I did not say that I'm going to teach my children to organize. Toys, sock drawers, doesn't matter.
I did not say I'm going to teach them cleaning tricks. Cleaning tricks are nice, and I'll be sharing some of them on this blog as I come across some good ones, but I don't think they are keys to making a home. The two exceptions are laundry and dishes, because dude, you need clean underwear, and dirty dishes attract flies and ants.
I did not say I'm going to teach them how to coordinate colors and textiles for decorating.
I don't even make them make their beds. Okay, they sleep with us in our big bed, but if they did have their own beds, I wouldn't require them to be made every day.
The thing about making a home is that no one can say there are rules to making home feel like home. I can come up with skills that I think are important for making life run more smoothly, but as far as what home looks like, one person's paradise is another person's uncomfortable, stifled existence. If I can't put my feet on it, I don't like it in my house. That would drive someone else completely crazy.
Too many of use think we need our houses to look like pictures off of Pinterest or in Better Homes and Gardens in order for us to say we're good homemakers. I say, home is meant to be used and lived in. I have a friend whose style is very sparse, with clean lines and muted colors. That feels temporary and cold to me, but it's soothing and comfortable for him. I don't think home is home without art on all the walls. Someone else might see that as clutter and over-stimulating.
Do not want.
Ooooh, do want. Where's MY living room hammock?
There's also that "I really don't want to do my hair and take Valium to make you happy" thing that a lot of us modern homemakers have going on. I want my children to be functional adults, but I don't want them to feel like appearances take precedence over hobbies, health, and personal enrichment. It's true I could be doing my dishes right now instead of blogging. It's also true that writing is therapy for me and taking time for myself every day keeps me from throwing things at people.
There's one more thing that you might not agree with but I think is important for my own family.
I don't think parents should force children to clean their rooms.
I think Alfie Kohn put it best when he said a child's room is one of the only things in the world that is actually theirs, and they shouldn't have to keep their own rooms up to our standards.
I thought about that for several weeks and I've come to the conclusion that he's right. In the shared space, everyone should contribute to keeping it on a level that is comfortable for everyone who uses that space, but I think it's healthy and important for everyone to have a space they can call their own. Even a shared room has the potential for an unmade bed that gets used as a fort or reading nook during the day.
Unless you're staging your house for sale, it doesn't need to look barely lived in. I have goals to get rid of clutter and be more organized, but only so we have more space to play and have projects and spread out and be together. Isn't that why we clean up our kitchens, so we have room to mess them up again?