This simple advice is some of the best homemaking advice you’ll ever hear. It’ll get you through the hard times to the good times!
By Elsie Callender, Contributing Writer
One of the best pieces of homemaking advice I’ve ever encountered was written in calligraphy and framed above our kitchen doorway. I read it every day of my life from the time I could read until it was packed away before our move to Costa Rica when I was a teenager. The words were simply this: “Doe the next thing.”
And they didn’t make a lick of sense to me.
“Doe?” A deer? A female deer?
“Do,” my mom explained. “Do the next thing. It’s an old spelling.”
Do the next thing. Well, that still didn’t make much sense to me! Don’t we always do the next thing? What else would we do besides the next thing?
Now that I’m all grown up, I get it.
We don’t always do the next thing, even when it’s staring us in the face.
Sometimes we don’t do anything at all.
Sometimes grown-up homemakers like me get so overwhelmed that we over-complicate everything and end up feeling like the only thing we can do next is cry.
There are days when dirty dishes are toppling off my limited counter space, when Little Dude has half a dozen immediate needs, when the dark side of adulthood (i.e. bills and taxes) makes me want to bury my head in a book and only come out for my birthday.
Those are the “this is harder than it should be” days; the days when homemaking gets complicated and I need a simple response.
Do the next thing.
Remembering that little quote can make all the difference between feeling overwhelmed verses feeling purposeful.
It reminds me to keep on keeping on, to be a woman of action, faithfully doing what needs to be done, even if it’s a mundane task I don’t particularly relish.
Image from pixabay.com
Want to try it? Here’s how you can apply this mantra in your homemaking:
1. Identify what needs to be done
Whether you’re mapping out the week ahead or just trying to get through the next hour of a rough morning, take stock of what needs to happen. This might include housecleaning, meal prep, children’s activities, work deadlines, anything. If you’re one of those list-lovers, like I am, you can write out your to-dos!
This is where I (and I suspect many other women) get sidetracked. I can have 10 million “to dos” whirling in my head at once, and all of the options make me dizzy. It’s vital to assess what the next thing is. It’s not always the easiest thing or the most pleasant thing that needs to be done next. Here are some ways I’ve learned to prioritize in my homemaking, even when I’m in a busy season.
3. Take action
Time to “do!” You’ve accepted the fact that you need to pay that phone bill today, so sit down at your computer and do it. Or you know the house won’t clean itself and company is imminent. Raid your cleaning arsenal and get busy!
Image from pixabay.com
4. Follow through
Sometimes I don’t finish what I start, even if I began with the best intentions. Don’t trail off on what needs to be done around your home. You’ll waste time and have to summon your motivation all over again.
I have no idea where that original framed quote has gotten to, but I know it’s in my mind for good. When a little disaster strikes, I call it to mind. When I’m feeling depressed and my responsibilities are weighing heavy, I repeat it in my head.
And at the end of another day? I revel when the “next thing” is to snuggle into the couch with a book and a cup of tea.
What is the best homemaking advice you’ve received?
*Note from Ann: I can so relate! What a great quote to carry with you through life. It reminds me of something my mother used to say, “If you pick it up, don’t put it down until you put it where it goes”!! How many times do I handle the same item over and over in a single day? And I’m totally guilty of not finishing what I’ve started and wasting precious time. There is a reason I’m one of this list-lovers:) Thank you Elsie for remembering and sharing the wisdom that your mom shared with you as a child.