Whenever I talk to younger moms, the same question always comes up in one form or another: How am I supposed to get everything done?!
If you’ve had kids for more than two minutes, you know that, despite our best efforts, unpredictability and busy-ness is the name of the game. And the more kids you have, the busier you are. P.S. Nobody ever told me that the teen/college years were going to be the busiest of my life! (Someone should write about that! Really, now.)
If you’ve read here for any length of time you know that I can commiserate with the crazy-busy life. With a large family, my plate is full.
And full is good, but an over-flowing plate is not so good. Overflowing plates look a lot like forgetting appointments, unplanned dinners, haphazard ministry, and a disorganized home.
So, my advice to the younger moms and the advice I give to myself is this: plan and prioritize to avoid frustration and save your sanity. Then start with the needful things.
Sally Clarkson, in Own Your Life, says,
“From the moment we take our first breaths, our days are numbered, so how we live matters. The decisions we make—the important ones and, yes, the mundane ones too—they all matter. Everyday decisions add up to form the life we live and the legacy we leave behind.” Own Your Life
I sit down every fall with my priorities sheet and pray over and eliminate any area that is wearing me down or where I’ve over extended myself.
“Someone has said that if you do not plan your life, someone else will. How true! Every woman should try to manage her own life and priorities with the help of the Lord. If you do not, more organized people will eagerly help fill your day and try to control your destiny.” The Christian Homemaker’s Handbook, pg. 269
The negative results of unmanaged, haphazard lives are:
- “Unmanaged lives reveal personal weaknesses.”
- “Unmanaged lives are influenced by dominant people.”
- “Unmanaged lives surrender to the demands of all emergencies.”
- “Unmanaged lives get involved in activities that gain public acclaim and are not necessarily important. ” CHH, pg 270
In The Life Ready Woman,Thriving in a Do-It-All World, the authors give “Life Long Decision-Making Principles” that I found very helpful:
- There is a time for everything.
- Your core callings never go away.
- A choice for one thing is a choice against another.
- Make choices appropriate to your season.
This is such practical advice!
I don’t want to live with regrets, so I re-evaluate my season of life, pencil in the “non-negotiables”, those things that only I can do for my immediate family, then I add the things I’m called to do and passionate about, whether it’s ministry of some sort, hospitality, blogging, or encouraging women one-on-one, then add any extras that I might hold loosely, like local events, classes I’m interested in, or sites I’d like to visit.
In Teaching from Rest, Sarah MacKenzie wisely warns us to simplify our schedule:
“If God expected you to get thirty-six hours’ worth of work done in a day, He would have given you thirty-six hours to do it. If you have more to do than time to do it, the simple fact is this: Some of what you are doing isn’t on His agenda for you.”
“Take a hard look at the 168 hours in your week. Now consider nonnegotiables: sleep, eat, shower, pray. Plug in meal preparation, rest and church on Sunday, and enough wind-down time at the end of each day to ensure a good night’s sleep. See what’s left? You don’t get any more than that, sister.” pg 38,39 Teaching From Rest
So, as you plan your fall, remember that you want to embrace His agenda for you. If you are married, are you scheduling time to love and befriend your husband as a priority? Do you have margin in your life to assist him if he needs it? Make his life special?
If you are a SAHM, be all there. Be an overachiever in your own home. Don’t shortchange your immediate family by buying into the lie that anything and everything outside the home matters more than what you are doing inside your four walls. Rock those babies. You are the only one who can. Comfort your children. Don’t despise work that is unseen. Be content living a life that looks different than others if God has called you to stay home. Plan to use your home to minister to others. Invite others in. Meet one on one for Bible study or encouragement with a younger mom. Use your home for gospel ministry.
Older moms who are running teens here, there, and everywhere, or who are trying to stay connected to married children, don’t forget that little things are still big to kids of every age. Show interest. Schedule time to write a letter or make that phone call. Plan one-on-one time with your teen because this is the time they need it most. Be as connected as they want to be. Show them you have all the time in the world for them.
Moms who work outside the home, be a stickler when it comes to adding extracurricular commitments. You can’t do it all and thrive. Decide which activities feed your soul and which are adding frustration. I recently read that it’s more important for a child to learn to cook than to learn soccer. I think there’s some wisdom to that somewhere. 😉
As you plan, pray that God’s kingdom would come to fruition in your little home as you plan your daily tasks. Ask Him for grace to do what’s right, to love what must be done, and for a heart to follow hard after Him as He guides and leads you.
Are you planning for fall? What tools are you using? What do you need to cut (or add!) in order to live the life God has called you to? Feel free to share in the comments.
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