Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Living Without Unnecessary Stress


Berry Picking
by Franz Leopold Kawalski, German 1856-1932

A homemaker should be free to experience the serenity of her home, and enjoy the work of her own hands. In order to accomplish this, she will have to close some of the doors to the world's demands and stresses. It is easy to turn a deaf ear to bad news and upsetting reports from without, but it is sometimes not so easy to pinpoint unnecessary stress right under the roof.  Outside-world stress is something the average person has no control over, but a homemaker has it within her power to control, reduce or eliminate some of the causes of stress within the home. In this post, I will present some possible sources of stress and practical ways to live without it.

A Cottage Garden
by Alfred de Breanski


Put an end to pressure from other people.  There are those who believe that a homemaker has endless hours of free time and is therefore obligated to take on duties, cares and worries that are not hers and have nothing to do with her immediate duties at home. In an attempt to show Christian compassion, a woman may involve herself in taking on other people's responsibilities to make their burdens a little lighter, not realizing how much time and energy it will take from her, physically, nor how much it may rob her own family of her attention. 

 It is not good to do for others the things that you have never gotten around to doing for your own family. Charity begins at home, and your family is your first practice case in showing charity, benevolence, generosity, service and ministry.

 Sometimes, God-fearing women can be drawn into troubles that are not theirs, and, wanting to help, become neglectful of their own flesh and blood.  If you feel you are overwhelmed, under some kind of stress, are perpetually behind in the things you want to do, or are experiencing pressure of any kind, this is one thing you can legitimately eliminate, especially if you have your own house and family to look after. 

If you have a strong urge to involve yourself in helping someone by looking after their children, cleaning their house, or running errands for them, have a look first, at your own situation:

  • Is your own laundry and ironing completely caught up?
  • Do you have unfinished mending and sewing?
  • Are your meals planned for the day, complete with necessary groceries?
  • Is your kitchen clean and available for meal preparation?
  • In general, are  you satisfied with  the condition of your house (i.e. your homemaking efforts, involving clean, orderly rooms--not perfect, but acceptable to you.)
  • Have you caught up on your correspondence?
  • Do you have regular rest time and leisure time?  This could be jeopardized if it is used to engage in laborious tasks for people who have no interest in your home, or who are able bodied and can look after themselves, have relatives nearby, or who maybe even have more money than you do and could perhaps buy more conveniences which would help cope with the load of their own housekeeping.
If you have answered any of these questions with "no," you may be inviting unnecessary stress into your life by offering to help people who can help themselves, or by taking on other people's problems. There may be stages of life later on when you do not have as much responsibility in your own home,  when you can take on other things,  but if you are experiencing stress, this is one area that can be eliminated, if only temporarily. There is nothing offensive about informing people politely that you need to rest, or that you are guarding your health and your time and will have to decline an invitation or a volunteer job.

Consider carefully the amount of things you do outside the home that may be adding to your stress and find ways to accommodate these needs in the home. Many activities for children can be done at home, and even exercise classes can be held at home by using a video and some simple equipment. If you have an undo amount of stress on you, make your outings only pleasurable and relaxing, rather than obligatory.



Gardening
by Gabriel Gilbert

Teach your family to be sympathetic with the necessity of eliminating unnecessary stress.  There will always be stress, but it is the unnecessary stress that can be prevented.  The homemaker's goals should also be the family's goals. One of the purposes of training children is to make it possible for them to automatically have good habits, good manners and work hard, without the constant prompting of the parents.  When that is achieved, true training has taken place. 

Family members should desire the comfort and happiness of the lady of the house; the homemaker, and should aim to ease her burdens, not heap more on her. They should learn to think the way she thinks, and to care about keeping the house and creating the atmosphere she likes.  Husbands should love their wives and want them to be happy. They are to live sacrifically for their wives, and keeping stress down, is a small sacrifice to make, to have a happy woman in the home. 

When good teaching is wrought into the personalities of the family members, the stress of rudeness, sloppiness and laziness can be eliminated, and the homemaker can use her time and energy and mental strength to tackle other things that must be done.

When it is necessary to take time away from real home making and home living to repeat and teach things over and over, it creates more stress. If the family is not cooperating with your goals to be orderly and clean and efficient and creative in the home, they need to be reminded that these goals are also theirs, for, as the old saying goes, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't no one happy."

Be silent when challenged to answer back to unnecessary arguing, criticism or long, time-wasting explanations.  Sometimes children want detailed descriptions of work related things that take up the homemaker's time, and put more stress on her. Explain that you are currently trying to preserve your strength and get more out of your day, and that you have to be calm, cool and collected, and that they may help you be that way and become the woman God wants you to be, by co-operating, figuring out how best to do what they are responsible for, and how to lift the burdens of the homemaker by exhibiting good habits and manners.

A good post to read concerning the attitude of children in the home, is called "A Child's World," which yields many truths and sayings that were practiced for generations before us.

  A wife and mother may appear to be "easy-going," yet have a lot of stress put on her that tries her good-naturedness and makes her hard to live with. Before children judge their mother's temperament, they should ask if they are doing all they can to eliminate unnecessary stress in her life: remember the instructions that she gave them and do their very best to complete the tasks, above and beyond what is required. If they see something that needs to be done, do not wait to be told to do it, but try to understand what their mother needs for them to do and to be like. This is called "responsibility" and it means that a person can do what is right without being told, and without expecting rewards. Children must learn to be mature, and to relieve their mother of stress.

The Homestead
by Frederick William Witherington



Experience some kind of soothing scenery every day, even if you have to go somewhere else and look afar off.  Scenic drives were once customs of families, when they taught their children how to look at nature and how to appreciate the creation. If it is not possible to go somewhere, at least have a book of scenery that is pleasant to see, or spend a few moments in a scrapbook hobby of collecting scenic pictures and preserving them in a book.  The old folks used to spend time making clippings from magazines and papers, saving the special quips and quotes and scenes and preserving them in day-books. It was a relaxing hobby that brought a lot of enjoyment and kept cares and worries away. Create your own scene outside a window, with a birdbath, a garden, a trellis, or other things, and create a window seat by placing a seating area next to the window where you can look out.  Sometimes looking out at a distance, or looking up at the stars at night, can alleviate stress.



Create at least one room in the house that is free of clutter and the belongings of family members; belongings such as books, games, toys, clothes, writing materials, etc. that should be in another place. I would suggest that this be the front room, living room, parlour, lounge room, or whatever room you see first upon entering your home.  If it is kept in the standard the homemaker really desires, looking at it can do a lot to eliminate the stress she may be enduring from other clutter and unfinished jobs in other rooms.  If she has at least one room that is always clean and nice, she may feel less daunted at other things she is not happy with in the house, and derive from the beautiful sight of one clean room, the inspiration to create more like it.

Make this a room that has a few "impractical delights" and accessories that bring a smile to the face and a leap to the heart because of their beauty or sentimental value or just because you like them. Mentally record the colors or other effects in your home that seem to lower your stress level and make you feel calm and happy.



In the Garden
by Henry John Yeend King


Take care of your appearance and dress your best, before anything else.  This is a way to get into a day slowly. Instead of confronting the day with noise and commotion, the homemaker should take some time to make herself presentable to God, to her family, and to strangers outside of her home. Her appearance says a lot about her feelings and beliefs about life, and feeds back into her mind a message of beauty and order.

 It is harder to feel female if you do not dress like a lady. It does not require that you wear formal clothing. I have shown some examples of cotton dresses women can wear at home, but if you do not sew, it is possible to get modest skirts and dresses from other sources, that are suitable for wearing daily at home. You can dress up and not be formal, and you can feel so much better and less stressed. Take note of the colors and styles that make you feel the least stressed, and develop a way of dressing that gives you serenity.



Eliminate noise and bad news reports if you are under too much stress.  Try a media "fast" and see if there is less stress for you. Radio talk shows, television investigative reports and web news can be a great source of stress if it is accumulated into the mind for a long time, leaving a feeling of unrest and unsolved problems--things which an already stressed person does not need to take on.   Life goes on, even without the news, and although it is impossible to avoid all of it, it is possible to quit deliberately tuning in to it.  Christian women need to be listening to and reading the Good News, not the bad news.  

The Old Window Seat
by George Runway


When necessary, take to your bed, a common practice of days gone by.  Mrs. Minerva, of "The English Home" magazine, writer of an etiquette column, states that when a woman gets too overwhelmed with stress, she should, as our grandmothers did, take to her bed. Get a pile of books and magazines to relax with, and go to bed until you feel sufficiently rested and re-energized.  Put some snacks in the refrigerator for anyone who may need to eat and drink, and find some time somewhere between the hours of one o'clock and five o'clock for rest and re-creation.


Tea Leaves
by William McGregor Paxton , American1869-1941



Take tea every day at three and you will be pleasantly amazed at how much better you feel if you have been under stress. These days there is a marvellous array of specially blended calming herbal teas, and you can add a treat of sliced fruit and cheese, raw vegetable sticks and crackers. Keep a tray all ready, with a tea cup, napkin and a plate for your treats. If you make a ritual of this, you might reduce your stress level quite a bit. Find a feel-good publication and read it while you have some quiet time. Even during tremendous upheaval in some countries during past centuries, tea was taken, to alleviate stress and bring some calmness to daily life.
 
 
Dwell on a small amount of Bible scripture throughout the day, using it to replace fear and gloom, burdens and stress. Learn to sing hymns so that they come to your mind easily, without a book, and so that you may sing them as you work in your house, as you walk outside, and as you journey to and fro about your daily activities. It might not seem effective at first, but after thirty days of  this, you may see a noticeable reduction in your feelings of distress.

Use  the centuries old practice of prayer, a fan and a rocking chair when you cannot shake off stress. The activity of rocking is sometimes helpful, and if you have a rocker on a front porch where you can go outside to rest and pray, it is even better. Women of old were known for this passtime, and there must have been something good about it, for it calmed many a troubled heart and eased distress.
 
Do some small creative thing daily, or continue a creative project that you enjoy. It should be something that is purely relaxing and not put you under stress to complete. Do it for the pure enjoyment of it, not for the practicality or usefulness of it. Whether it is making a gift for someone else, or just learning how to do something new, do it for a creative outlet and for stress relief.

Symphony in Green
 Alfred Stevens
1823-1906, Belgian


Avoid it, pass by it, and turn from it. (Proverbs 4:15)  Test out the stress you feel at home and in public, and avoid the things that seem to intensify it, if you are under extreme duress. Avoid the disrespectful and anything that does not build up. Avoid people who do nothing but tear down or bully others. You'll notice your stress will ease off, for the Bible also says, "Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease." Proverbs 22:10

Make allies of your immediate family and they will be able to help you avoid stress by looking ahead and forsee stress in the form of troublesome people or situations. They can warn and help and waylay social  problems as well as physical problems and household stress, and protect you from unnecessary stress, as they become aware of the causes.

Anticipate stress by learning from bad experiences and avoiding being in the same situations again. 

Do things early, rather than late.  If you have something coming up on Thursday that needs to be done, start preparing for it a few days early, so that the stress will not mount at the deadline.  Some people do not work well unless they are under stress, but others must curb the stress levels so that they do not become immobilized or panic.  Stress tends to accumulate toward the end of the day or near the time when something must be done. You can alleviate it by being prepared early.


These are not the only ways to remove extra stress on a homemaker's life. I have not mentioned things like taking on jobs to make money, that might be adding to stress.  The only thing a homemaker is obligated to do is take care of her own family. If she will do this and leave the earning of the living to her husband, she can alleviate the feeling of being overwhelmed. Not having a provider in the family is another matter, but those who have able-bodied husbands, ought to leave the bread-winning to the men and take care of the house themselves. When a homemaker takes on burdens that are not hers, she quickly fails in the responsibilities that are hers, as her tiredness and stress will overtake her.  There is nothing wrong with making money, but it should not create so much stress that the homemaker cannot get dressed in the morning or function during the day.
 
 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  
Matthew 11:28-30


If a homemaker will concentrate on only doing what our Lord has set forth for her to do: be a wife, mother and a keeper at home, and abandon the pressures of this world to do other things, she will find that the burden is light. There is nothing wrong with earning money, but it should never be at the expense of losing control of your own home and your own domain, which is your own family.

To reduce stress, take control of the things you can, and let go of the things you cannot do anything about. A woman at home should not be harried, discouraged, uncertain, or nervous. She should instead be calm and confident, knowing that she where she matters the most and is needed the most--to guide her home and her household.

I hope you will also read "The Importance of Rest"


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These three posts from another blogger reinforce the theme of reducing stress in your life:


http://andreamomm.blogspot.com/2011/07/parent-or-professional-entertainment.html
http://andreamomm.blogspot.com/2011/09/are-you-ambassador-for-christian.html

http://andreamomm.blogspot.com/2011/09/bombarding-befuddling-and-bewildering.html

See also my post, "The Importance of Rest."

49 comments:

OneMama said...

Thank you for your beautiful post. It was just the kind of relief that I needed today. Thank you for giving me permission to say no, to rest and to put my needs before others so that I may care for others as they require of me.

Your previous posts have been most encouraging and I look forward to seeing an update when I do my 'computer checks' in the evenings of sometimes tough days.

May God bless you as you bless others with your kind and true words.

Mrs Wells

Lara said...

Dear Lady Lydia,
Your posts are always so inspiring! Thank you so much for being such a blessing. It's not easy trying to live as I believe when everything and everyone seems to pull us in different directions. I know God is in control and I always turn to Him but He also uses people like you. Thank you once again.
Many blessings
Lara

Mrs. J said...

Thank you for this gentle and encouraging reminder to "keep our eyes on the prize" as it were - to remember that home is first and we are allowed to pull away from the world.

I appreciate so much your words of kindness and truth - especially today.

~Mrs J~

Ann said...

I recently was laid off from my part-time job and am back home. As we feel the pressure of the lack of income from me, it was wonderful to be reminded of the need for me to let that go and remember how important it is for me to be home. We DID see how I lost control of my duties at home, and even the children's characters have shown negative effects from me being gone for 20-30 hours a week during the 2 years I was working. Your post has affirmed for me the need to leave the money-making to my husband (which is his preference, too!) and be AT HOME, physically and mentally. Thanks so much! :-)

Rocky Mountain Homemaker said...

What a lovely, encouraging post. I try to remember to be compassionate and helpful to others, but not to enable them. Have a blessed day......Denise

Heartshome said...

Just what I needed! I have an unknown neurological issue that I've been living with for four years now. Even though I will frequently "forget" about it and plow through my days trying to get it all done, my body lets me know when I MUST slow down. I spent the last week in bed recovering from the week before. When will I learn? Along comes this beautiful and oh so wise post. I have printed it out and will keep it close to me to remind me of what my days should entail.

Youv'e inspired me to start a book of art and quotes to browse. I love your ideas. My mother always has tea in the afternoon, in fact I spend every Tuesday with her and we always end my visit with tea. I will add this to my everyday schedule as well.

Thank you for your wisdom, your help, and your encouragement.

Heartshome said...

Just what I needed! I have an unknown neurological issue that I've been living with for four years now. Even though I will frequently "forget" about it and plow through my days trying to get it all done, my body lets me know when I MUST slow down. I spent the last week in bed recovering from the week before. When will I learn? Along comes this beautiful and oh so wise post. I have printed it out and will keep it close to me to remind me of what my days should entail.

Youv'e inspired me to start a book of art and quotes to browse. I love your ideas. My mother always has tea in the afternoon, in fact I spend every Tuesday with her and we always end my visit with tea. I will add this to my everyday schedule as well.

Thank you for your wisdom, your help, and your encouragement.

Shelley said...

This was a wonderful post and one that I very much agree with and find areas in my life that I need to work at....I no longer have a husband and children at home but,I do have grown children and grandchildren who visit. I desire to make my home a place they can come home to and be blessed. Thanks so much for sharing this post...I wish all women had this opinion of what is their duty to God and their family. So many more homes would be so much less stressful indeed....many blessings to you dear Lydia.

Anonymous said...

I think I always say this to you, but really, I think this might be one of your best posts ever. A real gem. God Bless You.

~ Ann

LadyLydia said...

I also did not list another thing which may rob the homemaker of her composure and her time: doing things the husband should be doing. Don't clean up his work shop or fix the car, if you do not have things running well in the house with your own duties,and do not solve all his problems if he is able-bodied and of sound mind. There are several widows who read here, who find they MUST do the man's job, but if you do not have to yet, allow the men to do their work and concentrate on your own. Don't make a widow out of yourself before it happens!

LadyLydia said...

When Queens Ride By, is a good story to read (from a play, in the narrative form) for farm women who tend to neglect their homes while helping on the farm. Jennie was so concerned about getting in the apple crop that she neglected her appearance, neglected her children, and never had a meal on the table. After her conversation with a stranger, there was a transformation in her. Her husband, used to seeing her work-weary, worried and stressed, came home to a cheerful, pretty woman who had cleaned herself up and created a delicious meal.

Anonymous said...

Lydia, I would like to add that if you tend to be over stressed and become negative or unhappy, you need to avoid reading the things people post about you on non-Christian sites, and also to stop reading or watching things that have a lot of vile language and sardonic, sarcastic, scornful or scoffing type of attitudes towards Christians. What you take into your mind affects how you feel throughout the day. As an older woman, I cringe still when I see blogs of young people who are sour on life and in a black mood, accusing women at home of being mean or show-offs just because they share things about homemaking. Its best to keep your eye on the goal and ignore the naysayers, who produce nothing but strife. A homemaker on the other hand, does something important each day that adds to family life. When you record it in pictures and scrapbooks, you leave a legacy of love to your children and show others the seriousness and the joy of it at the same time.

Anonymous said...

This was an absolutely wonderful post! As a working woman(wish I wasn't) I have to listen to all kinds of negative things. I know the world is not the greatest place and our nation is terribly bad off but hearing about this day after day really brings you down. I come to Lady Lydia's blog when I need encouragement and relief! This blog is such blessing to me.

Lynne said...

After savoring every bit of this post I just made myself a cup of hot hibiscus tea and am relaxing as I search the long wool skirts on etsy with hope of finding a lovely one at a good price!

LadyLydia said...

Lynn, that reminds me, I did not say anything about treating yourself to something special! It should be done as often as you can, for a perk and reward in your homemaking. I like to look for new tea balls, tea cups, teas, and books. I have a new book at Lovely Whatevers blog with the cutest crochet tea cozy that looks like a flower pot. The book is a neat treat for a busy homemaker. I hope you find the skirt you want and do not have to spend much on it.!

Lydia

LadyLydia said...

to the lady who wrote about negative reports, the nation being in bad shape, etc. There is a system of demoralization, where the media reports the worst, so that the citizen believes his country is so wicked and worthless, he cannot be happy. It demoralizes a person to the point that they don't believe God is working in their lives or in the country or the world, because they only report the bad and the sensational and the fearful--its the old chicken little story of the sky falling! You dont have to believe that this is a such a terrible place. The grocery store shelves are full--is that so awful? the highways are the most well kept in the world--is that bad shape? There is plenty of fabric to go around, and Walmart is still in business. It can't be all "wicked" ! Most families have an income--that is not bad. Most people here live in comfort, without fear. But the media has designs: it wants you to fear and to hate and to dread and to hang your head and not to like your country or enjoy and appreciate the earth that God made. Their design is to defeat you by demoralizing you first. That is why I suggested a media fast . There are so many good blogs you can read about positive and beautiful things people do, and it is great that they share it and try to lift the lives of others through it. So a media fast might bring a big change in the stress level of many people.

LadyLydia said...

If you have a media fast, dont worry that you won't hear about things. I heard about the earthquake in the east before the news media broadcast it, through a blogger friend!!! It was minus all the political things the media weaves into it and lacked the hatred that the media stirs up.

Alexandra said...

Thank you! I needed to read this tonight. I know all this to be true, but I need to be reminded. I should print this!

Jan said...

Thank you for a lovely reminder not to let stress bog us down in life's unfortunate details. I am a homeschooling mama to two boys, one of whom is special needs and has seizures. I find that I can get so bogged down in worry about my son that I am unable to get much done.

I am learning (slowly) to turn it over to God and keep on. I have found that making lap quilts for friends and church members who are ailing has helped me feel better and focus less on my troubles.

Rightthinker said...

Beautiful post..I have written many similar sentiments on my own blog. This idea that being hugely involved with "stuff" going on-even if it's "bible stuff", and overly helpful to others, while our own world falls apart seems pervasive.

May I please link to this article today?

God bless you!

LadyLydia said...

rightthinker, yes of course, do post this ...and send me your link to any article you have about too much church activity. We are commanded to assemble on the first day of the week, but sometimes people make a lot of activities for church members and then the homemakers get the burden of the jobs, since they are home and apparently available and more flexible.

Anonymous said...

Lydia,

I echoe the sentiments expressed by previous commenters; this would have to be among your very best entries thus far!! Being gentle and kind to oneself, being able to recharge, revive and remove oneself from negativity is a must in these times!! Also, your note about proper prior planning is essential. I've a morning coffee to arrange for my husband and a friend of his this coming Friday; The menu and majority of ingredients list has already largely been sorted. I'll get into the tidying tomorrow and prepare the linens etc.

Lemon slice, plus dill scones with cream cheese and smoked salmon (to be served with choice of coffee and either Indian or mint tea (depending upon one's choice).

Its a good excuse to break out the
royal Albert!!

Elizabeth said...

A timely reminder, especially the part about avoiding outside stress. I love to grocery shop, to me it's very relaxing, and finding good bargains is a pleasant challenge. What i dread is dealing with the people who live in my area. Our suburb is home to many of the stereotypical people you see on t.v...ie; Jersy shore, Real Housewives, etc. Mind you I don't watch that stuff,but dealing with alot of these self centered awful mannered people can take a HUGE toll on me. Lately I have been utilizing a "shop from home" service, and just run into the store to pick up the order. It cuts the stress way down, and is worth the $5.00 it costs to have the store pack it. I resent having to dread leaving home, because as I get older, I find I have less tolerence for the ugliness of this world.

Rightthinker said...

Ah, Elizabeth, I can certainly relate to you!

I feel that each and every time I leave my home, no matter what the purpose, I am assaulted by horribly mannered people, rude, vile, sinful exploits everywhere.

I truly also love grocery shopping, as well. It's really relaxing, and the fresh start for the next week..yet, it is increasingly difficult, stressful and wearing to even venture out these days!

God Bless, and you are not alone!

LadyLydia said...

I forgot to list good food and dining, rather than standing over the sink eating a sandwich, or standing in front of the refrigerator drinking something quickly from a carton. It cuts down on stress when human beings dine, rather than forage.

I find with last minute pressure, that it began years ago when I recovered from illness. I found I had a small amount of time left to get something ready for a deadline, and then, because I managed to do it on time, even under stress and rushed conditions, I picked up the habit and then it was hard to break. If something needs to be finished on Friday, I need to begin it on Monday. It makes good sense to shop for the ingredients and get the house cleaned up and be ready early, and then all you have to do is get out the china.

LadyLydia said...

Yes, you can now pay a small fee and have groceries delivered to you. I know what you mean when you say you feel like retreating in the face of all the bad manners and ugliness and worldliness. Sometimes Saturday mornings, early are a good time to shop, because it is usally not as populated. Or, Monday mornings, early. Some stores are not as busy at the evening dinner hour.

Shopping on the web is enjoyable and stress free if you are getting something you enjoy, as opposed to trying to find a part for a broken dryer or a piece to repair something ;-(

Anonymous said...

Very wise post. I find that my behavior and mood sets the tone of my household. I get up early and make sure we have a calm, pleasant family breakfast. I taught my children to lay out their clothes and pack their backpacks the night before so there is no morning scramble to get ready. If we oversleep or something goes wrong, I tell my kids it is always important to have a "plan B"--if they miss the schoolbus, I drive them to school and don't fuss about it. I don't expect my husband to help with the morning routine--instead, he eats breakfast and reads the newspaper or spends a little time online relaxing before he leaves for work. My goal is to have everyone leave the house feeling that they had a pleasant start to the day.

After the family leaves, I have a cup of tea, clean up the breakfast dishes, and go for a walk. I love walking in the early morning. When I get home, I spend a couple of hours on housework and get the supper preparations done before lunch. My goal is to have most of my work out of the way by one o'clock, then I read or work on a sewing project or occasionally meet a friend for lunch. By the time my kids get home, the house is neat, supper is cooking, and I can supervise their homework, take them to lessons, and encourage them to play with their friends outside before supper. We keep the tv and computer off to make the house peaceful.

We eat at 6:30, and I set food aside for my husband if he can't make it home by then. The kids play board games or they get to spend 30 minutes on the computer while I tidy up the kitchen. Then they get ready for bed and read.
By then, my husband is usually home and eats dinner. The kids get some time with him before bed and then he gets to relax for a few hours before we go to bed.
His workplace is very stressful right now with layoffs coming, so I try to make home a peaceful place and not complain about small issues or petty annoyances in my life. I am being very careful with my household budget because it is important for him to know we will be okay, even if he gets laid off from work.

Our homelife isn't perfect and many times I have to resort to "plan B" to keep things on an even keel. I do find that I am happier and less stressed when there is order and routine in our day. My husband and kids do better too.

My grandmother was one of the wisest women I have ever known. When I was first married with a new baby, I complained to her that my husband "goofed off" on weekends while I had to do all the housework and child care. I resented it when he went out with friends and left me home. She smiled and said, "Your resentment will poison your relationship. You need to build some leisure time, fun, and rest into your weekly schedule. If you create some time to enjoy yourself during the week, you won't resent his having time to enjoy himself on the weekends."

My grandmother was married twice and both marriages were long and happy. I took her advice and I built leisure time into my daily schedule.

LadyLydia said...

I agree you have to have small rewards throughout the week, and not just wait til the weekend to "goof off." While washing dishes, one can think about something she wants to do, or shop for that is lovely. I always look forward to getting my house cleaned up enough to have someone over for tea, or to get my sewing out and cut out a new dress or make some little thing for someone. Or, its always fun to think about making stationery and writing letters when all the work is done.

Elizabeth said...

So nice to know i'm not the only one! Thankyou for all the encouragement. I have also found that, like anonymous, it's best to follow a schedual to avoid stress. Then everyone knows what to expect, and when to expect it. I am also sure to treat myself to something special...I love' Mrs. Meyers' lemon verbena dish soap. It is divine,and since I love to wash dishes.. I find it soothing to hear the water, feel the heat on my hands, and get that gorgeous smell. Sometimes it's the small things that help. So does having a place to 'talk it out'.

Unknown said...

I see I really have a lot of work to do here. My home right now does not leave any area for me. My prayer is for God to hear my need or a better home. It seems I have fully taken to my bed lately.May God's mercy smile down on us all.

Anonymous said...

Your post could not have been more timely. I thought you were speaking directly to me! I have been up late too many nights to complete projects that with a bit of preplanning I could have avoided. I believe this time I have actually made myself physically ill and exhausted. Learning to take care of my families needs first and say no to some things is something I am really working on.

Do you have any suggestions for building up the immune system when one has neglected it?

Also, I have been working on paying more attention to my wardrobe, hair, makeup etc. My husband deserves it! I would love to hear your ideas on beauty products, both homemade and purchased. Also, hair styles that are flattering to someone a bit older. It seems as my 50 birthday is approaching I find my hair and skin changing and I am not sure how to deal with it. My hair is much more dry and hard to manage, and my skin appears dull and lifeless.

Any suggestions you could give would be much appreciated.

May God bless you and you have blessed me with your writings.

Anonymous said...

I understand the feelings of the anonymous poster who doesn't have a space that feels like her own in her house. I understand--I am the only woman in a household of men and my husband dislikes "frilly and feminine decorating." I carve out some space for myself with small touches to make the house feel homey--fresh flowers on the kitchen window sill, a clean white cloth on the table, seasonal salt and pepper shakers and kitchen items passed down to my by my grandmothers and mother (a perfectly seasoned cast iron pan that belonged to my great grandmother and my grandmother and the everyday dishes that my grandmother put on her table for example). I have created a reading corner in my living room with a comfortable chair, a round oak table with a beautiful lamp, amd a stack of library books and my sewing basket stored behind the chair. The dining room is my special space--I bought the table, chairs, and buffet at a thrift shop decorated with china and pictures handed down from my grandmothers and great aunts, and sewed curtains for the windows. I would love to decorate the house in feminine style and create the perfect country kitchen, but I am not in a stage of life where that is possible. I work to make my house clean and neat, enjoy the "little touches" and keep an inspiration folder of pictures torn from home decorating magazines to dream over in my bedside table. You might feel better if you create a small space, even just a windowsill or a shelf in your kitchen, that feels like your own."

LadyLydia said...

I also want to add that there are different kinds of stresses, and some of them are good. The good ones are the pressures you get to do something that is important to you and that you are determined to do, no matter what. The bad ones are the stresses and pressures that you get by trying to do something you probably should not be doing: too much running to and fro for other people outside of your true responsibility, confrontations with troubled people who put pressure on you to abandon your home life, and people who just make your throat constrict and your blood pressure rise. As a homemaker, I know it is easy to try to solve everything for people, but some situations are best left alone, and seem to work themselves out without help.

LadyLydia said...

building the immune system: this is a subject worth studying, and hopefully, I can provide some links for good reading on it.

Hairstyles for over 50: I have been asked for ideas several times and would love to know someone who is a hairdresser that really "dresses" hair and can deal with longer hair.

Anonymous said...

This is the best post you've ever written, and all your posts are so very good to begin with! I always read your blog, although I rarely, if ever, comment.


I especially like and agree with keeping the parlor clutter free. Even if I feel the rest of my house is falling apart, when I walk into my clean, uncluttered parlor I feel peace washing over me.

Thank you so very much for writing this post!!!

in His peace,
Miriam

Hi, I'm Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

This was one post I really needed to read. I praise God for bringing me here.

I could not answer "Yes" to many of the questions. I do need to work on my own home and will not feel bad now about doing so.

Thank you for the gentle reminder!

In regards to your mantle. Sadly I am not lucky enough to have a mantle in my own home. But a favorite blogger of mine just recently hosted a mantle party. I just know you will find inspiration here:

http://theletteredcottage.net/ideas-for-fall

Anonymous said...

Your blog is one of my favorites, so I was dismayed when I could not access it by Google a few days ago. I used to Google "home living" and it would be in the top three results. Now, I don't see it anywhere on Google. I don't know if someone has done something to you on purpose or what is going on, but I wanted to make you aware of it. I finally went through a bookmarked "favorite" page to get here and was so happy to see the blog still exists! It occured to me that the search engine Google may be the problem, and when I tried to access this blog via Yahoo, I was able to. I could be making some kind of mistake, but I don't think so and I wanted to make you aware of this.

Thank you for this blog. I am so happy it is still here!

Unknown said...

Thank you to the kind person who posted back to what I said about not having a space. For us it is a big lack of space factor. We are renting a very nice home and waiting on God to bless us with our own home that fits our family needs. I keep you all in my prayers. Our home is so small and nees many repairs. I spend a lot of my time working on the home so that it does not fall down. But I praise God that he has given us this place.

Unknown said...

"building up the immune system"
I see a wellness doctor. He states it helps it you take Iodine, vit-D, vit-C, and a probiotic. This helps you with feeling better and energy too. Hope this helps you. We do not give our children shots so we love our wellness doctor.

Anonymous said...

I would like to share a stress reliever that helps me so much. I have started doing some of the paper crafts on this site - with such success I am so excited! I made
"A Book From a Box" craft - only I put drawings of little girls on the pages and cut little clothes from snips of fabrics and packaged little laces, buttons and so forth and titled the book "Emilliegh's fashion book. I gave it to my 5 year old granddaughter and she loved it! I gave a glue stick with it. I made the book out of a little dog treat box. So fun! The other night I made a letter for grandchildren hundreds of miles away with Lady Lydia's pattern of a butterfly. This is a great way to gently recover my sanity and yet it is so frugal because it's all with stuff on hand.
Thank you Lady Lydia for inspiring ideas!
blessings - carol

LadyLydia said...

Children love those hand made books! It is fun to get stickers to put in them or to find dimensional things for them to touch and appreciate. I have not made one of those books in awhile, and your comment makes me want to do another one. I quite forgot about the butterfuly shape letter paper. I must think of some other shapes and create patterns for you here.

I heard of a doctor who told his patients to do something creative each day with their hands, whether it be art or a craft or sewing, etc. He believed in creativity as an aid to healing.

Anonymous said...

I have seen the beautiful old books of collected pictures of scenery and poetry and such. I thought it quaint but did not realize the idea behind it. I know that this is one of your ideas I would find useful to do. When I look through the older Victoria magazines I know how relaxing they are. I am definitely going to start a book. Wonderful post Lady Lydia. So inspiring and informative. Sarah

LadyLydia said...

If you photo copy magazine pages on better quality paper, it glues in better without wrinkling, in a little book. Other sources are clippings from old greeting cards, scrapbook supplies andparts of church bulletins.

Anonymous said...

What a great post! May I sugggest a delicous herbal tea for the afternoon tea time? Celestial Seasonings True Blueberry is really delicious. It contains hibiscus and rose hips, blueberry leaves and flavoring aomong other (seemingly natural) ingredients. It has such a lovely color and fragrance, too. I haven't tried this yet, but I think it would be delicious iced and perhaps sweetened a little for children-instead of those packets of drink mix with artificial coloring. My sons are grown now, so I can't test it on children:)

Anonymous said...

Hi Lydia,

thank you for your timely post on living without unnecessary stress. I wrote you a letter about it and thought I should comment on your blog because I don't see anything about this sort of stress written yet.

My husband's father is elderly and home with Hospice care now. Hospice is a wonderful service to families who want to take care of their dying member at home. They have visiting nurses come bath, administer some meds and do some care, a chaplin, medication packets, hospital beds and comfort items. We have made some really great friends with these people. And the service is a free service. There is no life saving measures like in a hospital. Just comfort meds and service until they pass away.

Having a dying family member is stressful, but Hospice is a great comfort to family as well as to the patient.

My mother inlaw is caring for her husband during the day. I take the night watch and care for him in the llpm to 8am hours. One or two nights a week a neighbor comes to stay with him and gives me a break.
Neighbors and family near and far have come to visit. This makes my father inlaw very happy.

Your advice about dwelling on small amounts of Bible scriptures and singing worship and praise songs help a lot to get one's mind off fear, gloom, burdens and stress. It also puts things into perspective, gives hope, can adjust attitude and make one more cheerful even in the storm of stress.

Thank you Lydia for sharing what the Lord puts on your heart. It is most timely.

Mrs. J.

Far Above Rubies said...

Excellent article, Lady Lydia. Thank you, again.

Blessings,

Jasmine

Mrs. V. said...

Lydia, I want to say a big "Amen" to everything you have written in this post and the ones before it talking about resting and not allowing the stress in. I have been quite ill for a solid month now and putting these types of things into practice are how I have made it through. I still believe it best for me to turn away from negative media (no matter how many nasty comments I get about that decision!) and to spend the energy God gives me to take care of my family to the best of my ability. I can't imagine homemaking, raising my children, dealing with illness, and then wanting to pile on outside stress and constant activity on top of it all! It's so nice to see someone who thinks in a similar way. Blessings to you ~~

Anonymous said...

Your blog is very soothing ~ and encouraging. Thank you so much.

~Sarah

Alexandra said...

Foods to build the immune system for the over 50 crowd(or approaching 50):

http://www.whfoods.com/foodadvisor.php

I've moved the spices mentioned at this site to the front of my cabinet. There's a food test you can take as well. The recipes are helpful and there are food plans. All are free and use everyday food, nothing exotic or hard to find.

For older hair, I use goat milk soap(softens and is gentle), and let my hair go grey. A old fashioned rinse like Roux Fanci-full Rinse can help make the grey look pretty(non-yellowing). Mine gets silver with the rinse and looks very nice! It's hard to find now; I get it online. Sally's has it. I use Ultra White Minx. As we age our face gets paler, so the paler hair(less brassy) complements. In the past, I used red henna to cover the gray, but eventually the contrast make me look unnatural, so I gave into the grey. Natural and soft(shapes and colors) always looks better on older women.

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