One of the hardest things about “homemaking” or running and managing our homes…is figuring out how to DO IT ALL. On the best of days it can be difficult to juggle it all.
Throw in a sleepless newborn, a teething toddler, a sick kid, a difficult circumstance, or any variety of weird things that can creep into our days…and it gets downright hard.
Even one little thing can throw off our routines and before we know it, we are stuck feeling overwhelmed and defeated. Sound familiar?
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Last week I got an email from a reader and I could SO identify with her struggle. So I decided it would be perfect to address here on the podcast and on my blog. Melanie said:
“I was wondering if you could share a schedule on your page, or with me! Your post about distractions really opened my eyes. How do you schedule your day without too many distractions?”
Honestly, this is a tough question to answer because it seems like every time I get into a smooth routine and schedule…something my life changes and turns it all upside down.
Five children in Four Years
Our family has undergone some immense changes in just four years. If you have hung around here for very long, you know that we have five kids, four and under. WHAT? How is that even possible? Well, we have two sets of twins and a baby girl.
In December of 2012, we had our first kids, twin boys. In July of 2015 we had our second set of twin boys. And in January of 2017 we welcomed our baby girl. (And yes, I know curious minds want to know: we just won the jackpot of fertility. Our twins were conceived naturally. And yes, it does run in our family. My dad is a twin :))
It seems like each time I get into a new routine or habit, someone’s sleep schedule changes, we add another baby (or two) to the family, someone gets sick which then leads to the whole family getting sick, etc. On top of that, Jason quit his full time sales job in January 2016 so that we could run our ministry together full time. (If you are wondering how we make this all work, you can come on over and watch our Week in the Life videos.)
Learning to be Flexible
One of the keys I’ve learned while juggling a home based business and five kids four and under, is that I need to be flexible in my daily schedule but stick rigorously to my priorities. If I can manage to do this, then I can allow myself that flexibility that I have to have in my life and still get the things done that I need to.
This lesson applies to whatever season you are in that presents its own unique challenges: working from home, marriage with no kids but working outside the home, homeschooling, figuring out new routines as an empty nester, balancing your new role as a busy grandma, and the list goes on…
I am going to share my ideal schedule for my day. Now I hesitate to share this because I am in no way saying that this is the ideal schedule for anyone else but myself. AND I hesitate to share this because like I said, my schedule is constantly reshaping and changing to fit our ever changing family life. But I think it will be helpful to illustrate my next point so hang in there…
My ideal schedule:
- 6:00 am – Wake up and make coffee
- 6:30-8:00am – Bible reading, prayer, book reading
- 8:00 am – Kids up (Here’s my secret to 8am wake up for kids. It’s a LIFE SAVER!)
- 8:00-10:00am – Kids up, breakfast, puttering around the kitchen, bible reading over breakfast if not in the morning
- 10:00-1:00pm – Play time for kids, Jami project time (laundry, mopping, bathroom cleaning, organizing, ect.)
- 1:00-4:00pm – Nap time for babies, little homeschool time for big kids then play time (usually outside)
- 4:00-7:00pm – Family time. Run to the store, dinner time, family worship, etc.
- 7:00pm – Bed time for kids
- 7:00-9:00pm – J&J relax time (Sometimes work time)
- 9:00-11:00pm – READING time. Sometimes on our own, sometimes Jason reads to me while I get housework done, etc.
- 11:00 pm BEDTIME (my goal is 7 hours of sleep)
Of course this schedule changes depending on what’s going on during the week and the schedule changes slightly day to day. And some days just won’t work. But when I’m working on my ideal schedule, this is about it! 🙂
What do you do when your day gets derailed
Now, let’s talk about what happens when your day goes horribly off track. So for example, let’s say that Magnolia sleeps horribly tonight. She wakes up 4 times, the boys decide to wake up early, and I greet the day tired and behind. Yes, it will be a tough day because I’m so tired. It’s easy to let discouragement and even bitterness to sink in and ruin the entire day. I don’t function very well when I’m tired and feel overworked.
But with a little intentionality, I can turn my day around and it all starts with looking at my priority list for the day. It may not be what I originally planned for the day, but it works because I know what my priorities are.
I have my priorities more fleshed out than this, but they boil down to:
- A Vibrant Relationship with the Lord
- Passionately Pursue my Husband
- Spend Time with the Kids
- Craft a Healthy Home
- Manage and run my blog and ministry
So when I start this long, weary day, I have two options. 1) Wallow in my misery and tiredness. This results in a wasted day of grumpiness and frustration. Or 2) Take a look at my priorities, readjust my expectations for the day, and move forward with a new sense of JOY!
Now obviously for me with so many young kids, their physical needs end up taking the #1 attention because I can’t ignore them and their physical needs. But how I approach my day can still be heavily influenced. So on a morning like this, I mentally review my priorities list. What’s that on the very top? #1 – A Vibrant Relationship with God.
Now, that doesn’t mean that I am going to leave the babies screaming in their cribs while I get my Bible reading done. Obviously I have to get them up, change them, start breakfast, hopefully get a pot of coffee going.
But what that does mean, is that I can mentally (or verbally) pray while getting the boys up. Ask God for strength, for wisdom on how to greet that day. Sing a hymn out loud to the boys while they all get dressed. Meditate upon Scripture I’ve memorized in the past, etc.
Then while I’m making eggs, I could listen to the Bible out loud. Yes, I miss parts of it sometimes because it gets so loud. But it’s far better than nothing. Or read a chapter out loud over breakfast while everyone eats. In the midst of loving for and caring for my kids, I am also focusing on the Lord and starting off my day with the right priority in focus.
If I can start off my day by focusing on the Lord, even in the small, hard moments…it changes my perspective on everything else. God can and will give you the strength and wisdom to get through those tough days.
Last week I was able to interview Donald Whitney on a very similar topic. I asked him for some wisdom and encouragement for those days that are long and tough and overwhelming. I encourage you to listen to the entire interview (it’s only 13 minutes) but in particular listen to 4:58-8:20.
Moving on Through Your Priority List
After focusing on my #1 priority and figuring out how to fit it into my already overwhelmed day, It’s time to move down my list. My #2 priority is then my husband. Well at that point he’s at work and not home. So move on to #3: my kids.
I take a look at my house feeling overwhelmed and feeling that fatigue creeping in. Some days, this is time to kick some booty and get productive around the house. On this particular overwhelmed day though, maybe the agenda needs to look like snuggling on the couch with my kiddos watching a movie, or sitting in the sunshine while they play.
Sometimes, this means leaving the dishes in the sink. Sometimes, it means turning our attention to just being with the kids and making it through the day.
Then we make it through the day, doing what we need to survive. Jason gets home, we wrangle the kids into bed, and I have two options. 1) tackle my ever growing to-do list even though I feel awful and I’m exhausted. Or 2) spend some time snuggling with Jason on the couch watching a movie.
Some days, the to-do list is the priority. Things do need to be cleaned eventually. Laundry does need to be put away. But other times, the couch and Jason are my priority. And when I can evaluate it like that, it’s so much easier to let go of that mommy-guilt that I’m not doing more.
There’s little point to a perfectly clean home if all the inhabitants of that home are miserable (including myself).
Getting through the day distraction free
So the original question asked how I get through my day without too many distractions. And the honest answer is: I don’t. I have 7 million distractions that creep up through the day. It takes me 3 times longer to finish loading the dishwasher because I have to stop to change a poopy diaper, to kiss a boo boo, to break up a fight, to nurse the baby, and the list goes on. My days are drastically derailed because of sick kids, teething toddlers, and a baby who insists on waking up 7 times a night.
And when that happens: I have to rejoice and praise the Lord. God has put me in this season, in this situation, for a reason, and I have to rejoice in that. No, it’s not always easy. In fact, some days are really really tough. On these days, my mantra has to be:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thess 5:16-18
My role and the goal within my home is to point myself, my husband, and these little people that God has put in my charge back to Him. It’s to demonstrate the Gospel lived out in real life. To display godliness. To confess when I’m wrong and need to be forgiven. My role is for my family to see Christ through me.
Now this doesn’t always happen. I’m sinful, I’m grumpy, I let the tiredness creep in and I swing throughout my day with a bad attitude.
But when I think about it, when I get to the heart of it: My job is to create a Gospel-Centered atmosphere in my home and to point my entire family back to Christ. When I focus on that, it’s so much easier to prioritize my time and my day…even on those hard days!
Join me for a Live Workshop!
I know we just barely scratched the surface on this big topic, so I want to invite you to a LIVE workshop I’ve got going on Friday March 31st (and don’t worry, you can sign up for the replay video to watch later if you can’t attend live).
The live workshop is called 5 Ways to Organize Your Time So That You Can Be a Rockstar Homemaker and it’s going to rock!! Join us live to learn how to prioritize your time to put God and your family FIRST for greater joy and less stress in your home.
Links and Resources:
- Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes
- Subscribe to my YouTube channel for A week in the life videos
- What does it mean to manage a Gospel-Centered home?
- Creating a personal Priorities List
- Sign up for my FREE live workshop: 5 Ways to Organize Your Time So That You Can Be a Rockstar Homemaker
Jelly Telly Easter!
The sponsor for this week’s podcast episode is one of my very favorite apps: Jelly Telly! Easter is just one month away and now’s the time to start planning intentionally for sharing with your kids the true meaning of the holiday. My very favorite website for Bible-based kids shows, Jelly Telly, has some fantastic Easter resources for you this year!
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