Saturday, May 18, 2019

The Secret to a Happy Home

Library of Congress:  Mr. and Mrs. Charles Herbert on their porch, Maryland, 1942

There are many ideas for having a happy home.  We could always use encouragement in getting along with others, following a housekeeping routine, and of managing money. There are so many good things which will help us have peace and a strong family.  But there is one little piece of advice I want to give you. It is the secret ingredient to a happy home. It is this:  Don't Panic!

When Mom or Dad are moody, things can get difficult. If the children are not listening or are causing trouble, it can be stressful. When sickness or financial trials hit, there can be a sense of fear. But if we have some tools in place to handle a crisis, we will not panic.

Years ago, when I was in CPR training, I was shocked at how slow and peaceful the medical staff was in handling a crisis.  I have also been a patient at the hospital many times and needed specialized care. But everyone was calm through it all.  I have a family member who is a trained Medic and EMT and there is never panic.  The reason is that they know what to do!  Why should they fear when they have training and ways to manage all these troubles?  This is why they do not panic.

I want to transfer this idea to the home.  The wife is the one who most commonly has the training in home economics.  It is more than just cleaning, cooking, baking, and sewing. It also include family dynamics. It teaches how to get along with others, how to manage children, and how to have a happy marriage.  These are the most essential aspects of home economics!  We must constantly be learning how to manage relationships.  People are always going to be moody. There will be moments of anger and of sadness.  There will be mistakes, and there will be regrets. This is life in an imperfect world. No home will be free of trouble.  This is why mothers need tools to manage our days and to remain peaceful and calm through it all.

I would like to share just a few suggestions in getting along with others in the home. I hope some of this will give you some ideas or inspiration for your own situation:

1. Marriage:

When a husband comes home from work, he really needs time to relax and not worry about anything.  My mother used to get off the phone, or stop visiting with neighbors, whenever Dad came home. This was family time!

 They would spend some time sitting at the table with coffee and just visit together and enjoy some peace.  Then Mother would start dinner while Dad went to the recliner to watch a little television.   But consider this - Dad had Mother's full attention at this time. She was not distracted or busy with outside cares.  This showed consideration and respect. They both cared enough about each other to take the time to sit together and just focus on home life.

These days, there are more things taking Mom's attention. There are computers, cell phones, and social media.  Just like my Mother would get off the phone, or stop visiting, at a certain time of day, we might consider doing the same with our modern technology.  When Dad comes home from work, or when the dinner hour is approaching, it is good to just focus on the family.  This will help bring peace and happiness.

2. Teenagers:

When children are young, we expect them to get into trouble, to argue, and to need constant supervision.  This is common and normal. But when they get to be teenagers, we sometimes expect them to have the wisdom and maturity of a 50 year old.  We can often be shocked by their behavior.  This can cause us to panic.  The best tool we can have for this is to set up house rules. Everyone should know what to expect in a household.  It is easier to have peace and happiness if we all know the rules.   But also realize that new rules can be added as situations come up.  Sometimes, we have no idea what is going on in the modern world of teenagers and need to set up boundaries to protect our home life.  We can evaluate and change rules as needed. But always remain firm and kind.  It is so much easier to point to a chart of rules, than to always be in conflict about every little offense. 

As children grow up, they are changing. They are going to have moods and moments of anger.  We should practice the art of patience, grace, and mercy.  My mother had an incredible sense of understanding and she could get along with anyone.  But she was never walked on. Nobody could change her mind about her convictions.  She always had incredible dignity, class, and manners, through every trial.

3. Conflict:

We all have heard the Biblical wisdom, "A soft answer turneth away wrath." (Proverbs 15:1).  When a family member is angry, know that this is an irrational mood.  Anger will pass. It needs time. But a soft and kind answer will help soothe the wrath. This can be simple sentences, such as, "I am sorry this is happening." or "I know this is difficult." Then perhaps go back to whatever you were doing. People need time to calm down.  When the anger has passed, a normal discussion can happen to resolve future difficulties.  I don't know of anybody who can use good manners or think clearly when they are consumed with a bad mood.  When someone is in an irrational mood, they are not reasonable.  There is an old saying that people need time to "cool off."

When trouble happens with a small child - they often throw tantrums because they get overtired or do not know what is best.  If we give them a scornful look, they will get more upset. We do not want to provoke our children to wrath.  But we can give them a compassionate, loving look.  They just want Mom to "make up with them."  Mom can make it okay again, with a kiss and a laugh and a letting the moment go.  We cannot hold grudges or expect children to be perfect.  

Teenagers and small children do not need to get in trouble for every single offense. We are all flawed.  Let the little things go with compassion and understanding. Love overlooks imperfection. This is why a set of rules for the home will make it easier to know what is expected.  You also want a household routine, or a schedule, so everyone knows when the meals are served, when the chores are to be done, and when bedtime is to happen.  With order and routine, there is peace.

Make it easy for others to cheer up, to calm down, and to forgive, by your sweet response.  Pride is a powerful thing and can make it very difficult for people to let go of conflict. When Mother makes the effort to restore peace, or give them time to cheer up, she will help restore happiness in the home.

4. Never Make Decisions when you are Emotional:

So many homes have been wrecked or destroyed because someone got so mad or depressed that they gave up in the middle of a crisis.  We have to seek peace. We have to let the emotion calm down.  It is like the raging ocean during a storm.  We do our best to survive through it.  Then when the storm is over, there is a calm and a peace which is restored.  This is the only time to make serious decisions - when the fluctuating emotions have settled down. A family and a home need to seek constant restoration through each trial.  We see problems and we look for ways to prevent them. We repair the holes in a sinking ship, we do not abandon the ship.

5. Don't Be too Busy:

It is essential for Mothers to get rested during the day.  This includes avoiding technology, phones, television programs, and thinking about bills. She needs her mind to rest.  If she is overloaded with too much going on, or too much to think about, or too much drama, she cannot get through the common trials that occur in the home.  She needs to take breaks and to have quiet times for the mind. 

6. "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus":

This is a favorite hymn.  I often sing this song to cheer up and get me through the day.   Our trust and our faith, for all things, is in the Lord. This will bring us the greatest rest and joy that others may never understand.  Keep reading the Bible (especially the Psalms) and praying each day. Keep seeking holiness and the joy of a close walk with the Lord. This peace that you receive will radiate to those in your household and bless your home.

There are many other ideas we can all come up with to keep our homes happy.  But just remember the most important one of all - Do not panic!  Every single person is flawed. Every single home has trouble.  This is why we should constantly learn (and practice) to be peacemakers, to bring cheer, and to provide a haven of rest for our precious families!

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Colonial Wisdom - To Earn and Not to Spend.

Simple and peaceful Home - Standard of Living.

Joyful Moments - Walking the Gardens with Baby.

Find Home-keeping Inspiration, in Mrs.White's book -Mother's Book of Home Economics .  Paperback, 312 pages.

- To find out more about this blog, or Mrs. White, please visit our About page. -


Amelia said...

Very nice reminders here that whisper "Peace...Peace..."

I especially like the one about couples sitting together and not being distracted. That is so very important I think...

Blessings to you sweet blogging friend, ~Amelia

Joyful said...

All wonderful advice!

Sandi said...

This was a blessing to read.

Christine said...

This is so good, I had to share it with my daughter!

Tracy dixon said...

I bought your book and absolutely love it.

Mrs. Laura Lane said...

Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us.

Renata said...

You have no idea how much I needed to read this right now!! Thank you for sharing your gentle wisdom and advice!! 💕

Lana said...

When a big decision needs to be made I find that I am emotional and my husband is practical. So for me it is often best to just ask my husband to decide. This is where it can get tough though because he will not be quick to answer and I will have to wait. But, he will look at it from all sides and come up with the best answer. God was so good to have made males and females that way.

Jessica R said...

Dear Mrs. White,
I really got a lot out of this article! This is the second time I've read through it, and I want to tell you how much I appreciate your sharing this advice with us. I think it came at a very appropriate time in my life (as you may know if you read my post from May 13), and I believe that what you wrote is true. Thank you so very much!

Karen Andreola said...

Thanks for your words of wisdom.

How lovely your mother sounds:
"My mother had an incredible sense of understanding and she could get along with anyone. But she was never walked on. Nobody could change her mind about her convictions. She always had incredible dignity, class, and manners, through every trial."

It sounds like she had strength of character and a wholehearted desire to show Jesus to her children by the fruit of the Spirit - especially when she might have been tired or experiencing waves of emotion.

I sense you are like this, too, Mrs. White.