Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ways to Keep Your Sanity at Home

 By Angeline M Duran Santiago

My usual ramblings have everything to do with living life as a Christian believer. Perhaps you'll find that I don't stick to my usual words of hope and faith as I share today. My words may not carry the tone of a spiritual message, but I pray that even as I open my heart and home to you, that in this simple piece, you are blessed. After a long weekend, and what came out of lots of work, I believe I can write about personal experiences that you may also be able to make some sort of connection with.

It's nothing new.
You and I know everything I am going to share. Truth is maybe you grew up with a mother or father like mine and well, we learned hands on. Home was our first school. Most days we weren't really told what to do, we were invited to join in on the "fun" of housekeeping. The only thing I ever hated as a child was washing dishes. To this day, it is the one thing I try to avoid, but it is the one "gift" that is usually left undone, waiting for me.

So, getting back to keeping my sanity. "Well, did you ever lose it?" You may ask. "Yes! I have."
 I know what it is to be in a home that is so boxed up, without space, and clutter that I can't control. I know what it's like to not have the space to put things away in, like a decent size closet or cabinets for simple groceries." I know firsthand what it's like to do all your laundry and not have a place to put away your clean, folded clothes. I know what it's like to just build shelves and use crates or whatever I can find just to have some sort of organization in an already depressing area. So, this is why I thought that maybe sharing some of my extremely busy weekend moments, you'll thank me later.

Make A Plan:


Big home or little home, it's important to make a plan. The weekend speeds through quickly and before you know it, you're ironing clothes to go back to work on Monday morning. You and I know what we have to do. We need time to sit down and pay bills, read mail that has accumulated over the week, go through our children's book bags/folders (teacher letters we never get) and the list of what to do seems like a one thousand page book we can never complete in one day.

So, plan. Make that "list". Yup, as simple and repetitive as that is (because you already know this) still, make the "list". Write the time of things that need to get done by a certain time. Maybe appointments or places that close early. Make a list of not just your groceries, but other things you may need to buy or get done.

3-groceries (add list)
5-buy popcorn for movie night "tonight"
6- etc. etc.

Get Up Early:

Many people tend to "plan" on sleeping in on weekends. "Hey, I get up early to go to work every day. I deserve a break on Saturdays." True. You work hard for your money and you need a rest. But, if you were to take that same discipline and determination and conquer what needs to get done in your home and in your life during the weekends, using a schedule that you create, you'll get so much completed.

If you just stay in bed, truth is, you may want a little more sleep every few minutes and before you know it, it's 12:00 noon and you've already slept most of the day away. Yes, I know you need the rest, your beauty rest. I do, too. But, if I stay in bed, no one is going to get up, come to my home and get things done.I start with a cup of coffee. Then, I tackle what I can a little at a time. I stick to the list as much as I can.

Don't Procrastinate:


This weekend, we went crazy with doing so much that needed to get done outside and inside our home. For the longest time I've known what had to get done. I had people around me that were able and willing to help. We kept leaving things for the next weekend. I can say that my husband kept saying, "It will get done." But, truth is, he was not getting it done. We didn't delegate work to people around us. My son, Aaron proved to be such a great resource with his hidden skills. He tackled things I had asked my husband to do many times. By showing confidence in our son, the job not only got completed, but it was beautifully done.

We keep saying, "Tomorrow" or "next weekend". The truth is we don't even start. We keep putting things off and then when the letter or phone call comes that we need to have everything done by a certain date, we begin to go crazy. Crunch time settles in and we argue, we throw blame and we get all stressed out. Why? All because we didn't take the time to plan and just get things done. We don't take the initiative to get excited about handling house chores and responsibilities. We have to get it done. Period. No more excuses and no more leaving it all for another day.

Delegate and Work As A Team:


By opening our doors to allow our children to take over some of our needs, they not only proved their love to us, but to one another. I saw my children just come and take over things I was doing. My daughter, Jeru just walked over, took a paint brush and started painting the front porch with me. She motivated my youngest son, Jacob. Before I knew it, Aaron had come over and taken my brush away. My heart was suddenly swollen with such joy that, yup, you know it, tears just came down my face as I observed my kids working so happily as a team. Music filled our home. Laughter that seemed for a long time to come only in small moments filled each room, and even the outdoors.

My parents were present to inspire and coach us on Saturday. They got their hands into the dirt and guided my kids. It was awesome to see them work together. Tree branches were taken care of. The lawn was mowed. Flowers were planted. Things that should have been done weeks ago and had piled up were taken care of with great effort and love.

Take time to Play:

The weekend was spent tackling many house fixtures. As new home owners, we had an inspection due and we really wanted to make an impression to the person coming. We wanted our home to pass the inspection. We wanted our home to say, "TADA! Perfect!" Afterwards, I saw my kids playing and planning time together. I can't tell you what joy to see them, even though they were tired, take time to be together and just enjoy each others company as if they were little kids all over again.

I witnessed the Lord use these moments together to melt down stressful moments. I saw the Lord tear down walls we had built ourselves because we were tired, carrying burdens, offended and sad. I saw healing take place as we just dug our hands into the dirt and did what had to be done. There was no complaining or bickering and if it seemed someone started, we put a stop to it immediately. I saw my family sitting together and wanting to be together.  

Well, now you know. None of us have a perfect family. Very few of us have it all together. Some of us just know how to pretend really well and make it all look good. I don't want to pretend. I want the real deal. I want the home with so much love and understanding, so much of the Lord's presence, and so much of God's will in our home, that I don't have to share about God's love and peace, it will be evident on it's own through our lives lived out loud.

I pray that you have some tools now on how to keep your sanity while you're at home, with a busy life, a family and just plain ups and downs. I pray you will take some of these ideas (which I am positive you said, "I knew that already!") and well, don't just know about it, do it. God will bless you greatly.

Written By Angeline M Duran Santiago



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