Monday, October 27, 2008

Relaxing on a rainy day

We finally got some rain around here, along with rolls of thunder loud enough to wake us up at night. I always enjoy these first rains, and expect to see how lush and green everything will soon look after a long summer draught.

Mr. Duck looks very excited about the rain as he waddles around our front yard. The kitties seem to be less enthusiastic.

On rainy days it's especially comforting to remain at home, tending to projects that need to be done inside. Outdoor chores, such as running to the store or working in the garden, are often postponed, and it feels so nice to pull out the winter blankets, do some ironing, curl up with a hot cup of tea and a good book, or knit while you watch the raindrops roll down your window.

I'm re-reading some posts previously published on "Home Living", which are especially encouraging for young wives. I love the very balanced, sensible way of Mrs. Sherman to talk about prioritizing, using our time wisely, and establishing a routine - which, in my opinion, is more important than fancier skills (which are of course very nice and worth learning too). For example, quilting, sewing, knitting and so on is lovely - but without organizing my time and establishing a simple routine, I'm lost.

I generally try to divide my day in two parts - morning, which is anytime before lunch; and afternoon/evening. In the morning hours, I'm most productive and energetic, and so I try to do "heavier" work during that time. After I've done my morning routine, which includes making beds, doing dishes, emptying trash cans and general tidying up, I might do some washing, cleaning, organizing, and sometimes cooking. If I need something from the store, I'll try to do that before lunch as well.

In the afternoon, I like my time to be more relaxed, and so I dedicate these hours to quiet, comforting work, such as baking, writing lists, mending clothes, or crafts. I think it's my favorite part of the day - the major tasks already done, and still lots of time left. Later in the evening, I often make some calls, answer a few emails, read up a bit on interesting subjects, and just relax until my husband comes home.

An important thing I've learned: to be productive and relaxed at home, you need to be present at home. If something makes you spend a lot of time away from home - it might be shopping, or visiting friends, or social commitments - you're always playing catch-up. Mess, clutter and dirty laundry seem to breed while you're away; you forget what you have in your refrigerator and pantry; eventually, your home becomes so unorganized that you feel tempted to run away from it. That's why I love days like today, when it's raining outside, I don't need to go anywhere, and can fully dedicate myself to my domestic duties.


Jackie Parkes said...

What an interesting blog & wonderful post!

Jessica said...

Great post! I love reading the articles at Home Living as well! They are so inspirational especially to young wives!

Ways of Zion said...

Yet another wonderful's raining here as well!

Bethany Hudson said...

I'm a "morning person" when it comes to housework, too, Anna. If I haven't gone grocery shopping before lunch, it's likely not going to get done that day :-P It's also when my daughter is most cooperative, which works out well.

Laura said...

I know you might not be ready to reveal it yet, but I was wondering if you and your husband had settled on a name for your baby yet?

Personally I was already past due by the time I settled on a name and most people didn't find out what it was until he was born. I had a book of like 20,000 baby names and still had trouble deciding.

Anonymous said...

I, too, love days like you've described. Today it was very cold & windy, & we even have a bit of snow already. But I felt nicely tucked in, with a good fire burning in our stove. It was a a good day!

I'm sorry to read (yesterday) about your washing machine frustrating! I got to thinking though: maybe when you go to your mother's place to do some of your laundry, you could get her windows washed at the same time!

Every now & then, I like to reread Mrs. Sherman's posts. They're helpful & uplifting...I guess you think so too. :o)


Anonymous said...

This is so true. I find myself in a never ending cycle. I have to go out and take care of a few things; the house gets messy while I'm gone; when I see the mess, I just want to leave again. It's never ending and I cannot seem to set up a good schedule and stick to it. How does your day run? What do you do when you do have to go out? Do you ever encounter the home-blahs? I constantly feel a lonely while I'm alone at home. I fill the empty space with television and books, but that means I get nothing productive done.
Thanks for yet another great post!

Anonymous said...

I agree. Today's my day off, and it is lovely to sit indoors and enjoy the rain without rushing off to work.

I also agree about the schedule. I think it's a huge challenge to create a housekeeping schedule and stick to it. First, it requires great willpower as no one is watching over you on an hourly basis. It is often more tempting to read for another hour, or surf the internet, or shop, rather than scrub fingerprints off the walls. Second, a mother's schedule in particular needs to be ultra-flexible. The more kids you have, the more errands to run....doctors' appointments, orthodontists, birthday gifts to buy, library visits, emergency shopping, chauffeuring to friends or activities....many of these are spontaneous or unscheduled, and it's difficult to arrange your daily work around them.(Especially if you're also working outside the home).

Any woman who manages to keep a lovely home has my admiration, particularly if she has several kids, and manages to still have a 'life' (in other words, isn't obsessed with cleaning/cooking at the expense of everything else). I know how tough it is.

I think for many homemakers, the biggest challenge of all is that they feel their work is not valued enough. Because of the ambiguous, changing nature of housework, it's not always obvious how much work it really takes. The other problem, of course, is that there's no uniform standard to be judged by, leaving stay-at-homers to 'prove' that they're working hard, and with the task of justifying their roles.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Anon: certainly, sometimes I need to go out - and certainly, sometimes I feel lonely. No one spends their life between four walls. I was mainly talking about the danger of ALWAYS being out and about, at the expense of actually doing some much needed chores around the house.

I found that, rather than just sitting around, I can cheer up by doing those domestic tasks I like most, like for example ironing or baking. Then I can get into the swing of everything else.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Laura, I think we're almost settled on a name, in fact have been from the start - but the custom is not to reveal it until baby is born. :)

Anonymous said...

This is totally off topic...but have you any news of CoffeeCatholic?

Susan B said...

A very nice post. I enjoy rainy days also, especially when I don't have go anywhere! It's nice to hear the rain on the roof, or on the windows. Hopefully soon we'll have some rain. I think rain is expected by the end of the week.

I also try to divide my days into two parts. I try to do most of the housework for that day in the morning, or do my shopping. Then the afternoon is more relaxed, when I am more tired. It is nice to know that the morning tasks are done, it makes the afternoons more enjoyable.

Karen said...

Your schedule sounds good. I especially like the part of doing most of the heavy work in the mornings. I'll have to think about that. It's difficult to get a lot done these day but I think a new schedule might help. I definitely do feel a little lost and unorganized at times without one.

Mrs. Anna T said...


Last time I heard from Michelle, which was a couple of days ago, she was having pretty strong contractions. I hope she's had the baby by now, but I don't know for sure.

Joann Allen said...

HI, strange that you sound exactly opposite of me. I am not a morning person at all. Most of my mornings are spent lounging around. I find I have the most energy sometime after 2 or 3pm. I know this sounds weird but even late night I seem to have more energy than in the morning. We (my husband and I) are late night people. Sometimes not going to bed until 2AM...It can be 10pm and I will be doing things like cleaning the kitchen or bathroom. I guess everyone just learns to do what works best for them. I used to feel like I was doing it wrong..that I should have everything done by such and such time and now I still have a plan of what I want to get done but I just do it later than some people do.
I really like you blog, and especially the pictures.