What makes a happy home? I’ve felt the difference. Every home has an atmosphere and I know a peaceful, happy one when I walk through the front door.
When our daughter was first born my husband was in residency. That meant he worked A LOT. Some months he only had 4 days off and he occasionally worked nights. As a new mom this was hard.
Motherhood was exhilarating yet so much harder than I thought it would be! I was so grateful to have family within driving distance. My daughter and I often took day trips home. My mom is a wonderful homemaker and she has built her home to be a peaceful, loving oasis.
There was always something special about walking in that door and knowing I would be unconditionally loved. No matter what my hair looked like or whether or not I lost my temper as a mom earlier in the day.
It was home and it was warm. It helped me survive that first year of motherhood!
Now that we’ve settled into our life and our kids are getting older I’ve been thinking more about how to create that same atmosphere in our home.
I want our home to be a refuge from the craziness of this broken world.
I believe we can take charge of the atmosphere of our homes and when we invest effort into this process we can turn our ordinary homes into happy homes.
Here are 5 steps to creating a loving home:
Live Clutter Free.
I know what you may be thinking, I don’t want to read yet another post on how to organize my home. I understand. It’s not my natural instinct to organize and declutter. Yet when I do, I notice a huge difference in my husband’s and children’s mood.
There is something refreshing about walking down in the morning and seeing a clean kitchen island. Instead of coming down to one that is filled with mail, dirty dishes, toys, etc.
More clutter equals more stress. It makes a difference in your attitude. The decor we chose, the way we organize our things, the lighting, it all affects our mood.
You don’t have to buy fancy organization systems or expensive decor to create this. You just need to find the balance between things you need and all that other “stuff.” Take one room at a time and slowly pair down. Is it necessary? Is this room filled with things I love?
This leads me to my next step…
Think about what you what your home to convey. Then write it out. I’ve created a mission statement for my life, but what about a mission statement for our home?
When your children set foot in the door what do you want them to feel? What do you want your home to convey to your family, friends, guests?
Life is so busy and often make quick decisions without thinking about the impact. What if we were intentional about creating a space that is pleasing to the eye and our spirits? What do we need to do to create this space?
Again this may mean getting rid of things or changing bigger things like how we react to stress in motherhood.
One aspect of a happy home is spending quality time together. We were built for relationships. In today’s world we have so many things striving for our attention. This is another area where we may have to be intentional.
How are you spending the majority of your time at home? Are you glued to your cell phone, computer? What does your daily schedule look like?
As a stay at home mom who works multiple part time jobs I often find it difficult to balance it all. The dishes in the sink are overflowing, I have to answer 10 different emails and my kids are asking me to play with them. Which do I choose?
Sure there will be times where the kids have to play by themselves. They must learn mommy isn’t available every hour of the day. But we can’t let our adult responsibilities take us away from the most precious gifts of all, our children.
There has to be a balance between work (whether this is outside of the house or as a SAHM) and family. One way we do this is by eating dinner together every night. We turn off the cellphones and engage in conversation with each other.
We also plan family days a couple times a month. Our daughter loves when we can all go out to eat together or go on a family bike ride. To build a happy home we must find time to be together and enjoy one another’s company.
Have a Grace Filled Heart
This step probably seems like the most obvious, but it’s worth exploring. The secret of a happy home is to have a grace filled heart. What does this mean exactly?
Let’s imagine your husband tells you he will be home for dinner at 5:30. It’s now 7:00 and you haven’t heard from him. How do you greet him when he finally gets home?
When we first got married this happened often as my husband worked in the hospital which was very unpredictable. I will admit, I was not a happy wife when he came home. I often questioned, what were you doing? Why didn’t you call? You’re really telling me you didn’t have 5 seconds to text and tell me you’d be late!?
I was hurt and I wanted him to feel bad. Though in the end my angry attitude only made things worse. What am I showing my children when I treat my husband that way? They are certainly watching!
Now we all mistakes and there will be times where we overreact or say things we don’t mean. But with prayer, practice and love we must change our angry attitudes. There will be times when grace and compassion are absolutely necessary.
What would a home feel like if you could make a mistake without fear of being rejected or being yelled at? We must extend grace to our family.
If our homes were only filled with grace we’d have some problems. We must balance grace with discipline. Believe it or not kids thrive when we set boundaries.
As I was writing this my kids were taking a bath. My son kept whining and moaning about this or that. I give him an enforceable limit (read more about that here). “If you keep crying, I’m going to get you out of the tub.” I gave him the warning.
A few minutes later, he was crying and whining again. I’ll be honest and tell you at first I didn’t want to deal with it. Yet this little voice in my head said “Be consistent. Follow through with what you said.” So I got him out of the tub.
He wasn’t happy with my decision, but he needs to know what is acceptable and what is not. There was no good reason for him to be crying and complaining.
When kids don’t know what to expect they are confused easily. When boundaries keep shifting they don’t know how to act or how we will react. Kids thrive on consistency and knowing what is expected of them.
Boundaries reduce confusion. Discipline builds character.
So what about you?
How do you create a happy home?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.