I want to tell you about two types of slow days that are great to incorporate into your week.
Once a week I have a home-day. Currently Fridays. This day is my gentle day at home to catch up. I have it blocked out in my diary every week so it is guarded. On that day I can do what I want and need to do. I like to do things like de-cluttering a cupboard. Or bringing up a load of firewood and having a chat with the chickens. Or I make a big pot of soup for the weekend. Sometimes I have a friend around for a coffee. I also do a pile of laundry and a little tidy up for the weekend ahead.
It’s the day I catch my breath.
It makes a massive difference to three things:
– how I feel mentally
– how our life runs all week
– how our home looks
Every woman needs a day each week to catch her breath and catch up. To get things in order. When there are no MUST do’s outside the home. When you don’t have to go out to any appointments, to playgroup or to work. That way you can have some unbroken momentum and focus. And I don’t mean the weekend as that is family time.
When the kids were younger I had home day on Mondays as 4 young kids can wreck a house over a weekend so Mondays were recovery day, for me and the house!
If there is nothing booked you can attend to whatever you see needs attending to that will take some load off your mind for the next week. Maybe it’s the laundry, or sorting out the linen cupboard that has been driving you crazy. If you are a home-schooler it might be your chance to plan while the kids are at co-op. The main thing is that nothing is actually booked in, just catching up at home with no interruptions. One day a week for this is a minimum really.
In past eras women had home days every day. My grandma needed 2-3 days just to get the washing done as it involved hauling water from the swan river down the hill behind the house (Swan Valley), then boiling the clothes over a fire stove, etc etc. We would say life was harder back then but family life is pretty exhausting now too because we expect so much more of ourselves every day, every minute. At least it was slower and calmer back in my grandmas day.
Never before in the history of mankind have women rushed around so much, in cars, every day. We expect so much of ourselves. Never before have they been so pushed to go earn a living outside the home, even in the child raising decades.
Our culture does not even recognise that running a home takes around 20 hours a week. The family home is expected to magically stay clean yet there is no concept that running a home is an actual job or role and there is no time set aside for this. It happens between 9pm and midnight, or on the weekend so there is no time to rest. That is why, in our current era, we need to actually schedule in Home Days!
Try it out and you will see how much peace comes into your life and home. You will start to catch up, bit by bit, week by week. You will be able to work towards a calmer life that runs like a well oiled machine and you will have more joy!
Sabbath rest day.
Another type of slow day we can have is an ancient idea call a Sabbath day. That is on one of the weekend days when everyone in our home is free from work and school. That is different to a ‘home day’. It is all about rest. Real rest. No labour.
In our family we try to have a Sabbath on Sundays and it might mean we hang out at home or maybe we go out on an outing. We also go to Church on Sundays. We are all free, and it is more about connecting with each other and resting. It is not a day I catch up on things around the home. I constantly have to remind myself though, to stop, as it is actually hard to stop.
The Bible explains how (long prior to Jesus time on earth) God had a special relationship with a particular people group called the Israelites. After rescuing them from the Egyptians were they were slaves, he gave them a set of instructions on how to live. One radical and amazing thing God instructed them to do was to have a day of rest every 7 days! Wow! They were not to work at all, just to spend time with family; eating, reflecting on God, resting. It was actually a holy day, treated with ceremony and respect. They were to cook extra and get everything done the day before.
It is not hard to understand why God would do this – the human body is not created to work every single day. We need a day each week to turn inward towards family and quieter things. To not labour constantly. God actually wants us to be refreshed and enjoy life, not labour non stop.
One reason God also instructed them to do this was to trust in Him that the world would not fall apart if they rested for one day a week. He would take care of their needs. I want to encourage you to incorporate a Sabbath to your weekend. The Pastor at our church, Mark Watts, gave a fascinating talk about the Sabbath last year that you can listen to here if your are interested. (If you want a visual image while you listen – think mid thirties, beard, and usually wearing red converse sneakers.)
What is restful to each person can vary. Pottering in the garden may be the happiest restful thing to one person, but pure work to another. A big family catch up may be an awesome way to spend a Sabbath to one mum but exhausting to another who has has small kids under her feet all week. She may prefer the kids play lego quietly so she can try read a book!
By building slow days into our weekly rhythm we can significantly reduce stress and significantly increase joy! Sabbath is the relational and restful day. Home Days are days to catch up and give our homes TLC.
If you decide to try these out, remember to actually write these things into your calendar and talk about it with the family so they actually happen. It takes some self discipline at first but well worth it. Live intentionally, don’t just run until you drop.