As homeschool mamas, we have a ton of things pulling us in different directions:
marriage, women’s ministries, co-op duties, homemaking, volunteering, homeschooling, child-rearing and the list goes on. At times, we feel stressed, we feel overwhelmed, we feel inadequate, just like anyone else doing whatever work it is they do all day. So, what do you do to handle it all?
The answer is simple and you may be like, “Stacie, really?!” But here we go…
Put your house in order by putting things (including people!) in their proper places. Your own four walls is where you begin:
This seems like a cliche these days, but as Believers, we must take Him at His Word:
“You shall have no other gods before Me.” – Exodus 20:3
That slot belongs to Him alone. Make it happen with daily prayer, daily Bible reading, daily worship, and not just to check a box that you got it done. But seek the Lord, look for Him, go hard after Him and He will meet you, He will lead you, He will reveal what you need and you won’t be disappointed.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:11-13
Your husband is above all other earthly relationships. Period. Many times, others tend to hint that your man shouldn’t be that high on the list or maybe they feel offended that they have to “take a back seat” so to speak. Nip that in the bud as soon as possible and choose your husband first over and over. When you said “I do” he won 1st place then, and everyone else is totally out of the running now, that includes moms and best friends.
Remember that for the Christian, marriage is not merely some contract, some flitting arrangement that you keep if you feel like it. Rather, it is a lasting covenant, a sacred agreement, a faithful promise between three: you, your husband, and God, meant for a lifetime. That is weighty, is it not? Remember that you and your husband are one, a great mystery (Ephesians 5:22-33), but true nonetheless. When you seek his good, you seek your good. So, nurture your relationship with your husband, feed it and water it daily. It doesn’t always have to be some show-stopping action because the little things add up and mean the most: his favorite meal, holding hands, asking his opinion first, a genuine smile, eye contact. And above all, call his name out in prayer, place him before the Father daily: his walk with Christ, his leadership, his decision-making, his weaknesses, his successes. Build your husband up in prayer and by paying attention to him.
Mamas, often we tend to put the children in slot 2 where they don’t belong. Of course newborns and some toddler needs must be met before anyone can do anything else, but I think you know what I mean. The overall idea is that children come after husband and teaching this truth to your children is a great blessing, as they grow and learn what a Christian marriage looks like.
Be the mom that pays attention to her children, and go for their hearts. Pray for each child daily, assess what their needs are. Follow the leading of the Holy Spirit for each individual child, because I’m here to tell you that siblings aren’t always alike and what one child needs can be vastly different from what another one needs.
Homeschooling is a sub-category here, as it is part of what we do with our children each day and if you’ve done it for any length of time, you know it becomes a way of life. Make schedules, keep routines, set boundaries, give the children responsibilities in the home, require that they meet a standard you know they can achieve, and love them. Shower them with huge doses of loving affection and praise for a job well done. Remember, you are mama before teacher. And above all else, show them how to love God with all their hearts.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” – Deuteronomy 6:4-5
Next up are housekeeping/homemaking duties. Sometimes these two terms are looked at as identical, and in many ways they are, since the end goal is the same: a functional and peaceful home. However, I think of it sometimes in this way. Housekeeping includes those tasks, born out of love and sacrifice for your family, that keep the house afloat: dishes, laundry, vacuuming, dusting, scrubbing, etc. Homemaking is the feminine, artistic expression of that love, the attention to detail, where you leave your personal touch in every area of the home: decorating, organizing, flowers in a vase, new curtains, pictures in a frame, inviting scents, the throw on the back of recliner, etc. Both work together to make a welcoming haven, a safe place to love and grow.
Again, make schedules, keep routines, make lists, and keep track. Don’t give way to a habit of idleness, but be diligent and fond of looking after your home.
“She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.” – Proverbs 31:27
The categories above are our first priorities, Ladies. Everything else follows after them. Whatever we routinely place in this slot, must be compatible with our first duties. Here is where we must choose wisely. Whether it is a recurring event, like a weekly Bible study or a random lunch date with a friend, if your house is in order, you can enjoy any other commitments comfortably, because you’re confident that the folks at home are good.
Some seasons in life may mean you only have space for 1 or 2 outside commitments. Other seasons may mean you can take on way more and amaze yourself. And, if we are really honest, there are many days when we have to say “no” to the extras and rest in the peace that word brings. Remember, your circumstances are likely to look different than the next woman’s, so don’t covet her position. Embrace the place you’re in and thrive right there.
Now that I’ve got that straight, it’s time for me to go apply my words to my own household! How do you prioritize in your home? Is it difficult to say no to others for the good of your family?