The art of homemaking doesn’t have to be overwhelming, stressful or a chore for stay at home moms. It can be grace filled and even enjoyable. Yes, even amid the constant “Mom. Mom! Mom!!” and the monotony of the same thing day after day, it can still be enjoyable.
I know, sounds impossible, but trust me, with just a little bit of planning and arranging your priorities it is completely doable!
So, what exactly is homemaking?
Homemaking is usually defined as the management of the house from laundry and dishes to cooking and decorating. Anything that encompasses taking care of a home could probably be grouped into a homemaker’s job description.
Generally, a homemaker doesn’t work outside the house, and is usually a woman, though being a woman isn’t a prerequisite for the job. Men can also be homemakers.
In most cases though, a homemaker is a busy mom juggling homemaking and raising kids, which adds even more to the daily to-do list. This is especially true when you are trying to take care of the home, homeschool, nurse a baby, and balance a homestead or business on top of it all!
Is there more to homemaking than just ‘chores’?
While all of the physical management is good and well, there’s also a deeper component to homemaking, one that really makes the difference between a ‘house’ and a ‘home,’ and is often forgotten.
This little discussed component is the spiritual side of homemaking, the hinge that everything else hangs on. Without spiritual depth, the peace, joy and often times balance we so desire for our homes are elusive strangers that pass us by.
Both the physical and spiritual are crucial to making a house truly a home.
A lovely book that I found helpful in understanding both sides of building a home was Theology of Home. I would 100% recommend it for any mom struggling to find the balance of what it means to cultivate both sides of homemaking.
Can it all be done?!
In a word, no, it can’t.
I know what you’re thinking, “Isn’t this post supposed to tell me how to enjoy homemaking? How does not getting everything done help me with that?”
Excellent question. I’m glad you asked!
In reality, none of us have enough hours in the day to get everything done, regardless of how many kids we have. If we’re honest, I think we all know deep down just how true this is.
So what am I getting at here?
I think it’s important to start with the understanding that it is a-okay to not accomplish every single thing on your to-do list.
The first thing we need to learn is how to be okay with the fact that we can’t do it all.
I’m preaching to myself more than anyone else here. I royally struggle with this.
The next thing to do is make a game plan! In my experience, there are 7 steps to keeping your home tidy, organized, and everyone in it happy (including mom).
1 – Starting the day with prayer.
2 – Make lists.
3 – Have a schedule.
4 – Incremental steps.
5 – Self-care/remembering why you’re here.
6 – Spend time with family.
7 – Ending the day with prayer.
Starting the day with prayer:
Yep, this is the first thing for a reason.
Remember how we mentioned priorities earlier?
Prayer should be our number one priority.
If we aren’t growing in our relationship with God, then nothing else we do is going to matter.
As much as I like to think that if I just cut out my morning prayer time I’ll be able to get more done, I find that those are the days I actually get less done.
I know it seems counterintuitive, but God really honors our time, and if we give Him the best of our day, He will help us manage the rest.
Morning prayer doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It could be as simple as a morning offering, reading a chapter from the Bible, a daily reflection, or even just sitting with God in the silence.
The important thing is to try taking about 10-15 minutes to spend in prayer, however that looks for you and your season in life.
I think it’s also important to note here that morning prayer routines will change with the seasons of life. A new mom will likely not have as much time (or bandwidth) to spend on meditation. For her, a morning offering might be all she can manage, and that’s totally okay!
Just take it slow, say good morning to Our Lord, and thank Him for His many blessings. It’s about the relationship, not rigorous memorized prayers or edifying revelations through fruitful meditation.
Oh yes, lists. I absolutely love lists! The key here is to write it all down.
Write down what you plan to fix for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a given week. Write down all of the tasks you absolutely have to get done and that are a regular part of allowing your house to function: laundry, dishes, kitchen clean up, etc.
While the list of ‘must do’ tasks will vary from household to household, it’s important to write down what those tasks are for your family.
Then, write down the list of more variable tasks, the ones that only have to be done every so often for the house to run smoothly. For me, this list looks a lot like dusting, cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, decluttering, etc.
Having a list of the things that are necessary helps me keep on track and not off doing a hundred and one things that really aren’t important in the grand scheme of things. I get distracted easily when I see things out of place or messy.
Have a schedule:
Schedules are amazing! Seriously, I don’t know how people survive without them.
I’ve found that having a schedule (even if it’s a loose one) for the week really helps keep me focused. It gives structure to my days that allows me some peace of mind.
Start with adding in your appointments, play dates, lessons, etc. Write down anything that requires you or your family to be out of the home (and for how long). This is the skeleton of your week.
Next add in the meat of your week. Here’s where those lists you made come in handy.
Take the daily tasks and slide them into your daily schedule. Then, look at your ‘every so often’ tasks, and sprinkle them in throughout the week (or over several weeks).
Personally, I’ve found this to be way less stressful than cramming it all in one day where it feels overwhelming.
Some people prefer having a weekly deep clean day, but I am not one of them. If that’s what works for you though, then by all means go for it! Just put all of those tasks on one day and you’re good to go.
Also keep in mind that as wonderful as schedules are, there will be some days that no matter how hard you try, sticking to the schedule just doesn’t happen.
Be patient on those days, and take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. You can always catch up on things later!
Or, alternatively, letting a few things go by the wayside is not going to be the end of the world either. 😉
As homemakers I know a lot of us have the tendency to want to do as much as we can from scratch, whether that’s in the kitchen, cosmetics, decor, etc.
It’s important to add things in small, incremental steps rather than all at once. Take something, like sourdough, make it a part of your daily routine and get good at it. Then, and only then, add something else to your acquired skills list.
The best way to grow resentful of homemaking is to add way too many new things at once. It always ends in overwhelm and burnout and is never a good way to go, trust me!
Remember, we’re trying to make a peaceful, joyful home, not necessarily one that does everything from scratch.
This also ties back to scheduling. Doing a little bit every day helps keep things from building up and becoming a big stressful mess several weeks or months down the line.
Self-care/remembering why you’re here:
Ah the dreaded topic of self-care.
I don’t know why this always seems to be the hardest thing for me to do, but it is.
It’s just so easy to get caught up in the mentality of always having to take care of everyone else and making no free time (or feeling like you don’t have any) to take care of yourself.
Please, please, please do yourself and your family a huge favor and take some time for yourself every now and then! Go out for coffee with a friend, take a warm bath, or spend some time doing whatever fills you up. And make sure you are doing it on a regular basis!
Remember why you set out on this journey to begin with. We want to make our houses into safe, peaceful, joyful places for our families. Not stressful nightmares where everyone is walking on eggshells and on edge all the time.
We want them to enjoy being home, and if we don’t enjoy being home we can’t expect them to either.
Spend time with family:
It may go without saying, but as homemakers we need to be spending time with our families! There is absolutely no point in doing what we do if we are too busy to enjoy time (or make time) with family.
Part of the goal of having a list and making a schedule is to give you a sense of feeling like things aren’t going to spiral out of control if you take a moment to pause and do something other than work.
Sometimes I am just so caught up in it all that I’ve literally written spending time with family into my schedule so I can refocus myself.
Not that that’s ideal, but if you find yourself constantly busy and never enjoying down time with them it may be a viable option (at least until you get things prioritized again).
Ending the day with prayer:
Like I said earlier, if prayer isn’t a priority, then nothing else is going to fall into place. Prayer should be the book ends of your day.
This doesn’t have to be anything fancy either. It could be as simple as reflecting on your day and thanking God for the blessings He gave you, as well as asking for help in the areas you fell short.
You could even pray the rosary, or do an evening meditation. Evening or night prayer from the Divine Office are also excellent options 😉 . Night prayer is my personal favorite!
Similar to morning prayer, make sure that whatever you choose to do, try to make it about 10 minutes at the end of your day.
When you prioritize prayer this way, even if your schedule is thrown completely off or you aren’t able to get as much done as you planned, remember that those moments are saturated with grace.
Life is busy and hectic sometimes, especially when you are a homemaker and mother on top of it all! That said, each home and family is unique and has their own sets of needs.
Don’t feel like you have to follow this list of tips religiously in order to make your home a peaceful one (what works for me might not work for you).
Do what works for your family and you will be amazed with the results!
We would love to hear what tips help you the most on your homemaking journey! Leave a comment below and let us know! 🙂