

Eva: Uh-hm and be done better and the way I want it done.

Sheila: Exactly and so, we don't let other people help. And our husbands are not gonna want to help if we are walking around behind them, fixing what they didn't do. And so, if you want your husband to help more, let him set the standard. Don't you always set the standard.

John: So, there's an element of praise that can go a long way for husbands and kids, as well, right?

Sheila: I think that the more that we thank other people for what they do and the more that we recognize what they do, the more they will tend to feel like, oh, saying thank you is normal and so, the more they will start to do it.

Jim: I've noticed that with Jean and she's never asked for that, but I'll say, "That was such a great meal tonight. Thanks for puttin' that all together," in front of the kids and on purpose.

Sheila: Yes.

Jim: I'm just being intentional and she'll look at me like, "Wow, thanks for saying that."

Sheila: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: So, I see that. I probably should do it more, but it does help her to feel like her contribution matters, you know, I haven't said that on the laundry side, but you know what I mean? She feels better and she likes that being said in front of the boys—

Sheila: Uh-hm.

Jim: --'cause then they understand that they need to respect mom for what she contributes.

Sheila: That's right, but the more that she also thanks you for what you do (Laughter), then the more the boys are also inclined—

Jim: She's good with that.

Sheila: --to hear gratitude. And I think we women often don't thank our men, because well, so what if you put a cup in the dishwasher? It was his cup; he should've put it in there anyway. (Laughter) No, but if you just say, "Oh, thanks, babe, I really appreciate that," you know, then it just creates this culture where you're saying thank you more in your family.

John: Well, Sheila Gregoire is our guest today on "Focus on the Family" with Jim Daly and we're talking about something that affects all of us: it's the environment in the home. And I love the "why" question that you brought up along the way here, Sheila. We're going to direct you to to find the book, To Love, Honor and Vacuum. It's a revised and expanded edition, by the way.

When you make a generous donation to Focus on the Family today, we'll send that book to you as our thank-you gift and you can also get the CD or download and the mobile app for the program so you can listen again.

Jim: We need to add that Sheila's one of the contributors to Focus on the Family's new DVD curriculum that actually comes out this week. It's called Ready to Wed and you know, divvying up the chores around the house is one of the 12 key aspects that young marriages need to address in order to be healthy and happier. And John, we want people to order that, so that their marriages can be stronger.

John: It's at the website or call us and we can tell you more. The number is 800-A-FAMILY.

Jim: Sheila and Eva, let me ask you this question on behalf of women. You challenge women to take a look at their heart when it comes to serving their families. What does it mean to be that real servant? I mean we talked about the Mary and Martha conflict. What does real Christ centered servanthood look like in the home?

Sheila: You can't really serve your family unless they also respect you, because someone who isn't respected isn't a servant. They're—

Jim: How do you get that respect?

Sheila: --they're more a slave. And that comes from letting your family see that you are a real person. I gave the example of the dinner before--the woman who is just catering to everyone's needs, not considering her own needs and teaching them that life is really about me being happy. And if we are always doing things for other people that they should be doing for themselves, then we're showing them I'm not a person with my own needs. I'm not a person with my own feelings. I exist to look after you.

Jim: How would a mom tonight? She has felt this way. She has felt like I'm just a[n] employee of the home and no one appreciates what I'm doing. How does she gather everybody around the dinner table tonight and start to, if that's the right place, to start to talk about who she is and the way that she wants to be seen by the family.

John: Hm.

Jim: It sounds complicated but it's biblical. How does she go about doing that tonight?

Sheila: There's two things. First of all, you can just have the conversation. Get out some pieces of paper. Get out some planning boards, whatever it takes and say okay everyone, let's look at all the work that goes into this house. And some of it's gonna be housework. Some of it's also gonna be paid work. Some of it's going to be la lawn work, making sure the garage isn't disgusting, all of that sort of thing. So--

Jim: That's my job. (Laughter)

Sheila: --so, exactly. And I think a lot of women feel like my husband never helps, but they don't count the fact that he does take care of the lawn; he does take care of the garage. When you look at it--

Jim: Those things don't count though. They don't.

Sheila: --when you look at, he is doing a lot, but and then say, "Okay guys, how can we divide this up, 'cause this home is ours and how can we all go towards making this a good home?"

And do you want to raise a boy or a girl who doesn't even recognize that they've made a mess, doesn't even recognize that they've inconvenienced someone else? Or do you want to raise someone who is gonna be thinking about others and who is gonna be thinking about how can I make their life easier and how can I be responsible? And when you start thinking about who am I raising, rather than does my child like me, it really does help change how you want to approach your family.

Eva: Okay, so I love the kids aspect but what if it's the husband that comes in and dumps his shoes or his coat.

Jim: You speak to his mother.

Eva: Okay. (Laughter)

John: You've got a friend whose husband does that, right?

Jim: Call your mother-in-law.

Eva: Actually, my husband's actually really, he tends to be more neat than I am. I'm actually kind of the one that dumps my shoes.

Sheila: Me, too; I am too.

Eva: But what if it's the spouse that is the one that is not picking up?

Sheila: There isn't an easy answer for this one, because it so depends on the on the marriage. But I would say that if you are in a relationship where you are feeling taken for granted and that your husband doesn't consider your needs, you just need to talk to him. There isn't a magic pill that can get away from the fact that you need to learn to communicate and have that conversation. So many women just don't ask their husbands for help and then they get into this really negative spiral for 10 years where she thinks that he's doing it deliberately, that he is deliberately making a mess, because he thinks I should be cleaning up after him.

Jim: Well, and I think your you're into the Gordian Knot and I used to talk about that in the context of kids. Of course, the Gordian knot being the knot that you cannot untie. You know there's no solution. And in that context, I remember coming home literally having one foot in the house when the boys were probably like 3 and 5 maybe 4 and 2 and Jean saying, I'm done. Take them. (Laughter)

Jim: And I'm like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, can I get just into some different clothes? And so, in that kind of context where I feel like responsibility is divided evenly and I'm workin' hard outside the home and she's workin' hard inside the home. But still there's that feeling that I'm not doing enough. How do we reconcile that?

Sheila: A lot of couples get into that. I think what men need to understand is that housework has a unique quality that exhausts you like nothing else, because--

Eva: It never gets done

Sheila: --it never gets done. You could be vacuuming like Eva this probably happens to you. You're vacuuming and then you turn around and your 3-year-old is following you with crackers.

Eva: I live with too many tornados, so I'm definitely feeling that season of life.

Sheila: So laundry is never all done at one time. So you don't get that sense of project completion that you do in in work, in paid work and so that's difficult. I remember one time my kids were probably around 7 and 5 and we homeschooled. So we were at home; we were really busy, I had crafts going everywhere and my husband came home and he was so frustrated one day and he sat me down and he said, "Sheila, I just don't feel like this is my home. I come home and I am not comfortable." And I got so angry and I was thinking, "Oh, you're just a Neanderthal expecting me to be your maid."

Jim: You don't appreciate me.

Sheila: Exactly, you don't appreciate me, but then we got talking and I realized, my husband does want it to be a comfortable home and he feels overwhelmed when he comes home. But I also have this need to be creative and to be spontaneous, to have fun with my kids. And so, that's when we decided on that top five for my husband, which was he wanted the entry way clean. He wanted the couch cleaned off so he could sit down. He wanted the counters and the kitchen cleaned off. He wanted the kids' stuff off of the coffee table. And he wanted there to be not too much stuff on the floor. And then if there were things elsewhere, if my knitting was lying around, if there was still laundry waiting to be folded in a basket, that wasn't a big deal.

Jim: Let me ask you though, I get that, but a lot of women will say, "Well, if you want that, then do it."

Sheila: So we decided on his top five, but then he also needed to see my top five--

Jim: Okay.

Sheila: --which was, we need to have a craft area where the kids can have their crafts that don't need to be picked up every night, 'cause if they pick up the craft every night, it's not even worth it, you know.

Jim: Right.

Sheila: You know, I don't want to have to do the dishes every night. I like doin' the dishes in the morning and so, we talked this through and we thought, okay, what does this mean to make your home feel like your home and what does it mean to make my home feel like my home? And how can we find a compromise?

Jim: Oh, that's interesting.

Sheila: And he really was not against the house being creative. He just wanted to feel like he could relax, but I also needed to feel like I could relax.

Jim: You know, it's so funny with that, because for me, I can go with a messy house, but not a messy garage. (Laughter) So, I lose it over the garage.

Sheila: I do, too.

Jim: Why is everybody throwing their stuff out in the garage, which I then on Saturday, pick up? It doesn't work well.

Sheila: Yeah.

John: Well, there's something that you've said, Sheila, that strikes me and that is, actually I guess it was you, Eva. There are seasons, aren't there? I mean, you don't have small children like Eva does.

Eva: You can clean and it'll stay clean I think. That's the hope I have for the future.

John: Yeah, will it change over time for Eva. (Laughter)

Jim: Light at the end of the tunnel.

Sheila: It really does and here's the other thing. I am so much better at it now. I think when you have little kids and you're trying to learn how to manage all this, you forget that your mom had a 1- and a 3-year-old at one time. And your mom, who can make these amazing Thanksgiving dinners and whose house is always perfect, when you were 1 and 3, the house probably wasn't. So, she learned over time.

Homemaking is a skill and we do get better at it. I'm a much better cook today than I was then. I'm a much more organized person than I was then and we need to give ourselves a break and give ourselves time to learn stuff.

Jim: Oh, that's so true. I think of Jean's mom. She had six kids under 6.

John: Oh, my goodness. (Laughter)

Jim: Your faces just said it.

Sheila: Yeah.

Jim: That's that generation.

Sheila: And she probably has a perfect house today, but she didn't then.

Jim: Yes, it's in good shape.

Sheila: And yet, we look at how our moms keep their homes now and we think that's what we should be aiming for, but we forget that our moms probably did not have homes like that when we were really small.

Jim: Well, Sheila and Eva, you both have really helped me as a husband. I think, you, too—

John: I've—

Jim: --John--

John: --learned a few things here along the way.

Jim: --and I'm sure lots of moms figure out some things like being trapped with the feeling of the guilt. That is so common. I see that in my wife. It's a heavy thing even for me to see it. Running a house is hard work and it's never done and how do you get that appreciation?

I so like that aspect of our discussion today, to not overdo it so that you lose the respect of your husband and your kids. Let them carry their weight. I think that was one of the great nuggets today. Sheila Gregoire, thank you so much for your book, How to Love, Honor and Vacuum. This has been terrific.

Sheila: Well, thank you. It's been really fun to be here.

Jim: And Eva, great to have you in here.

Eva: Thanks.


John: And we'll once again, direct you to to get that book, To Love, Honor and Vacuum. You can also learn more when you call us, 1-800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.

And you know, one of the core reasons that Focus on the Family exists is to equip you as a parent to raise thriving kids, today and in the future. And so, please join our support team. It would mean a lot for us to hear from you today and when you make a financial contribution of any amount, just select the book as your thank-you gift and we'll send that along to you. That's at

Our program today was provided by Focus on the Family and on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening. I'm John Fuller, inviting you back tomorrow. We'll be looking at how you can live out your faith more authentically and once again, help you and your family thrive.

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More Episode Resources


Sheila Gregoire

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Sheila Gregoire is a syndicated columnist, a popular blogger and public speaker, and an award-winning author. Her books include To Love, Honor and Vacuum31 Days to Great Sex and Another Reality Check. Sheila and her husband, Keith, have two teen daughters and reside in Ontario, Canada. Learn more about Sheila by visiting her website:


Eva Daniel

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Eva Daniel and her husband, Jacob, have two awesome boys, and a rambunctious puppy. One of Eva's biggest passions is finding, developing great stories as a Senior Producer for the Focus on the Family radio broadcast.