A few months back, I was listening to a podcast and a piece of the conversation really stuck with me. The interviewer asked her guest something along the lines of “How do you decide what to say yes to, and what to say no to, when it comes to activities and curriculum and all the opportunities out there?”
The guest replied that actually, she just pared everything back until she found peace. Peace in her home, peace for her kids, and peace in her heart.
It stuck with me because that’s exactly what I recognized our own family desperately needed – peace.
Toward the end of 2022, I spent a little time reflecting on the past year, and I realized that yet again, we had had a crazy year. Honestly, compared to the average American family, we don’t do all that much – we homeschool, we let each kid pick ONE extra curricular activity, and we chose martial arts to do as a family.
If you know me, you know I value slow and simple – I really believe in my heart of hearts that the Lord did not create us to hurry through life, rushing ourselves and our people from one activity to the next. Rationally, I told myself we WERE keeping things simple, as I kept seeing other families who were so much busier than we were.
But comparison holds no actual value, and the truth of the matter was that we were stressed – our home, our time, our relationships, and our own hearts – everything felt heavy.
To be very blunt, even our “simple” was still too much.
Our home was a constant burden because we didn’t have enough time to care for it. Our relationships were struggling because we spent out evenings running from one place to another. We were all tired, all the time. And it was wearing on all of us.
So I decided to do the same thing that the podcast guest did – I began paring back until I could find that peace I knew we needed. Peace in our home, peace in my children’s lives, and peace in my own heart.
Today, I want to share with you just 3 ways we’ve been chasing peace in our home in the last few months – and what a difference each of these things have made!
#1 – We cleared our schedules.
We quit martial arts – the thing that dominated most of our evenings.
We pulled back all the “extras” in our school day – so we could get the essentials done, and then actually have some down time.
We moved the cards, board games, and books downstairs – so we didn’t default to turning on the TV.
We returned to prioritizing what we truly value – dinner time around the table each night, card games together, and movies on the couch. Last year, we were gone at least 4-5 nights a week. This year, we are eating family dinner together 6 nights a week. I cannot even tell you how big a difference this has already made. My kids are happier, more rested, and more confident in their connections with us and each other. And honestly, Jon and I feel the same.
Was it hard to say goodbye to an activity that everyone in our family loved? Yes.
Was it worth it? Also yes.
#2 – We refreshed our routines.
I knew that we needed to switch up the constant to-do list of cleaning our home, trading it out for a plan that allowed us to manage our home in small, doable increments each day. So, I revamped our Daily Routine to incorporate all the things we needed to do – giving every task a place so nothing slipped through the cracks.
I also created a Clean + Tidy plan where we focus on one area a day, coupled with daily tasks that we accomplish every day. It takes less than an hour a day, and my kids are old enough to help. Our house is tidier than ever – and what’s more, it’s STAYING that way! (More on this coming soon!)
The best part of this is that every one of us gets to ENJOY our home, instead of constantly worrying about all the things that need to be done. The basics are managed, and we all get to enjoy the spaces we’ve created!
#3 – We adopted slow mornings.
We have a little freedom in our mornings, since we homeschool, but I had still been starting our days rather early. The trouble with that is that sometimes that meant I didn’t get any time in the Word, AND my night-owl kiddo was not at his best first thing in the morning.
Both my kids AND I prefer to start our days slowly, so I switched up our schedules to allow for that. We pushed back the start of school about an hour, and we all use that morning time to do what fills us up! My kids do their chores and then play legos for a little while before starting their school day, and I have a cup of tea (or 3), and spend time reading the Bible, praying, and journaling. With a slower start to our days, I have the TIME to do this, and it makes all the difference in my own heart!
More than anything, I’ve been learning what my role is in our home. I’m a homeschooling mom, YES. But I’m also a wife, a business owner, a team leader, a friend, and a tutor at our kids’ homeschool co-op. I wear a lot of hats, and managing all of those things can be rather overwhelming.
But embracing my God-given role in my home FIRST is allowing me to see where everything else fits. It’s changed my outlook on everything, and that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about throughout the rest of this month.
In the next few weeks, I’m going to share more about…
- Our updated daily routines + how they work
- The Clean + Tidy schedule that’s completely changed the game for my home
- What it means to reclaim my role in the home + how it’s uplifted my attitude toward almost everything
I’m so excited to talk about these things with you, because I think today’s culture has overlooked the immense value, and holy work, of HOME. We’re going to use the month of February to plant our perspectives back in God’s Word, and encourage each other in practical strategy to make our homes a refuge, rather than a burden.
I’ll start by answering your biggest HOME questions! Comment below and tell us about your biggest obstacle to a peaceful home right now! I’ll choose a couple to address each week!
Kayse is a wife, mom, and founder of the Anchored Women community. She writes to help women fight busy, find rest, and build a life that’s anchored in Christ. Kayse is also the creator of the S.O.S. Planner, the Anchored Life Kit, and other practical resources that equip women to manage their homes and families in confidence. You can find her writing and her resources at anchored-women.com!
This was a wonderful post on revamping your life, house, chores, etc. to be able to spend the quality family time together.
I live alone but like you my to-do list gets bigger all the time. Right now I have a project spread on my kitchen table of my paper recipes, trying to sort through, toss to be able to find a single recipe when I’m looking for one.
You can do it! Maybe grab a pretty binder and compile all those recipes into one place!
We want to meal plan, but with 2-growing boys (teenagers), our meal plan for the week-ends up being 2-days only of leftovers that we want to stretch for the week. My husband cooked 2-full meals plus dinner on Sunday and the 2-extra meals will be gone today (and it is only Tuesday). We stick with Taco Tuesday, so, one more day-Wednesday with the Sunday extra meals. We don’t know what the boys appetites will be from day to day. One day, not so hungry, next day, eating everything they can find. I have started 2023 with a purge fest, to simple living. Purge includes, getting rid of furniture that I stuff the stuff in. No more stuffing.
Love that purging mentality, Carrie!!! I can only imagine the teenage boy situation – we aren’t quite there yet, but I can see it coming!
My husband’s health, or lack thereof. It’s a constant process to accept the latest decline, whatever it is, and learn to be flexible and accomplish what I can in the time available during the day.
I’m so sorry, Kittie – that sounds so difficult. I’m praying that the Lord encourages and comforts you as you have to shift to care for your husband!
Kayse, I enjoyed reading this blog, it hit the spot. We’ve been having to go back and forth to my mother in law house to help take care of her. I recently got back in town, taking care of mother in law, whom I dearly love. I feel the same way, even though my children are grown, believe it or not I’m still having a hard time with making dinner for just the two of us. As you get older you can’t eat the same things you did when the kids were at the house. At least, we can’t. Borderline diabetic also no more starchy foods.
I absolutely think it’s harder to cook for just two people than for a whole crew! That makes total sense to me. You might like the meal ideas list, too!
Meal planning is the worst for me. With dietary restrictions and some “I’m tired of that” I don’t know what to plan. I search for new recipes that fit the restrictions, but that takes so much time. I have tried making lists of foods we can eat, but it just feels so boring and restricted. I feel defeated and then we end up with nothing to eat at meal time. Literally, nothing. Almost everything we eat has to be home made – there isn’t a quick oh we will just open this to eat. I HAVE to plan, but I am not doing well with it. I’d love to hear anyone else’s ideas when you have kid’s or your own special needs diets!
Robin, one take away from Kayse I got this week was to write down your family’s favorites or go-to’s. Each week I trie to find just 1 new meal. It has helped me a lot. I use to spend hours on monthly meals plans!
Robin, it sounds like you need time to research and find a good set of recipes that will work for your family. Can you think of it like a project goal and try to work on it over the next month? I’d suggest keeping it simple… try to find 10-20 recipes you think will work and want to try out. After you make the recipe, trash the recipes that weren’t good and keep the ones y’all liked! I used to be super overwhelmed by all the recipes I had on Pinterest and couldn’t ever decide what to make. I’m sure you’re having the opposite problem with food issues! But there are lots more recipes and YouTube videos on foods w/out gluten or dairy. It will just take some time to find them!
Anyway, I finally just printed off the main recipes we like and stuck them in a binder. Now I go to that binder for meal planning. On occasion, I’ll sort through Pinterest to find a new recipe idea, but that’s not my main process. So if you can invest a little time into identifying a few recipes y’all like, that work with your food constraints, that should help reduce the stress of planning! Just get past the first hump and I know you can do it!
Great advice, Misty!
Robin, I love making a Meal Ideas List! I start with family favorites, then move on to anything new I might have found a recipe for. You can absolutely do this within the specific dietary restrictions you’re dealing with! (We have quite a few here, too.) Then, when it comes time to plan, you can just pull out your ideas list, and pick 5-7 things from there. Don’t forget to throw in a leftovers night, or a breakfast for dinner night! We love those easy nights – and it typically is a bit of a break from cooking!
I am constantly struggling with keeping my house tidy. I love the idea of short tasks each day, and one focus area.
I have implemented a time for my kids to clean their own rooms, and that has helped a ton!!!
I love that you have a set time for room cleaning! It so helps when everything has a place – even in our schedules!
I love this! I struggle with the same issues in my home. I’m curious to know how you’d find peace for yourself when you’re kids WANT to do all the things but transporting them to all of the activities doesn’t leave you time to care for all the things that give you peace (i.e. time in the Word, a tidy home, a routine, slow days, etc)?
Such a great question. We talked about this as a family first – a LOT. We came up with some things we all really wanted to do, and then we presented that in order to do those great things (card games, family nights, etc.), we would need to cut back on some other things. I think it’s good to teach them that we can’t say yes to everything (I have one kid who absolutely wants to do everything, all the time!), because it will serve them later in life. Even being really honest and saying “I cannot possibly get you to all of these things, and we need to work together as a family, so let’s choose the most important one!” is okay, I think. I just have found so much peace in my own life AND in my kids lives by slowing down, I believe it’s worth the sacrifice.
I used kid activity time for my down time too. I would drive them to an activity and sit in the car to read my Bible instead of driving home and coming back. In warm weather, I would walk. Hang in there. You will find your way!
Fabulous idea! I love it!
Can’t wait to hear more about this, thank you. I also deem our schedule and live pretty simple but then wonder how I can feel so busy. I have 4 small kids so I’m realizing its just an immense amount of work and we’re not yet in the season of much downtime. One thing I struggle with is meal prepping. Between the shopping, cooking, clean up there’s so much time spent. I haven’t found a great time to do much food prep. I need to think through my schedule as d put in some downtime, but when! Basically I’m here to learn anything! 🙂
Meal prepping – yes!! It can take up a whole day each week if we let it. I’ve started ordering groceries and having them delivered, so my grocery store time is now spent prepping just a few simple things – washing and chopping fruit + veggies, defrosting meat, etc. I have found that if I have the INGREDIENTS prepared and ready to use, that already makes dinner time a lot easier. So instead of prepping whole meals, I prep ingredients! I also just bought this chopper, and honestly it’s a game changer. https://amzn.to/3DNp5Ib Saves me SO MUCH TIME!!!
I also got that chopper for Christmas (was on my Amazon Wish List)!! I was able to get rid of all the other ‘appliances’…Love it!
So let me ask if you have an suggestions on how to store it ? Right now in a basket so I can pull it all out at once.
I think a basket is a great idea. I just keep it in a cabinet, with everything inside it!
Constantly picking up and cleaning!
It can be so time consuming! I like to make piles when I tidy – one for each member of the family, put in an out-of-the-way place, and they have to put their own pile away a couple times a day. It helps keep the piles small, and they are learning to do the work themselves – all I have to do is clear surfaces and create the piles! Saves me time, too. I hope that helps!