There were a lot of late night chats with my husband this past month about how stressed-out I had been with homeschooling and motherhood. The new year had bombarded us with numerous appointments (that interrupted our school day), sickness (that caused all school work to come to a halt) and the daily demands of keeping house and feeding eight individuals.
Laundry had been left for days on the floor of our family room, dishes had gone unwashed until they were needed again for another meal (sometimes days later), toys had not been picked up and cleaning had pretty much ceased.
Trying to potty train a strong-willed child, dealing with disobedience, correcting bad attitudes, caring for a baby all while trying to accomplish some school work had worn me down. I was starting to feel like I was failing my kids academically and doing a terrible job training them. Can you relate?
Going to the Lord in prayer is the best thing we can do when life causes us stress. Here are a few other ideas that encouraged my weary homeschool mom heart.
Remember the Goal
My goal in life is to do everything in a manner that brings glory and honor to God. That means that even when I am stressed-out from the demands of life my attitude and response to the difficulties can honor (or dishonor) God. I decided that even if everything seemed to be chaotic around me, I’d praise God anyways. Taking my eyes off of myself and my circumstances and setting them on the Lord kept me from being overwhelmed with the difficulties of each day.
Look at the Big Picture
When I was looking at each individual day all I could see was the unfinished school work and the messy house. Stepping back and looking at the big picture reminded me of how much my kids had already learned and how many more years I still had left with them to accomplish all I thought we needed to do. I was also reminded that my house wouldn’t stay in a state of disaster forever. Eventually things would get cleaned even if it was only one part of the house at a time.
Prioritize Each Day Differently
I had been struggling with prioritizing my life. My husband, the kids, the house and the school work all seemed pretty important and I wasn’t convinced that any of those things could be dropped down to the bottom of the list. What I realized was that I didn’t have to prioritize every day the same.
The first few days of the week could be dedicated to homeschooling while housework got left undone. Spending time with my kids and training their hearts might take priority another day. Cleaning house and preparing freezer meals could be bumped up to the top of the list after days of being neglected. I don’t get everything done every day but by the time a new week rolls around, most things (or people) have gotten my attention at least once that week.
Pray and Make Changes
I took a good look at our chaotic days and found that several things were not working for us. I asked God to give me wisdom on how to change things so that our days would run a little smoother. I prayerfully considered our homeschool choices (curriculum, schedule, methods etc) and was able to come up with some ideas for improving the efficiency of our school time.
I’m okay with the chaos and the messes now as long as I keep the bigger picture in mind and set my eyes on the Lord.