A heavy topic for sure and many thoughts about the subject. It hits close to home because I am not naturally good at this and struggle often. I am trying to find a balance of being productive and resting on the weekends. The balance of grace, love, rest, and play.
I am a tinkerer and AJ is a work horse. Our ideas of relaxing are very different. AJ will be working on a project full throttle, making headway. After a good while, he will find a good stopping point and be done. I, however, never seem to sense a good “stopping point”. I bounce from room to room picking up, straightening, switching over laundry, prepping meals, cleaning, and running around…on and on. Before I know it, the whole day is gone, and although I did a lot I have that feeling of accomplishing nothing.
After reading Present over Perfect, I was convicted of this destructive habit and have tried to find a balance since then. Shauna Niequist shares openly about her vicious cycle of business. Her words encouraged me greatly to be aware and intentional in my days. During her days, she describes herself, “exhausted and isolated, my soul and body sick. I was tired of being tired, burned out on busy.”
I have come a long way since then and still have a long ways to go. Now on a weekend morning, I will read an extra chapter in my book and go for that second cup of coffee without feeling guilty. Sometimes an afternoon nap is my reward for a morning of productivity. Chatting with AJ on the patio after a long day is what my heart needs once in awhile. Going for a walk or working out for 30 minutes helps me decompress and take time to focus. Taking care of myself is important. When I am well, I can take care of my responsibilities and my home.
As a homemaker who also works full time outside of the home does not have a lot of flexibility keeping up within the home. I will utilize my mornings and evenings for daily chores, meal prepping, and maintaining housework. Keeping it simple helps for the future. My weekends become overwhelming if I don’t stay on top of daily chores during the week.
This is also why I don’t like having a lot of things in the home. We are strict about paying off debt and want to stick to a budget which includes intentionally decorating with what I already have and things I love. Not cluttered, but not sterile either. Who wants to spend their entire weekend cleaning their things? Keeping it simple gives you permission to get the chores done and have the rest of the time to relax or work on special projects.
I have always enjoyed keep a small home. We have enjoyed living in a smaller space. It is less to clean, less to keep up with, less utility bills, and less stress. You can’t run away from problems–because there is no where to run. You deal with them. Do not let the sun go down on your anger. We have a rule that unless one is ill, sleeping on the couch at night is off limits. We swallow our pride and deal. I like living this way.
Our first home, “The Love Nest” was 360 sq. ft. Our second home, 700 sq. ft. The apartment in the city, 700 sq. ft., our house in the suburbs–1,200 sq. ft. Our current home is the largest we have ever had, but the 3 bedrooms are small and most of the square footage is the kitchen and living room. This is where we spend most of our time entertaining and hanging out. My kitchen is a working kitchen. There is always something prepped, rising, baking, sizzling, or resting. I love my kitchen and I love when we do have people over, because we always seem to congregate where the food is: the kitchen.
I don’t understand families that have massive homes, insurmountable debt and are utterly miserable. They can’t keep up with anything, are spread thin, and think there is no way out. So they hire out. Landscaper, maid, services, nanny, the list goes on. I understand some families chose to have some of these amenities as they have other noble responsibilities, but in general, these should not be the only option to have a functioning home. I cannot and will not imagine living this way.
So I am learning balance. Learning that:
1>Meal prepping allows for a week that I don’t have to think too hard about dinner
2>Gardening is a “de-stresser”
3> Spending quality time in prayer and reading my Bible to refocus my priorities and having an attitude of constantly reflecting
4> Tackling the bathrooms regularly so they are easier to clean
5>Organizing the garage to park cars inside and find things easily
6>Keeping things tidy: picking up clothes, putting away dishes, straightening the pillows.
These things give me the freedom to just wipe everything clean on the weekends. No fuss. More time for family and fun.