Friday, April 29, 2016

Miracles

Ladies,

We are each a miracle, daughters of God!

I just needed this reminder today, and thought you might, too.


 


Love,
 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Five Habits for Great Homemaking



I would be the last person anywhere to claim that I am a perfect homemaker! In fact, the reason I began this blog was so I could focus on improving my homemaking and mothering skills, so I keep trying to be a little better every day. 

As I was cooking breakfast this morning, I pondered on the reasons some days in my homemaking-mothering life work better than others. The following is a personal list of what helps me feel better about my efforts in my home. I hope it might bless someone else today, too!

1. Spend time with God each morning.

This step is absolutely crucial for me in order to have the best day possible! There are times when I have been grumpy with my children, when my self-esteem drags, and I want to throw a full-blown pity-party.

Without fail, it is those days when I have not spent time in the scriptures and in prayer with God. Somehow, when I reach up to heaven in the morning-- even for just a little while-- my entire day is filled with more hope, and I become more calm, centered, and patient. The grace that my time with my Creator gives me is miraculous! Our Father in Heaven is always with us, just waiting for us to ask His help. And without fail, He has always given heavenly assistance to me.

2. Plan out your day

The old adage of "She who fails to plan, plans to fail," is painfully TRUE! This is a step that I struggle with, as I enjoy spontaneity. But if I wish to make some tangible strides in my home, I MUST make a plan.

A plan can be as simple as a to-do list, or as elaborate as filling out a daily planner or smartphone application. The important part is to sit down, ponder on the tasks of the day, and record what needs to be accomplished.

The fun element of this habit, is that we can then CHECK OFF items from our daily list! (I have been known to even write things on my list that I have already completed, just so I can experience the thrill of marking the task as FINISHED.)

Ahhh... feels good!!!

3. Get dressed in your homemaking uniform

There are various schools of thought in the department of how a homemaker should dress. I am a lady who likes to wear skirts. If it's a deep cleaning day, I go with a demin skirt. If I am moving furniture or carrying large loads, I have opted to wear my exercise pants, but those days are rare.

This decision is very personal to me, and I expound more on the topic here. But for this article, I just want you to think about what you put on when you mean business in accomplishing your homemaking goals. (If you are a follower of FlyLady, then you know she is passionate about "dressing to the shoes." You can find out more about "dressing to the shoes" here. As for me, I am a Happy Hobbit who operates best in bare feet.)

So, get dressed in whatever YOU consider to be your most effective "homemaking uniform," and begin your day with a smile. 
"If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear"!

4. Wear an apron

Some might think this habit belongs within the "homemaking uniform" habit, but I am here to preach a little bit as to the virtues of wearing an apron. 

I found the following list on the old "Hillbilly Housewife" blog, though I can no longer find the original post. (You can find more of her thoughts on wearing aprons here.)

Apron Wisdom

I don’t think our kids know what an apron is.
  • The principal use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.
  • It was wonderful for drying children’s tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears..
  • From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.
  • When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.
  • And when the weather was cold grandma wrapped it around her arms.
  • Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.
  • Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.
  • From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables.
  • After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.
  • In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.
  • When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.
  • When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the menfolks knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.
 It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that ‘old-time apron’ that served so many purposes.
I really adore wearing an apron. ♥ I feel like I can face the day with whatever comes, as long as I am wearing my apron. I can do all the things listed above and more!

In my opinion, the most important features of the best aprons include having a nice, big pocket in front, they are made of a strong, sturdy fabric, like denim, and they should either be pretty, or at least feel comfortable.

For images and patterns of aprons I love, check out my "Apron love" Pinterest board.

5. Put on some inspiring music or an enlightening podcast.

"If children hear fine music from the day of their birth and learn to play it, they develop sensitivity, discipline and endurance. They get a beautiful heart.” ~Shinichi Suzuki
I love all kinds of music! But I know that I can think more clearly, and aspire to become a better homemaker, teacher, mother, and person, when I listen to inspiring, classical music.

I realize that it may not be the case for everyone, but it works that way for me. This morning, as a pot was boiling on the stove, I tied my apron around my waist, and put on some songs by Franz Schubert. (Who also happens to be our homeschool's composer for this term; two birds with one stone! Woot!) My mind felt enlightened, and I knew I would have a wonderful day. In fact, the music I was listening to inspired me to finally sit down and write this blog post today.

Whenever we do our family chores, my children always ask to listen to music. They work faster and harder to music they can sing or dance along with. Some of our best family memories have been created during these times.

Good, inspiring music is a powerful tool in a homemaker's arsenal. There are also some really great podcasts that make the time cleaning and working pass by pleasantly. Some of my favorites include:

SMALL ANNOUNCEMENT 

I am so excited!!! I plan to start an Old-Fashioned Motherhood podcast very soon. I look forward to chatting with you! I would love to hear some suggested topics that interest my readers here on the blog.

What would YOU like to hear on an OFM podcast? Share your suggestions in the comments below.

Check back for the podcast soon! 


What makes YOUR days great?

I'd love to know what helps you have a successful day in your homes and with your families! Please share your thoughts in the comments below. I look forward to reading your responses.

Here's to having a great day, which will lead to a wonderful month, and then to an awesome year! 

Love,

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Martyr Momster

"Christmas Rush" by Norman Rockwell


Look out, kids...

She's BACK!

It's the MARTYR MOMSTER!!!!


We all know her. She sneaks into our homes now and then, especially after a rough day of toddler messes, teen drama, and/or lofty plans gone horribly wrong.

Her tale is a sad one, usually beginning on a day full of high hopes. A mother wakes. Her intentions are right, and yet every little thing that can go wrong, does.

It's a tale of woe that is all too familiar...

Sunday Morning


This past Sunday morning dawned, and though we had gone to bed late the night before, which caused the younger children to miss their baths, I was confident that we could still make it to church on time. 

We gathered for family scripture study just after 7am (Sleeping in-- wahoo!) It was Fast Sunday, so that meant that I did not have to make much of a breakfast; just toast for the under 8 years old lot.

Our meetings start at 10:00am, and we send the first wave of people over at 9:30am to save* us a bench in the chapel. *(With more than a dozen people in one family going to church, we HAVE to save a long bench, or we won't get a seat all together!)

I reasoned that two hours would be plenty of time for all 14 people in our house to use two bathrooms. Here's the breakdown:
  • Seven individual showers for those individuals over age 10 in the kids' bathroom,
  • Three little girls in the master bedroom garden tub at one time, and done in a flash!
  • One little boy in the garden tub would be a snap, as long as he didn't think he was getting any play time,
  • One quick dunk of the toddler girl who is terrified of water and despises baths,
  • Two adults taking turns showering in the master bath shower.
I was optimistic. We could do it!

Two hours later, there was chaos: soggy towels flung far and wide, tears over missing shoes, primping teenage girls, an empty diaper bag, and Mom still un-showered, while untangling bedhead hairdos on five little girls and one little boy. 

Dad took the kids that were ready, and I was left behind with the rest.

I'm certain you can guess what happened next.

Melt-downs. Blaming. Yelling. Exasperation. Frustration. Self-Pity.

THE MARTYR MOMSTER HAD ARRIVED.

Aftermath


The irony of becoming an ogress while preparing to worship the Lord was not lost on me. I was well aware of where I was going-- of WHY I was going.

But it was all so UNFAIR! Why did I have to be the one to make sure the little girls' hair was done? Why did I have to make sure each little person was clean?? Why did the little boy need to find his dress shoes instead of throwing on the Batman loafers???

WHY????

Oh, yeah. Because I cared. 

The realization shocked me. It was all so absurd!

Time stood still, though the clock ticked away. The best moment to leave the house for our meetings had come and gone, and I was standing in front of my bathroom mirror making sure that my lipstick was just right, while feeling all kinds of sorry for myself.

I began to LAUGH out loud.

The pouting part of me thought: "But I am doing this to show God how much I love Him!"

But then, the Real Me said: "You are not. You are being hyper-vigilant about your family's outward appearance in an attempt to fit in with the beautiful people in your congregation."

And then I had to stop laughing because I knew the Real me was speaking the TRUTH.

Here I was, letting the Martyr Momster take over and cause hurt and damage to my little ones over something as ridiculous as "looking good."

OUCH.

Let's Review


Ladies, I know I am not alone when I say that we moms don't like it when the Martyr Momster sneaks her way into our homes. But there isn't a woman alive that has not invited this nuisance of a guest in, from time to time.

We may not always be able to keep the Martyr Momster away, but I have been pondering on my experience this past weekend, and have come up with a few tips that might help in the future:

1) Preparation


When we started a movie on Saturday night without bathing the kids first, a little voice in my mind reminded me of the upcoming church meetings that would be taking place in the morning. I think I half-heartedly mentioned it out loud at one point, but then I never followed through with doing anything about it.

There have been Saturdays when clothes were gathered and checked for cleanliness, shoes placed carefully, babies washed and dried, and I had a peaceful evening, knowing that I had done all I could do to prepare for the Sabbath Day. 

Those days of preparation don't come as often as I'd like them to, but I do know that they can be accomplished. I know for myself that a prepared mother is a happier mother!

2) Priorities


Sometimes in all the busyness of life, I forget what is truly important. I am so determined to make sure things look "right," that I lose sight of reality-- I don't recognize that my "fixes" are making things all wrong!

Of course I know that my relationships with my children are more important than whether my children look clean or rumpled. Of course I want my children to be able to feel the the love of God when they attend church meetings, rather than feeling badly about themselves.

In my anxiety to make everything "perfect," I had broken the hearts of my babies.

And that was a sure sign that the Martyr Momster had taken over, and that my priorities were NOT in alignment with my beliefs! 

3) Perspective


In moments of frustration, my perspective as a mother is very limited. If I am caught up in chaos and self-pity, it is impossible to see the bigger picture-- my view of the eternal disappears.

If I prepare my children for church meetings with the intention of leading them to Christ: 
  • I will take a moment to dunk the kids on Saturday night before I put the movie on. 
  • I won't be worried about whether my own clothes are stylish enough and beat myself up over my thinning hair. 
  • I won't cringe when I see that the five year old has cut herself some bangs-- again. 
  • I will smile as I recognize the virtuous beauty of my teenage daughters. 
  • And I will let my little boy wear the Batman shoes.
If I prepare, prioritize, and keep an eternal perspective, we just might avoid seeing the Martyr Momster any time soon. 

At least on Sunday mornings.

Lots of love,
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