Home is the primary holding place for all that is valuable and it is the sanctuary for building loving relationships.
10 Homemaker Skills You Need To Know
As a wife and mama, I think there are certain lessons that I most definitely want my children to learn. I know that the majority of what a child learns comes from what they see, so I am constantly trying to remember this as I go about my day. Reading my Bible, reading and writing blog posts, listening to seasoned parents, and always, always, stopping whatever I’m doing if my babes walk up to me. I can’t tell you how many times my little boy walks up to me while I’m at our dining table working and says “Mama, hug?” And looks at me with his big beautiful brown eyes. It melts my heart. But I know I’m doing what I need to do to try and do my part in giving him and his sister a better future. I’m working online from home, taking care of our babies and keeping our home running. I take all my jobs seriously (even though many people out there think it’s a joke and easily accomplished) and I try to keep some type of structure to our days. Not to the minute of course, but a general structure.
When it comes to being one of the role models for my kids, I want to look back and know that I tried to be the best I could Mama I could be. I want them to look back and say, “Yeah, my Mama was awesome.” This includes cooking, keeping a tidy space, doing everything I can for my husband and children to make sure they’re happy, and being overall happy myself with life and where we are at.
In this post I share 10 Homemaker Skills that I believe everyone should learn from a younger age and be able to implement into their own lives by the time they are old enough to take care of their own households. These are some of the things that I will be making sure to show and teach my babies as they grow up.
Some of these things may be controversial and not everyone will agree with me. But that’s okay, we all are allowed to have our own opinions.
The NUMBER ONE thing that I believe all households should live by is this.
But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.
Now, with that being said. Let’s jump right in!
- Learn To Cook
And I don’t mean reheat leftovers, peel a top and pop it in the oven, or pour a bowl of cereal. These are things a 6-8 year old should be able to do.
I mean a little more involved cooking process. Peeling, chopping, sauteing, grilling, making soups or even the simplest of dinners like Tacos Tuesdays, Sunday Spaghetti, or Fajita Fridays. Yes, these are some of my “go-to” dinners. These are not set in stone because they match nicely with the days of the week. If it’s Friday night and we want a take-out meal then we will do that. Or if it’s Monday and I’m feeling like spaghetti we’ll have it. The point is to have these kinds of meals in your mind and in your pantry so that you can turn to them on any given night when you may not have the time or energy to put work into a full-on, 4 course dinner.
It is important to know at least 5-8 meals that your family enjoys and have those ingredients on hand every week just in case you need to turn to your most loved meals. Having a “Most Loved Meals” Pinterest board or notebook can be a lifesaver if you’re just not feeling like cooking a huge dinner and need something in a pinch.
Pasta Sauce, frozen fresh broccoli, linguine noodles, and cheddar cheese. Sometimes this kind of meal will certainly do in a pinch and takes less than 30 mins to toss together!
2. Get (and use) a Cast Iron Skillet
Nothing makes me feel more like a “homemaker” than learning how to use my cast iron skillet. I absolutely love it and I am still certainly learning my way around it. “Washing” and seasoning it properly takes trial and error. But once I finally got the hang of it, it’s not so bad. And everything tastes SO GOOD. I have a cast iron skillet, a griddle, and I really want a dutch oven. Cast Iron anything can last a lifetime if looked after properly. So, invest! The Lodge brand is one I’ve heard rave reviews about.
3. Grow Food At Home
I know this can be tricky, but even if you have a balcony, you can grow some food. Start small, maybe try tomatoes. Or even smaller, you could work with chives, basil or spring onions. I have been dipping my toes in since we’ve been here in the UK. I’ve kept a basil plant, spring onions, and I’ve attempted chives. I honestly haven’t had much luck keeping those alive though. My basil and spring onions have been thriving for weeks!
The point to growing your own food is not just so… you have food. I mean let’s face it, most grocery stores have amazing produce that is great quality and so convenient these days. The Point in my mind is to appreciate where your food comes from, know the roots, and know that if the world shuts down (like, ya know, during a Pandemic!) Then you won’t starve and you could even thrive off of your own land. Heck if you’ve got half an acre, do your research and start practicing your gardening. Then one day, you could have an overflow and need help eating all your crop! Or you could start canning if you have the storage space. Canning is not something I have ever really been in to, given that I’ve never really had the space for it. The possibilities are endless though! There is something powerful behind knowing that if all else fails, you can feed yourself and those you love.
4. Be Prepared
Always be ready for company. Especially in-laws. This doesn’t mean that everything has to be spotless. However, a quick tidy every now and again throughout the day wouldn’t be too difficult. I’ve actually started a habit and I hope to continue to stick to it. I never go into the kitchen empty handed if there is something that needs to go in there. And I never go upstairs empty handed if things need to be taken up, like folded laundry. Keeping things relatively tidy will also give you peace of mind that there aren’t a million and one things to clean up at the end of the day.
Something I remember from growing up was that my grandmother always, ALWAYS, had something prepared “just in case” anyone stopped by. Now, this made sense since my dad, me, or my sister, could potentially be right around the corner on any given day :). God Bless that woman. My “Maw-Maw” is the epitome of a southern lady. She would always have something ready to eat if we ever wanted to swing by. Chicken salad, spaghetti with meatballs, macaroni and cheese, chicken noodle soup, biscuits n gravy, muffins, you name it. Or she always had something that could quickly be thrown together. Grilled cheese sandwiches, any kind of sandwiches, tuna salad, oh goodness…. my point was that she was prepared. She is and has always been a hostess at heart and I am about 99.9% sure that I inherited that gene from her! Being prepared to offer guests something is always a good rule of thumb. Especially if you have visitors often. Also, if you are actually expecting company, always have something to offer. They may not take you up on it, but it is better to be prepared than to not be prepared and then have to scramble for something. Tea, coffee, fresh baked cookies or bread, these are always a hit when we have anyone over.
5. Dishes During The Day
Make it a habit to do a little dishes here and there throughout the day. That way, there’s not a pile up at the end of the day. I try to maintain the 5 piece rule. If there is ever more than 5 pieces in the sink, I wash them. Plates, mugs, cups, and bowls, so many things take less that 5 minutes to get washed. We don’t have a dishwasher, but if we did, I’d carry a similar rule. Load throughout the day, run after dinner or overnight, unload before bed or in the morning. I feel like, if I had the time, I would prefer to unload at night so it’s all done and there is no need to try and rush to unload it in the morning.
6. A Load A Day Keeps The Chaos Away
I have never heard a more accurate expression regarding laundry. It is so important for a homemaker to make the tasks as less daunting as can be. The best way for you to stay on top of the laundry is to… Stay. On. Top. Of. The. Laundry! By doing at least one load every day, you make sure that your hamper is not overflowing and there aren’t any days where your entire day is taken up by load after load of laundry because who the heck wants that!
My favorite detergent and fabric softener combo is by the METHOD brand. They all smell lovely and make our clothes feel clean if you know what I mean.
7. The Importance Of Hanging Laundry.
Let me just say this, I hate damp clothes. We had a week last month where every single day was wet, cold, and icky. There was no way any clothes were going to get dry. Thank GOD we broke down and bought a dryer. It has seriously been a lifesaver. Before that week, we had pretty nice weather especially for July! It was breezy and in the mid 70’s (F). I got several loads a day done. And on those kinds of days, hanging laundry is actually one of my favorite things to do. I love the feel of hanging clothes, I really can’t explain it well but there’s just something about it. I remember watching as my grandma would hang her sheets or blankets on the line outside. I just feel like it’s the most basic homemaking skill to know how to do. Believe me, if you want your dry clothes to look a certain way or not have a crease right down the middle, there is definitely a science to hanging laundry and you need to learn it. Having a tumble dryer is great and all, but most clothing will say on it “do not tumble dry” this is because the dryer heat can shrink certain materials or decolor some materials. The dryer is a life saver in certain situations, but not for everything. We tend to hang these type clothes in the house with the central heating on, they dry in no time. And if for some reason, anything feels slightly damp at night, we will tumble dry on low for about 10 mins or so and that’s all it really needs! It is important to know how to hang laundry as a general rule.
8. Budget For Everything
“80/20 Method” Budget out 80% Save 20% minimum
Simple as that. Put aside 20% of your earnings every month or week and work best you can with 80%. Set that 20% aside and watch it grown. Toss it in a Ball Mason Jar if you want to literally watch it grow! Make sure every penny is accounted for. Especially groceries. I’m so bad about this but I’m trying to get better! Which leads me to
9. Keep a running grocery list
Try to keep your grocery shop to once a week. We like to go on Friday evenings or Saturday’s. I honestly would prefer going on Sunday evenings, but everything here in the U.K closes at 4/5pm so we have to get a move on it really early if we want to accomplish that on a Sunday. As we go through the week, I make sure to try and use up the things we have bought that week and also incorporate some of the staples we keep on hand. Especially the produce. This time of year I love making soups and chili most of all. I feel like the weather just screams for it. Plus I recently got me a Crockpot (slow cooker) and y’all, I am over the moon in love with it! If you don’t have one, go get one. We got ours at Costco!
10. More isn’t always best.
This is something that I actually learned by force in a way. We’ve moved a good many times since we got married and it’s been somewhat difficult. Nothing feeling like a permanent home. We have not really had excess of anything and guess what… we don’t need it!
Especially when it comes to kids and their toys. I think my kiddos have maybe 3 toys that light up or make noise. And one of those is actually a book that teaches colors, numbers, clothing pieces, food, etc in English and Spanish. Beyond that, they have several stuffed animals and several books. Whenever I go to purchase gifts, toys, presents, whatever you want to call them, I always think to myself. “What value will this bring to my child’s life?” If it’s nothing more than trash then guess what, it will end up in the trash. Or given away or something of the like. I invest in several wooden toy pieces and try often to teach my son not to throw them, bang them, or hit with them since this seems to be the first thing he wants to do. I like watching him with wooden toys, a stuffed animal, a book, and a pot or pan from the kitchen. He goes into his own little world and it is so reassuring to me that he knows how to use his imagination.
Having a home that is generally clutter free will put you on the right track to making tidying up and cleaning that much easier. I could do a whole 5-10 tips on how to keep a clutter free home if that’s something that would interest y’all.
My point is this. A clutter free home = a happy home. Remember that most kids would rather play with kitchen utensils and bowls or sticks or rocks over the latest bright, obnoxious and pointless toy on the market.
A general rule of thumb is this, if you put something on a high shelf, out of sight, and none of your kids ask for it or you don’t need to pull it out for any reason over the next couple of weeks then I’m betting you don’t really need it.
Being a homemaker is more than what meets the eye. People think it’s so easy, being in the home all day. “She must not be doing anything but sitting around all day.” I’ve actually had someone think this about me and say it aloud to my husband. Here’s the thing. People are likely to look down on you if you want to stay home and be a housewife/stay at home mama. Unfortunately, sometimes even our husbands think we spend our days doing nothing much and act like it’s so easy to stay on top of everything. When you do everything, they tell you to relax. When you relax, they wonder why nothing got done… sometimes it’s easy to feel like you will never win.
Women are expected to have careers and families and excel at both. Do you know anyone like that? Anyone who has a successful career, a 100% happy husband, children who don’t miss her presence in their lives, dinner on the table every night before 6:30, and an uncluttered home that is kept tidy with laundry and dishes done and put away daily? Anyone?… Kudos to you if you’ve got it all together. As far as I know, there is no way I could be gone 7am-5/6pm as well as my husband and have anything kept up with in the home. Plus that would mean sending my little babies off for someone else to look after and teach. It would also mean scrambling to get some sort of dinner together or take out almost every night. No thanks, not for me. The Bible calls for us, women, to be wives, mothers, caretakers, homemakers, and our husbands helpers. It does not tell us to go out there and try to have it all. That’s when things begin to fall apart. Be content with what you need, with the simplicities of life.
I hope these tips and ramblings give you some inspiration if you are venturing into the Wife/Mama/Homemaker role.
Till next time,