Today I’m sharing 5 tips for being a happy homemaker. I’ve gathered these tips over the last 11 years of marriage, parenting and homemaking. They’ve helped me to create a more peaceful, joy-filled home, they’ve added a new level of intention to each day’s work and they’ve helped me to embrace and enjoy my role as a homemaker. I hope you find them helpful as well!
1. Embrace the mundane
There are times when being a homemaker feels repetitive and mundane, with “nothing to show” at the end of every day. Though I changed dozens of diapers, there are still more diapers to be changed. Though I washed many dishes, there are more dishes waiting for me in the sink. Load after load of laundry needs to be washed, folded, and put away. This can start to feel really discouraging, unless, we embrace the mundane as a teacher and begin to see it in a new light.
The mundane teaches us gratitude
The fact is, there is so much beauty and meaning to be found in the ordinary moments of life. The fact that I spend my days changing diapers, washing dishes, and doing laundry means I have the privilege of raising children, eating food, and have clothes to wear. This shift in perspective re-frames each task as an opportunity to practice gratitude while I serve my family. It changes the narrative from “I have to…” to “I get to…” and opens my eyes to everything God has placed in my care.
The mundane teaches us patience
In Galatians 6:9 Paul encourages us,
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Homemaking and motherhood are a little bit like planting a garden and waiting to reap the harvest. Though I may not always feel like I’m “accomplishing something” on a day to day basis, over time I get to witness the ways that my hard work is, indeed, producing fruit. In addition, the Holy Spirit produces the fruit of patience, joy, and selflessness in my life as I sacrificially love and serve my family. Ronald Rolheiser discusses this more in his book Domestic Monastery. If you’re in the thick of raising young children I would highly recommend giving it a read!
2. Engage the senses
I think this is one of my favorite parts of homemaking! I have the joy and the power to create a home environment that makes my family feel “at home” with each of their senses. Our senses play such a huge role in the way that we experience things!
You walk into a room that’s dark and cold. You want to take off your shoes, but the floor looks sticky and dirty. When you walk around the corner into the kitchen there is a sink full of dirty dishes with flies buzzing around yesterday’s leftover dinner. The trash can is full and smells like rotting melon rinds. You hold your breath and walk into the living room to sit down, but you can’t find a place to sit. The couch is mounded high with laundry, wrinkled in a haphazard pile. The TV is playing in the background but you can’t hear it over the sound of your children bickering. How do you feel?
Now picture this-
You walk into a room that’s warm and inviting. Candles are lit, there are big, cozy pillows arranged neatly on a comfy couch. You walk over to the couch and take a seat. Your body sinks into the cushions and you pull a soft blanket onto your lap. The smell of fresh chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven wafts toward you. You hear the laughter of your loved ones all around you. How do you feel?
The truth is, my home has been in BOTH of these states at times. However, my goal is that my family is able to find rest, relaxation and comfort in our home. I want the experience of living in my home to evoke memories and feelings of warmth, belonging, laughter, satisfaction, peace, and safety.
Here are a few questions I regularly ask myself in regards to my home’s environment:
- How does my home feel?
- How does it smell?
- What does it look like?
- What are the tastes of my home?
- What sounds fill my home?
Here are a few of my favorite ways to improve my home’s environment and create a cozy, welcoming space for my family:
- Turn on some music. I prefer worship music because it helps to turn my mind and heart toward God in gratitude and praise. Even more, when I’m having a bad attitude, or a bad day, I want my children to see me praising God and asking him to give me strength and joy. However, any music that you enjoy is sure to change your mood and the atmosphere of your home. While you’re at it, have a dance party! Moving your body is a great way to release endorphins and to let go of any pent up frustration or feelings of overwhelm.
- Do a 10 minute tidy. Set a timer and clean as much as you can, as quickly as you can. It’s incredible how much you can accomplish in 10 minutes and how much it can help to bring order to a chaotic space.
- Declutter your space. It sounds silly, but when we only keep the things that we enjoy, value, and use; our days tend to run a lot more smoothly. The more clutter you can eliminate, the less you’ll be cleaning up items that you don’t enjoy anyway.
- Light a candle, or better yet, run an oil diffuser. I love to use lavender oil for a calming effect or citrus oils for an energizing, fresh scent.
- Open some windows. Fresh air is so good for you, and outdoor air quality is typically better for you than indoor air quality.
- Bake something yummy, make a nice warm cup of coffee or tea, or blend up a refreshing drink in the summertime.
3. Cultivate peace
We, as wives and mothers, have the power and the responsibility of setting the tone in our homes. There are times when I’m constantly interrupted while I’m running around the house trying to tidy up. I’m mopping, but the baby wakes up from her nap and I don’t get to finish. I clean up the living room, only to find my toddler making a fort out of our couch cushions a few minutes later. If you’re anything like me, it’s so easy in these moments to become irritated, short tempered, or anxious. Doesn’t your family see that you’re trying to create a peaceful home environment?! Why do they keep interfering with all of your hard work?! In these moments, I feel a sense of inner turmoil and frustration.
“I’ve got peace like a river”
Have you ever stopped to consider the words of this song? I always thought it was odd to compare peace to something that moves. Nonetheless, a river continues to move and flow over and around any obstacles that may be in its path. Your home can be pristine, with fresh baked cookies on the counter, but if your inner state might be more accurately likened to white water rapids, chances are, your family isn’t going to be enjoying the peaceful environment you’re working to create. Ultimately, peace is an inner disposition that is not dependent on our circumstances. This is because peace does not come from our outward environment, but from the Lord. When his Holy Spirit is at work in our lives, we will experience His peace.
So how do we cultivate peace?
Scripture tells us in Philippians 4:5-9,
“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
So regardless of what is going on around us, we can choose to remember God’s nearness and to set our minds on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable. When we feel overwhelmed, we can thank God that He is with us in our struggle, and we can ask the Holy Spirit to fill us with His peace.
One of my favorite ways to do this is to “practice the presence of God.” This is just a fancy way to say that you become aware of God’s presence and nearness, and you engage in prayer and constant conversation with him, just as this scripture says. I like to picture Jesus next to me, like we’re together doing whatever I’m doing. In this way, my mind is set on God and I’m aware of his presence, helping me to “put into practice” the things I’ve learned, received and heard, and open to receive the peace that He longs to give me.
4. Work diligently
Sometimes when something feels challenging, uncomfortable or overwhelming, I avoid doing it altogether. The problem is, the more I avoid the hard work of homemaking, the more miserable I become. I look around, dissatisfied with the way things are AND annoyed with myself for putting off what needs to be done.
Proverbs 12:24 says:
“The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor.”
In other words, laziness doesn’t eliminate what needs to be done, in fact, it makes it HARDER to complete the tasks because the work we could have CHOSEN to do becomes work that we are FORCED to do.
Pleasure versus satisfaction
Pleasure is defined as a feeling of enjoyment. Satisfaction, on the other hand, is the fulfillment of one’s desire. Though they may be used interchangeably, there is a differentiation. If pleasure is a feeling, then it’s fleeting and that fleeting feeling will always leave us wanting more. Satisfaction, however, is deeper and longer lasting.
The problem is, our culture has tried to replace the value of satisfaction that comes from hard work and self-discipline with convenience, instant gratification, and pleasure. Sometimes I wish I could snap my fingers and my dinner would be ready or the house could be clean! However, when we want everything to be easy we miss out on the true satisfaction and fulfillment that can only be achieved through diligence, hard work and self-discipline. Why is this?
The theology of work
I believe that it’s because we were DESIGNED to do meaningful work. It’s a common misconception that work was a curse that was given to us after the fall of man in Genesis 3. But, let’s go back to the beginning, in Genesis chapters 1 and 2, and take a look at what Scripture says regarding work before sin entered the story.
“Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
The word rule comes from the word radah in Hebrew which means to “reign”. The word subdue comes from the Hebrew word kabash which can be translated to tame, to bring harmony or to bring order from chaos.
And again in Genesis 2:15
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”
The word for work here is abad in Hebrew meaning service. It’s actually the same word used all over the Bible to mean worship. The second word is shamar translated as to take care of, to protect or to guard.
So, God makes mankind in his image and then commands them to have children, to create families, and to rule, to bring order to, to protect and to serve the wild, beautiful world that we are part of, AND that this work is synonymous with WORSHIP. How exciting is that?! There is work to be done, and God invites humanity to partner with him in the beautiful, satisfying work of taking what God created and ruling over it. So what does this mean for us as humanity, and more specifically, as homemakers?
What you do matters
It means that what you do as a homemaker matters! It means that having children, caring for them, serving your family, and do it diligently is WORSHIP to the Lord!
Colossians 3:23-24 says
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
It also means that there is no delineation between the everyday, ordinary parts of life and the “spiritual” parts of life. All of life is spiritual. All of life is worship, to be used by God, for God’s glory. In fact, I would argue that if you are the parent of small children then one of your primary spiritual disciplines, in that season, is caring for your children. It requires much, but when we partner with God in our parenting, he will use it to form us into Christlikeness.
Once you realize that what you do has eternal importance, and that your work as a homemaker is significant, it can change everything! It has given me such satisfaction in the work that I’m doing, and given me a profound sense of purpose in the little moments of life.
I could say so much more on this, but instead I’ll leave you with another amazing book recommendation. It’s called Garden City: Work, Rest, and the Art of Being Human by John Mark Comer. Highly recommend!
The theology of rest
I don’t feel like I can talk about working diligently without talking about resting as well. Many of us avoid working hard because, truthfully, we’re burnt out. We deeply desire rest, but our culture values work and productivity above all else. This creates a toxic mentality that we always need to be producing something. When we try to rest, we can’t actually relax because we’re thinking about all of the work that needs to be done. Then, when we go to do the hard work of homemaking, we feel unmotivated because we never actually rested. This cycle hinders our ability to be fully present in our work or our rest. But God gave us the solution! He gave us the beautiful gift of the Sabbath. So, let’s briefly talk about what the Sabbath is and why I believe it can be life giving.
“Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”
The Sabbath is a whole day set apart to rest, feast, worship and remember that we are not defined by what we can do or accomplish. It reminds us that our worth does not come from what we produce, but from God alone. This reminder frees us to lay down the burdens of life, trusting that God provides for us and sustains us. What a relief that we don’t have to carry the weight of our life on our own! This practice refreshes the soul and can provide new perspective, joy, strength, creativity and endurance for the rest of the week. Sabbath, then, becomes an integral part of a productive week.
5. Pursue presence over perfection
You probably saw this one coming, but it’s one of the most important things to keep in mind in homemaking and in life! Let us not be discouraged if our homes don’t look like a Pinterest page, or if we aren’t doing a new sensory activity with our kids every day. It’s more important to be present to our children and our spouse, than it is to have everything “perfect.” Giving grace to ourselves on this journey is surely part of being a happy homemaker. When my children look back on their childhoods, I hope they remember that I was present, warm, affectionate, and engaged; not critical, not anxious, and not chasing after perfection. I hope they remember me making mistakes, showing myself grace, and enjoying the beauty of an imperfect life.
Being a Happy Homemaker is a profound witness to this world.
I don’t share any of this to say that I have arrived and I have it all figured out. Quite the contrary – I still have a long way to go, and I ask God daily for joy and grace in this journey. Nevertheless, I strive to be a happy, joyful and purposeful in my homemaking because in doing so, I truly believe that I can be a witness to this world. As the great Mother Theresa said,
“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”
And it’s so true! I believe that as a homemaker, I have a profoundly important job that can bring so much light to this world! May this bring you inspiration and encouragement to be a happy homemaker as well!
What about you?
What are your favorite tips to be a happy homemaker? Share with us in the comments below!
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