Do you ever feel like this? Like there is continuous push and pull, give and take, between getting housework done and spending time actually being with your children? I feel it every day.
I think it is one of the great struggles of women. Women feel a need to be successful in their own right, whether that means working outside the home or inside the home. If you’re a stay-at-home mom like me, we feel success by accomplishing our to-do list. You know, organizing that hall closet finally, or mopping the floors. (Both things I need to do right now, btw.)
But also, moms want to feel success as a mom. We want to see our children thriving, not just surviving. We want them to feel loved and appreciated for who they are. And that means they need attention.
So, moms, how do we do it all? Even though I’m no expert, I think I found a way to work it out:
1. Prioritize your to-do list.
2. Let everything else go.
Prioritze You To-Do List
Some things just have to get done. We all need supper and clean clothes. But during busy times, like harvest for my family, I have to move some of the “extra” stuff off of my list. For example, when I’m busy, I don’t really need to organize my kids’ clothes and rotate too small stuff out and put the right size stuff in. I should save that for the summer. Another area I’ve learned to scale back is cooking. I love cooking and trying new recipes. I enjoy lots of steps and exciting ingredients if I think it will make a yummy meal. Well, harvest time is not a good time to try new, complicated recipes. I just don’t have the time.
If you want to spend more time with your kids, move it to the top of your list. I heard a family therapist recommend scheduling play time with your kids. She said to devote 15 minutes for playing and only playing. After 15 minutes, your kid’s love tank is full and then you can go back to being productive. Sometimes, that kind of one-on-one attention is just what our kids need to keep them happy. And if they’re happy, they are less likely to bug you while you’re trying to accomplish more on your to-do list.
Let Stuff Go
I keep talking about this because I keep needing to hear it. It really is okay if your house is not perfectly cleaned and organized. It really is okay to have cereal for supper. It really is okay to skip bath night (every once in a while).
Moms are really good at holding themselves to impossibly high standards. We think we should be doing it all and doing it well. Maybe we think that everyone else is, that they have it all together. Well, let me just assure you that that is a lie.
I think this form of mom guilt is an attack from our enemy. He wants to keep us from pouring into our children. If he can keep us busy, even if it is busy in doing the “right” things, he wins.
There’s this word that moms need to adopt and apply. The word is grace. When Jesus came to this earth and died for us, He ushered in an era of grace. John 1:16 says, “For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (ESV).
Jesus saved us from our sins by His grace, or by giving us His “undeserved favor.” But He continually pours out His grace on us. That verse said “grace upon grace.”
I seriously doubt that Jesus cares how clean our houses are. But I’ll bet He loves it when we laugh with our children.
And moms, aren’t we gracious to our children? We still love them even when they don’t deserve it. Why don’t we pour that kind of grace out on ourselves?
Roman 5:21 (NLT) “So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead.”
Romans 6:14 (NLT) “Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.”
We are free from rules, even the rules we set for ourselves. Let’s make our homes places where grace rules instead.