"She who is the mother and housekeeper in a large family is the sovereign of an empire, demanding more varied cares, and involving more difficult duties, than are really exacted of her who wears a crown and professedly regulates the interests of the greatest nation on earth."
--The American Woman's Home, 1869
Running a household is not for the faint of heart! And since so many women raised in recent generations received little to no training in homemaking skills, we really do have our work cut out for us! (For more on the subject, check out this series of OFM posts.)
I have found that greeting each day with a plan-- even a loose one-- can help any homemaker face her duties with peace and encouragement. I have come up with a list of housekeeping tips that have helped me over the years. Of course, I am not perfect at every one of these every day, but they really have helped the chaos that sometimes encroaches on our home.
So without further ado, here is my list of the homemaking guidelines that have best helped me in my household duties:
- Wake up at least half an hour before my children. This is an area that I could do much better in-- especially when I'm pregnant. But when I meet this goal, my house runs smoother, the messes are easier to maintain, and my children are happier. I am going to go back to this habit right away!
- Delegate, delegate, DELEGATE! Our children need to learn life skills in order to be successful adults. And the only place for them to learn those skills is in the home! Not only do assigned chores take much of the load off of moms, they also empower the children doing them. When a child contributes to his or her home in a meaningful way, they feel how much they are needed by the other members of their family. This is a subject for which I have a lot of passion-- you can check out my posts on teaching kids to clean here and how to cook here.
- Planning ahead is the key to keeping an organized schedule. When I check my calendar every night before bed, I am better prepared for the day ahead. I like to use Google Calendar, simply because we can see all the upcoming schedules and appointments for each one of us in the family. And when my daughters and I pre-plan our Menu, we avoid the frustration of trying to figure out the age-old question of "What's for breakfast/lunch/dinner?" We plan our menus every Saturday morning before I go shopping. Sometimes, if I'm very organized, we plan a two week menu. But even planning for one week makes every day run more smoothly!
- Use "Quick Pick-Ups" throughout the day. My favorite times for quick cleaning blitzes are just before my husband gets home from work, and just before bedtime. Our husbands are so encouraged after a long day's work to come home to a clean house. It doesn't have to look perfectly-scrubbed or pristine-- just tidied up from the events of a busy day at home. It's a kind, little gesture that can show the head of the household how much we care for him. And it also shows our children how much we love and respect our husbands and appreciate all they do for us. When we do a clean sweep at bedtime, we all get the advantage of a hopeful, tidy home in which to wake up!
- Find and implement the systems that work best for YOUR home and family. The same systems will not work the same for every family. Or even be effective for the same family over the years as situations or dynamics change! Laundry, especially, needs a system that will work differently for each family. There are many systems out there, from scheduling a laundry day once a week, to doing a certain amount of loads every day. Just search out a system that works for you and your family right now, and don't be afraid to adjust it as needed.
I'd love to hear about the housekeeping tips that have worked best for you! What homemaking advice would you like to share? Please comment below. I look forward to hearing what has helped you nurture your home and family.
I wish you all the best in your homemaking efforts!