K, raise your hand if you have ever known someone who *liked* to do laundry.
…*crickets chirping, as NO ONE raises a hand* …
…Well, I HAVE.
Ding-ding-ding! It’s… My Mom!!!
Haha, I’m being dramatic.
I actually love that my Mom likes doing laundry.
In fact, I specifically remember this one day, in my early twenties,
when my Mom said (with a cute half-smile as she folded a towel):
“I like doing laundry. I’m good at it.”
At the time, that comment totally weirded me out,
(Like, jaw-slightly-agape-epic-eyeroll-O.M.G.WHAT?! level of weirded out)
I now appreciate that comment more than she knows. Because:
She was modeling joyful homemaking!
Something that I feel is rare these days.
And to clarify, she wasn’t a Martha Stewart type of Mom.
Or a June Cleaver type of Mom.
That’s not the type of “joyful homemaking” I mean.
I mean, like real-life SAHM role model, type of Mom.
See, growing up, my Mom was (and is) very practical, very smart, and pretty reserved, but warm. She keeps a tidy home, but not so tidy that you feel like you can’t relax. And she manages to do all the homemaking chores by herself. Just, in the background. Even growing up, she didn’t require a whole lot of help from me or my brother. Or my Dad. She just quietly and gracefully took care of our home. And looking back, I can see now:
My Mom used cleaning as an act of service, to show kindness and love toward each family member.
And she did it with a great attitude.
It’s inspiring to me now, as a young Mom.
In fact, I think of that moment often, as I fold my own family’s laundry.
Of my Mom’s odd, punchy little statement: “I like doing laundry. I’m good at it.” …and weirdly, I get it!
Sometimes it’s kind of FUN (for a few minutes) to only be responsible for ONE thing.
Just f o l d i n g.
And to do it perfectly. Just the way YOU like it.
And it smells good,
and it’s soft,
and you can watch TV while you do it.
But most importantly: you know that your work will literally wrap your sweet family in a snuggly fresh hug.
It can be the best feeling! Folding clothes.
And, oh boy… Dare I say it? Apparently I’ve:
turned into my Mother! LOL!!
But in a good way!
Because seriously, I enjoy homemaking.
And I’m pretty sure my Mom is a big reason for that.
I so thankful that she modeled how to take pride and pleasure in the simple acts of homemaking.
And I’m going to share a few specifics things that she did (and does) that still inspire me today.
Ready? Here we go!
How to Model Joyful Homemaking
Pause and Enjoy That Feeling of Satisfaction
My Mom’s aforementioned comment (“I like laundry. I’m good at it.”) has inspired me over the years to identify what homemaking tasks I enjoy, and to take pride in them. Personally, I love scrubbing the floor and folding bath towels. I also find it strangely satisfying to snap the ends off of string beans. Why? I don’t know, but ever since I acknowledged that I like snapping string beans, I find myself oddly looking forward to doing it!
Do you already know what homemaking tasks bring you joy? Like, right this moment, could you list off a few simple chores that you strangely enjoy doing?
If so, great! I hope you model that joyfulness by acknowledging them out loud (like my Mom did)!
If not, I have a little challenge for you. Next time you have a big day of household chores, take note of the times you get lost in the flow of your work, or the times you’ve found yourself sitting back to admire your work. It’s amazing what a little change of perspective can do! Being aware of your unique simple pleasures will help housework feel less daunting. Honestly, it may even help you feel like more of a “natural” at homemaking! And as my Mom showed me, that kind of grace and homemaking-joy is a wonderful gift to give yourself and your family! Which brings me to my next point…
View Acts of Service as a Surprise-Worthy Gift
My Mom is constantly doing practical, thoughtful things for every member of our family. And she does it without any expectation of praise or reward. In fact, she often makes it into a sweet surprise!
A current example is this: every time she babysits for us, she hand-washes the dirty dishes sitting in our sink. Literally, every time! And she doesn’t even mention it before she goes home; she always leaves it as a surprise for us to find the next morning!
Another example (from my childhood) is that she would frequently clean my room as a surprise. When I would get home from school, she wouldn’t say a word. Sometimes I wouldn’t discover that my room was magically clean until bedtime. I still remember how shocked and loved I felt when I discovered that my Mom had spent the day cleaning my room. And there was never a guilt trip waiting for me. Never any sarcasm or awkwardness. I clearly remember that I would thank her exuberantly, and she would say “you’re welcome” and smile like she knew a little secret. And you could tell she was genuinely happy to have brought me joy.
Talk about a joyful homemaking role model!!! I just love how my Mom is an expert at in-cognito acts of service.
What about you? Do you already view cleaning as a gift? How about other acts of service within your home? Little surprises can really make someone’s day. Some small things you could try (inspired by my Mom) are:
- fill up your spouse’s gas tank as a surprise
- after a family party, sneak out of the room and wash the dishes
- defrost your spouse’s car before work
- clean your child’s room while they’re at school
- mow the lawn as a surprise so your spouse doesn’t have to help on the weekend
Plant a Seed for Homemaking Pride
My Mom was also really good at giving practical compliments to each of us. I remember she would say things like “Oh Brad (my brother) is so good at weed-wacking. He always cuts a straight line!” She would always note that my Dad “is so organized and detail oriented.” And she would always praise my knack for rearranging furniture and for making any space feel cozy!
These are such down-to-earth compliments, which makes them feel extra sweet! And it helped me feel, from a very young age, that I was really good at taking care of our home.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, my Mom and I had our fair share of spats over my room being a freakin’ pigsty. LOL. Yeah, I was a total slob until like 5 years ago!!
But guess what? Now I’m a really good homemaker, and I take pride in it!
And I truly think that my Mom planted the seed for me to crave a tidy home,
AND she somehow helped me believe that I could be good at keeping my home beautiful.
Do you already compliment your family or friends on down-to-earth achievements? If not, you should try it! I’m getting a little better at it, but it’s definitely a mindset you have to grow with intention! It feels really good, to encourage my husband by saying something like, “Oh you’re so good at figuring out how things work. What would we do without you?!”
I’m already trying to model this kind of talk for our daughter, too. Little positive reinforcements like, “”Wow Violet, you’re such a good helper!” ” Or like another example, just this evening we were watching my husband move a piece of real heavy furniture, and I said “Oh thank goodness for our strong Daddy!”
I think it’s so valuable to plant the seed early, like my Mom did, because it helps instill an innate sense of pride and accomplishment. Plus it’s just a sweet thing to be mindful of. 🙂
That’s a wrap!
I hope some of these tips have inspired you!
It’s been fun for me to write this blog post, and reflect on all my Mom’s kindness over the years.
I hope I can follow in her footsteps and maintain a warm, joyful home!
(And hey Mom, I know you’re reading this, so THANK YOU for all that you do!! I love you! ..PS: Happy early birthday!! 😉 )
Until next time,