Awww, home sweet home!
Or is it?
Our homes should be a safe haven, a place to whether out the storms, to curl up in, and a place to be ourselves. Is that what your home does for you?
Creating a sanctuary at home is more than pretty things that are nice to look at, although that is part of it. It’s about the atmosphere — are loving thoughts being spoken there? Can friends and family speak openly and honestly? Do you long to come home after a tough day? Is your home tidy?
On the other hand, is you’re home so clean its sterile?
Keeping a clean home is important, but sometimes we go overboard and over clean and make folks uncomfortable when we invite them into our homes. They don’t know if they should touch anything! And heaven forbid they spill something! And how do you react if they do?
What do you want your guests to feel when they are in your home?
Does your home project that?
Ask a few close friends how they feel about your home. Are they anxious or calm? Relaxed and at peace? Or do they feel uptight and on edge?
How can you be sure they feel at home?
While a big part of creating a sanctuary is the atmosphere, it’s also important for it to look beautiful and inviting. Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we’re not trying to impress people, we’re simply creating an environment that is pleasing for you — if it makes you comfortable, chances are your friends will be comfortable as well.
If you don’t yet have a home you feel is beautiful, start small. Create one area, one shelf if need be, that is beautiful. Include things that bring you joy; photographs, mementos from vacations or special events, letters from loves ones, candles, and flowers all make wonderfully beautiful decorations to create beauty in our home.
Small changes throughout your home will allow you to slowly create that safe have you can’t wait to get back home to and friends don’t want to leave!
How do you make your home a sanctuary?
Working full-time doesn’t leave a lot of room for play. And if you have a family, obviously the number one thing you want to do is spend time with them. If you have more than one child, trying to squeeze in some one-on-one time can be a challenge. Here are a few ideas to help make sure you spend time bonding with each of your children; getting to know them, encouraging them, and reminding them that just because you are not available 24/7 they are the most important people to you.
I needed a new pair of shoes, so I snagged my second daughter, told her to get ready we were going out. We spent a couple of hours trying on shoes, laughing, poking fun, talking, sharing and just having a great time — plus I not only found the pair of shoes I needed, I found two more adorable pair that came home with us too.
Plan weekly time. Every week I have to go grocery shopping, if I don’t the natives get cranky. Mom there’s nothing to eat. We’re out of milk. We’re out of yogurt. All we have is peanut butter and jelly, I hate peanut butter and jelly. So every week I take a different child with me to the grocery store. It’s an opportunity to spend some time together, to have fun, and make memories.
Monthly meetings. Before I was working, we used to have weekly meetings where we’d spend some time working on a small project together, maybe read, but we’d talk about their week, see how they were doing with their school work, talk about their strengths, weaknesses, and we’d make goals for the upcoming week. The truth is, I’d love to do these meeting weekly still, but it isn’t practical, so we do them once a month. They are important, so important they go on my calendar. Each meeting is anywhere from 30-60 minutes, depending on the child and what they need from me at that time. They come into my office and sit on the other side of my desk, just like a client would (they LOVE it!) they bring their binders and school notebooks, their list of goals, and anything else they want to show me and talk about. It’s an exceptional time to dig in deep to their souls and talk about the things that really matter to them.
Daily Walks. (Full-disclaimer — I don’t do this in the summer… it’s too hot here in Texas, but the weather is finally cooling down so daily walks will be happening again this week!) This is something I started when I was pregnant with Madie (she’s 20 months now). I wanted/needed the exercise so I’d alternate which child got to go with me. I like to walk in the evenings, so after dinner some lucky child gets to hangout with me. Sometimes I do round up the troops and they all go, but when I’m 9 months pregnant, that can be exhausting!
What are some of your favorite ways to spend time with your kiddos?
I am a mom. I was a stay-at-home mom for over 13 years. My husband David and I have been blessed with five children and another one on the way. As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom my world revolved around my home, my children, my husband. I was a good, no I was a great homemaker who cooked and cleaned, educated my children and if I knew my hubby had a hard day at work, I’d even put a beer in the freezer before he came home from work. Who doesn’t love an ice cold beer?
I was a full-time mom and homemaker who took my job very seriously and who loved it.
Last year my husband got sick and for six months his symptoms only got worse. While there is no official diagnosis yet, the doctors believe he may have MS — multiple sclerosis.
At the beginning of the year his health really declined and when he was laid off we knew it was a blessing in disguise.
But with no work and no money coming in I scrambled to find clients — just odd jobs online — virtual assistant work, writing, graphic design, editing, social media management, you name it — I did it. I was determined to provide for my family and I did it!
Within two weeks I was bringing in as much as my husband had been. But I was sad. I missed my kids. Everyone was home all day but I was locked away in my office hustling all day. I took pride in my role as mom and homemaker. All of me was wrapped up in being a homeschooling mom. Hours pouring over curricula and books and creating the perfect schedule. If I was no longer just a stay-at-home homeschooling mom, who was I?
Listening to the laughter during the day, it stung. It was no longer a peaceful sound. It was a reminder that I wasn’t a part of the family 24/7. It was the realization that without me all day my kids were okay. Even the baby, just over a year old at the time, didn’t need me as much as I thought she did and it hurt.
To go from complete certainty in life to not understanding my place — I was a mess. A midlife crisis at 33, was it possible? I felt like my life no longer had meaning other than bringing home the bacon.
My hustling days are over. I have one steady client that’s allowed me to free up some time to spend with my family and to pursue my dreams and make a living doing so. I’m a writer, it’s how I process the world and closely related are speakers. Having found myself in many situations leading others, organizing events and having to speak, combined with a heart for ministry to women it was a natural direction for me to pursue a career in speaking.
But how do moms do it? How can you work 40 hours and still cook and clean and spend quality time with your husband and children? I still don’t know how but somehow we make it through every day. Somehow we have still managed to homeschool and somehow I know it’s all going to be okay.
No there is still no official diagnosis for David, we just take each day as it comes. It’s great having David home and the kids love that Dad is around all the time to help with school, to talk, to veg out and watch a movie in the middle of the day. And while I work 40 hours a week I get to split that up anyway I want.
Life is good. Full of laughter and bickering and violin lessons and young teenage drama and snotty noses and hugs and long chats over hot cocoa in the morning and music playing too loud but its life and while I may not know what tomorrow has in store I know that it’s all going to be okay.
I tell you all this today not for pity but because right now this is me. Maybe an intense icebreaker, but life is intense and full of surprises. A year ago I’d be telling a very different story and I’m sure next year is going to surprise me too.