Homemaking – a single word to encompass all stay at home mom jobs
Homemaking – How the homemaker is made
When two people meet, life is exciting. Every moment together feels new, different, and exhilarating. Over time, that which is new and exciting becomes comfortably familiar. As more time goes on however, if you’re not careful, the familiar can become boring. So, how does one go about trying to stay interested and energized to perform the many monotonous tasks of homemaking? In a phrase, create your own homemade love story.
an attitude of gratitude
Gratitude is everything. When going about my own daily tasks, I can definitely tell when I’m facing it with an attitude of gratitude and when I’m letting myself slip into discontentment and feeling like nothing is satisfying or good enough.
The truth is, nearly everyone in this world today has the capacity to own more than they need to sustain life and be happy. It’s not being surrounded by things and it’s not a particular lifestyle that creates happiness.
Happiness is a choice. I have been trying to teach my children that no one is or will be responsible for their happiness. Everyone gets to choose whether they are happy or not. Certainly, there will be circumstances that make it easier or more difficult to be happy but ultimately, each one of us has to decide how we will receive those circumstances and how we will respond.
Growing up, I would refer to myself as an eternal optimist because I was constantly seeking (and finding!) the silver lining in otherwise unpleasant situations. I still have that quality, though I admit it’s not quite as keen as it used to be, despite the fact that it sometimes annoys my husband. He hasn’t reached the status of eternal optimist just yet.
gratitude rocks, how do i do it?
If you, like my husband, haven’t yet reached the status of eternal optimist, all is not lost. You will just need to put a few practices in place to help you along your journey.
In the beginning, putting phrases in front of yourself might help. Things like “look for the good”, “find the helper”, “the sun always shines after a storm”, or any other gratitude inducing phrase you like. I have a wall hanging by the door that says “begin each day with a cheerful heart”. I like that because it is one of the last things we see as we leave our home. Reading it brings a small smile to my soul and if I’m feeling sour when I read it, it helps to ground me and grant me perspective.
Some people love to write. If this is you, grab a notebook and get started on building your gratitude with journaling. There’s no expectation of how much you will write each day. Just write at least one thing that you are grateful for from that day. Overtime, this focus on looking for things to be grateful for will become easier and soon you’ll realize that your whole outlook is beginning to shift.
look for the good son
My son is five with some really big emotions. Some days, those emotions are mostly positive. But then there are those…other days. Some days he is so discontent that he becomes miserable and loud. He finds something to complain about in everything and makes sure I know of his utter displeasure. As a mother, that is exhausting! I want to ‘shove him in a knot hole’ (an old family expression) but realize that may not be the best thing for him while he is learning to cope with such big emotions.
As I’m writing this, I’m thinking of the movie Inside Out. In the beginning of that movie they talk about how when we are infants, our emotions are very simple. We are either happy with our current situation or we are sad/ upset about what’s taking place. Then, as we begin to grow, complex emotions come in where several emotions can be felt at the same time. Young children often become overwhelmed by these complex emotions.
Anger, frustration, disappointment; they are some really complex emotions that someone without much emotional maturity will find challenging to navigate.
Recently, my son was having a really hard time. He was visibly angry and frustrated; I needed to intervene in a calm manner and try to help him navigate this. I can’t say that I handled it perfectly but at least I didn’t shove him in a knot hole! In that moment, I sat down to look him in the eyes and put my hands on his shoulders. Then I told him I could see that he was very upset and I wasn’t sure why other than the fact that he seems to be focusing on everything that’s bad or not going exactly as he would like.
I took the opportunity to ask him to start looking for good things to appreciate rather than bad things to complain about. Yes, as I spoke those words, my mind was spinning wondering how I was modeling this behavior for him. Was I complaining too much? Maybe. Now we both have something to work on.
what about homemaking?
That felt a little like a digression but just as children have complex emotions they need to navigate, it can sometimes be hard for adults too. So, if you find yourself feeling bitter about wiping down that same surface that you just wiped down five times already today and twenty times a day every day for months or years, turn it on its head. What is good here? If it’s a kitchen counter, it likely needs to be wiped down because there was food to nourish us, drinks to hydrate us, groceries to store for another day, a broken toy entrusted to us for repair, a one of a kind art project, or any other number of life’s tiny gifts that if we’re not careful, can feel like a burden when in fact, they are blessings. Wipe that counter with a smile.
Cleaning a dirty floor? It feels so good to walk across a clean floor and if there are little ones in your home, it helps to know those tiny fingers won’t encounter whatever it is you just swept up.
it’s a pride of ownership
I can remember a time when I visited my sister in her first home. She was doing a little bit of clean up out in her front yard. I no longer recall exactly what she was doing but I asked her why she would bother with such a task. This happened more than 12 years ago and I can still hear her words…”It’s a pride of ownership”. At the time I just wrinkled my nose a bit and decided my sister was a bit more strange than I realized.
Fast forward to now and those words must not have been so strange. I hear her voice echoing in my mind while I find myself doing many tasks that need to be done simply because I am proud to own the things in this life and want to take care of them. I have pride of ownership for my home and the items I choose to keep in it.
minimal stuff means minimal mess
It seems so simple but it needs to be said in our consumer driven world. The less stuff you own, the easier it will be to keep your house tidy and clean. Do you really need 4 mixing bowls for your single stand mixer? Does your household of 2 need dinner service for 12 always in the cabinets? Maybe extras can be stored in a pantry or basement. How many times are you going to move those same pieces of clothing out of your way to get to the few things you actually like in your wardrobe?
Doing with less does not equate to lack. Quite the contrary, I’m finding that it equates to more. More enjoyment of the items I surround myself with. More time to focus on what’s important. More space in my home. More contentment.
Less means easier homemaking.
garbage in, garbage out
Be very protective of the information and messages you let into your mind. I like to turn youtube videos on whenever possible. In those moments, I fill my mind with things that may help me move toward my own goals for personal growth, financial wellbeing for my family (homemaking isn’t just about cleaning), or a peaceful home. If it isn’t enriching my mind and my movement, it’s not worthy of my time.
What are you getting out of those cat videos? You know how you start to feel numb and lose track of time when watching whatever looked entertaining but not enriching? You feel numb because those things are making you dumb. Now, I’m not suggesting that you should never watch something for the sheer entertainment factor but 20 minutes of cats doing silly things probably isn’t the greatest use of your time.
make a plan
Plan the next day before you go to bed. I’ve talked about this a bit before HERE. This doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, it should be a simple as possible. If you use a daily planner, use it. Don’t like planners? A simple notebook has worked great for me in the past.
The point of this is just to write down the few things you need to accomplish the following day before you end today. For many people, waking up with no plan for their day will mean that they drift through the day without focus and may end the day feeling discouraged.
Be reasonable when making your task list, I am still guilty of expecting too much of my future self. Three young children at home have a way of slowing a person down. So, be realistic. Try to choose just 1-3 things to do each day.
Then put your list in a prominent place where you will see it early in the morning. Review the tasks and put focus to the first item you plan to accomplish. Worry about the rest after the first one is done. Just do one thing at a time.
homemaking is sooo routine
Yes, it’s true. The monotony of homemaking can become boring. However, you have a choice to look at this as a good thing. If a task (or several) needs to be done on a regular basis, you can set up a routine that works for you and leaves you some time for yourself.
I’ll be honest, with three young children at home with me and the youngest still not sleeping through the night, this has been a challenge for me. It is requiring me to be more flexible yet more disciplined than ever. In order to accomplish my tasks of the day, I need to avoid my phone and other distractions and get straight to work when I have a spare minute or two (because often a minute or two at a time is all we get).
set your routine to work for you
One of the great things about homemaking is designing your day to your liking. Start out by writing a list of tasks that need to be done each day, each week, and each month. Also make note of tasks that will be done less often, like washing windows and curtains.
Remember that routine is not the same as schedule. Just because you got the laundry started at 6:30 one day does not mean it has to start at the same time each day. Just try to get it going at the same point in your day. For me, I try to get a load of laundry started before breakfast. That will give me the best chance at getting it on the line to dry early enough in the day.
make homemaking great
The bottom line is, no matter what you life looks like, it will be as joyful or miserable as you make it. Choose joy.
want more from me?
The focus of this blog is traditional living and other tips for the mom who wants to be more closely connected to the foods and products she provides to her family. Get updates when new content is published to the blog by signing up HERE.
Pursuing a traditional lifestyle can be challenging in our current society but I keep fighting for it because I think it will be so worth the effort I’m putting in for my family. One small habit I have formed for my family that lends itself to a traditional lifestyle is Family Meal Time at the Table. It seems simple, but it can have a huge impact on your family and especially your children.