Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Tips on Making Your Home a Refuge

"Ahhh. It's good to be home!" my husband said when he returned home from work.

"Are we going anywhere today?" my son asked. 
"No. Today is a stay-at-home day," I replied.
"Oh good!" he responded.

Does your family like being home? Or are they anxious to get out of there because it's not restful but chaotic? A restful, peaceful, home is a refuge for your family. They will love being home, and coming home, and simply being together when the environment and the tone of its management is positive.

So how do you get there? I'll be honest... it takes effort. The second law of thermodynamics is that "entropy always increases" or in other words, "everything tends to disorder". It's true, isn't it? Have you ever seen a child's room automatically stay clean? But a place that is desirable to live in looks welcoming, inviting, orderly, fun, and most of all is full of love and acceptance.

A home that is a refuge is a home where parenting is proactive. Establishing rules ahead of time on playtime and clean-up will give the boundaries. Planning special events, family times, creative times help make home a fun place to be. If you find yourself always playing catch-up, always after the kids who never seem to listen to clean up their messes, or resigning to clutter as status quo, then you are going about home management reactively.

Here are some tips to get turned around:

 *Begin with a schedule of a typical day. Wake people up about the same time each day, and then plan to go to bed about the same time each day. Avoid letting the kids "graze" for their meals. Instead establish three set meal times and do what you can to eat together. 

* In that set schedule there should be times for chores. We usually had a few regular chores in the morning before school, such as making your bed, gathering laundry, feeding the pets, etc. In the afternoon, however, we tackled bigger chores such as vacuuming, dusting, wiping bathroom, etc. And of course, after supper chores always included washing dishes, sweeping the floor, wiping the table, etc.

* Always leave a sizeable chunk of the day for playing and pretending. You can encourage play with proactively pre-planning what they might choose to do by setting out dress-up clothes, tea sets, building sets, cars and trucks, etc. You don't need to set out all of their toys at once, but something different each day.

* After play time there should be a pick up time. Pick-up time can be fun if you set a timer and see how fast they can do it. Be sure to have them pick up all of their toys every day before dinner so your home looks and feels peaceful for a nice meal together. I didn't want my husband coming home from work each evening having to navigate his way across the room as though he needed to hack his way through a jungle so we tried to do a pick up before he walked in the door.

* Plan fun times together. Dinner time is a great time to do fun things - how about a game? How about a discussion on a current event? How about asking everyone to bring a new fact to share? 

* Let your evenings be family times. Read books, play a game (hide and seek anyone?), take a walk, do devotions, sing together. This of course implies that your outside evening meetings and appointments are kept to a minimum.

* I've always hated the title of "housekeeper" to describe what I do (it's HOMEMAKER, thank you!) but admittedly there is a certain amount of housekeeping that you have to do. I found it much more manageable when I allocated the biggies for each day - so for example I mopped on Mondays, changed bedsheets on Tuesdays, etc. So when a dirty floor was staring at me in the face I could let it go knowing I was getting to it on Monday. I preferred to not leave it all for one day. However you choose to do it you absolutely have to keep up or it gets away from you - it's that entropy thing.

* And really... once your routine is established and your children are trained to help it doesn't take long. And then your home looks nice. And looking nice is key. I know this because I noticed that after I cleaned one room the kids would be in there. Then I would clean the room they vacated and as soon as that was cleaned they'd be in there again. You see, they loved being in cleaned spaces! And my husband does too. So instead of harboring bitterness about it, I served joyfully because in the end they all loved being home.

And now for a refashion...

Who wears slips? I do! But they're hard to find in the store because most women don't bother wearing them anymore. I think slips are necessary when you're wearing thin fabric dresses but so many of my dresses that I've recently updated are shorter than my slip! Have you ever had someone whisper to you, "Your slip is showing!" I never understood why people think a slip showing is not socially acceptable but a bra strap or boob is fine. Hmmm.

Anyway... I refashioned a lacy slip so it would fit better underneath my dresses:

I can't seem to find my "before" pic but all I did was cut off the last seven inches of the slip which included a nice lace trim. So I chopped off the lace that was on the bottom and resewed it back on the slip. In essence I shortened the slip by 4 inches.

Now I can wear my dresses with a slip that fits!