Monday, July 11, 2016

Cult of Domesticity by Peter Leavell

Peter Leavell
Stop cleaning. No, not just to read the post. I mean STOP CLEANING, present and future imperative.

Cleaning is getting in the way of your writing.

There’s a powerful cult of domesticity in the world. Simply put, women are the bearers of the sacred transcendent standard of cleanliness—so women, you get to clean the house.

Of course, the gender roles can be swapped. Just change the word women to men where needed. Men sometimes are the standard. I'm not going to judge.

How did the transcendent standard of cleanliness (TSOC) turn into a mandate that a specific gender do everything in the house?

And I can’t find St. Paul discussing automobile repair. How is that a man’s job?

The command that women stay busy at home (Titus 2:5) is ambiguous at best. (Or home worker in Greek).

Culture dictates how the word busy or worker is defined. Have you made enough cheese today? Have you dusted the Van Gogh painting? Darn these socks! Have you made sure your servants have done their work? Have the kids bathed so you can all go to the grocery store? Pinterest says move the picture an inch to the left for best results.

Home worker and TSOC isn’t about chores. Chores only help with cleanliness, which promotes not dying. There’s so much more to home worker than chores, and I’ll let your heart and Christ tell you what that is.

Here's how my wife and I understand the passage with Proverbs 31 in mind. Biblically, her realm is home. She’s the home-boss. She can tell him to get off his backside and do the work, because she watches the household carefully and doesn't suffer laziness. She’s in charge. So guys, if you're giving her all the chores, let’s back away slowly with our hands in the air and plaster our lady-killer smiles across our face.

Remember, every relationship is different. Every person is different.

We can argue chores until Christ comes with His vacuum. (Ironic sarcasm to remind us what’s really important). Cleaning a house is a team effort. Ditch the idea that it’s a woman's job. The notion is simply not true.

But wait. A powerful thought more important than cleanliness—what will friends say if the house is a tad messy? 

If you’re worried about what your friends think, get out of writing altogether. Writing isn’t for you. Because people aren’t going to just think what they think of you—there’s a 5 star rating system and a place where readers can say exactly what they think about you and your writing that EVERYONE in the world will use to judge you.

Work together. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. Cult of domesticity banished. What takes her four hours to clean takes the family fifteen minutes. 

After cleaning, WRITE! 

The sooner cleaning becomes a family or couple job, the sooner you chuck guilt from your life. 

Single? Discipline is key.

Your job an escape from the home instead an extension of the home? Get on your knees and pray God teaches you how and what to change.

Create a culture in your home of cleanliness, reading, and study. In my house, we clean as fast as we can, then hit the books. Our boy is 16, and daughter 13. It works. 15 minutes and the laundry is humming, the dishwasher is sloshing, the vacuum is cooling, and everyone has a clean atmosphere to work. And my kids have an inherent sense of TSOC as they prepare to create their own homes.

How did we get the kids to clean? At first I gave my wife all the chores. Didn't go over so well. Now, my wife’s the home worker. She’s the boss. We all know the benefit of working together.

I admit, I did a lot of smiling with my hands in the air while backing away.

Peter Leavell is an award winning historical fiction author. He and his family research together, creating magnificent adventures. Catch up with him on his website at, or friend him on Facebook: Peter R. Leavell.