Planning is not cooking but it is management. Mother gets her day’s work done because she has learned to plan. In her day, planning or management were not taught in school. This is where you have an advantage. (The Home Economics Omnibus by Harris & Huston)
Lately, I’ve been wondering about whether many of us view homemaking as our job rather than a chore. Thanks to the media and companies trying to sell us stuff to rescue us from our “daily drudgery” (and don’t forget Pinterest with all of those “hacks!”) chores have a rather negative connotation. But what if we thought of home management as our career and not “just a job?” Would we go about our day differently?
When I was a new school teacher, I had to submit my weekly lesson plans to my principal. He wanted to make sure that the new teachers had plans in place to ensure that our students would meet our learning benchmarks. As a new professor, I didn’t have to turn in my lesson plans but I carried over my habit from when I was a schoolteacher. Since then, I have led countless workshops teaching new professors and graduate students how to plan out their entire courses so that their students learn without too many “uh-ohs” happening during the semester.
And, isn’t that what planning is about? If we plan, we can manage the daily ups and downs a little easier. If we ask ourselves, “What can go wrong?” we’ll already have a plan in place to manage the “uh-oh” instead of it turning into a disaster.
What does home management planning entail?
In my mind, home management planning includes things like financial/money management, physical upkeep of the house and ourselves, meals, vacations/days of rest, and education.
Education? Yes, education. Many professional careers require their practitioners to acquire professional development hours in order to renew their license. And, yet, we don’t necessarily think about professional development when it comes to home management. But why not? That “hobby class” offered at the recreation center may provide you with skills that will help you grow as a home manager. The big box stores like Lowes and Home Depot offer DIY workshops. Even if you aren’t planning on redoing your bathroom, just having an understanding of how the bathroom plumbing works will enable you to save money because you will know when you can unclog that drain yourself (instead of needing to call a plumber).
I’m not a FLY
Many young mothers write to me, wanting to know about resources so that they can be like a 50’s housewife. I think the unspoken plea is that they don’t feel in charge of their home and want some guidance on how to be an ideal homemaker. I think a first step is to view home management as a career and see both the daily and long-term in our planning. That way we won’t be buffeted about like a ball in an old pin-ball machine. Planning means that we are in charge and can remain (relatively) calm and productive no matter what happens. We can be confident that there is a Plan B and, hopefully, a Plan C in place in case we can’t go with Plan A for some unexpected reason.
I know a lot of people have found FlyLady to be a lifesaver for them. And I’m not going to knock her system. However, I’m more old school and prefer the original system that hers was built upon. For the past 20-some odd years, I’ve tried planners and digital reminders and FlyLady and all of that good stuff. But, the old-fashioned 3×5 tickler file still works best for me to keep an organized home and life.
How about you? Are you a planner or a winger? Share your method in the comments.
To your calm Technicolor homemaking career,