What is a home? I've been noticing that what a lot of people tend to think about is a “house.” I'm really trying to shift my own thinking to go beyond that. I think the word “home” should be glorified with a lot more significance and not be reduced to a mere building.
I keep realizing over and over again that having a positive home isn't something that just happens, it's something that's intentionally created.
It's hard to feel safe, rested, loved, inspired, peaceful and clear-minded at all if you don't feel that way at home.
I say I'm learning this as if it's something new, but it's been a 24-year long lesson so far!
It's not frivolous to think about this stuff. It's not silly.
It's also just really satisfying. I've noticed that I feel most at home when my family does.
This isn't about having a spotless house all the time. Not at all. If you came over, you would see immediately that I'm still working on that one and am very unlikely to ever arrive. 🙂 Keeping things clean enough to not go crazy is important, but let's not reduce the homemaker to a housekeeper. It's so much more than that!
As always, it's never going to be perfect – but it can always be beautiful. We don't have to be perfect to do good. We can blossom right where we are.
A home is welcoming.
With children, there is always going to be a certain level of disorder, I think. There's still a lot to be said for managing clutter for the simple reason that it makes life a lot easier. Clutter is also just really overwhelming! Have you ever gotten rid of a bunch of stuff and noticed that your kids are a little calmer, a little more independent? It's weird, but it's true. You'll feel better too. It's hard to really appreciate the impact until it's done.
Do others feel welcome? I love inviting people in, feeding them. My kids get so excited when friends and family visit. It also motivates me to clean the house, but that's another story.
Little touches bring me more joy than anything. Flowers in a mason jar. Clean, soft blankets on the couch. Soft music. Interesting books within reach. Fresh fruit and nuts on the kitchen counter.
A home is inspiring.
This is so exciting to me! I need to be inspired to be happy. I need to write and create things… it's my purpose and everyone needs one of those. I want my kids to get excited about learning and creating, too.
Does grace abound or is there an atmosphere of perfectionism? Or are mistakes corrected gently and kindly? If the kids feel like their mistakes are the end of the world, they'll lose the courage to try new things. It can be hard to break this cycle if you were conditioned to think this way at some point. It can be hard to forgive others' mistakes if you have a hard time forgiving your own.
Is there music? We've been collecting instruments over the years and are trying to make making music together a new family tradition. It's so encouraging and it makes us feel really connected. Even just listening to music in the background changes the whole mood around here.
Is there time to create? There's nothing worse than those busy seasons that drag out forever, with no time left to act upon the creative thoughts that come up. When they're just left swirling around in our minds, overwhelm is imminent. We all need white space in our day.
Are there tools at the ready? It's going to seem cumbersome to work on a craft or project when you have to dig through a closet or gather things from around the whole house just to start.
A home is healthy.
So much of what goes on at home, especially with little kids, is just caring for the bodies that live there. 🙂
It can all seem rather thankless! But if not maintained, health can quickly become an issue. It definitely affects overall quality of life, so this area does require a certain focus.
Are there basic routines in place that cover everyone's ongoing health + hygiene needs? Bathing? Exercise? Dental care?
Does everyone have clean clothes to wear?
Do meals happen at the same time every day? Are they healthy and nutritious?
Are there first aid supplies readily available?
Are vitamins and supplements a need? Is there a routine in place for those who need them?
Basic things here, sure. But any mother alive today can tell you that they all require intention. These things don't just happen!
It all starts here.
I'm never going to give up on my home. I'm doing it for myself, my kids, my husband. I'm doing it for everyone who passes through my door. It all starts at home so even if I never write another blog post, never volunteer again, I'll still be changing the world through the people who are blessed here.