I was already married and had three children when I started studying for a doctorate. It took a big effort because for years I did no philosophy as I was totally immersed in keeping the house clean and washing clothes, in the kitchen, with babies’ diapers.
At first I found it very hard to combine my household duties with study. I didn’t do anything right. I worked at night, the children were arriving late to school,and my mental state was far from healthy.
It was about this time when I began to delve into the teachings of St Josemaría Escrivá and it brought some amazing results. I began to discover that each bit of work I did, no matter how monotonous, had to be done well. I realized that until then, rather than getting down to the things I had to do, I was letting them get me down, regardless of whether I had half an hour or half a day in hand.
Point 506 of Furrow was a revelation for me. It reads:
“You are untiring in your activity. But you don’t proceed with order and, therefore, you’re not effective. You remind me of something I heard, once, from very authoritative lips. Wanting to praise a subordinate in front of his superior, I remarked, ‘How hard he works!’ I was given this reply: ‘You should rather say, how much he rushes around!’
“Your activity is untiring but fruitless. How much you rush around!”
The last thing on my mind was how to organize my life. I was more inclined to give up my sleep than to distribute my time better between housework and my research. Nevertheless, that point of Furrow kept nagging at me and so I decided to give it a try. At first I wasn’t very convinced. Then my conviction grew, and I began to work in a more ordered way so that each task was done at a scheduled time.
This brought peace and harmony into our home. Now, when I focus on trying to do each activity well and to finish it, I no longer feel my house duties as burdens. Of course, unexpected things arise at times, or I get my time calculations wrong, but, in the main, each day has its plan, which I try to keep to, and there is time for everything.
If I relied on my own strength, my keenness to put order into my day would soon evaporate, but I try to be aware that my work has a supernatural meaning and this encourages me to keep going.