And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.
Back in September I posted about how we manage chores/household duties. You can read a little about our system here.
But what about all the "other stuff"? Life is, after all, more than housework. Really! It is!!! How does the busy mom make time for things of more lasting value than laundry and dishes?
Well, I don't pretend to be an expert, but I'll share what I've learned from the past 17 years of trying to be all things to all people:
- Get up early enough to have your quiet time before your kids get up. In this post I addressed the "why and wherefore" of that. If you're saying to yourself, "Oh, no! I'm not a morning person." Too bad. Neither am I. I know ladies who can do their quiet time in the afternoon, but if you have small children and a husband at home, you will find (more often than not) that as soon as everyone else is up and moving, your time is no longer your own. Grab those quiet moments and guard them diligently!
- Enlist help. Everyone reading this who has kids who help around the house is nodding in agreement. My challenge to you is to step up the level at which the kids help out. Of course, if you have 5 kids and the oldest is 7 you just know that for a couple of years more, you're going to have a lot of housework. However, there are TONS of things that a 7-year-old can do around the house that will free up time for you to do really important things...like take a shower. Whatever your kids do now, consider increasing the amount (gradually, of course!) until you feel like the kids are making a sacrifice to help. (Not just a slight inconvenience, but more like the amount a normal person needs to keep a house clean.) I'm a big proponent of training our kids to the reality of housework. I was oblivious as a child and suffered a rude awakening when I had to keep a house for myself. I want my girls to know what's ahead of them, and I want my boys to appreciate what their wives do. 'Nuff said.
- Realize that you can't do it all -- and you don't have to. We all need to learn how to say, "No. I don't have time for that." I don't know what that "final straw" is for you, but for me it was sports. At one point (in the States) I found our family "going" every single night of the week and sometimes 2 or 3 activities in a day. Even our Sundays were sometimes chaotic -- Go! Go! Go! When the kids all decided that they wanted to play soccer, I said, "OK." and we stepped up the insanity to new levels. When soccer season ended, I was sick for a week. I have since decided that my children will not grow up to be deviants simply because they didn't have private music lessons, swim lessons, dance lessons, Karate lessons, 4H, sports, drama, orchestra, yada, yada, yada... They might, however, if we try to do all of that stuff and sacrifice our family time. Even the "good things" -- women's ministry committments, AWANA, scouts, etc. -- pale in importance to time spent doing things as a family. Scale back your obligations outside of the house until you feel like you're actually able to keep up. Even if the entire women's ministry committee rebels and boycotts your house, your husband and children will thank you. Ultimately, you will stand accountable before God for the way you trained your kids -- not for the way you planned the women's retreats.
- Find your happy place. I'm borrowing that phrase from my friend, Shari. Thanks, Sis! For me, my happy place is making something with my hands -- scrapbooking, blogging, sewing, etc. Shari likes to repair things and do interior decorating. My friend Cheryl likes to take a walk or read. Basilia likes to garden. Whatever it is that makes you smile and helps you to feel more like a woman and less like a maid, do it. Spend a little time in your happy place every day.