As Christian, home-schooling moms, we take on so much, go against the flow, all while living in a crazy, busy culture. I hope I can help just a little as I give my answer to this reader’s question. (And check out other bloggers answers at the bottom of this page!)
How do I teach each child their lessons AND cook 3 nutritious meals a day AND nurse the baby AND keep everyone in clean clothes AND keep the dust bunnies at bay, all on very little sleep?! Did I mention that right now I’m only teaching 3 out of my 6 and we are focusing just on phonics and math?
So how do we get it all done? How do we answer these questions? What’s a mother to do? Oh, I’d love to offer you my perfect plan for the perfect day with a perfect outcome…..
….but the honest answer, and one that each of us mothers needs to accept, is that we won’t be able to get it all done!
We’ll each need to discover what “all done” means to us personally and corporately as a family. That term will mean something different for each of us. No two families will focus on exactly the same things to find their place of balance.
- One mom’s focus may be on having a perfectly planned day and a super-clean, orderly home.
- For another, a family business may keep their schedule hopping.
- Yet another might study herbs, organic cooking, and natural medicine.
- Some may have picnics and parties and homeschool gatherings weekly for friends and family.
And each one of these moms will have to serve meals, teach children, and wash clothes. Our goal is to find how we best function, based on how God designed us with our personalities and abilities, in just the place He has us. But, if we’re choosing another family’s lifestyle, trying to be the Joneses, we’ll only end up burnt out and disappointed.
Discovering The Key
So the real key to finding this answer is to discover what’s important to you and your husband.
- What do you value?
- What is it you find extremely important in order to feel like you’ve accomplished your goals?
- What kind of relationship do you require to feel like you’re a part of your children’s lives?
- What level of education do you deem necessary for your children?
- How important is a clean and orderly environment for your peace and comfort?
Another factor is realizing each of your children’s bents. If one of them wants to be a doctor, your schedule for them will include calculus or trigonometry. For another, it might be farming, and so you may decide on a more hands-on approach to learning, right in your backyard. This will help determine what that elusive “all done” term means.
Discover What “All Done” Means To You & How To Get There!
1) Develop a routine. Think about how your family spends their days and weeks. Look for patterns. You’ll find them. Usually these routines come from what we find important and are comfortable with (unless we’ve gotten sidetracked by trying to live like someone else!). We really need to establish what works for us, while learning from those around us. Use this pattern to discover what, when, and how to order your day.
2) Pray for wisdom – then step back and observe your home, family, and routine. What do you like? What frustrates you? Right now I’m realizing that my meal planning and the disorder in my freezer/refrigerator is driving me crazy! I’m not okay with it. So that’s one thing I’ll be working on this month. Sometimes we need things to get out of control before we gain the perspective to fix them. So failure is actually a good thing as it reveals our weakness or blind spots!
3) Don’t sweat the small stuff. When things get busy with family, much of what we do or think we need is actually small stuff. When accidents happen, or trials come, we soon discover what is really important. I had a friend once offer a bit of advice. I was tired, pregnant, and sick. Oh, and did I mention I was also complaining?! During my bed-rest, I was disturbed by what I heard and saw going on in my family. It revealed some major issues in our home and relationships. And I didn’t like it!
So my friend offered me new perspective. She told me I could view this down-time negatively or as a gift from God. As time to watch and listen to the temperature of our family. You see, when we’re doing well, we often get so busy we don’t notice the idiosyncrasies and problem areas developing. But when we step back, or are forced to, we are able to see life for what it is and make better choices to solve them.
4) Don’t think you have to do everything everyone else is doing! Read that again – with emphasis! What is important for one family or what comes easily for them, may not be what’s best or good for yours. Our society and government may want us all to look the same and vote the same and behave the same, but that’s not Gods plan! Be unique!
It’s really important to remember that no one way is right. It’s great to read books and blogs, and talk to friends and other homeschooling moms for ideas. But – remember to make your schedule based on your personality and goals. It’s between God and you and your husband to discern what works for your family.
5) Raise your children to work hard. This is huge battle in our culture. Things come way too easy for us all, and we tend to baby and pamper our kids. They’re cute, I know! But they’re only a child once! Hah! I’m just kidding! But those sweeties have to grow up and become honest, diligent, and productive adults. Teach them well.
Find projects to work on together. Teach them to help around the house. Go against popular thought. Having them help the family with chores is not comparable to the plague! Your neighbors or church friends might tell you you’re too hard on them or that it’s your job. That you’re the one who chose to have so many kids! But please, oh please, don’t listen!
This is the first time in history when children don’t have to work hard to help their family. The lessons they learn by working hard will keep them afloat when life’s trials come. Believe it or not, it’s not wrong to let them know that life does get hard! Teach them to persevere and rely upon their heavenly Father, and they will prosper!
6) Stay tuned into God, read His word, listen to the Spirit, and be conformed to what He deems important. Ask for His grace. He will provide wisdom and discernment for the tasks and priorities for your home. He’ll also cover areas you’ll be surprised at. At first, you may not see how He protects and guides, but He will. Keep Him in His proper place, above all!
There will always be lessons. Just be open to them. God knows just what you need.
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
A Few Practical Tips That Worked For Us
- Have a special place (we used a personal quilt) to keep your little ones happy. Give them toys and books to play with while you do school or work on a project. This quiet time only lasts so long, but it really helps! Our toddlers loved their little spot to call their own.
- Assign chores so everyone has duties during certain hours of the day. Develop a chore system. You’ll know what everyone is doing and can manage the work and the workers. I manage a lot. They work. Things get done. What doesn’t get done, we leave for tomorrow or find it’s not really that important. And if something isn’t getting done, it may not be a necessity anyway! Really! We end up doing what is a priority. Remember to pray to keep your goals in sight.
- Develop a meal plan and preparation chart. I had a great chart that recorded what was on the menu, who was the cook, and who was the “bottle washer”. Ever heard that ditty? “Chief cook and bottle washer.” My mom said it all the time! I digress….but having a plan really takes the pressure off when dinnertime comes. Plus it relieves the stress of hearing, “I did the dishes last night!”.
- Cut down to two meals a day with a snack in between. It lightened our load from having three meals to plan, prepare, and clean up after. Plus it gave us more time out of the kitchen and doing what we enjoyed. You’d be amazed what you can get used to!
So, can you get it all done? Nah! You’d have to be Supermom to do it.
Can you find a happy place of peace in the middle of this chaos we call ‘family’? Certainly! But that’s super easy to forget in this crazy busy culture we live in!
No matter what, pull yourself back to the paramount goal. Raising children for the glory of God!
And, fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4