I’m making some steady progress by using Mondays to clean out my mailbag. Here’s this week’s letter:
I have 11 kids and noticed you have a big family too!! Mine range from 9 months to 16 yrs. They help a lot, but I am so very busy… I feel like I am spinning a bit lately and wondered if you have any advice 😉
I can assure you that I’ve felt that way myself from time to time. Such feelings are manageable for short seasons (like the days leading up to a project deadline), but that sort of prolonged stress is not healthy. When I feel it for an extended period of time, I try to step back and reassess.
There are essentials that must be done to keep our family strong and our home running smoothly (like spending time with my husband and keeping up with cleaning and laundry), and there are other things that are non-essentials that can be pruned or trimmed back (like blogging, Pinterest browsing, and some of our extra curricular activities).
Whenever I feel like life is spiraling out of control, I try to take stock of where my time is going and make any needed adjustments to add some margin back to my life.
It really helps me to involve my family, instead of attempting to do everything on my own. When we train our children to help with chores, it not only helps us, but gives them important life skills, as well. I try to assign real, age-appropriate responsibilities, and follow up to make sure they are doing their work well.
Since your children are already good workers, then I’d suggest you ask them and your husband to help you brainstorm better, more efficient ways of doing things. Their unique perspective and ideas provide a valuable resource that you’ll want to tap into.
It may be a case of needing to relax the standard a little or to hire outside help.
I used to pour excessive amounts of time into ironing my husband’s clothes. I was a perfectionist who did not yet realize that perfectionism is a trap. Now I send his dress shirts (which he wears very rarely) to the cleaners and just hang everything else straight out of the dryer, which actually keeps them looking pretty decent without any ironing at all.
Maybe you need to realize that this isn’t the season for scrubbing your grout with a toothbrush or baking your bread from scratch. And that’s okay.
And my last (but certainly not least) advice is this: don’t neglect your spiritual walk.
For me, the days that seem most likely to spin out of control are the ones when I’ve skimped on my quiet time in favor of getting an earlier start on my to-do list. That is never a good idea.
When I begin my mornings with Bible reading and prayer, on the other hand, the days flow more smoothly — even if my other responsibilities and external demands do not change. The big difference is not what’s filling my plate, but my attitude towards it.