I have read numerous Be a Better Housewife/Homemaker/Mother/Homeschooler type books over the last decade, and all of them offer practical and encouraging tips relating to all of those roles. However, if you are like me, you may find yourself not quite measuring up to the high standards that you have read about. In fact, sometimes reading those type of books (or blogs for that matter) can leave you feeling a little bit inadequate.
Let me offer you some encouragement! Here are some of the things that are usually spoken highly of in the homemaking/homeschooling circles, but are things that I regularly fail to do!
- Make your bed as soon as you get up in the morning. This is a great idea! Having a bed neatly made does set the tone for the day, but most of the time when I get up at 5:00 AM, there is a child in my bed. By the time my child wakes up, a couple of hours after me, I am so far into my day, and I usually don’t even go back into my bedroom until much later in the day….so on those days, sometimes I just don’t make my bed!
- Clean your kitchen immediately after each meal. Another super idea! Who likes looking at a grungy kitchen all day? But when our mornings get hectic, I will chose to begin school on time (for us, that is 8:00 AM) over cleaning the kitchen and beginning our day behind. There are a variety of reasons why I am running late by 8:00 AM, and I don’t have time to clean my kitchen. One of them is that usually I am literally running (I am training for a marathon), and I am through just in time to begin school. Yes, I have older children who could be cleaning the kitchen, and they are a huge help to me, but cleaning the kitchen is not something that I have assigned for them in the mornings before school. Generally, I take the time after lunch to clean up from both meals.
- Make sure that you are dressed nicely, with your hair and face looking presentable before you begin your day. I used to do that! I do agree that we should take our roles as homeschooling mothers seriously, and staying in your pajamas all day is really not a good idea. If you do that every day! But, there are occasions (okay, actually most days) that while I do change out of my pajamas, I stay in my running clothes all day, and my hair and make-up are not done. Again, I chose to begin our school day at 8:00AM, and reading my Bible and running is all that I can accomplish before then. That and a few chores. When I do take the time to dress nicely, fix my hair, and put on make-up (like if we are going on a field trip or doctor’s appointment or something), my younger children will ask me, “Are we going to church?” Ha!
- Keep your house clean and your laundry caught up. I actually do better at this, but I am not one of those who folds the clothes as soon as they come out of the dryer. I normally sort them into baskets (a basket per person), and then I fold them later in the day. Or the next day if things get crazy. Also, I do not clean house every single day. I would like to! But, with five children to homeschool, plus a couple of extra-curricular activities, plus errands, plus cooking (you know, the same things you have to do each day too), there are days that I simply don’t do any housekeeping chores. There are also days that we have a Clothes-Folding Party. We all gather together in our den, watch something on TV, and fold clothes!
I am not saying that you cannot do all of the above things plus many more and homeschool successfully, but I don’t think that you can do every single thing every single day. We all have what we call good days. Days where we actually accomplish everything on our list and more. But, then there are the regular days. The days where you have a great homeschooling day, but you forgot to plan for supper. Or days where you cleaned house all day, but you didn’t finish school with all of your children. You may have caught up on all of your laundry, but you didn’t have time to run those errands you needed to.
So what can we do? Settle for mediocrity? I think that when we have high goals and prioritize, we can feel a sense of accomplishment, even if the number of items crossed off our To Do List don’t reflect it. I encourage you to choose one or two things that must be done every day, and then make sure you do those things. For me, number 1 is to read my Bible and pray, and number 2 is to run. Whether it is a school day or not, I make sure I do those two things. On my non-running days, I sleep a little later, and read my Bible a little bit more.
Set realistic goals.
For me, on the days we do school (usually 4 days a week), we do school. And that’s about it. We begin at 8:00, and I am usually done with all five children by 3:00. After that we have cross country practice or piano lessons, and I cook supper on most nights. On the days we don’t have school, I spend a good portion of the day doing housework, with the children’s help. I have weekly chore charts for myself and the children, and we check off each thing as we do it. Sometimes one or more of us can get to some of the chores on schooldays, and everything that is left, we do on our off days.
Enjoy your days.
Time marches and marches on. The short years we have at home with our children need to be spent enjoying them. We must smile at them, hug them, encourage them, praise them. Work hard, but take time to enjoy your family as well.
Roan is the mother of five children whose ages range from 5-16. She has been happily married for 20 years, and she blogs about her days at her personal blog, Joyful Always.
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