My ideal vision of my home is frequently hijacked by 5 common homemaking challenges. But by letting go of perfect ideals and embracing homemaking in my unique season of life, I’ve been able to find much contentment and joy.
Homemaking can be so rewarding. It’s a fantastic way to tangibly demonstrate your love to your family – healthy, homecooked meals, clean clothes that are folded and put away, a picked up house.
But all of those tangible demonstrations can seem pretty fanciful – and unattainable – in busy everyday life. My ideal vision of homemaking is frequently hijacked by 5 common challenges:
1. My messmaking children.
My home would not be as nearly full without my kiddos – and I’m talking full of love, life and loudness. It also wouldn’t be nearly as full of stuff, though. From toys to clothes, my kids fill our home with a lot of stuff. And they don’t just fill it – they also get their stuff out in every single room, every single day.
Most days I have to stop to remind myself that my house was impeccably clean before I became a mom, and in the blink of an eye it will go back to its impeccably clean state when our babies are grown and gone.
I need to embrace the mess as part of mothering. It’s OK. It’s challenging … but OK.
2. My overfilled schedule.
If I could just devote, oh, I don’t know … a couple of hours a day, six days a week, to cleaning my home, it would sparkle and shine! My dust bunnies would disappear. My windows would be spotless each and every day. I could eat off my kitchen floor. (OK, not really. Even if I did get my floor that clean, I wouldn’t eat off of it.)
But my daily schedule is not so empty. I’ve added and added worthwhile plans and routines to my days and weeks and my cleaning time has been squeezed out. Instead of the couple of hours that would be ideal, I typically find a couple of minutes to do some speed cleaning.
When it comes to my cleanliness ideals, I need to follow Elsa’s advice and Let.It.Go.
3. My tiredness.
I have a feeling my challenge of tiredness has a lot to do with my overfilled schedule. But I find myself just a little too tired to take on huge cleaning challenges. Picking up is good. Maintenance cleaning is fine. Deep cleaning pushes my limits.
While I am all about breaking big jobs into smaller chunks, sometimes big projects are just BIG. And even small steps seem overwhelming.
Since I don’t foresee a time when I’ll feel less tired, I need to learn how to embrace my energy limitations and find a way to keep calm and carry on.
Oh, the dreaded paper. The unrelenting stream of paper into and around my home. It doesn’t seem to matter that I’ve switched over to online billing and cancelled magazine and newspaper subscriptions – paper is all over my house. My kiddos love to draw and write on it, I’ve got homeschooling materials to keep track of, and papers from odds and ends.
Sometimes, I feel like if I could just devote an entire month to sorting and purging my papers, I could gain some control. But then I fear it would be the most boring month of my life.
Over the years, as my home has grown with loved ones, I’ve placed an importance on the people in my home instead of the things. I love that decision. I don’t ever want to change that perspective.
But since I put people first – as I rightfully should – everything else kind of gets jumbled together on my to-do list. I have a hard time prioritizing what homemaking tasks I should take on first. Inevitably, I find myself doing the most urgent thing. (In the “What IS that funky smell in the fridge!? I’ve got to clean it out today” sense.)
I know what needs done in my house – what needs decluttered, scrubbed, weeded, organized – but I have a very hard time prioritizing what order I should do everything. And when I will.
So how do I solve my challenges?
Well … I don’t. At least I haven’t solved them yet, or they wouldn’t be challenges in my everyday life. However, I have found ways to add joy and productivity to my homemaking.
1. Spend time with God.
Every day. If I don’t spend time in the Word or praying for guidance or help, I turn into one snappy wife and mama.
2. Make a list.
I typically have a lot of lists floating around in all of my paperwork – things I need to do in the month, week and day-by-day. As a visual person, it’s a lot easier for me to write things out and feel a great sense of accomplishment when I cross off my tasks.
3. Lower my standards.
Because people are the priority in my home, I know a spotless house isn’t truly important. I can relax on my stringently clean ideals because it takes away quality – and quantity – time with my family.
4. Focus on the essentials.
When it comes to homemaking, I’ve narrowed the essentials in my home. I need to fill my cupboards and fridge with healthy food. I keep our dishes washed. I pick up our living room and dining room before my husband gets home after work. I try to keep our bathroom fairly clean. I make sure everyone has clean clothes to wear. I pay our bills.
Aside from those essentials, anything else that I can accomplish is a great bonus! When I look at the other tasks as being bonus accomplishments instead of requirements that I don’t regularly finish, I give myself a lot more grace – and that’s much better than guilt.
5. Get help.
Someday I may be in the position to hire help – and what a glorious day that will be. But until then, I look for homemaking helps, whether it’s tips from friends, ideas from books and magazines, or online tips.
I love to find online help in blog posts, eCourses, and eBooks. Each April I get a new bunch of advice in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, and this April is no exception.
In this year’s bundle, I’m sharing how to create a healthy home as part of the Homemaking From Scratch eCourse. I may not be a perfect homemaker, but I do know an awful lot about creating a healthy home. (You can buy the bundle until April 27.)
The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle comes around just once a year, and it’s always a fantastic help to me. I’d love it to help you, too.
By letting go of perfect ideals and embracing homemaking in my unique season of life, I’ve been able to find much contentment and joy. Even when my house looks less than perfect. Even with a rambling to-do list. A grace-filled approach has shown me that homemaking can be rewarding.