To Make Housework Fun, Work More


“Go the second mile” is familiar advice. We recall that it stems from biblical days when a Roman soldier could require a Jewish person to carry the soldier’s belongings for one mile. This was a law, and the Jew went as a slave. Of course, that mile was a long, hot, dusty, and thirst-provoking one.

At the end of the mile journey, the Jew could decide for himself whether or not he would carry the bags another mile. He was not obligated by law to do so. Therefore, if he chose to go the second mile, he went as a free man, and that journey was never as long, hot, dusty, and thirst-provoking as the first one.

Even though this custom is well known, many of us still limit ourselves to the bleakness and misery of the first mile. Housewives, for instance, sometimes do just what they absolutely have to do around the home, and no more. Of course, they feel enslaved and resent their long, dull days.

But such doesn’t have to be. Fortunately, many homemakers have discovered the second mile. Not only do they dust off the tabletop, but they also choose to make it a second-mile experience by gracing it with a vase of flowers. They don’t just feed their families; they serve appetizing, nutritious meals. They have learned that it is much more exciting and rewarding to teach children than just to tend them. They don’t just keep house; they make a home.

Now, the first mile cannot be eliminated. Regardless of one’s work, whether it is homemaking, teaching school, dentistry, painting houses, selling, or whatever, there is some routine drudgery that has to be handled each day. But the way to conquer it is to get through it as efficiently and effectively as possible. A dull job slackly done becomes twice as dull, whereas a dull job that you try to do just as well as you possibly can becomes half as dull.

It’s the little bit extra, the special effort, the second mile, that transforms a tedious duty into a satisfying experience.

Happy, rewarding homemaking results from doing well what one has to do and being able to manage successfully enough to also do what one chooses to do—to add the special touches that make a house a home; a job a joy; a group of people living together an eternal family unit.

One of the greatest blessings a woman can have is to find fulfillment in her home, and this fulfillment lies in direct proportion to the number of second miles she is able to travel in her day.

[illustration] Illustrated by Julie Fuhriman

Sister Hoole, mother of nine children, is an author and lecturer on home management. She serves as spiritual living leader in Yalecrest Second Ward Relief Society, Bonneville Utah Stake.