September 11, 2009

Home Management 101 – Part 1

home management

Read the Managers of Our Homes series to learn more.

As I created my Household Notebook, it opened my eyes to how I had been allowing some things to slip through my fingers because I either wasn’t paying attention to them, or hadn’t thought of them in the first place. Another thing I learned was that that are many facets to running a home, and my diamond needed some polishing—ASAP.

So my HN became my guidebook, my command center of operations. And it has truly helped me in many ways. The most important aspect of it, I think, is that it keeps everything in one place. All my budgets, financial planning worksheets, Bible studies, school schedules, etc. are all in my notebook. When I started adding personal items to it, like a project idea sheet, I realized this notebook is much more important than I’d originally realized. As I keep my notebook updated and organized, I can think much more clearly, and best of all, everything I need is at my fingertips. All I have to do is open my notebook and flip open the section I need.

Bible-based concepts on Home Management for women

My Household Notebook play a huge role in my home management. But there are other things I’m learning along the way as well about being a good manager of my home. My findings are scripturally-based, and I continue to seek and study the Word to refine my home management skills. So here are some of those lessons:

Home Manager: A wise woman, who oversees the physical, spiritual, emotional, and financial needs of her family.

1. A home manager is trustworthy and charitable.

*Proverbs 31:11-12: “Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it. Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long.”

We woman are the core of our homes. Honesty and trustworthiness begins with us. As the manager of my home, if I am dishonest with my husband or children, it erodes not only our personal bonds, but my family unit as well. My husband must know in his heart that he can trust me in any situation or circumstance. He should never have reason to doubt me, and above all, I should never give him reason to regret trusting me. Once trust is broken, it is very hard to earn back.

Verse 12 is one that I think many women have a problem with. What’s the first thing you tend to do when you’re mad at your husband? If you’re human, you probably want to lash out at him. You might even have a streak of spitefulness in you and try to figure out how you can even the score with him. If you want to be a good Home Manager, you have to stop this. You have to learn to be giving and have an open heart.

This was one of the main things that made me fall in love with my husband—he has a huge heart. There were times when I couldn’t understand how he could forgive and forget so easily when someone did him wrong, then turn around and help them in the next instant when they needed help. I model myself after him (although I do struggle with this at times). I want to be like that: compassionate, bighearted, generous in all I say and do.

2. A home manager is thrifty and frugal when necessary.

*Proverbs 31:13-14: “She shops around for the best yarns and cottons, and enjoys knitting and sewing. She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises.”

I don’t know anyone who hasn’t fallen on hard times at some point in their life. Unfortunately, if you don’t learn how to be frugal before this happens, you’ll be forced to learn it then. This isn’t to say that you have to be cheap, but I think sometimes we waste a lot of money—and time—on things that aren’t necessary, or aren’t good for us.

The best thing about being frugal with your money is that you learn how to get around price tags and become more creative and adventurous. You learn to think outside the box, instead of just grabbing something off the shelf and doling out too much money to pay for it, or worse yet, charging it to a high-interest credit card when you know you can’t afford it in the first place. Believe me, I’m not preaching about something I don’t know anything about. Been there, done that, have the scars to prove it. (Maybe one day I’ll share more about this, too.) So I know what I’m talking about when I say that although you might get that temporary high from doing what everyone else is doing, you will come crashing down.

One thing that really disturbs me is watching women chase after elaborate, expensive things in an effort to keep up with others, or make others believe they have more money than they truly do. (Look back at #1. This principle applies to everyone in your life, not just your husband/family.) Be real. Be you. When you create an imaginary life built on dishonesty, you will eventually become so twisted and entangled in the deceit that you will become empty, unhappy, and broken inside.

For me, thriftiness and frugal living doesn’t only apply to money matters. It applies to my time as well. It took many years for me to finally learn this. My time is just as, if not more than, important than my finances. When I allow my time to be eroded away by listening to people gripe or gossip, or when I’m surrounded by negative people all the time, this rubs off on my spirit. I can have the most positive attitude ever, but if I constantly give my time to negative people, chances are, that pessimistic attitude is going to end up rubbing off on me. And because I’m the manager of my home, guess who that bad attitude will become present in next? You guessed it….my family. So I have become much more aware of this and work diligently towards guarding my time against such socialization.

3. A home manager attends to her families needs and has good time management skills.

*Proverbs 31:15: “She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast for her family and organizing her day.”

Proverbs 31:21: “She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows; their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.”

I can hear what some of you are thinking right now: ‘But I hate cooking! And up before dawn?! Are you crazy??’

home managementI’m not going to sit here and tell you that you need to get up early every morning and cook a full breakfast for your family. If you enjoy doing that, great! The point I do want to make here is that as a Home Manager, it is our responsibility to make sure our family has what they need. Make sure your children have breakfast, whether it’s a bowl of cereal or scrambled eggs and biscuits. See to it they have lunch money for school, or that their socks are still in good shape. My family is a reflection of me, so I want to be sure they have what they need to be successful and confident each day.

Most of all, I have been entrusted with 24 hours a day. At least 10 of those hours are for sleeping, for the kids (not quite so much for me). That leaves 14 hours for them. They are at school 7 1/2 hours a day during the week. That gives us about 6-6.5 hours together per day, excluding weekends. If I am not wise in time management, those few precious hours can be easily squandered away.

That concept aside, if I don’t organize my time each day, there is a much greater chance that I will end up wasting a lot of time on something pointless. In addition, there are always appointments to be kept, places we need to go, and things that must be done on a certain day, at a specific time. If I am late for everything because I forgot about it, this is not a positive reflection on me or my family. Instead, this tells others that I don’t value my time, thus I don’t value theirs, either.

4. A home manager saves money, is a sage investor, and uses her profits wisely.

*Proverbs 31:16: “She looks over a field and buys it, then, with money she’s put aside, plants a garden.”

I am not the smartest when it comes to investing money in the stock market. I don’t know anything about savings bonds. But I can always learn. I think this is something that trips some women and I’m hoping to encourage us all to do something about it. I’ve always very much been a DIY kind of person. If I want to do something, I figure out how to do it. I might study and read up on it for months, or maybe even a few years, but I’ll figure out a way to get that thing done. I think we should take the same approach with our money. If you, like me, aren’t wise in the world of investing, let’s learn about it so we can discover ways to make our money work for us.

Otherwise, I might not know much about that, but I do know how to save money. Even if you don’t understanding big bank investing, anyone can go to a bank with $100 and open a savings account. Even though it won’t yield much in return, you will be saving money. Another good idea is a Christmas club account. Lots of banks offer this way to save any amount of money throughout the year, then empty your account at the end of the year and send you a check. No worries about how you’re going to buy presents!

Likewise, as Home Managers, we have an important duty of thinking things through before we spend money on anything. Think of the field in this scripture as a metaphor. Before you drop a lot of money on a new wardrobe, ask yourself if you really need it? Or do you want new clothes because you’re trying to maintain appearances among others? When you look at the price tag on that pretty dress, do you think about how much this will set you back on your budget, then wait a couple of weeks to see if it will go on sale, or do you spend money out of your grocery budget because you “just have to have it”?

5. A home manager isn’t afraid of hard work and recognizes its importance.

*Proverbs 31:17-19: “First thing in the morning, she dresses for work, rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started. She senses the worth of her work, is in no hurry to call it quits for the day. She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking.”

As managers of our homes, we have to understand the importance of hard work. Whether you are at home, like me, or work outside the home, this applies to all of us. If we greet the day with woe and laziness, our time will be squandered away. At the very least, our bad attitude about what we “have” to do will be noticeable to everyone we come in contact with.

In addition, we home managers must not quit until our work is done. We have to come to an understanding that what we do is important. Whether it’s washing dishes, or running a multi-million dollar business, we all hold great and important work. My family depends on me to fulfill my duties. When I don’t, everyone is affected, not just me.

6. A home manager displays a kind, helping spirit.

*Proverbs 31:20: “She’s quick to assist anyone in need, reaches out to help the poor.”

This is, I think, a very important lesson to learn, because I believe when we can grab hold of it, we will open up a whole new world of blessings. I know a woman who gives and can never say no to people who ask for help, but she doesn’t want to do any of it. She gives, but in her heart, holds one fist clenched. Even though she gives, she doesn’t have a giving heart.

This is an important lesson we can teach our children, through our examples of giving with a loving heart. Deuteronomy 15:10-11 (The Message) points this out clearly, “Give freely and spontaneously. Don’t have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God, your God’s blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures. There are always going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors.”

In addition to giving financially, such as in offerings and special pledges, I believe it is important to give of our time as well. Dedicating special time for prayer and meditation, lending a volunteer hand, or pitching in where you know help is needed and not asking for anything in return are just a few ways of doing so.

More lessons to learn

These six things provide a great starting point for learning how to be good managers of our homes. There are many more lessons to learn from this passage of scripture and as I study them through, I’ll share more of what I’m learning with you.

I hope this series is blessing you as much as it is me!

*The Message version.