Monday, April 25, 2011

Thirty Days of Work in the Home

Unless you are single with no roommates or other family members around, you share your home with others. As with any other organization, some members will be highly motivated to work and others will need a little inspiration. Plus, not all members will do things in exactly the same way.

Since the woman is often the full time keeper at home, she may be the first to notice when things need doing. Since opposites attract, married couples often experience the following:
1) The husband is naturally neat and thinks in an organized fashion, while the wife has to work harder at it. 2) The wife is naturally neat and thinks in an organized fashion, while the husband has to work at it. When you add children and, perhaps, grandparents or other people staying in the home, things can become complicated!

What's a home keeper to do? Here are some ideas:

1) If you do live alone for some reason, do little things to make life special for you. It will be easy to think, "No one really sees how I live. I'll do only the basics." However, your residence will feel homier if you do add sweet little touches, such as soft music, a candle burning, or a flower. Plus, if you keep a house that makes your own heart sing with joy to come home, you will be ready to show hospitality to others.
2) If you are married and your husband takes a great interest in how the domestic side of your life runs, don't take it as a slam on your own home keeping skills. Rejoice that you are likely married to someone who will hang up his slacks and throw his socks in the hamper. If your husband can more quickly see how things can be organized efficiently or how you can cook or clean more effectively, rejoice that your husband can help you. Of course, if you feel that your husband's expectations of your performance in the home are unrealistic or that he is overbearing, you may need to discuss this with him or even get help from wise counselors. Otherwise, you will likely find a way to work together that will bring great satisfaction to you both. You can find a way that you feel comfortable shining as keeper of your home, working alongside your husband, and respecting his leadership.
3) If you are married and your husband is not in tune with the domestic side of things, don't stew. He may not know or understand all of the little things that go into creating a smoothly running house. In this case, view it as your opportunity to be the woman whom her husband can trust fully to manage the domestic side of life. Win him without nagging by your example of keeping a sweetly running home. If you need help, ask politely and respectfully and be specific.
4) In the above scenario, plan how you would like your home to run and how you would like it to look in terms of everything being in place. Talk to your spouse once about why you would like a well-run household and ask your husband what he thinks about your plans. Ask for his support in specific ways. For example, you might ask him to help you teach your children how to work in the home. If you lay out your plans in a reasonable manner, your husband will likely show an interest in what you are doing. Don't nag, however.
5) Model good working habits for your husband and your children. Let your life speak without words.
6) Do expect children to do their age-appropriate share of chores. As we discussed, it's necessary to teach your children before just throwing the expectation out there. Use chore charts. Have your very young children work alongside you as you clean their room. Give them simple chores to do in the kitchen. Have reasonable expectations for teens, as well. If they drive a family car, they must help keep it clean, for example.
7) Help your family establish a place for commonly used items. Make it convenient for people to find and to return scissors (safety scissors if you have young children in the home and out of reach of little one's hands!), tape, pens, garden tools, brooms, etc.

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