Join me as we explore 7 simple homemaking skills for modern stay at home moms.
Are you feeling overwhelmed with the never ending to-do list? Are laundry and dishes piling up to seemingly unmanageable heights? Do you throw yourself on the bed at the end of a long, grueling day and wonder why you still have 8 things you need to do? But hey, the kids are asleep, so mama needs sleep too!
I understand the feeling!
It’s hard trying to keep track of little ones and run a house at the same time. How are we supposed to do it all?! How did our mothers and grandmothers manage??
Yes, they lived in a simpler time, but they also had a few strategies or skills up their sleeve!
But why bother with homemaking much less homemaking skills?
Why even bother with homemaking in our modern, fast paced world? Isn’t there enough for modern women to do between careers and family life? How can we add one more thing to our already overflowing plates?
I think deep down we all long, at least a little bit, for a slower, simpler life. After spending so much time hurrying from one thing to the next it’s easy to feel like you never actually get to enjoy the moment as you’re living in it.
We’re too busy worrying about making it on time to the next soccer practice or choir rehearsal to relish the simple things as they present themselves to us.
I know I’m just as guilty as anyone, trying to juggle work and dinner, but totally missing the smiley baby playing on the floor next to me.
I have to constantly remind myself that the most important things are the little ones; making my baby laugh, or sitting down to a glass of wine with my husband and just chatting about our day once the baby is in bed.
What does this have to do with homemaking you ask?
Our homes are where a majority of us spend the bulk of our ‘together’ time or family time. And, as a stay at home mom, it also happens to be where I spend most of my time.
If our homes are a chaotic, stressful, cluttered mess, then it makes it really hard for anyone, including mom, to be able to relax and enjoy the time spent therein.
This is why I think homemaking is so important. It’s about reclaiming our space, the home, and making it somewhere that our spouses, kids, and community can find solace, peace, and joy.
Truly, it is the place where so many of the big and little stories of our lives play out, so why not make it count?
“The place where babies are born, where men die, where the drama of mortal life is acted, is not an office or a shop or a bureau. It is something much smaller in size and much larger in scope. And while nobody would be such a fool as to pretend that it is the only place where people should work, or even the only place where women should work, it has a character of unity and universality that is not found in any of the fragmentary experiences of the division of labour.”G. K. Chesterton
In order to create this kind of environment, we need to learn, dare I say even master, a few simple homemaking skills that our grandmothers and the generations of women before them excelled at.
“Be humble, be simple and bring joy to others.”St. Madeleine Sophie Barat
What are these simple homemaking skills?
- Baking & Cooking
- Planning a Schedule
- Tidying & Decluttering Skills
- Creating a Welcoming Aesthetic
I think frugality is a good homemaking skill to start with in the modern world, because it’s one that takes a lot of work and rewiring our brains to achieve proficiency in.
We’re so bombarded with stuff in our materialism saturated culture that it’s hard to find that frugal mindset, much less put it into practice. Ad after ad popping up as we search the internet, friends telling us about the latest and greatest buy…
Not only is this detrimental to our pocketbooks and our sanity, but it also doesn’t do us any favors from a spiritual perspective.
So what are some practical ways we can try and implement a more frugal mindset in our homemaking?
Cut out unnecessary spending –
I know it sounds super cliche, but it’s true. We all have areas that we struggle with when it comes to frivolity, but the key is to minimize it as much as possible.
Do you need to eat out once or twice a week? Is that super tempting, and oh so creamy, chai latte on your way to grocery shop necessary? Do the kids really need another lego set?
Maybe none of these resonate with you personally, but what are the things you can live without in your life that just take up unnecessary time and money?
Remember, it’s about simplifying and refocusing on what really matters, which isn’t stuff, it’s our relationship with God and people, specifically our families.
Reuse & recycle as much as possible –
This is one of my favorite ways to implement frugality into my homemaking. That said, it’s also one of the most challenging at times.
It’s way easier to buy that role of paper towels at the store instead of taking the time to clean the 20 dirty kitchen towels, again.
Didn’t I just do that yesterday?
Jokes aside, finding little ways to cut waste is a huge deal. Not only does it save you money in the long run, but it also brings us back to the reality of the cost of our choices be it monetary or otherwise.
Nothing we do comes without a price. Sometimes it’s just easy to pretend we’re avoiding it because we don’t have to personally see the consequences and weight of our choices.
Buy secondhand whenever you can –
Yeah, so it’s not as cool as buying it sparkling and shining when it’s brand new, but it’s still going to perform just as well, be it clothes or furniture, and it saves you so much money!
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been thrifting and found an absolutely amazing deal on clothes that were still like new. Especially when it comes to kids clothes.
Why spend $25 on a single outfit at a name brand store when you can buy three or four for the same price at a secondhand store or consignment sale? Talk about big savings!
Keep it stupid simple-
Okay, maybe not the most inspiring of sayings, but definitely a true one. Probably the most important thing to remember as you are trying to maintain a frugal home is simplicity.
Think about what you can and can’t live without. Do you need to scale back on the complexity of your meals? Do you need 6GB of data on your phone plan?
There’s so many areas of our lives that we could stand to simplify or cut out wholesale in some cases, but we just don’t think about it because hey, it’s what everyone does.
Hospitality is one homemaking skill that I feel can be easily misunderstood or misused. What do I mean by that?
Well, when we invite others into our home, be it for a joyous event or more melancholic situation, we are presented with an opportunity to orient our focus and attention on something outside of ourselves. We are given an opportunity to serve others, a chance to love them.
In a very practical sense, being a hospitable host gives us a chance to share the peace and joy we should be fostering and promoting within our homes with others outside of our immediate family.
That said, it is really easy to fall into a false sense of humility and turn hospitality from an act of service for others to a way of building our own ego. I mean did you see how awesome that artisanal loaf of sourdough was? 😉
“All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say: ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me’ (Mt 25:35).”St. Benedict
Learning from grandma –
I think it’s safe to say that most of us can remember the feeling of visiting our grandmother’s house. There was a certain aura about the place, something that made you feel at ease and comfortable. A radiation of joy that was almost palpable.
Whether grandma was busy in the kitchen, or sitting with the family around the table, there was always a sense of intentionality and service that was easily distinguishable.
She was there for her guests, and her guests were all that held her attention in those moments. And that is the feeling we are trying to invoke as homemakers when we welcome others into our homes.
While hospitality is a more nuanced, abstract skill, it is still one which I think bears a heavy weight and is deserving of a prominent place in our homemaking skills repertoire.
Whether we go the extra mile to put a candle on the table or make that loaf of bread as a side for a meal to really pull it all together, it’s about invoking a sense of homeliness and joy in our guests.
While frugality can apply to many facets of the home, budgeting is kind of one sided; only being concerned with money, whether or not you have it, and how you choose to spend it. Because of this I felt like it needed its own category as a separate homemaking skill.
The absolute first thing when looking at a budget for your home is writing down a list of all your expenses as well as your income.
A lot of the time when we do this simple step, we find that there are loads of discrepancies, and, at least for me, I find myself scratching my head and wondering where in the world all the money ran off too.
Even after following a strict budget for several years, with every dollar having a specific job, I still find it difficult to stick to those parameters.
From there you need to figure out what things are fixed, or necessary expenses, and what things aren’t. This looks different for everyone, but the idea is to make sure that you have enough money coming in every month to cover the expenses you have going out.
If you can maintain a balance with the money you have coming in covering and hopefully exceeding the money you have leaving your budget every month, you are on the right track.
While I like to toe the line of not spending money frivolously, I do think having a small portion of your budget set aside for ‘fun’ purchases or outings is a wise decision. Otherwise it’s too easy to get frustrated and resentful with the budget as a whole.
The issue –
I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that the single area in our marriage, up to this point, that causes the most strain is budgeting.
We always have a goal and a plan for how each dollar is going to be spent and then at the end of the month we scratch our heads asking, “what happened”?
It is my personal belief that, as a homemaker, it is our job to try and keep our spending within the limits of our preplanned budget.
Well, usually we’re the ones doing most of the spending for things to keep the home running smoothly. So, it follows that we also need to be the most conscious of what exactly we’re spending money on.
A happy marriage makes for a happy home. 🙂
4. Baking & Cooking (or mad kitchen skills):
Providing good, nourishing food for my family is one of my greatest joys, and yet it is a homemaking skill that, unfortunately, a lot of us have forgotten in our hurried world where fast food and takeout are all the rage.
When I found out I was pregnant with our first child, I became extremely conscious of what I was eating and how it would effect our unborn baby.
Ultimately, falling down the rabbit-hole of traditional whole-food diets, I came to realize that so much of what we were eating really wasn’t serving me, or the little one I was carrying, well at all.
The highly processed, sugar and preservative ridden foods I had always bought at the store and thought to be somewhat healthy, were really devoid of any and all nutritional value.
As an all or nothing kind of girl, I started purging my pantry and refrigerator, replacing everything with whole food ingredients.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for me to realize that I really had no clue how to turn basic ingredients into the nourishing, delicious meals that I so desperately wanted to feed my family.
How to make the change?
Changing from popping pre-made meals into the oven and having supper ready in 20 minutes to taking raw, basic ingredients and turning them into a meal is a huge shift in both perspective and the time demanded of you.
For that reason, I think it’s important to start small, and take it one thing at a time.
Learning to bake sourdough bread, or just regular commercial yeast bread in general, is a great place to start! Not only is it an extremely traditional part of the meal, but it is also extremely easy to learn. Don’t feel like this is the only place to start however.
You could opt for something like making bone broth or homemade lasagna (not the prepackaged kind). The possibilities are endless.
And, while it does take more time, the feeling of putting a home-cooked meal on the table every night, as well as the added health benefits, makes it all worth it in the end.
There are hundreds of books and podcasts, as well as a plethora of youtube videos on making more traditional foods that can help you as you try to learn this and other homemaking skills. Two whole-food/traditional cooking books that I love are: Real Food for Pregnancy and Nourishing Traditions.
5. Planning a Schedule:
I’ve touched on this in another post, but having a good, working schedule really is a huge part of being a homemaker. From trying to plan play dates to keeping a daily or weekly chore routine, it’s imperative that you learn this homemaking skill as a stay at home mom!
Check out the planner I use here!
I like to break my schedule down into several sections:
My weekly to-do/events list. I put down all the doctor’s appointments, meetings, work related things, etc. into my schedule planner before I figure out anything else.
This way I know that, at the bare minimum, I’ve got the necessary appointments laid out so I’ll remember them.
I like to plan my meals around how busy I am going to be in a given week. If I know three out of the five week day evenings are going to be busy with meetings, I like to have something easy that I can throw into a crockpot and leave cooking without needing a lot of attention from me throughout those days.
Not only that, but as an added bonus, I’ll try to make larger portion sizes so that one meal will last for several dinners in a row, which is also a huge time saver!
I realize that not everyone is a fan of eating the same thing for supper several nights in a row, so it might not be what works for your family. It might also be a challenge if you have a bigger family. I’m sure that, as our family grows, this will start to become a challenge for us as well. But, for now, it’s a good system!
The idea is to implement things that help save on time and make things easier for you!
I try to fit my weekly, rotational chores into the days I have more free time. This way I am able to keep on top of my house without cramming everything into one day and getting overwhelmed.
Keep the goal in sight –
The whole idea here is to give you, as the homemaker, a sense of direction so you aren’t running around feeling completely disoriented and defeated.
Again, our goal is a peaceful, joyful home. One sure way of helping accomplish that is by preventing undue stress and burnout because you tried doing too much in a day. And that is why having a plan laid out is super helpful!
All that to say though, remember to give yourself grace when things crop up and you aren’t able to follow your schedule religiously.
You should hold it as an always evolving guide which is there to help give you structure, but not dominate every waking moment of your life.
6. Tidying & Decluttering Skills:
Tidying and decluttering…two great assets on our homemaking skills checklist! There are a lot of podcasts, books and other resources out there right now on why it’s so important to keep things clutter free and clean.
One of my favorite ideas is the concept of everything you own taking up an inventory space. You have to move it, manage it, and look at it (or at least run into it when you’re digging through the dark, forbidden recesses of your closet).
And everything you have to manage takes up some form of mental or emotional space. The more clutter you have, the more anxious and frazzled you are and the less you are able to focus.
There have been studies which have proven that clutter effects our brains in such a way subconsciously that we aren’t able to focus as well in such places.
Not only that, but honestly, who actually enjoys not being able to see their kitchen table because its stacked a mile high with mail, toys and other random trinkets and gizmos?
So what can we do about it?
Declutter and tidy up! I know it can be daunting sometimes. Okay, maybe all the time. But, it’s not something you have to do all at once.
Nor is it something that you only need to do once and then it’s done. Really, decluttering is a process that needs to be continually practiced. It’s a homemaking skill that will pay big dividends in the long run!
The key is to start small and work in manageable, bite sized amounts. Do a drawer one day, and a closet the next. It’s that simple.
Just keep plucking away at it and you’ll find that with each t-shirt you get rid of or toy that you give away you feel lighter and more free.
The things we own have a way of owning us. And the scary thing is we don’t realize just how much of a hold they have on us until they are gone. Not only that, but the more cluttered our spaces, the more anxiety it produces in our lives.
By decluttering our homes, we are opening them up to being able to promote beautiful moments where the family is able to come together and be together without the distraction of a million things begging to be put away or dealt with.
7. Creating a Welcoming Aesthetic:
Creating a welcoming aesthetic is one of the most enjoyable homemaking skills women should learn. Like most of the other homemaking skills we’ve mentioned, the aesthetic of the home is as versatile and unique as the homemaker herself.
Even amid the unique touch that each woman brings to her home’s aesthetic, there are several things that I feel permeate through no matter what.
The first is a sense of order and organization. Having a home that is well ordered gives those within it the ability to embrace creativity in ways not possible amid the anxiety and stress accompanying disorder and chaos.
While ordering and organizing can often feel like menial tasks in a mundane daily routine, these moments give us as homemakers the ability to create a space that is beautiful and teaming with possibility.
St. Benedict said it well…”ora et labora” – pray and work – two key ingredients for creating a welcoming aesthetic within the home.
Another facet of a home’s aesthetic comes with the artistic design set forth by the homemaker. In other words, it derives part of its welcome and charm from the careful, lovingly placed adornments scattered within its walls.
From a thoughtfully placed family portrait or painting to the finishing touch of a lit candle on a coffee table…these are all small ways that a homemaker leaves an elegant and decorative mark on her home.
Now that you’ve learned my top 7 homemaking skills for modern stay at home moms, I’d love to hear how they’re helping you in your life as a homemaker!
Connect with us on Facebook and Pinterest, we’d love to hear from you. 🙂