In this series, I will share my own struggle with constantly feeling overwhelmed and the steps I took to significantly reduce it. This is a topic I think most moms can identify with, especially moms with young children.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble,
whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely,
whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
None of my suggestions are going to completely help if you are still thinking the wrong thing. When you get your thoughts in check, act upon correct thoughts (or simply “do the right thing”), your feelings will follow. Trust me.
Managing your Home (McDonald’s Style)
Don’t get me wrong, my kids have been doing chores for years, but I often struggled in this area. I had a difficult time enforcing chores on a regular basis because of guilt. As a child, I had chores to do. My mother worked and I was required to help around the house. As I got older and the responsibility increased, I (selfishly) became angry at having to do so much. Now, as a mom, I struggled with my own children because I didn’t want them to become resentful towards me for having to help out around the house. It was a constant inner battle that often resulted in me trying to do everything that needed to be done…and accomplishing nothing!
One of my jobs as a wife is to be the manager of my home. However, I didn’t know what that looked like. It took me several years to really have a clear understanding. I did not grow up in a house that modeled a father as the head of the home and a mother who was the manager; my mom was both! As the manager that means meal planning, housework, laundry, child-rearing, and schooling (or homework for my children in public school) all fall on my shoulders. It can be daunting at times, especially without help in the form of chores. I began to pray about ways I could improve in this area, and literally one afternoon my understanding of chores (regarding why to implement them) became so clear.
My husband used to work as an assistant-manager at McDonald’s. He is now a manager of the IT department at a local university. He often shares some of his stories from his McDonald’s days with me (usually to make me laugh) and things he used to have to do. I began to think about that one afternoon, and I pictured 2 scenarios in my mind.
In the first, the manager was scrambling around, trying to take customer’s orders, fill orders, run the drive-thru, and assist an employee with a problem. The other employees were just standing around, watching him (or her) do this. It was a chaotic scene and the atmosphere was tense, to say the least. In the second scenario, I pictured the employees each performing their assigned duties, one taking orders, one on the drive-thru, the other cleaning tables and emptying garbage, while the manager was overseeing the employees and assisting when needed. It was clearly a much smoother operation and had a calming atmosphere. That’s when it hit me- my house is like that McDonald’s. I am the manager. It’s not my job to do everything; it’s my kids’ jobs to each do their part with my help/assistance, in order for our house to function in a calm, smooth way. And that brings us to this….
Delegate duties to kids
o Older siblings help the younger ones
This is so important as it trains your older children to be mindful of the needs of others, as well as trains your younger children to not always come to you for everything. It also frees up much of the time spent on the “little” things.
- Pour drinks, get snacks, tie shoes, zip coats, etc
o Daily room chores.
These chores never change and are the same for each child. This is for an “allowance.” I pay 25¢ for each chore, up to $1 per week day or $5 per week. Rooms are to be done before school. I check the rooms sometime during the school day and mark the child’s chart accordingly.
- Examples include make beds, pick up clothes, straighten up closet, etc
o Daily house chores
This schedule rotates weekly and are not paid. These are the chores that are key to the smooth functioning of the household. All children help to the best of their ability.
- Examples include dishes, laundry, vacuuming, caring for pets, setting the table, etc.
o Weekly house chores
These are age-appropriate chores that do not change and are not paid. Again, all children help but the assigned chore is based on age. My 2-year-old will wipe the glass on doors and windows, help with dusting furniture, and clean up toys.
- Examples include cleaning bathrooms, dusting living spaces, mopping, etc
Simplify your life
o Say “No” to things/commitments that are not necessary
- Overscheduling yourself and your kids has a major effect on the overall mood of your house. If you are constantly hustling and bustling to get from one activity to the next, you are bound to be frazzled, anxious, and overwhelmed.
- Keep in mind, things can be “good”, but not necessary (i.e. participating in Bible study, PTO)
o Take one day off each week for rest/relaxation
For me, this is Sunday afternoon. Some Sundays are harder for me to rest than others, especially if we’ve had a busy weekend and I am behind in housework. But, taking a break for a couple hours each week helps me to re-energize and focus on the week ahead.
- No laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, just simply rest!