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Homemaking is Not About Perfection

Homemaking is a calling, a blessing and an art. Raising a family and taking care of your home is NOT easy! Be kind to yourself.

The Home

Remember that the home is also where you “live”. Things are constantly changing. Things are being used. People sleep, eat and breathe at home. Most family members are home more than they are outside of it as a general rule. Your family enjoys life in the home. To do this, they must use the bathrooms, the kitchens, the bedrooms and relax and play in the living areas. They are living their lives in the home, and just daily living can cause frequent messes. Patience and hard work are what are required to keep a home in order. However, this is not just your job as homemaker or your only job. Your job as homemaker is also to teach, train and delegate.

Family

The homemaker with a family is not the only one living in the home. You share your home with your spouse, and/or your family, pets, as well as friends and visitors who visit. Everyone who lives in your home should be required to do their share. Even toddlers can help clean a room or dust furniture while wearing socks on their hands. Be creative! Don’t be a workhorse, but have them do their fair share.

A good rule of thumb when it comes to chores for children is that they should do as many main jobs as their age. So, if your child is 6, your child should have 6 things to do around the house. Don’t make all of them major- only 2. My rule is 2 major chores and other small ones to add to the child’s age. Major chores can include: dishes, folding a load of laundry, putting away folded laundry, vacuuming or sweeping…you get the idea. The smaller chores can include things such as: set the table, clean a window, water the front garden, pull 20 weeds, and wipe down a sink. Remember that children need patience and reminders. NEVER redo a chore that your child has done. If it is done satisfactory then leave it alone. If it is done in a sloppy and unacceptable manner then they need to redo their work and then have it re-inspected. In my home, if they have to redo it more than once then another chore is added. This encourages them to get it done the right way the first time.

Relax

There is a difference between a NASTY dirty house and a lived in, sometimes cluttered home. To be honest, some of the most comfortable home and enjoyable to be in are the ones that are NOT perfect. This includes small messes such as: toys left out from a day of play, or even laundry piled on the couch. People have to live; people have many things going on in their lives. Homes should not be like this on a regular basis and attempts should be made to clean up. Everyone has a bad week and sometimes you just can’t do everything. RELAX and give yourself a break. Be conscious about the fact that you are not perfect and everything does not have to be perfect! You have to live in your home. You don’t have to live in filth, but getting behind is acceptable and forgivable.

When it comes to doing your house cleaning and you get behind and overwhelmed, remember 70% done is better than doing nothing! I have been a geographically single mother many times over the years while my husband provides for the family as a US Soldier. With seven young children, I have been overworked, over-stressed, and at times have had a generally difficult time keeping up. I have adopted the motto: 70% is better than nothing. When it comes to things my kids have done or not done, or things that I cannot do perfectly, I remind myself of this motto often.

One day, I had a friend come over to the house while I was mopping the floor. I was stressing about my house being messy and the floor being so sticky and dirty. I had swept the floor that morning with the intention of mopping right afterwards, but many interruptions kept it from getting done. Situations like running errands, taking care of children, etc. Later in the afternoon, when all the chaos died down, I was able to get back to finishing the floor. I looked the floor over. It could have used a little more sweeping, but I just needed to get it mopped at this point so I could cook dinner and start the bedtime routine for the kids. As I mopped, I was beating myself up for the half done job. I had to keep reminding myself that 70% is better than nothing. It was at this point that my friend came over to visit. This friend watched me mop and push around a few crumbs here and there. I realized this person was probably wondering what was wrong with me and why I didn’t just stop and do it perfectly. Without my friend saying a word, I explained my motto. This friend then said, “I was wondering what you were doing, because you didn’t even sweep before you mopped!” I knew I had swept earlier, but that wasn’t important to me at that time. I knew what was important at the time and that was just to remove the stickiness from the floor. Strive to do your best, but if it just isn’t feasible at the moment, then do the best you can with the time and energy that you do have.

Ask for help, if you need it. Go out for a walk to clear your mind and you might find that it will help you feel more energetic and ready to work, or go to sleep and know that tomorrow is the day to start over. Homemakers have more responsibility than most people give them credit for. The home must be swept and clean, but do not become a slave to your home. As Margaret Mitchell’s protagonist Scarlett O’Hara said, “I’ll think of it tomorrow…. I can stand it then. After all, tomorrow is another day.”

Shiloah Baker is a homeschooling mother of seven living in North Carolina. She is the owner of a large homemaking website/business. Join us at The Homemaking Cottage Deluxe Edition for 817 ways to improve your home and family! http://www.homemaking-cottage.com/index.php/Deluxe-Edition/Registration/Registration.html And don’t forget to join our ezine for free ideas. http://www.homemaking-cottage.com/index.php/Homemaking-Cottage-Main/Ezine/Ezine.html

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