Sunday, August 28, 2011

Time for everything...

The other day a mom asked a group: “How do you do it all?” There were varying words of advice from doing what you want first then doing what you have to after that to easy tips like writing down what you need to do and then working systematically down the list. Others said just accept what you can do in the hours you have and do not feel guilty about the rest.

I have been thinking about this a lot as I have realized a few things along the way of being a wife, mum to 4, homeschooling, working from home, growing our own food and living green. Yeah that’s a long list of things, but they are all interwoven and intertwined.

I turned the corner at 41 and all of a sudden, it seemed, I could not do more than one or two extra things really well in a day. There were a lot of reasons for this, my back pain, increased schooling hours with my older children and busy hours in my kitchen with changed eating habits. This means that the focus is very simple...once we have done schooling, chores and sports, cooked and spent time together, I can make some cookies or stock...I can knit a bit or get the idea?

Broccoli harvested yesterday...recipe to follow

One of the worst things we can do as moms is comparing ourselves to others. There are other families who live on farms or whose children are in school or who do not work from home etc and they can seem to achieve much more as they have more time available. I have a handful of places I visit on the web – in fact only 3 blogs – over my week and for the most part I skim what the content is about and only if I can apply it to MY life and MY home do I read further. I have seen many a mom chase the rainbow of another’s home and burn out way to quickly. Staying busy in my own home with my own family and life is what God wants for me (see Titus 2: 3 – 5).

When life becomes so overwhelming I par back so that my time is spent on only doing the essentials. At bare bones level this is 1)spending time on relationships 2)cooking for my family 3)doing schooling 4)keeping the house in order 5)caring for our interests (garden, chickens, home business). I accept in these times this is all I can do but that soon things could change and my capacity may increase to add in social events and learning new skills.

Lucky asleep on the old coir we replaced yesterday

The Bible says in Philippians 2:14 that we are to do ALL things without complaining and arguing. So when I feel like having a good old moan, I remember this scripture and ask the Lord to give me fresh vision for what I am doing as a homemaker. Colossians 3: 23 – 25 also says that whatever you do, work at it with all your might, as working for the Lord. With these perspectives it is easier to keep focussed on what I must do as a wife, mother, homemaker, in this season of my life.
6 litres of chicken stock waiting to be decanted

The other thing that helps me to get through the cooking, cleaning, schooling, gardening, bread making, sustainable practices etc is to make sure our family works as a team. Everybody knows what their daily jobs are, how they need to be done and that they are to “do a little extra” without complaining. I always try to find jobs that suit the personalities of my of my children really gets no pleasure from gardening so I keep this child’s gardening chores to the minimum, but she enjoys baking and cooking so she gets more of these chores allocated. Sometimes though each child will have things to do that challenges their dislikes, but this is great for character training :-)

Almost all the strawberry plants were rehomed in new baskets yesterday

My answer to this moms who asked “how do you do it all?” is simple – you can’t actually. Something always gives if we try to take on too much and there is so much that we can do as homemakers. The key is to be sensible to your stage of life, your unique circumstances and to your families needs before adding anything new to the mix.


Lois Evensen said...

It is hard to get it "all" finished by the end of the day. I'm with you: do the most important things first. I just love that picture of Lucky. So cute. :)

Cath said...

Well written, my friend. Except, even in doing only what you can manage, you still get more done than anyone else I know. I think it's because you are so good at staying focused on what you have set out to do.
Much love,
Your distracted friend. xx

Elizabeth Jansen van Vuuren said...

This rings so true, and I'm also having to be satisfied with getting 'the basics' done and saying 'sorry - no time' to much I'd love to include.

A part of it is age, perhaps, I'm about to be 40, too. Also underestimating how much we have already taken on. Another thing that takes lots of time, in South Africa, is taking children around to activities. This is something our grannies never needed to do - they just cycled over to scouts/soccer/whatever. Now, it's not really to be avoided. Anyway, as said above, you are doing beautiful things. Thanks for finding time to keep on sharing.

Lilian said...

Thank you for the encouragement. I do find myself dejected at times because I can't seem to get as much done as other mums in the blogworld. Yet I think I need to focus on what I do get done rather than what hasn't been done. Everyone's situation is different as you say, so comparison isn't really on a level playing field.

Linnie said...

Thank you sooo much for this posting! Very encouraging and filled with love and compassion! I need to hear it, thank you, dear Friend!

Wendy said...

I am so glad it encouraged you all. There are truly only so many hours in a day....