Homemaking Part 1

I am reading a wonderful inspirational book about homemaking titled The Life Giving Home. It really gives some great suggestions for making a house a home and making sure that the home environment you have created for your husband and children is one of warmth and relaxation and unconditional love and acceptance. There is so much from this book that I want to write about. Mostly good stuff. But I’m going to start out with a post about some aspects of the book I cannot relate to.

The book emphasizes making your home warm and hospitable for everyone who comes to stay or comes to visit. Almost no one comes to stay with us and we almost never have visitors. I am an introvert, but beyond that my husband is downright antisocial. When I want to have visitors over and do something social and welcome people in, he does not want to. So if I’m creating a good home environment for my family it will realistically be one that does not have the doors open to people who are outsiders. Pleasing my husband must come first and he does not want our home to be the center of any entertaining, at least not any entertaining that he has to be a part of.

I would like to have friends over now and then and I can when my husband is not home. But when he is home or if it is a couples activity it simply doesn’t work. But my husband accepts me with all my quirks, and I need to accept him as well. The most important thing is that I create a home that is beneficial for my husband and my daughter. My husband benefits most from having a place to retreat from the world and social interaction, and so I want to create a home filled with things that he loves to do and things that he likes to look at in order to create an environment of peace for him.

Someday, if I have the pleasure of becoming part of a creative community, I would like to be able to welcome other creatives in the my home and discuss books and art. I would like to provide finger foods and nice little drinks, and make my rather extensive library available to anyone who is interested. But I don’t know if I will ever be part of such community. It is so hard to meet people. And if I ever am, for the most part it would probably be best if I attended gatherings at other peoples’ houses unless my husband gave me the okay to hold some get-togethers at our house. Making my husband feel at ease in his house, making it a place that he enjoys coming home to and relaxing in, is priority number one. Essentially, making it a home for him is vital. So that is one type of advice in this book that I personally would have to say has to be ignored for some of us. Whatever you are doing to try to make a home you have to base it upon the needs of your individual family, and my husband needs a retreat from the world. He likes to come home to his loving family, and generally speaking, to no one else.

The other thing that strikes me is all the fancy traditions that the writers of the book, a mother and daughter team, talk about as being important. Of course they suggest developing your own traditions but the amount of work and creativity and thought that goes into some of these things that they do is astounding. Some of them are easy things that I already do, like saying to read your children books. I already read my daughter books. But some of them are elaborate Valentine’s Day projects and elaborate meals and tons of decorating for the holidays. I like to decorate for the holidays a little bit. I do enjoy the holidays. But I have poor organizational skills and I don’t like to overload my house with supplies for any given holiday because then I have to cope with the anxiety of taking it all down and finding a place for it. As for fancy meals, we are people who order pizzas. I’m a horrible cook and my husband, who actually likes cooking, still prefers take out or eating out most of the time. I want my daughter to have fine memories of our meals together so I need to find a way to make them sweet and intimate without necessarily being Gourmet. I am thinking that we should make a habit of praying before meals when we eat out in public. I know about that verse that says not to pray in public like the Hypocrites but to keep your prayers private, but I don’t think that it applies to this as long as we’re praying quietly at our own table. And she and I cuddle a lot when we go out to lunch or dinner so we spend some good time together. When we eat at home I think it would be good to start eating at our lovely little dining room table more often. I want Angelica to have beautiful memories of family meals around that table.

I need to get more creative with the stuff that we do together, Angelica and I. But I am just not what you would call a Pinteresting person. Hand me a pile of popsicle sticks, construction paper, doilies, and watercolor paints and I’m just going to look at you with a confused expression in my eyes. So much of what these women suggest doing is very creative. And I consider myself a creative person. I am a poet. I write poetry all the time. And periodically I practice art. Soon I will be taking up abstract painting. But what I guess it comes down to is not that I’m not creative, but that I do not think like a child. I am not childlike at all. It’s just not in my nature. So I don’t look at kids craft supplies and think we could make this fun activity that would last all month long. I am horrible at coming up with stuff like that and to be honest I don’t really enjoy it. When Angelica gets old enough to tell me that she has developed particular interests of her own, I’m going to try to share in those interests with her so that we can bond. But as long as it’s all on me to come up with things I don’t think it’s going to happen. Plus I’m not sure how good the memories will be if we’re doing something that I actively dislike. I want to build fond memories for my daughter, but I also want to remember having a good time with her and if I have to spend hours preparing something I barely know how to prepare and making it awful at that, I feel like the memories will be marred. I feel like on some level she will know that I did not enjoy it and that I did not want to do it. Kids are perceptive that way. I’m hoping to involve her in things that I like to do, like painting and scrapbooking. I am thinking of starting a stamp collection and maybe she would want to do that. And of course like I said if there was something particular that she wants to I would be glad to do it with her. So if she decides that she wants to take up dance or tennis or softball, I will participate as much or as little as she wants. I will be at every recital and game. But I just don’t have it in me to come up with kids’ projects.

I do want to make sure though that Angelica is enjoying her childhood. I want to make sure this home is a place of joy for her as well. She has a lovely room with lots of toys and parents who adore her. Are there any memories I could make with her with my skill sets that might actually be special to her and that she would get something out of? That’s what I have to figure out and give some thought to as I go through this book. I will never be that crafty cutesy mom. I admire women who are that way but it just isn’t me. I have to design a home life where my family will grow and thrive, but I need to find a way to do it within the scope of who I am. I don’t know how to be anyone else. And it needs to be a restful haven for everyone in the family, including me.

Inspiration For Housework

Sometimes it is easy to forget that everything we do we are supposed to do to the glory of God. We are supposed to be joyful in our work. Lately I don’t think I have been joyful enough. The Bible says that all labor is profitable. I should take more joy in my work.

God doesn’t just task us to move mountains. He tasks us with moving mountains of laundry also. When I sweep the floor I should sweep it to the glory of God. When I clear the counters I should do it happily.

Sometimes we do things so much that they become completely mundane to us, whether it is office work or housework, but housework especially seems to fall victim to this. I know it does for me (although I don’t have office work). If you are a stay at home wife or a stay at home mother, you should take special pride in housework as one of your primary responsibilities. Sometimes, though, it is so hard to feel inspired. I mean, some days I wake up in the morning eager to get started. I am not skilled in homemaking, but the basic things I can figure out and am happy to do some days. Other days, I don’t want to touch housework. It’s my job, and I don’t want to do it. It’s not my only job, or even my primary job. My first job is to raise my daughter. It is, however, a very important job.

How can I get more inspired? Today I’m actually pretty inspired already. I organized my new vanity, started organizing the bathroom, started laundry, and I have more projects planned. But other days my well runs dry. I feel depleted and housework seems dreadful.

This is not a post that will give you the perfect answer to your housework inspiration woes. But I do have a few ideas that I plan to start using myself.

  1. Blogs. There are a lot of homemaking and housework blogs with tips, and more importantly, inspiration. Sometimes that inspiration comes from seeing pictures of beautifully organized and put together homes. But more often, for me at least, since I don’t aspire to perfection, I think I would benefit just from following the blogs and reading the articles. Just reading about how important homemaking is, or possible to do lists, or to hear a diary of someone’s day homemaking can be inspiring. So I need to find some good blogs and follow them.
  2. Facebook. Now hear me out. Most of the time facebook is a time suck that distracts you from your housework. But I’ve recently discovered that there are homemaking and stay at home mom groups to help inspire you and keep you on task. There is a group called SAHM Motivational Group, for instance. I’ve joined and slowly been gathering inspiration from there. I am going to look for others as well. Facebook is like any other tool. It can be a drain or a positive in your life. Make it a positive.
  3. Books. I am only beginning to explore this as well, but there are books out there about homemaking and books to encourage homemakers. I hear Martha Stewart has a great one with checklists of what needs to be done and how often. I probably wouldn’t go all out with everything on those checklists. I’m not really striving to have a Martha Stewart type of house. But it could give me a good starting point to work with and maybe make me consider things I’d never thought of trying before. There are books out there, and it might be inspiring and instructive to read them. Some women have an inborn knack for homemaking. I do not. So I stand to learn something.
  4. Have a friend hold you accountable. I’m not sure if any of my friends would be willing to do that, but if someone is that would be great. It would make housework a little less lonely. That is the problem sometimes with housework I think. It is lonely. People who work in offices have camaraderie.

I am going to try these thing in earnest and see if they help me get more done, and equally importantly, if they help me do my housework with joy to the glory of God.

Cleaning Up and Clearing Out

I have so many arts and craft supplies that my once homey craft room / office has begun to feel cramped and chaotic. It makes me not want to spend time in there anymore. And the truth is I don’t use most of the art supplies. I have to face the music. I don’t have any talent in art and so I will buy a new material to use and try out, and then I will not use it again. I’ve gotten a lot of enjoyment out of my art supplies in the past. The room also used to be really organized. One of my friends organized it for me one time and made it absolutely beautiful. I still have her sticker filing system in place, among other things. But the fact is I don’t have very good executive functioning and I’m not good at maintaining organization. So many projects require you to pull out so many materials and then I just don’t remember where everything goes back into or I can’t get everything back the way it was and soon the place is a wreck. So I’ve decided to scale down. I am only keeping my stickers, which include the flower embellishments and the letter stickers, my scrapbooking paper, and of course my photos. Everything else must go. I want to be able to display art that I own and collectibles that I own and use the space as an office for writing and other activities. When I scrapbook I want to have a lot of open desk space to use.

Adding fuel to my fire is the fact that we are moving at the end of February. Now the Navy will pay to have the movers pack up your house for you so I don’t actually have to pack the stuff. But if it’s not fairly neat and organized I have heard stories about them refusing to pack for people and coming back later expecting the place to be redone. I don’t want to be in that situation of having 24 hours or so to organize my house I’m having to Rack my brain as to how to do it. Much of the house is going to require Craig help because it is Craig’s stuff and I’m not the type of wife who will throw out her husband stuff without permission. But everything of mine I’m going to start going through and seeing what needs to be thrown out and what’s really important to me and should be kept. Perhaps some things that were really important to me and brought me a lot of joy in the past, like the art supplies, no longer bring me the same Joy. Perhaps certain outfits I used to love no longer fit or certain handbags I used to add or have gotten kind of old and worn out. I need to start clearing stuff out of here. I’ve got 6 bags of Arts supplies to be tossed or sold. Who knows what else I can gather. And I plan to enlist the help of friends and family and maybe also the nice lady who cleans our house to get this place ready for the move. When we get to Colorado and have to unpack I don’t want it to be a nightmare. I want an amount of stuff that will easily fit into a slightly smaller house, which is what we’re going to, and I do not want to have to unpack anything superfluous. There are several spots in my house that tend to be messy and unorganized and I don’t want to haul that messiness with me across the country to a new state.

Moyock, North Carolina

I’ve decided to write about Moyock, North Carolina in the hopes that I might meet other bloggers and writers in Moyock, Elizabeth City, and the surrounding area in Currituck and the Outer Banks. Whenever I read my blogging magazines I’m always struck by how many bloggers meet other bloggers and crafters because they find out from one another’s blogs that they are writing from the same place. I’d love to meet another blogger in Moyock. Surely there must be one, although it is a small town. But I can’t be the only one here dreaming out loud on the internet.

I blog from deep in Moyock in a little yellow cottage with white shutters and a room over the garage. It is a new house with lots of windows. We built it from the ground up, choosing the floor plan and the cabinets and counter tops. My rooms are all bright, from the bright, pure white of the living room to the neon green of my craft room, the neon orange of the laundry room, and the sexy red of my master bedroom. Next I want to paint the FROG grape purple, and paint a bathroom dream blue.

On cold winter nights I enjoy the clear view of the stars that Moyock has. In Virginia Beach, where we used to live, you can hardly see any stars from all the light pollution. But here in Moyock you can see thousands of stars.  I also like the large lot sizes. It’s nice to be in a neighborhood but yet still have so much space.

Of course, living in Moyock has also been an adjustment. It is the most rural place I’ve ever lived, and two years into being here I’m still not used to having to drive 30-40 minutes minimum to go to the places I want to go. I drive a bit more than an hour to go to my favorite beach. It takes me an hour to get to my parents’ house. But I do love the quiet, the space, and the seclusion.

Are you dreaming, crafting, parenting, blogging, or doing anything else interesting from Moyock, North Carolina or near there? If you are, I hope you get in touch. Comment or email me.