Applying Better Manhood to Domestic Life

This series about creating a roadmap to better manhood now turns toward the home stretch. In these next several posts, I describe how a mature man applies better manhood skills to four main areas: 1) domestic life, 2) problem-solving and decision-making, 3) planning and goal-setting, and 4) impacts on his legacy. This first post describes how better manhood skills apply to domestic life, which includes taking care of your home, relating to family and friends, and showing up in your community.

My Disclaimer: First, I want to state that I have not mastered all of the skills described in this series (see the chart at the end of this post with links to my prior posts on the hard and soft skills all men need). Nor do I want to come across as an expert on manhood because I fail at it often.

However, I have developed many of these skills and learned several life lessons along the way as a man entering into the second half of life. These come from my own “successful failures” but I have learned how to recover by knowing men who have gone down the road ahead of me. I also have other men with whom I do life together. We help each other learn to be better husbands, better fathers, and better men. Simply put… Men need other men to help them become better men.

Skills for Your Home Life

There are several skills a man needs to help manage his domestic life well, which includes his home, his family and friends, and his community. Maintaining a good social life is essential to enjoying a vibrant life.

There are many sources and other categories of home life but here are the essential responsibilities for this area of a mature man’s life. 

Housing Basics 

You may be renting your first apartment with some buddies after moving away from your parents. You may have purchased a townhouse or condominium as you move into adulthood. Regardless of the type of living arrangement, mastering the skill of Money Management will help you learn to budget your housing expenses and save money to buy furniture and eventually upgrade your housing if that is your goal

Knowing how to secure a mortgage to purchase housing helps build financial equity. Whether you pay rent or have a mortgage, you need renter’s or home-owner’s insurance. It’s also good to know how to pay property taxes, and what local services your municipality offers. Also, getting to know the surrounding neighborhood and property values are all important parts of living on your own. 

Kitchen Skills

Another home life responsibility is having basic cooking and kitchen skills such as how to buy and prepare food. Know how to clean and maintain kitchen appliances (refrigerators, stoves, toasters, microwaves, coffee pots, etc.) to extend their useful life. Learn to read recipes in a cookbook and know how to use the various utensils, pots, and pans. Good knife skills are a must! 

Other skills needed include developing a shopping list for groceries to manage within your budget. Use coupons and do comparison shopping to save money. Learning to read nutrition labels and store food properly to stay healthy. Knowing how to cook keeps you from eating fast food too often. It also keeps you from spending excessively at restaurants.

Cleaning Routines

Every home, condo, or apartment will need a minimum of basic cleaning and maintenance. Even if you rent, you have some daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning routines to create a more comfortable and safe living environment. 

Daily cleaning includes making your bed, putting away dirty clothes, and washing dishes. Each week, you should clean toilets and sinks in your bathroom(s). Sweep or vacuum floors (of course, clean bathrooms and floors more frequently if needed). Keep a bucket of cleaning supplies: glass cleaner, a plunger to unclog the toilet, and bowl cleaner and brush to clean it, furniture polish/dusting, rags, sponges, a broom and mop, and a vacuum cleaner if you have carpeted floors. At least monthly, the deeper cleaning such as dusting furniture, mopping floors, and cleaning appliances. This helps maintain a healthy and pleasant living environment.

Inside and Outside Maintenance

Every dwelling should also have a home maintenance manual and a well-equipped toolbox to handle common repairs. This includes screwdrivers (both slotted- and Phillips-head), a hammer, both regular and needle-nose pliers, an adjustable Crescent wrench or set of both metric and imperial open-end wrenches, duct tape and electrical tape, a tape measure, utility knife, WD40 or other lubricant sprays, an extension cord, and a flashlight for when the power goes out. Learn how to do basic repairs from YouTube videos or ask that guy you know who is handy to show you how to fix things. Most difficult projects require a skilled electrician, carpenter, or plumber so get recommendations from friends or people in your neighborhood. 

Another basic housing skill is caring for the outside of your dwelling. If your rental agreement or condominium association does not cover these tasks, you should handle the basic lawn care for the different seasons: mowing the grass and pulling weeds in the spring, watering in the summer, raking in the fall, and shoveling and salting in the winter. If you own a home, you may need to also clean and fix leaky gutters, wash windows, power wash, and the exterior siding. Doing these tasks yourself requires owning a mower, rakes, shovels, and ladders. Otherwise, hire a good lawn-care service if it fits within your budget. 

Skills for Your Family Life

I wrote previously about Building and Maintaining Healthy Relationships with romantic partnerships, friendships, family connections, and professional relationships (co-workers). One of the biggest problems these days is how immature men misuse sex. Respecting boundaries (sexual and emotional) with romantic partners is a mark of a mature man. 

Marriage and Children

Another mark is being responsible applies to your spouse and children, if those become part of your life. Mature men share the workload at home with childcare, cooking, and housework. There is such a need for dual-income families these days and the old tradition of the man coming home and needing to relax after a hard day of work is no longer relevant. While you may still have a physically tough job, your partner may also work outside the house. You must share the load! 

Parents and Siblings

Everyone has parents and many of us have siblings. Keeping good relationships with your mother and father, regardless of your situation, shows maturity. Your parents brought you into this world so do your best to honor them (even after they are gone). They say “Blood is thicker than water” so maintain an ongoing and supportive relationship with your brothers and sisters.

Become a Good Neighbor

Another aspect of being a mature and responsible man is being a good neighbor. Consider the needs and feelings of others first. Strive to create positive and mutually beneficial relationships. Build a sense of community, and maintain harmony in your neighborhood and social circles. 

Being a good neighbor is an important part of owning a home. It also applies when you are part of an apartment complex or condo association. Be friendly. Respect noise ordinances. Pick up garbage that blows out of the trash containers. Be aware of the surroundings and what is going on in the neighborhood so you can report unusual activity. Think about how you can serve others. Help the elderly who can’t clear snow or cut their grass. Happy neighbors make for beautiful neighborhoods. 

Being a Good House Guest

Everyone loves free lodging but you don’t want to be viewed as a free-loader during the holidays, birthday or wedding celebrations, and group vacations. Check out this post titled, How to be the Perfect Houseguest from the Art of Manliness. Bring a gift, pitch in with clean-up, don’t overstay your visit, and send a thank you note afterward. Don’t be high-maintenance! 

Skills for Your Community 

Mature men also understand the importance of being a good friend, neighbor, and co-worker. I’ve written a lot about the importance of friendships with other guys. Peruse my blog or purchase my book about the crisis of male friendships. But there are other aspects of community that are important to being a mature man.

Friendships

If you have followed my blog for any time, you know that I believe all men need other men who provide mentoring, encouragement, and accountability to live according to higher standards than what the culture requires today. These are what I call GodBuddies, deeper, more authentic friendships that help each other become more like Jesus. While sharing this belief is not a requirement for becoming a better man, I do believe Jesus is the ultimate role model for manhood. His life and messages are chronicled in the sacred texts of Christianity, which provide us with the best teachings on how to be a man.

Helping Organizations

Joining a local church or fraternal group can provide opportunities for personal growth, networking, community service, and camaraderie. Some options include Masonic Lodges, Knights of Columbus, Lions Clubs International, Rotary International, Elks Lodge, Kiwanis, or the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the American Legion. Participate as an adult leader for Scouting, or remain part of your college or university fraternity. Consider your present interests, values, and specific goals. Research and visit local chapters or groups. Find the one that aligns with you and provides a sense of brotherhood and purpose. Volunteer at a food pantry or as a committee member for a Not-For-Profit.

Small GB logo

GodBuddy Focus 

Applying both hard and soft skills is how a mature man shows up in his domestic life, which includes caring for and maintaining his home and relations with his entire family. He understands how these help build community with friends and neighbors and the importance of being a good guest. How he applies these skills also demonstrates responsibility for his possessions and promotes harmony with his family and community.

How he applies these skills to his domestic life also shows that he thinks outside himself. The key is he follows the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated. For Christians, the Golden Rule was proclaimed by Jesus during his Sermon on the Mount. It’s the second great commandment after “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Mathew 22:37). Serving others is loving others.

I believe how you treat your home life and other people reveals the core of your heart. Loving others is an essential human trait but one of the marks of a mature and godly man. 

For discussion:

  • Which of the hard or soft skills is needed most in your domestic life? 
  • Why is it important to manage money well? 
  • What kitchen skills do you need to develop?  
  • How does the Golden Rule apply to your family and community?
  • In what areas can you serve others less fortunate than you? 

[Feature Image by CDC on Unsplash]

The Roadmap to Better Manhood
IntroductionTime for a Change
The Secrets to Becoming a Real (Godly) Man
Start Being a R-E-A-L Man Here
FoundationA Man’s Identity: Knowing Who You Are and Whose You Are
Discovering Your Purpose as a Man
A Man and His Worldview
Using Your Masculinity Properly
First, Manage Yourself Well
Hard-skillsBetter Manhood Skills: Money Management
Good Personal Hygiene
Time Management
Navigation, Transportation, and Travel
Education and Employment 
Organizing Your Belongings
Fun and Adventure
Summary of The Hard Skills of Better Men 
Soft SkillsIntroduction to Soft Skills 
Behavior Management
Be a Good Communicator
Controlling Your Emotions
Self-care
Building and Maintaining Healthy Relationships
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