I hope all of my fellow Americans had a wonderful 4th of July yesterday! And I hope the hangovers are gentle on you.
For the rest of y’all, I hope you had a wonderful regular pyrotechnic free Wednesday!
I got up early this morning, which is very uncharacteristic of me, and decided to do some personal reflecting as I scrubbed the toilet and folded the laundry. I considered the journey B and I are on, and our own personal paths, and how far we have come. I considered what I have accomplished, and what I have yet to work on. I smiled as I thought about all of the things I have learned in the last 37 months of being a homemaker, and the last 21 months as a wife and homemaker. Some women spend decades as homemakers, with seemingly endless knowledge on topics I have yet to tackle. I could learn so much from them.
We could all learn so much from them.
But today is about what I have learned, thus far. This is about my life before children, a newlywed (When does that phase end, exactly?), a white woman in her mid-twenties discovering herself, and who she wants to be. This is about where I have come from, and what I have done, and what I will do. This is about the mistakes I have made, and the ones I will never make again. Self improvement, more or less.
I am an amateur of simplicity. I long, I yearn, for the basics. I strive to maintain what I truly believe in my heart and soul is pure, and good. I am a traditionalist, I am religious, I am a red blooded conservative American. I am not a feminist. I was raised to love thy neighbor and to refrain from passing judgement. I believe in the golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. I love openly, and I enjoy the company of others. I don’t want a political echo chamber around me, and I don’t want friends who are willing to ignore me simply because of my stance on social issues. We are all loving, caring people. We are all carrying around our own personal soapboxes in our pockets, using social platforms to project our opinions.
We deserve respect for that. It takes a lot of guts to really speak your mind nowadays. The fear of backlash is astonishing.
And we all deserve to be treated kindly, knowing topics are troubling and nothing is black and white, that opinions conflict and it does not mean we are hypocrites, it means we are all complicated, and so are the matters that we care about.
Anyway, enough of the soup and salad. On to the main course:
8 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Homemaking
1. Use rubber gloves. There will come a time when your fingertips get tingly and numb, and it simply just won’t go away. And one day, you will realize just how many cleaning products your hands come into contact with on a daily basis. Protect your skin, seriously. It’s a total game changer for washing dishes, too!
2. Treat it like a job. Yes, you are home, but don’t get comfortable! This is your profession. Dress for it, don’t spend all day in your pajamas. Hold yourself accountable, because you are your own boss. Give yourself lunch breaks, but stick to a routine. Stay on schedule. Occupy your space, and own it. End the day feeling genuinely satisfied that you gave it your all.
3. Get into a routine. Make a schedule, and remain dedicated to it. It’s far too easy to slip up and get off track, and before you know it the house is a mess and you’re feeling overwhelmed trying to clean everything at once. Remember that you can multitask, remember that the washer is hands free, allowing you freedom to cross another task off of your list. And don’t get overwhelmed by daily tasks! If you need to go one at a time, go one at a time. You are your own boss, you make your own schedule, you decide what is worthy of your time.
4. Daytime television sucks. There is some downtime, associated with homemaking. A bathroom only takes so long to clean, and the dryer takes FOREVER sometimes. That’s okay. But honestly, do yourself a favor and turn off the television. Eat your lunch outside in the sunshine, or read a book while you’re waiting on the floors you just mopped to dry. Expand yourself mentally. It’s very easy to get caught up in day to day life and neglect yourself. Use your time wisely, to better yourself inside and out.
5. It is okay to spend money. It is not the end of the world. You can buy yourself a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, you can get that name brand iced coffee you have always loved. You are not simply existing, you are living. Be on top of finances, communicate with your partner clearly (VERY CLEARLY) about budget cutoffs and spending. Money is merely a tool, it isn’t something we should live for but something we should use to live. Do not feel guilty for spending money you did not earn, but be sure to remain balanced. Do not overspend. But don’t be afraid to treat yourself now and then.
6. Exercise feels good. We gain weight, we lose weight, we seem to fuss about it our entire adult lives. Many of us will never feel truly comfortable with the number on the scale, so I’m going to give you some solid advice here: forget about the weight. Do yourself a favor and just focus on health. Physical and mental health both benefit from exercise, and the Mayo Clinic recommends: “As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.” That may sound daunting to some, and it sounds rough to me too. But you can aim for 30, and even if you fall short by 10-20 minutes, you were still up and moving for a period of time. And you are going to feel better for it, I guarantee it!
7. Your home is lived in, deal with it. No house is perfectly clean all the time. No house is perfect. Get off of Pinterest and Instagram, those are fantasy lands. Your home is exactly what YOU make it: a reflection of your family. No one will ever hate you for having clutter on the kitchen counter, or junk mail on the coffee table. No one will truly care if there’s a cup or two, or three, or five, in the sink. You live there, NOT them. This is your space, this is the space your spouse and your children occupy. You have better things to spend time on, honestly. Spend more time with your spouse and your children than with a broom and dustpan. You will be glad that you did, someday.
8. But you weren’t raised in a barn, so do pick up. Keep on a cleaning schedule, and don’t neglect the daunting tasks like scrubbing baseboards or shower tile. The internet is full of schedule ideas, and you’ll benefit from creating your own. I cannot stress this enough: you will feel less stressed out if you dedicate yourself to a cleaning routine that is spread out. Do not cram your days, leave breathing room. Several 5 minute intervals a day of just picking up odds and ends around the house will make your home cleaner, safer, and happier. Because who hasn’t stepped on a Lego, or tripped over a shoe?
I hope these are useful to anyone else out there, I hope I can spare you the pain of having to learn these the hard way!