|"She lookethwell to the ways of her household |
and eateth not the bread of idleness"
Proverbs 31: 27
Once, as a mother with young children, I began to research how to more efficiently run my household. I began to slowly take apart Proverbs 31 and reflect on each verse and how those categories "she looketh after" apply to my life.
I also came across two books, specifically, that help me also"looketh well to the ways" of my household. They were Emilie Barnes's "More Hours In My Day" and Kathy Peel's "The Family Manager". The books had specific ideas for life in the twenty-first century. I also in recent years, came across several great books on organization/family management from Edith Schaffer (her books are very thought provoking!)
As I have reflected on many great ideas on home management, I thought I would share what I have found works for our family: a house full of children (preschool through high school), a husband, wife and a cat named Pepper.
It works for me to......
* Straighten up & clean the house at night before bed
(it is such a great way to start the day....fresh & clean!)
* Check the menu plan for the day in the morning. Looking at what I need to do (thaw, chop, etc.) for lunch & dinner, so I know when I need to begin. Example: it takes about 6 hours to thaw a pound of ground beef on my windowsill. I have to calculate when I will begin preparation.
* Get up earlier than my family. At least one hour. I spend it reading God's Word, devotional, journaling, exercising and reading a chapter from my book. I am what I put in and what I think about. That is the well my family draws from in me. He fills me.
* Have a ritual of quiet time everyday.
From 1p.m. (or so) to about 3p.m. I have "quiet time". Naps, quiet activities, reading, etc. Even my high school daughter does this with no problems. My children get a better mommy (I get refilled) and they all get along alot better.
* Make a list before I go to bed of any pressing projects or thoughts before I go to bed. I sleep soo much better when I am don't spend all night turning those thoughts over and over in an attempt to remember them the next day.
* Take some time in the afternoon to have tea or coffee.
I know this might sounds very old-fashioned and English, but this ritual has been so refreshing to me and is a time of reflection (as I sip), prayer and doing mid-day course correction.
* Set a day(s) each week that the major categories (laundry & dishes) get done.
For example, Mondays and Fridays are laundry day. Thursday afternoons I go grocery shopping. This has changed throughout the years as my family has changed. I no longer have to spend a couple precious hours on the weekend shopping (it's also too crowded)!
* Have your children help you.
I have certain days that I have them do different jobs around the house. They have quickly learned that if they complain, they get more jobs. I try to be fair and thank them for helping our family. Showing gratitude is important for me. (I don't want my children to being doing chores and harboring bitterness).
* Stop running all over town.
This used to be my life and I was always worn out. My house was very messy and my children were always tired and cranky. My priorities were out of order. I have found the more consistent days I have that I do not leave my home, the more peaceful & content my children and myself are. My husband is also blessed to come home to a joyful wife, happy kids, clean home and home-cooked meals (most of the time....). Yes, my children have interests. Yes, they have classes/clubs sprinkled here and there. But we have put quantity family time first over living in a minivan, going different directions and not knowing one another. (Again, most of the time.....)
* 10 Minute Miracles
I can't remember where I learned this, but it has been so wonderful to practice. Do 10 minutes worth of organizing..... something. In ten minutes I have straightened our junk drawer, sorted through the kids' drawers, read a chapter in a book, organized bathroom drawers, stacked the tupperwear & lids, wiped off refridge shelves and so much more! If I know that I have to only work for 10 minutes, it is not so overwhelming. I also get alot done knowing that timing is ticking (it's sometimes a fun game for me......I know!)
What I have listed has evolved through the years as my family changes and I (finally) get what is frustrating me--or go back to Proverbs 31 or the other books I mentioned. I want to be constantly learning and growing in household management and make this home a beautiful and fun sanctuary for my family.
I'd love to hear what you do that works for your family!
May you have a wonderful New Year!