We’re shifting out of summer and into the school year plus seasons that involve a lot of indoor time and holidays. Let’s spend August working on a Sense of Home. What does “home” mean to you? What does it mean to “go home?” Or to “be home?” What do you love about your home?
Think about what YOU want your Home goals for the month to be…
What do you want to work on in your home? Do you want to tackle toys? Clutter? The pantry? Keep healthier food in the fridge? Light those candles more often? Celebrate the seasons more? Spend more time at home? Do you want to love your home more? Do you want it to be a place of comfort? Of welcome? Decide what areas of your house and elements of home you want to work on and write them down.
We’ll spend August working toward our individual goals and creating a positive sense of home with our family. Sound like a lot? No worries! The yaya tribe takes it one day at a time, a few questions at a time. We take mommy steps (one step at a time) toward our goals. Working on something a little each day helps erase mom guilt…you can’t feel guilty when you show up and put in the work every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Here’s how we’ll do it
Each week we’ll have a new focus. The weekly breakdown for August will look like this:
Week 1: Family Values
Week 2: Meals
Week 3: Inside (tidy, cozy, rooms, etc.)
Week 4: Outside (yard, hometown pride)
We’ll be spending a lot of time thinking about the who, what, when, and where that come together to create our sense of home. One step at a time, mamas…let’s begin!
August Week 1: Family Values
During week one we’ll be looking into our past (before we were moms) and reminiscing about our favorite memories of “home.” We’ll also take a look at our family’s values and if/how they are reflected in the way we keep our current home.
Memory of Home
When you were growing up, what did “home” look like? What do you remember from your childhood that really felt like “home” to you? Was it the cooking? Meals at the table? Smells? Photos? Routines? That feeling of relief when you walked through the door? A favorite reading corner? The people? Write it down.
What would you pull from those memories and apply to your family and current living situation?
Where in your home do you connect (undistracted) with your family? At the kitchen table? In the kitchen? Living room floor? Bedrooms? The front porch? Where do the best conversations take place? Write about where you connect with each family member.
What could you do to make those spaces more inviting? Keeping the kitchen island clear? Putting a centerpiece or candles on the kitchen table? Inviting the kids to help you cook? A fresh flower in a small vase on the nightstand? (This is going to look totally different depending on which season of motherhood you are in).
Is your home welcoming? How do you welcome people into your home? How do you make them feel welcome? Is it with a clean entryway? A sign? A warm smile? A cup of tea? Today we’re writing about that ‘welcoming feeling’ we can feel in our own home or others. Write about what it means to feel welcome—this can be in your own home or a time you felt warmly welcomed into someone else’s house.
Chores: Punishment or Blessing?
How do you feel about household chores? Write about it. Why write about how we feel about chores? Because your attitude surrounding chores can have a huge impact on how you view your home. How were you raised? Were chores a punishment? Were they a way to bless your home, in a sense, and show gratitude? Is cleaning or picking up just something your family does or is it a big production?
How do you view your home? Is it overwhelming? Is it calming? Is it what you need or want it to be? How much of this feeling is influenced by your view of chores? Spend some time today answering these questions, making connections, and sorting it out by writing it out.
“In this family, we…”
Finish this sentence, over and over. What are your family values? How are those reflected in your home?
Strengthening Your Values
Look at yesterday’s list. What could you do to focus more on those values? Which ones need more focus in this season of motherhood? Do you value hard work, self care, forgiveness, grace, fun? Choose one (or as many as you like!) and come up with ideas & a plan to strengthen that value as it relates to your family’s sense of home.
This could look like “In this family, we value personal responsibility = more tidying up after ourselves. Or “we value fun = making time and space for more board games or honoring family game night. Or we value connection = more meals together at the table without devices. Forgiveness = vowing not to go to bed angry &/or maintaining a peaceful bedroom space. Grace = going to bed on nights we need more sleep and leaving the dishes and not beating ourselves up about it.
Bring Your Family Into the Conversation
Growth is not a secret. We (as mothers) model the positive changes we want for our children. Being in touch with our family values brings clarity to the “why” in our days. Why do we pick up around the house? Because we take pride in our home. Or we believe in personal responsibility. Or we want to maintain a feeling of peace in our house. Or all of the above. Being clear about the “why” and sharing that with our children takes a lot of the anger or annoyance out of daily chores. Talk with your family about your thoughts this week and how you can work together to establish and meet your family’s “sense of home” goals. Write about what went well with the conversation and what ideas might need more work or a revisit.
August Week 2: Meals
The people, the smells, the food, the table…food is a BIG part of family life. We eat three (sometimes more!) times a day. That’s a huge portion of our everyday life. Meal time deserves our attention. Let’s take a look at how the meals we prepare, how we eat them, where we eat them, etc. play into our family’s sense of home.
Tasting a Memory
How much of your sense of home is centered around mealtime or specific meals? What was your favorite meal growing up? Who prepared it? When did you eat it? How often? Who did you eat it with? Write about it. Include all the details of tastes, feelings, plates, the room where you ate, who was around, etc.
Do you know how to make that meal? Do you still eat it? Would you be inspired to share that memory with your own children in your own kitchen? If so, take this memory a step further and make plans to recreate a beloved meal from your childhood. Share details from your writings above with them.
Evaluate Your Eating Style
What is your family eating style? (i.e. vegan, Whole30, keto, anything goes, family of snackers, etc). Are you happy with your family’s eating habits? Is there an eating style you’d like to try or are curious about?
There are so many articles and books that talk about the importance of sitting down together for family meals. With busy schedules and school coming up, take a look at your life, your values, and your schedule. Are there times where you could sit down at the table and make a family meal a priority?
Even if sitting down together isn’t your current norm, it’s never too late to start a new tradition. What are your goals for mealtime in your house? Do you want to work on meal planning? Do you want to work on healthier choices? Do you want to work on budgeting? Write down your mealtime goals.
Make a Plan
Take a look at yesterday’s mealtime goals. What could you do to start putting those into action? Writing family dinner on the calendar? Start researching new recipes? Dig out old recipes? Start listening to an audio book or podcast about a new-to-you eating style? Make a plan. Write down concrete actions you can take to get closer to your mealtime goals.
Buy it, Don’t Buy It
One of the easiest ways to not eat junk food is to not buy it. Are you interested in eating more fruits and vegetables? Buy them! Have them on hand and available. Interested in cutting out sugary snacks or processed foods? Stop buying them! Don’t have them within arm’s reach. You can’t choose something that is not there.
Today make two lists. One of foods you would like to buy more of and one you would like to buy less of. Write them out.
Bring Your Family In On the Conversation
Talk about how meals together are important and how it relates to good health, family bonds, memories, a sense of home, all of it. Let them know your goals and why they are important to you (and them). Let them know that you want to make positive changes for the family one meal at a time. Write about it before and after your conversation. How did it go? What questions did they have? Did you get resistance? Did the conversation affect your conviction to change? Did you feel supported? Did you acknowledge that support? Write about what you feel you need to help you stick to your goals or which ones might need editing.
You’ve thought about it, wrote about it, talked about it. Make today the day your goals and plans go into effect (if you haven’t already)! If you want to eat less sugar, today is the day you start buying less sugar. If you want to sit down to the table for more meals together, set the table with plates and flowers and sit down together. If you want to share more of your grandma’s recipes with your children, buy the ingredients & choose a day to make it. Set yourself up for success. Write what your mealtime goals are and what you can do to see them through.
Do you have a sacred space in your home? A space that holds meaningful objects or photos that you cherish or that motivate you? If you have one, write about what it looks like, what you love about it, what you could do to enhance it, or look to it more often. If you don’t, have you considered creating a space in your home that holds spiritual meaning for you or inspiration? Write about the what, where, feelings, etc. that this idea brings up for you.
Bought & Sold
How much of your sense of home is bought? Do you find yourself buying “things” to fill your home in the hopes of creating a sense of comfort? Do those objects do that? Do the items in your home bring you joy? When you go to the store, do you think about how items do or don’t create a sense of home? What inspires you to buy household décor? Are you comfortable with your relationship with your interior design choices? How much of that do you feel is cultural? How much is it a trend? Are there items in your house that you’d like to get rid of? Start by answering the questions and then make lists, if you feel so inspired.
What’s Your Style?
What is your home style now? Can you identify the design and style you’re drawn to when shopping, pinning, or browsing? Is it what you want it to be? Have you been thinking about changing your color scheme or vision? Write about what styles, eras, color, designs, etc. you’re drawn to most. Dream big on this one and write about what your ideal home looks like.
Sounds and Smells
Today we’re going to get a bit poetic. How do sounds and smells play into your sense of home? Do you love certain scents? How would you describe the smell of your home? What fragrance, oils, or cleaners do you use that create your family’s unique smell of home? Write about them.
What about the sounds of your home? What does your home sound like? Is it filled with the pitter patter of small feet? The squeals and squabbles of siblings? Dogs? Birds? The ocean? The city? What sounds make up the unique orchestra of your home.
Motherhood involves toys. It just does. It’s important we think about and get comfortable with that idea. What season of toys are you in? Infant? Toddler? Legos? Books? Video games? Phones? How do you feel about your current toy situation? Are you happy with it? Could you pass some toys along? Clean out closets? Acquire the next developmental level up? Make some more available or visible? Put some away? Rotate them out? Throw them all out and start over? (Just kidding…kind of…depending on the day). Toys are supposed to be fun. Write about what you can do to keep the toy situation fun and manageable in your home.
Write about how screens—our phones, tvs, and computers—can keep you inside your house or even keep you from taking care of your house and the people in it. Does this happen to you? How often?
We live in a world where many people are addicted to their screens. Take a look at your screen time and do an honest evaluation of yourself as it relates to your sense of home. Do your screens keep you inside more? Do they keep you from cleaning your home? Does your computer sit out on the table and call you to work? Could you set your phone down more to focus on creating a sense of home? Could you turn them off and enjoy your home more? What kind of screen use are you modeling for your children? It’s uncomfortable for some, but an important question we should ask ourselves often. Do a self-check and write about it. Create goals as needed.
Home Within Yourself
You are your child’s sense of home. There’s a reason the saying “Home is where your mom is” is plastered all over tea towels and coffee mugs. You absolutely carry a sense of home in you just by being a mother.
Good on you for taking steps to then create that sense of home outside yourself, too, for making it tangible with meals and comfortable spaces. Do you feel that sense of home within yourself? Write about it…the pressure, the pride, the responsibility, and the emotions surrounding all of it.
August Week 4: Outside
For me, “going home” took on a different notion after I moved away from Ohio. Now, when I “go back home,” I think of it in terms of my parents’ and grandparents’ houses, but also the small town where I grew up. If I were talking with someone now as an adult about “going back home,” I’d probably just sum it up by saying Ohio. Ohio is a pretty general answer to the question, “where did you grow up?” but it’s the one I give. Now, Maui is my home and my answer for the question, “where are you from?” State and hometown pride deserves some of our attention as it relates to our sense of home.
The Front Door
What could you do at your front entry space to make it more welcoming, for your own family and guests? What do you love about it now? What have you always wanted to do to the space? Write about what it’s like to open your front door and come home. Is it what you want it to look like day in and day out? Are there changes you’d like to make? What about your entry says “welcome home?”
Are you using the green space outside your front door? In your neighbor? In your city? What could you do to encourage you to use them more?
Use Your Yard
What are you proud of in your yard? The tidiness? The size? The color? The plants? What makes you want to use it? What keeps you from using it? Is your green space or yard a public park? Is there something you could do to take more pride in your home or town’s green spaces?
What are you proud of in your hometown? Is it the businesses? The community? The options? The culture? The events? The schools? The parks? What do you do with your family to support and experience the things that make you proud to live where you live? What could you do more often to show and experience the things that make you proud?
The Little Things
Write about the little things you could do on a daily basis to take more pride in your home and yard. Could you straighten the garden tools? Weed a little every day? Make an effort to put the outside toys away more often? Paint that little piece of trim that’s been driving you crazy? Pick up trash when you see it? Start carrying dog poop bags on your walks? Pick flowers for the kitchen table? Sit on your porch more often? Put food in the bird feeder? Learn the names of the plants in your yard?…what could you do? What do you want to do inside or outside your home that would make you happy and proud to be there?
The Outside Inside
Does the inside of your home reflect the season you’re in? (I know we talk a lot about “parenting seasons,” but I mean the literal seasons of Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter). Do you make changes to the interior to reflect the seasonal shifts? Decorations? Switching out clothes? Putting out more blankets? Changing your menu? Write about how you mark the season shifts or how and if you’d like to note them more.
Shifting the Guilt
You’ve asked yourself a lot of questions this month. You’ve taken an honest look at your home and your habits. You’ve been called to action. Making changes is one way to erase mom guilt. You’re taking your role as mom seriously and modeling the positive change you want for your kids. You are their sense of home. You create that. Write about how your sense of home has shifted since the beginning of the month. Don’t forget to pat yourself on the back for taking on this challenge, making positive changes, and being the model for your children.
Thank You Day
Our first “bonus day” is always about gratitude. What are you thankful for this month? Who has supported you? Who has inspired you? Who do you want to reach out to with a text, card, letter, email, or hug? Write it down and then share it with that person. Today’s call to action: express your gratitude.
More or Less
Today is review day. Look back over the month. What would you like to do more of? Less of? What would you like to focus on more? Focus on less? Simplify the month and sum it up: make a “More” and “Less” list. Use this as a gauge to move forward as you create and foster a sense of home for yourself and your family.
Autumn in almost upon us. Write about what changes you’re seeing in the weather, your children, your home, your family, etc. as the season starts to wind down and we slip into fall…