Parenting is one tough gig. Whether you have a newborn or a teenager about to leave your home, you know firsthand the demands and joys of the parenting journey. It can sometimes seem nearly impossible to parent effectively, care for the family home and meet work expectations, let alone find time for self-care.
Our homes are our sanctuaries and the foundation for our family’s unique culture. Dream of what your family needs to live cohesively in your home. What can you do today to move in the right direction to create a home that handles the demands of family life? Contentment does not mean gaining everything you desire but finding joy in the little pleasures that already surround you. Carve out time to meet your own needs and model the necessity of self-care to your children. Create a home and life that sustains you and your family, bringing joy to your journey together.
Consider the following six suggestions for discovering greater contentment in your home and life:
Like a honeyed cup of tea and a warm blanket on a brisk day, your home should also soothe your spirit and offer you respite from the world. Are there little nooks and crannies for you and your family to lounge and find rest? Your home doesn’t need to be magazine beautiful, but it should feel like a break from the stresses of work and school.
When you come home after a long day away, does your home feel like an extension of your family? By that we mean it should reflect your family’s values, interests, and unique character. We all express ourselves in our homes differently–whether it’s through art on the walls, framed family photos, or loved piece of furniture. Embrace the quirks of your home that make it a reflection of your family culture.
Homes should only contain the objects, art, furnishings, and tools that bring contentment or are useful. Are there items in your home that are gathering dust or cluttering your rooms? When there is less stuff to manage, there is more time to actually use the home as it is intended: for hosting gatherings and dinners, communing with your family and finding rest from the outside world. Don’t let clutter steal away your time, energy and happiness.
Look deep within yourself or within your faith to cultivate deep-rooted joy. Find solace in prayer, meditation, reading and conversation with others. Whether you are religious or not, ignoring the spiritual component of your life is like trying to tango without a partner. You can try but the dance becomes so much more beautiful and fluid with both halves. So don’t neglect your spirit but nurture those needs.
Our bodies are designed to move: dance, play, run, love and work. Do you use your body in ways that fill your cup and bring you joy or wear you down? Consider the physical needs a daily requirement and schedule in a happiness-inducing activity, whether that’s taking a walk with a friend, chasing your kids around the park or gardening in the backyard. Movement is good, so get with it!
We are also thinking and expressive beings with a capacity to learn and continually grow. Do you nourish your mind with thought-provoking reads, conversations and emotional support? If you’re a parent, particularly a mother, you’re probably familiar with “mommy brain.” Find ways each day to nudge your brain toward deeper thoughts. Like our bodies, our brains need exercise too. By making self-care a regular priority, you’ll find it also brings joy to your life.
We understand how tempting it can be to put your own happiness aside to meet the challenges of modern parenting. So much is expected of parents today! But we promise that evaluating your home and life in the six key areas above will bring greater contentment to your parenting journey. And finally, when the days feel long and the expectations too much, remember that tomorrow will be a fresh start for creating your cohesive and joyful family home.
Kate Saffle and Melissa Risenhoover, two best friends who met as neighbors in Oklahoma City’s Belle Isle neighborhood, share a passion for guiding families toward stress-free parenting through simplifying. They host the Cohesive Home Podcast as well as offer resources for crafting a happier, values-driven home. Find out more on their websiteand connect on Instagram @cohesive_home.