by Jean-Baptiste Robie, Belgium 1821-1910
Sometimes half a day or more is lost doing things that have nothing to do with home keeping. When you find your day slipping away and things that you strongly desire to do, not done, should you abandon all hope and just read a book, or is it possible to rescue the day in some way? Over the years I've known some older homemakers who have given me some useful ideas on how to redeem the time.
by Janet Kruskamp
Make tea. I have laughed at this expression in the past, because it always came at a time when someone was trying to get out of a tight spot. Whether it was decision-making or working out some kind of furniture arrangement, stopping for tea was the immediate reaction when progress was at a stand still. I now see it as a good delay tactic that will allow the mind that is whirling with ideas or problems, to settle down and think more logically. This is a good time to survey the situation and simplify your ideas.
by Janet Kruskamp
Write a list. This, almost more than anything, creates order in the mind and sets you on a path to success. List things you would dearly love to do, and then list the steps from beginning to end, that will help you accomplish this. Listing is part of planning, and planning is half the job done.
Take time to breathe deeply and to pray. One way to relieve stress is to stand up and breathe in slowly through the nose to the count of 10, and then puff your breath out through the mouth, slowly, to the count of ten. After doing this several times, you'll be a lot more relaxed and able to make plans to catch up with your work. Most people do not breathe properly and it has an effect on the mind's ability to handle stress. Go for a walk when you need some time to express your thoughts, your plans and the desires of your heart. His ears are open to the prayers of those who follow him. (I Peter 3:12)
Cottage by the Sea
by Janet Kruskamp
Dress up a little. Even if your day is shot, taking care of your appearance can give you a fresh new start, especially on days when the weather has driven you for cover inside the house. It can seem confining, but if you will dress up and take care of yourself first, you might redeem a little lost time. Dressing up gives your mind the message that you are about to do something important, and that you are ready for work.
Work a little faster than usual, if you have lost part of your time. When you feel you have "all day", it is easy to slip into slow habits of dwaddling while folding things or washing dishes, preparing meals, but if you need to get caught up after having lost your morning, working a little faster can help redeem the time.
Do an extra good job instead of just "getting by". Looking at a clean, streamlined kitchen or laundry room, seeing a sparkling bright bathroom, walking on well-swept floors and having things in order can also lift the heart and give you optimism and hope. A house that is not in order can cause discouragement, and discouragement can cause you to give up and then the house will slide further into disarray. The key to overcoming discouragement is to get something in order, even if it is a corner of the house or a part of the kitchen. When a small part is in order, you'll be stimulated to finish the job.
Surround yourself with loveliness. Sometimes we get so practical we forget to add the soft, pretty things in homemaking that give the heart a lift. After redeeming your day, consider planning and creating a part of a room just for you; in a sense, a "parlor" where you have your favorite comforts, colors, style and design. Most families have adequate cast-offs and old pieces of furniture that could be painted and re-covered for this purpose. This can be a welcome retreat when you need to collect your thoughts and get focused again on your home.
Do not pay any attention to dark skies. There is no use in waiting for the sun to shine. Make your own sun shine by being the light of the home. You are the light of the home when you care for it and make it a lovely place. Christians believe that Christ is the unseen guest in every home, and knowing how he is high and lifted up and holy, motivates us to keep house to His glory. The creation is beautiful, and there are many things we can do in the home to imitate the creation. When there are dark skies, create beauty in the house and think of brighter days.
Prepare for Guests. Anticipating guests is very motivating if you have lost half your day. Most people experience more happiness when serving others through hospitality than when they are invited out. Telling yourself you will plan to entertain a friend after you catch up with housekeeping, will help you get it done with more purpose and a better attitude. Even if it does not work out for someone to visit, your house will be in "viewer" shape and you'll be a lot more uplifted because of it.
Everyone should help . All members of the family should aid in getting the home in order. Everyone should rescue their own belongings from around the house and do their best to lighten the burden for the homemaker. They should all pitch in and try to get the house in order, especially if it is a great concern to the lady of the house. It is a good way to show honor and respect to the woman of the house. When the housework has been neglected and the day is almost gone, the whole family can help gain back that time by pitching in and making it a place that they can be proud of.
Tour your home. It is always enjoyable to walk through your home as though you were a stranger, and even more exciting to take your children through the house and show them where everything has been put, what has been cleaned, why things are arranged this way, and what sort of meaning you have put in the home. You know how energizing it can be to go to a show-home where a group of new homes are open to the public for the purpose of selling them. Often these homes are professionally staged to put them in their most appealing light. Note the things you like about this kind of experience: the space, the light, the comforts, the orderliness, the feeling of warmth and happiness, etc. Do the same thing for your own home. Even if your day is nearly gone, there is still something that can be done before you retire for the night, and think of how delightful it will be to get up in the morning in a beautiful home.
Do one extra thing for yourself that you have been wanting to do when you are finished catching up with housework. Be thinking of a sewing project or maybe just a fireplace mantel arrangement you want to make while you are working. Get your housework out of the way as quickly and efficiently as possible so that you can work on the extra things you love. It is the way you reward yourself when a job is completed.
Either as a motivator or a reward, having something nice to read or look at. Women used to go to a great effort to make picture books from clippings, post cards, calendars, photographs and other things, to place on the coffee table for a time when they needed to be cheered up. I like a favorite magazine, and sometimes just the picture on the cover will make me feel on top of the world.
If you'll choose one or more of these things to help motivate you to redeem lost time, you will find you have not only some time left over to pursue special interests, but you will increase your mental and physical energy.
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