Schedules are my friend. I find sanity in knowing what is expected of me and getting it done. I like having all the checkmarks checked off a list so I can feel like I accomplished something. Why do I find security and safety in this lifestyle? Maybe because it was ingrained into my mind even as a young school girl. Five days a week were dedicated to going to school and all my classmates and I could do was look forward to the weekend. We would spend our recess, lunch periods and time walking home from school talking about what we did last weekend or what plans we had for the weekend ahead. If there were no family plans, then we made our own. We were always looking ahead for the next big thing! I also blame the nine to five lifestyle that was pushed so strongly. Reminds me of my first job working at a library. I would clock in and clock out, as is the case with many American jobs and my duty was done. Work was not taught to be enjoyed but in most situations I was in, the attitude was, “first work, then play.”
Then I became a mother. I quickly realized that there is no, “getting it all done.” You finally get “caught up” with laundry, you blink, and you realize the sheets and towels need to be washed.
It’s a never ending cycle.
I used to despise this cycle. Until I realized the blessing of work. Yes, I used the word blessing. Work does not have to be continual drudgery, but an opportunity. Of course there have been times I’ve run down in the basement to throw in a load of laundry and had to wipe the tears from my eyes before the rest of my family saw me. There are these times, when the work seems overwhelming, stressful and impossible but to be honest and completely candid with you, I think it is all in how we look at the situation. Sometimes I just have to take a deep breath and remind myself of a few things:
1. I can do this through the strength that the Lord gives me.
I have been blessed with my home. We have it to use and to enjoy and It is my responsibility to take care of it. When I see a need that has to be taken care of, I need to check my heart. Am I thinking about how doing this chore will inconvenience me, or am I thinking about how it will bless another member of my family? Baby diapers need to be changed, toddlers need to be potty trained, meals need to be cooked and clothes need to be cleaned. Instead of looking at these chores simply as chores we need to remember why we are doing them and know that God will give us the strength to get them done. Sometimes I feel so weak and helpless when I need to stop what I am doing to take care of a need but God gives me the motivation and strength to keep on going for the sake of my family.
2. I can delegate.
Even though it is my responsibility to keep the home in order, part of that responsibility is learning how to delegate. It is not slave labor or torture to give your children age-appropriate chores. They are a part of a family and need to learn how to work together to keep the home in working order. Sometimes I just want to get it done myself but remind myself that my children need to learn life skills such as mopping, cleaning a sink and properly doing a load of laundry. I don’t need to do it all and I don’t need to feel guilty about expecting help from the children.
3. Not everything has to be done immediately.
I head over to do the dishes and notice that the pantry needs to be reorganized. I drop go to pick up a spoon I dropped on the floor and noticed that it needs to be mopped. I try not to panic but then I look at the counters and see a mess that my kids left from breakfast. Time for a deep breath. Time to refocus. My original mission was the dishes. Lets focus on that. Then, I can get to the counters. If I have time later then I can mop and if a miracle happens and I find spare time again in the day, I can work on the pantry, but most likely the only chore that will get done right now is the dishes. And that’s okay. Some things can wait. Sometimes we stress ourselves out when we don’t need to. Just get done what you can, when you can and you’ll be alright.
Remember, work is a blessing in disguise. When we do it as unto the Lord, we will reap of His blessings. Even though it is difficult, my encouragement is to not always look for a way out but push through and enjoy the reward of a job well done.