Whether you’re a work-out-of-the-home mom, stay-at-home-mom, or work-at-home-mom, my guess is you would still consider yourself a homemaker. After all, so goes the well-known Filipino expression: “Ang ina ang ilaw ng tahanan,” which means, literally, “Mothers are the light of a home.”
Of course, if we consider ourselves as homemakers and “the light of our homes,” we would want to be and do our best. We want to be as efficient and effective as possible in managing our homes and families, working hand in hand with our spouses.
In the real world though, we all know that many times, we fall short of this ideal. There are days when we are overwhelmed or tired and everything seems to fall apart. “Some homemaker I turned out to be!” we think. Fear not though, because you are not alone. There are many women like you and me who also struggle to keep a happy and healthy home.
To help you out, we’ve come up with these powerful habits based on Stephen Covey’s bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People that may help you on your journey in becoming a highly efficient homemaker:
Habit # 1: Be proactive in running your household. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably fallen into the trap of just letting things slide in your home. When you have just too many things on your plate, it’s always tempting to let go of things that actually help you be more in control of your home life.
So instead of being reactive, let’s be proactive in managing our homes. Here are some things we can do:
• Plan ahead. Des Padilla, who works as an executive assistant and is mother to Sabine, 5, Aida, 3, Franko, 1.5 and a baby girl on the way, believes that an efficient homemaker “plans ahead and anticipates situations; i.e., she has ready-to-use disposable containers when she knows she will have guests over to make 'pabaon' food easier to pack. Her pantry is well-stocked in case of unexpected guests. She is always ready for any emergency or unexpected situations.”
• Organize your home. “A place for everything and everything in its place” is a phrase I grew up with. Even the most disorganized of us can benefit from having a little structure and organization in our homes.
If this is challenging for you, start by simply making lists of the things you have in your home and how you’d like them to be organized or kept. If you’re on a budget and can’t afford to buy space-saving containers and organizers, make do with recycled shoeboxes and other types of containers.
• Get everyone involved. Being proactive also means involving the entire household in keeping the home spic and span. Even if you have household help, your spouse and kids should also share in the responsibilities and chores, which is actually good training for kids, too.
Habit # 2: Begin with the end in mind by having a vision for your home and family. When you have a project to work on, you usually come up with a goal for it. You begin with the end in mind. The same should go for your home.
Well-known author and lay preacher Bo Sanchez even suggests that you write down these “life dreams”. When you have a purpose and goals to keep you driven and focused, managing your home will become a whole lot easier.
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Habit # 3: Put first things first. Grechie Racal, a stay-at-home mom of three girls, says, for her, efficient homemakers really need to know how to manage their time. “We have no helpers, so I try to schedule everything, including all the household chores,” she explains.
Thus, it helps to wake up early and plan for the day ahead. Have a detailed schedule for the day or even for the week. Write it down and make several copies to be posted around the house (if applicable to everyone), so that the other members of the household will be aware of it, too.
Jennyfer Ang Tan, a virtual assistant, owner of TheTechieMom.com, and mom to Daniel Vincent, 8, and Anaiah Raine, 1 year and 10 months, advises fellow moms to “commit to stick to your set schedule. It’s very easy to just tell yourself, ‘Later na lang,’ or to be lured by your bed and just sleep.”
If you don’t know about it already, you may want to try using the time management matrix popularized by Stephen Covey when making our schedule and to-do lists.
It would be best to keep in mind that people are always more important than things, and strengthened relationships are more valuable than the rewards of having a spic-and-span home.