Do you have a tidy house?
Yes? If so, this is not for you. You already know all this so move on.
If, like me, a tidy house is more of a constant wrestle than a state of being, I see you!
My children are now aged nine and ten and honestly, I envisioned a much tidier house in my future. My children would see what needs to be done and do it, and I would have so much more time on my hands. But no.
There are just more belongings to spread all over the place, and I am one of the worst!
We’ve been trying out the idea of a two-minute room rescue.
It’s simple – you set a timer for two minutes, and everyone works together to get one room two minutes tidier.
I encourage everyone to pick things which will make the most difference. This way when we’re finished, we feel like we’ve achieved something, and we can clearly see the difference.
It will take some practice to put this into place; I’m not going to lie to you, there will be moaning and sometimes it might feel like it would be easier to just do it yourself. Hang in there, it will be worth it.
Set up the priorities and ensure they are clear to all.
1. Clearing the floors, you know, so you don’t trip over or step on things! This also makes it easier for someone to sweep or vac!
2. Clearing the surfaces – this just brings such relaxation to the eye. It’s also rather helpful when things are put back where they live so we can find them!
Easy things to delegate / point out
1. Plates, glasses, empty crisp packets etc – these are easy to spot and quick to deal with in the dishwasher or the bin.
2. Their clothes and shoes – none of these live in our shared space and all have clear homes, such as the bedroom or washing room.
3. Their toys – ditto above, although not quite as easy to put away as some things are in mid-play or are new and exciting. These are still easy to identify though, especially when I offer to put them away for them.
Then the magic happens…
1. We often spend more than two minutes. Yes! Once we get going – and especially if I happen to put on some fast dance music – we can often go for double time, or even five minutes.
2. When we do this regularly, we get better at it, and it takes us less time. And this means…
3. There’s less moaning when we begin. (Sometimes I wonder if we spend more time arguing about tidying than we do tidying!)
Now I know you’re thinking, Victoria, what on earth does tidying up have to do with faith at home?!
Well, I reckon a tidy house is a bit like faith at home.
We all have dreams, goals and ideals about what our faith at home will be like, and how our children will turn out when they are adults. Goals are great, but sometimes they get lost when we’re in the middle of normal life with children.
But we can still see those dreams realised if we break them down into bite-sized actions. We can choose actions that will make the most impact. If we keep at it, these actions will lead to more actions and when we get into a regular habit it takes less effort to initiate.
In some ways what we choose to do isn’t really the point. It’s that we choose to do something.
What you choose, when you do it, how often and who with will be unique to your family, and it needs to be!
My routine and habits for my family might inspire you, but you need to find your own path, your own rhythm which works for you. (And don’t be surprised when your habits must change and adapt as your family grows up and you move through different seasons of life.)
“…what we choose to do isn’t really the point. It’s that we choose to do something.”
Sometimes we can choose a daily thing to do for a short season, such as Advent or Lent. This works well for our family, although we always get behind and have to catch up, cause life happens!
We do a weekly Shabbat meal, which we never miss. We take it camping, to other people’s homes, we’ve even done it on a plane!
However, what this looks like is flexible – we’ve used tea lights instead of tall candles, waffles instead of bread, and how much of the prayers we get done is often down to how hungry we all are!
We love having celebrations for our baptism birthdays – I recently discovered a sermon cassette (yes, I’m that old) from my baptism when I was a teen.
It had the date of my baptism on it, so this year, we’ll be celebrating mine as well as my girls’.
We put up bunting, have cake and get out things relating to our baptism and our Godly Play baptism story. Doing this simple and fun faith at home activity three times a year suits us because we love celebrating!
The key to getting going is to start small. The important word here is ‘start’. Don’t worry how small.
Start by doing just one thing and plan to do it again – whether that’s tomorrow, next week or next year.
Starting small means we are giving ourselves a chance to see what happens, giving ourselves a chance to see what works and what may not work.
The big hairy goal may seem too enormous but can be achieved slowly and gradually, bit by bit, as we continue to add habits and rhythms to our lives together.