This is a topic near and dear to my heart: making your home work for you. This whole Homemaking, and this notion of “What makes a home a home?” is profoundly interesting to me!
A house feeling like a home probably has more to do with the “intangibles” than the tangibles. Many places have certain feel to them when you walk in. Is there warmth, joy, laughter, playfulness – or is it all tense, anger, bitterness, misery?
Your own inner work is of utmost importance in maintaining your home as a place of joy, humor and warmth. How YOU feel cared for is an important part. There was a post earlier in this series regarding how to make yourself a priority; I believe this is important to continue to try to find ways to honor yourself and the wonderful parent that you are. Quiet confidence gives a great strength and stability to the home. We cannot have a quiet steadfastness to our family life if we do not yet hold that within ourselves.
In this very hectic and busy world, it can be so difficult to make ourselves a priority. It sometimes can be difficult to make our children a priority. You might bristle a bit at that statement, but I think there can be confusion regarding what “making our children a priority” means. For some people, it means making sure children get to activities outside of school every day, at the cost of family life. For some this means, we are isolated and cannot come out of our homes because there is nothing outside our family walls. I don’t think either perspective is truly balanced or healthy. I think in order to make sure we are in balance, we must discern the essential. Here is post from quite a long time ago about putting together a Family Mission Statement: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/05/08/creating-a-family-mission-statement/. That may be a starting point for you to think about your own essentials in your family. Almost halfway through the school year is a great time to evaluate what is working and what is not working.
Let’s think about “de-cluttering” in how we take care of OURSELVES; can we discern the essentials and leave the non-essentials behind? Have we been ignoring the essentials in regards to ourselves? Are you going to bed and getting enough rest? Are you eating well? Keeping up with your own doctor’s appointments? Are you exercising at all (and no, walking at the pace of a two-year-old who stops every foot to examine things on the ground probably does not qualify to increase your own cardiovascular health!) How could you work these things into your rhythm? Could your spouse or partner help make this happen?
Some mothers have told me actually starting with the outer world and organizing that was a more helpful place for them to start and then move into inner work; I offer both approaches here so you can take what resonates with you. I don’t know how many of you remember this insanely popular post, but it might be worth a peek again: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/03/30/an-ordered-outer-world-for-a-peaceful-family/
We have looked in the past on this blog at de-cluttering your home and also how to homeschool and have a clean house. Those posts are here:
I also encourage all of you to not only come up with a rhythm for your de-cluttering and your cleaning, but for chores for your children. In a homeschooling family, all the housecleaning cannot be just on the mother. It takes a team! That being said, many children need you to do chores WITH them until the nine-year-change at least. We are doing things TOGETHER and you are singing and having FUN! That is what makes a home a home; the beauty of caring for one another!
But most of all, remember a home is built of those soul qualities. One book that may be of use to you all is “The Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker”. For a study of this book, please see AnthroMama’s blog here: http://anthromama.wordpress.com/spiritual-tasks-of-the-homemaker-study/