Be sure to read the introduction to our current series, Homemaking Your Way here.
Let’s start with one painfully honest statement: I don’t like homemaking. I am not really good at it. It does not make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I don’t get goosebumps when I smell a pumpkin-scented candle or see a pot of stew warming on the store. I don’t have the “urge” to nest. I don’t feel connected to nature when I touch dirt.
These truths seem to make me a less-than-ideal candidate for writing a homemaking series. But here’s the thing — I know that I’m not alone. I know that many of you would rather be doing something else, anything else, than cooking and cleaning your homes. But alas, unless we have Alice from the Brady Bunch stashed in an imaginary room in our home, we must do these things.
Seven years after being thrust into the “homemaker” position in our home with the birth of our first child, I feel like I can finally say I have found some sort of workable rhythm to keeping my home. It’s not as much a system as it is a management technique that can be summed up with one guiding principle:
Whatever gets you through the day.
There you go. Absolutely earth-shattering. My home management system is simply what I have figured out to get me through to the next morning. Four small children, two home-based businesses, a junior acre of land and an active social life will do that to a girl.
Applied, this principle has looked different during different seasons (and sub-seasons) of my life. After Matthew, my fourth, was born, I had to post a list on the refrigerator to remind me of what tasks were most important as I went throughout my day:
- Clean — the house and people
- Play & Friends — mostly my friends. I had to make sure my girls were on my list because I simply cannot function without them.
- Everything else
So, according to the list, if one person had a poopy diaper and I was starving, I ate and the diaper was changed after that. If someone wanted to play a board game and the baby needed to sleep, I put the baby to sleep and I then tried to find any reason to not play the board game (who decided board games for preschoolers were a good idea?). During this season, I rarely made it to the “Everything else” category. I had to readjust my expectations to live in the reality of having a newborn and three other small children.
Eighteen months later, life is more settled and I no longer need “the list”, but I am trying to live just as simply. Blogs or Martha Stewart or my baking-loving friends don’t set my family’s routine. I do. I’ve finally realized that while I think color-coded charts printed from a computer printer, all labels facing front and children in coordinating, non-character outfits are really pretty (blog perfect), it’s just not happening in the Davis home.
Considering all of this, here is how I know if I am doing my job well:
:: My husband is happy — I have to force myself to let him be the one whom I aim to please with my homemaking attempts, because, after all, it’s his home as much as it is mine. I can’t care what my friends or my mom or a door-to-door salesman thinks. My husband is who matters. Luckily for me, my sweet husband is a reasonable man and has fairly low expectations.
:: Any room in my home can be picked up in less than 10 minutes — I’ll expand on this in a future post, but I doing my job if I can put any one room back together in less than 10 minutes, no matter how disastrous it is. I’m not talking sanitary — just put-back-together.
:: I am lookin’ good — I have four children and it is now impossible to keep up with the story that they are clean, well-groomed and in Hanna Anderrson clothing all the time. They now wear things that don’t match because they dress themselves. They sometimes have food stuck to their cheek because their tongues can’t reach that spot and I forget to wipe them. They wear blue socks with black shoes (gives me a stomach ache just thinking about it). Most days I look at them and say, “You sure look scrappy today.” The boys just look at me with a proud grin.
I figure as long as I look cute — and I’m not talking “What Not to Wear” cute, just regular “she looks clean” cute — I’m doing well. This means I shower every day and I am working really hard at wearing make-up (no pressure — I’m almost 36 and really should be wearing eye-makeup). I do wear workout gear as everyday clothing, but I make sure it’s clothing made for women. And I will not, under any circumstances, wear a baseball hat. My head is just way too big to pull that look off.
:: Peed-in clothing is stored in the washing machine, not the dirty clothes basket or the floor. Small detail, but it really makes the house smell so much better.
I wish there was more to my system, but there’s not. This is it.
I will expand on how I practically “make it through the day” while having a happy husband, a somewhat decluttered home, clean clothes and a cute mama over the next month. And be sure to come back tomorrow when Emily will share her homemaking priorities, personality and philosophies!
Written by Angela Davis, who much prefers the term “homemaker” to “stay-at-home-mom,” has four children, a husband, a home in the “country” but still within 15 minutes of a Target, and a seasonal allergy sufferer. She is always thankful for a rainy spring so she can actually breathe.
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