"Establishing and caring for a home is so much more than a decorating dilemma or an organizational challenge or a call to love one's family! It is a commitment of heart, mind, and soul to the task of subduing (making productive) a very specific part of the earth--the domain of the home. It involves teaching minds and nurturing hearts and shaping souls, in addition to getting the rugs vacuumed and dinner on the table!"--Sally Clarkson, The Mission of Motherhood: Touching Your Child's Heart for EternityManage: transitive verb
1: to handle or direct with a degree of skill: as a : to make and keep compliant <can't manage their child> b : to treat with care : husband <managed his resources carefully>
c : to exercise executive, administrative, and supervisory direction of <manage a business>
2: to work upon or try to alter for a purpose <manage the press>
3: to succeed in accomplishing : contrive <managed to escape from prison>
4: to direct the professional career of <an agency that manages entertainers>
As home managers, we do all of the above. We handle and direct our homes with (ideally) ever-increasing degrees of skill, we treat it (and the people within it) with care, we exercise supervisory direction of all that goes on inside, we have a purpose for our work beyond what the eye can see, we aim to succeed in accomplishing our goals, and--despite what society thinks--homemaking is a professional career!
I've always thought of home management as working hard to keep up on what needs to be done (trying to stay afloat) in order to bless my family, but I've never really thought of it as a stress-reduction system--until I read Sally Clarkson's insight in The Mission of Motherhood: Touching Your Child's Heart for Eternity.
"My purpose in organizing my household is not to live up to some external value system, but to make life easier and more peaceful for the whole family. I have learned that I can reduce the anxiety we feel by reducing the stressors, at the same time knowing that they will never totally go away...Sally believes the three biggest stresses fall into the categories of stuff, information (papers), and time. Making a specific plan to effectively manage each of these areas, daily and a "purge" day every few months, can help tremendously to lighten our subconscious (or perhaps very conscious!) stress level, thereby creating a more peaceful feeling in the hearts and minds of each of our family members.
Effective home management can do a lot to reduce the stress in our families. Once I began thinking of home management as stress reduction, I found it much easier to pinpoint the areas in my home life that needed attention and to come up with a plan for reducing the stress."
For me, one of the areas that is causing the greatest stress is laundry. Not getting it washed or dried, but getting it put away. Actually, even that isn't so hard...but the bottom of each basket contains what I'll call a "layer of sediment"--assorted mismatched socks, outgrown clothes that need to be given away, out-of-season clothes that need to be packed away. The bottom third of every laundry basket I own is filled with this kind of stuff; I just need to intentionally take time this week to deal with it. While what's lurking in the bottom of the laundry baskets doesn't bother anyone but me, everyone will enjoy a more peaceful home when this task gets done, because I'll feel more peaceful, and thus, they will, too.
Everyone in our family--especially our husbands--probably has different problem areas that really bother them and make the home less of the restful haven it should be. In Large Family Logistics, Kim Brenneman quotes organizational and homemaking expert Emilie Barnes' advice of asking our husbands daily if there is anything specific we can do for them that day. I would modify by encouraging us to ask specifically what in our homes our husbands would most like to see us do, if we could only do one extra project each day.
May we intentionally look this week at ways we can improve our home management and thereby decrease our stress!
(linked to the Homemaking link-up at Raising Homemakers and Deep Roots at Home)