If you’ve ever been frustrated with the condition of your house or envious of a friend’s home, I’ve got someone I want you to meet! I’m honored and excited to bring you this interview with Melissa Michaels, a pastor’s wife and the author of the new book Love the Home You Have (Harvest House) and The Inspired Room. Melissa’s words of advice have been exactly what I needed to start loving the home I have — and I pray they have the same effect on you!
Meet Melissa Michaels, Author of Love the Home You Have
Q. What inspired you to write this book and have you always been the kind of woman who keeps a neat and tidy home?
A. Ha, no! I’ve always been the kind of woman who aspired to have a neat and tidy home but couldn’t figure out how. It wasn’t until I simplified my approach that I finally succeeded in what I call having a “clean enough” house. It’s not perfect, but it’s clean enough that I don’t feel overwhelmed. I can always do better if I’m inspired to, but it’s nice to feel like I can keep up with what matters and let go of the rest.
Q: What would you tell the mom who compares herself to others and feels like she’ll never measure up when it comes to her home?
A: We are all in different seasons of life and have different priorities and needs for what is important to us at different stages of life. When you play the comparison games with other moms, you’ll likely win at some and lose at others. We know a house shouldn’t be a status symbol or a competition, but is sure is easy to feel like we don’t measure up, isn’t it? Our home should be a sanctuary, and looking at it from that perspective will change everything about how you look at your home. It is a place where we can nurture our family, reflect who we are and invest in what matters to us right now. You are enough and what you have is enough, all you need is a plan of action to create a home you’ll love to come home to. That is my mission, to inspire women and moms to love the home they have!
Q: Some of us working moms place a lot of pressure on ourselves because we don’t have as much time for housekeeping as we would like. How can a mom who works fall in love with the home she has?
A: I think one of the best ways to be content with your home as a working mom is to give yourself grace to create home that inspires you with the time and resources you do have. If your house is always a mess and it frustrates you every day, you will likely not only tend to be unhappy with your home, but with your family, your job, your dog, everything will feel like it is out to get you or crashing in on you! No one feels really good about life when you are in a state of feeling overwhelmed or when your home is spiraling out of control. I think some women deal with that stress with one of two extreme reactions: some put unrealistic pressure on themselves with rigid schedules and perfectionism and others try to cope by giving up the battle all together. Keeping up a home can feel like a hopeless cause when you don’t know how to deal with it. In the book I offer simple suggestions and encouragements for a more balanced way of housekeeping, a middle ground where most of us working moms are going to be much happier. I talk about setting realistic goals for your home, simplifying your housekeeping expectations, and sticking to a manageable daily routine to help you stay ahead of the chaos! You can feel more at peace and even inspired to really love your home, without losing your sanity under the pressure of perfectionism.
Q: What about moms who work from home? Personally, I find that if my office space is cluttered and disorganized then my brain is the same way. How can we fall in love with our home office space?
A: I would agree, too much clutter and disorganization stresses me out and affects my productivity. Whether we have a business we run out of our home or we are busy raising a family, or trying to do both as many of us work-at-home women are these days, the more we try to juggle, the more organized we need to be. It’s much easier to love your work space if you make it pretty AND orderly! I love my wood framed magnetic command center board, it keeps important invitations and receipts I need right in front of me. I’m an out of sight out of mind girl so that system works well for me. If you can combine function and beauty, that’s the secret to loving your office space!
Q: What if I don’t have an eye for design or decor? Or if I’m not the crafty type? Will this book help me make simple changes in my home?
A: Absolutely! You don’t have to be crafty or gifted in DIY to have a home you love. Creating a beautiful home is possible on any budget and any skill level. Showing love to your home is about taking care of what you already have and making simple changes and updates on a regular basis so your home starts to reflect your own taste, preferences and personality. I offer tons of easy tips and ideas anyone can do right away, whether you are just starting out or a seasoned pro, we all need a little inspiration or motivation sometimes to get going on what needs to happen.
Q: In your book, you talk about honoring God with our homes. Can you tell us a little bit about why that’s important?
A: I know for myself, as a Christian, I find greater contentment and joy with what God has provided when I show gratitude. One of the ways I think we can do that is by caring for our home and the family in it. Our home can be used to live out our faith and honor God in a variety of ways. You might have an open door policy to show hospitality as a way to serve and care about other people. My husband is a pastor and we spend a lot of time volunteering and serving the church, so we also see our home as a our own sanctuary where we can rest and rejuvenate, so we can feel refreshed and ready to go back out and serve God in the world.
Q: My husband and I always say that one day we will miss the mess. That we’ll be sad when there are no book bags on the floor and uncapped markers on the table. How can we strike the balance between keeping an orderly house and appreciating this season of life?
A: Those types of messes are reminders of people who are a blessing in our life, so we definitely want to view the mess in perspective of what it really is. Something to expect and treasure in this season in life! It won’t last forever. But when chaos takes over and we lose control of our home, we can also start to have trouble finding time (and money!) for other priorities in life. When we aren’t happy with the state of our home and it is negatively affecting us or other priorities or responsibilities in life, a little readjustment in our daily housekeeping routines can help bring a more manageable balance.
Q: What is the 31 day challenge?
A: I wanted to offer readers small manageable action steps that would inspire them to start showing love to their home. I hear from readers all the time who read and enjoy decorating and organizing books, magazines and blogs but simply don’t take action or find success in their own home. They feel overwhelmed by the process, the cost or simply just feel so paralyzed they never get started. Even people who love decorating get stuck in a rut! I know I do. Getting started is the key to the rest of the dominoes falling! The 31 Day Challenge offers easy ideas to get you started on something productive that will result in a noticeable improvement to your life or home in a short period of time. They are very simple, but that is the point. Often we make things more complicated than they need to be, so we never start, or we flail around frustrated with a big project that we never finish. This book is all about getting started, getting inspired, seeing how easily the dominoes will start to fall towards a home you love if you put one foot in front of the other, one project, one housekeeping routine, at a time.
Learn more about the 31 Day Challenge and check out the free printables on Melissa’s site here: The Inspired Room.