Peace In An Ordered Home

There are many sayings to the effect of you can have happy children or a clean home but not both.  I think there is some truth in that in a small way.  Right now, I have gymnastics mats that have been made into a large track circling my kitchen counter and the children run “P.E classes” all day on and off complete with laps and push ups and sit ups.  Eventually the mats will have to be cleaned up so I can mop my floor, but I can live with it for a few days.  There is a 2000 piece puzzle on my dining room table that most likely will sit there for some days.  However, the rest of the house is clean and tidy.  The laundry is done and folded and put away.  We have food in the refrigerator and I know what we are going to make for our meals.

This is for me.  An ordered home that reflects beauty and peace mirrors how I feel inside.  I am a very visual person, and therefore I find that for me, it is easier on me to keep my home clean and orderly for my own mental health.  When everything is strewn everywhere and dirty, I cannot focus on anything else.  I live here all day, and it has to reflect a certain something of myself and what we value as a family.  We value love, and one way we love and nourish each other is to have a home that is livable, where food and clean clothes and cleanliness is apparent.

There has been some studies that suggest cluttered homes actually equate with depression and that clutter in and of itself can make us feel more anxious.

I have come to the conclusion after many years of homemaking, that the foundation of parenting (and homeschooling) is homemaking.  It may be tiresome to Continue reading

Minimalism

My house is officially on the market.  It is bittersweet to me.  We have lived in this home for fourteen years, and I adore my neighbors.  I know them so very well.  I know every nook and cranny of the once farmland that is now our little subdivision:  the tadpoles in the creek by my neighbor’s house (and how she so kindly lets us tramp through her yard to get to the creek!), the long Deep South days at the pool, the way we can see the Fourth of July fireworks from the pool, the hill we can sled on in the winter in the few years we actually do receive snow.  A true sense of place, which seems to be rare in this day and age. Continue reading

Rhythm: Part Seven

 

In Part Five of this series on rhythm, we looked at the number one challenge toward establishing rhythm:  going out too much and saying “yes” to too many things outside the home.  Today, I want to tell you THE SECRET about having a successful rhythm.

 

It is getting out of your own way.

 

Release your anxiety and your fears.  Parent after parent after parent that I talk to who have homeschooled children who have graduated from homeschool say their children were well-prepared for college and for life, no matter what method the parent chose to homeschool!  Amazing and true! I see so many mothers who are worried, anxious and joyless in their parenting and homeschooling, and this is what the children see!  Don’t be wishy -washy and uncertain; fearful and scared!

 

Take the bull by the horns! Be confident!  Get your ho-hum on, and jump in where you are!  If you “fall off the routine bandwagon” jump back on where you are that moment.  It takes time to get a rhythm that works.  Commit to it as a forty day project. 

 

Your parenting may not be perfect!  Your homeschooling may not be perfect!  Mine isn’t; I make so many mistakes and things could always be done differently – but you know what?  I have an overall sense that my children are going to be JUST FINE. 

 

And in my weak moments, where I feel like something is not going to turn out well, or I start coming from a place of fear, I get down on my knees and pray.  And after I do that, I call a friend when my children are not around to overhear, and get a well –deserved pep talk.  I talk to my supportive spouse and surround myself with positive thinkers.

 

But most of all, become a positive thinker yourself.   Your children need to see that mistakes do not define who you are; they are only gateways and doorways to improvement and understanding. 

 

There are no guarantees in parenting or homeschooling; you do what you can do. Have some fun and act confident.  Make decisions, stick to them, change what is not working, quit talking so much and DO.

 

Many blessings on your journey toward rhythm as a basis of joy in your home,

Carrie

Rhythm: Part One

When I see homeschooling mothers who feel burdened, depressed, as if there is not enough time, that they are buried under their homes and chores – well, I feel terrible.  It really is a difficult thing to see, and we have all been there I think.  Interruptions to life come,  and some times homeschooling and parenting flow more efficiently and joyfully than other times.

To me, the most major piece of assisting a mother to reclaim the joy in parenting and in homeschooling, outside of prayer to determine the essential and for strength :), is a rhythm to the day.  I think mothers who manage their homes and children well feel happy and satisfied because there is less stress in knowing what will happen when.   I think also mothers who have a rhythm feel BALANCED.  There is enough time in the day for your priorities as a mother or father, and rhythm enables the life of the whole family and all of its members to be considered.

A dear friend and I were chatting this morning about this very subject.  Balance is a tricky issue, isn’t it?  It often seems that there is much being done for the family as a whole (mealtimes, bedtimes, perhaps something such as the activities at a place of worship), things that revolve around perhaps the oldest child (homeschooling, outside activities)….leaving many mothers and fathers wondering, where is the time for me? for us? for the younger children who don’t have outside activities yet? Continue reading

Mealtimes: Eight Facets Of A Healthy Family Culture

Bless, O Lord, this food to our use and us to Thy service

And make us ever mindful of Thy many blessings

Amen

(Blessing from my husband’s side of the family)

Father, we thank Thee for this food before us

Give us strength to do Thy will

Guide and protect us in Thy heavenly path

For Christ’s sake

Amen

(Blessing from my side of the family)

Mealtimes are a vital place to slow down, to bring together different traditions from your side of the family and your partner’s side of the family, to protect and nurture and linger together.

Studies show interesting connections between children’s behavior and whether or not they ate family meals.  Many studies show, for example, Continue reading

Another Question From The Field: Balance In Homemaking

This question came in awhile ago and I have been pondering it since in the back of my mind.  I was not certain I had anything valuable to add;   some things ”just are”
in life, but then I did think of something I wanted to say (uh, and it turned out to be way more than I expected, so you may need a cup of tea! LOL)   Here is the original comment/question:

Here is a very honest admission for you: I get no satisfaction of out homekeeping and I am quite certain that I never will :) I *can* do all the things: cook delicious meals every day, ferment, and mill my own flour, I can sew and knit and paint, I can keep the home clean and in reasonable order. But when that is all I do, I can feel my soul slowly dying! I go through seasons of pulling myself together and even enjoying my tasks, and then falling apart, throwing in a towel, because after all, what’s the point? Yes, this is a lovely way to live, to have a cozy home and good food, but I.am.miserable. I’ve been told all manner of things: I’m lazy, I need to change my attitude, I need to get therapy to deal with some deep-seated resentment and blah-blah-blah. I feel that the truth is simpler than that. I am someone who is extremely extroverted, requires massive amounts of regular intellectual stimulation, and a great deal of variety in life :) There must be a way to find some kind of balance. I realize that my children are young (2, 4.5, and one on the way), I am quite realistic about the care, time and effort they require at this stage of life. But I just can’t give up my sanity and my very essence to keeping the home.
Thoughts? thanks!

That is really hard and I think so many of us as mothers can identify with the feelings expressed in this comment.  It can be so hard to do all the things we might think need to be associated with homemaking and parenting, to make things “right”.  Maybe there is also a bit of perfectionism hidden within many of us – if we don’t do all these things, then our children will not do well.  This can make things seem burdensome or a chore instead of light and lovely.  And, it all can be such a big burden – why do I have to be The Queen of My Home? Can’t someone else do it?  I just want to take the day off!  There are days I feel that way as well. Continue reading

The Sacred Art of Self-Care

Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin
As self-neglecting.  -
From William Shakespeare’s Henry V

I am so pleased that Kyrie is doing a series on “The Ordinary Arts”  that make up the fabric of our lives. Her first post is up here   http://www.aresohappy.com/home/2011/10/17/ordinary-arts-the-art-of-self-care.html, and she has invited us to write our own thoughts on this important topic.

To me, the Ordinary Arts is finding the holy in the ordinary.  The beautiful in the mundane.  The “big”  in those really small moments of life.

On Easter Monday of this year, I wrote a post about “The Sacred In The Ordinary” (http://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/04/25/the-sacred-in-the-ordinary/).  This is an important topic – in the repetitive tasks that make up the care of small children, in the repetitive tasks of what really constitutes homemaking and nurturing the home, can we turn this into a sacred act, a gift to receive and to be given? Continue reading