new year resolutions for women

My good friend Ann Byle, author of The Making of a Christian Bestseller (highly recommended for authors) and coauthor of Bethany Hamilton’s devotional for teenage girls (you may remember that Bethany’s arm was bitten by a shark a few years ago, an unfortunate event which strangely qualifies her to speak to the struggles of adolescent Christian girls; I don’t remember the title of the book, but it’s not important because I don’t think this blog gets a lot of hits from its target audience), added her own list to mine from a feminine perspective. 

As you can tell, Ann is dealing with several issues.  As always, neither myself nor this blog are responsible for the contents of ourguest bloggers (since this is my first one, so I have no idea if that will fly in court).

Here is Ann’s list:

1. Keep every room in your house clean at all times (cleanliness is a sign of godliness, and an unsaved neighbor or, perish the thought, a church friend might stop by)
2. Keep laundry caught up at all times (clean, neat family is a godly family)
3. Provide a healthy, well-rounded dinner (and daily lunches) for your family to eat together (pizza and pop are not signs of good Christians; squash and wheat pasta are)
4. Save at least 50 percent on your grocery bill each week using coupons (spending all your money on food doesn’t leave enough for tithing or giving to good causes)
5. Never run out of key items like ketchup, toilet paper or milk (people who don’t think ahead area surely not good Christians)
6. Make at least one meal a week to have in the freezer in case someone from church, family, or unsaved neighbors need it (sharing what we have is always a good sign)
7. Work in the church nursery (we all had babies at one time and know moms need the break, and it’s not like we’re participating in any church leadership areas anyway)
8. Attend a church Bible study (obviously!)
9. Be home when the kids get home from school to help with homework, get snacks, and debrief them from the day (a kid with a mom at home is a healthy kid!)
10. Work some sort of part-time job to help with the family income (better to tithe more, and your husband won’t always be asking what you do all day)
11. Organize all doctor, dentist, haircut, orthodontist and other appointments, then make sure the kids (and you) get to all of them (a smooth-running house is a godly house)
12. Deep clean your house once a year (cleanliness is next to godliness, and somebody might actually run their finger over your door jamb)
13. Maintain a healthy weight (so people don’t talk about your lack of self discipline)
14. Be ready for sex at all times (your husband needs this because otherwise his brain may become poisoned by excess sperm)
15. Each year plan at least six wedding or baby showers, family holiday parties, or church-wide events, plus make huge amounts of food for each (we all have the gift of hospitality, after all)
16. Attend or host at least two at-home parties each year (to support your Tupperware, Silpada, Premier, etc-selling friends)
17. Purchase all birthday and Christmas presents for all immediate and extended family members, plus wrap them (honoring our family is a Christian thing to do)
18. Purchase all clothing, shoes, school supplies, coats, costumes for family members, and do it within a budget.
19. Make sure all children memorize all verses and do all projects related to AWANA, Pioneer Girls and Boys, and other church clubs, as well as participate in all church Christmas programs and choirs (they’ll go to hell if they don’t pass those books, and other parents will look at you funny if you don’t)
20. Always be willing to take care of someone else’s children in times of need, regardless of whether you can barely tolerate your own kids.
21. Get a full night’s sleep every night (because 21 is a multiple of 7, the number of perfection).

Gosh, I think I’ll go take a nap. Or read Proverbs 31.

17 Comments

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  1. Make sure you skip over the part in Proverbs 31 where it suggests that commoners drink beer and wine to help forget their troubles. Why doesn’t that part of the chapter ever make it into Mothers’ Day cards?

  2. Actually those cards sell very well in Russia.

  3. Matthaeus Flexibilis January 9, 2009 — 4:51 pm

    In defense of women everywhere, I’ll say this: This list is insanely type-A, over the top, and Procrustean. If these are realistic goals for you, fine and good.

    But, ladies, you’re not a bad mom, bad wife, or bad Christian if you don’t see your life reflected here and have no plausible hope of living like this. Women with toddlers and infants automatically get a pass on most of these. Other women may be called to a different area entirely. Don’t feel bound by extra-biblical expectations such as these.

  4. I printed out item number 14 above which talks about the dangers of brain poisoning and urgently showed it to my wife. She is now very concerned for my health and I’m happier than I have been in years!

    Thanks!

  5. I knew Ann was a writer, but this reveals a side of her I was not aware of. She nailed it pretty good… Now to go read this to my wife….🙂

  6. And here I just suggested my wife check out your blog! Now I will be sleeping on the couch for a week!

  7. Matthaeus Inflexibilis:

    I think Ann was going for irony. It’s supposed to be funny.

  8. It IS funny! Thanks for giving us something a little “lighter” today!

  9. Do no women read Mike’s blog?! I was definitely going for irony, Mr. Inflexibilis, but the scary thing is that each one of those 21 things contains at least a grain of truth, some more like a bucketful of grains of truth.

    I readily admit that my house is not clean, that my kids didn’t participate in the Christmas program, I don’t have a meal in the freezer, and that I need to get serious about exercise (that Wii Fit is coming in handy!). But I am a coupon freak, make dinner most nights, and do end up planning and making food for all the holiday parties, none of which are held at my house. I’m so not Type A that it’s ridiculous.

    All that is OK, if I can live with guilt of what I don’t do. Or do do in the case of Sangria.

  10. The scariest part about Ann’s list is that she made it up off the top of her head, on the spot. Part of that comes from her long practice of meeting the deadlines for newspapers, and part of it probably comes from a very dark place.

  11. Thanks, Mike, for inviting Ann to guest-blog!

    (Ann, I read Mike’s blog… and I thought your list was hilarious! Of course, part of that is because we’re friends and I’ve been to your house… but I think I would have caught the irony even if that hadn’t been the case.)

  12. The irony was great, Ann (and thanks, Mike, for including her list). I was laughing out loud. Perhaps it’s a sad note about unspoken but well-understood expectations of Christian women today that anybody would think this list was other than irony.

  13. Thank you, Jill and Pam, for being women who read. Mike’s comment about this coming from a very dark place is true, at least in part. The dark place of expectations and guilt and, well, having to ask a friend how to make a freezer meal. A woman’s giftedness, to understand it in my church world, is to be gifted in hospitality, child care and home care, with a side of prayer and teaching children thrown in.

    My daughter read to me a passage from 1 Timothy on the way home from church this morning. She prefaced her reading with “Mom, I found this passage in the Bible and it appalled me.” Then there was a discussion between my two teenage girls about the passage not being inspired by God and how Paul didn’t know what he was talking about and about how he must not have liked women too much.

    This took me to a dark place. And there I remain, stuck between my church’s teaching on and understanding of this passage and my desire to raise girls who know their full worth in Christ, use ALL their gifts and don’t hide from who they are. And who know how to make a great freezer meal.

  14. Matthaeus Flexibilis January 12, 2009 — 10:44 am

    It is indeed sad that I missed the joke, not merely because of the egg on my face, but also because there are quarters in the church where this would not be taken as ironic.

  15. Ann, that last comment is a blog post all its own…

  16. Thank you, Mr. Flexibilis, for getting the joke. And Hillary for laughing. It’s either laugh or cry, I think, when it comes to the church (at least the church I’m familiar with) and women.

    During Sunday school this past week I realized what I had forgotten. Now I must add “evangelize.” Arg. Twenty-two things is no longer a multiple of 7, the number of perfection. Which makes me imperfect, I guess. Big startling surprise.

  17. I attend a school that has a homemaking degree (don’t get me started), so I found this list hilarious. I do, however, hope no one from the degree stumbles upon it, lest they think it’s true (in fact, it may not be conservative enough for them).

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