Just how can I get it all done? This is the question that haunted me for many years. There were so many things that needed doing, and I just couldn’t get them all done. So I read time management books (for fun and relaxation) and I did learn a lot from them. But… I still couldn’t get caught up, until I discovered a fundamental truth.
God wasn’t requiring me to do it all! Sometimes the immense burden came from other people, but usually it came from me. Of course, that changed matters completely. Now all I had to do was understand what it was God wanted me to do.
The Bible is full of practical wisdom, but one passage that speaks especially to moms is Titus 2:4,5. We are to love our husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to our husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Other passages speak about managing our homes well, and various details of a godly woman’s days.
At times in my life, I made the right choices almost instinctively. When my children were at the newborn and toddler stages, I obviously couldn’t get it all done and I didn’t try very hard either. We moved every few years and my husband worked crazy hours. We cheerfully did the best we could with the important things in life, but I recall regularly picking up the baby in the evenings and kicking a path through the toys to the couch. In those years I didn’t really even see the toy mess, and that was a blessing. Instead we read innumerable stories together. We learned nonstop. We visited museums and other places. We walked lots, and gardened, and did everything together. The children and I were happy. No one suffered, except the house. And that was good.
As time went on, I allowed myself to be burdened by other people’s standards. Gradually I tried to become more organized, to homeschool in a more structured way, and even to set up a schedule. We may have gotten a few more things done following that schedule, but living with it filled our home with stress and sin. Some families just don’t do well with schedules. (But, boy, do we love our routines!)
Now, structure is important, especially if the children have a heavy school load. Tidying is important, especially if there are children at home all day, every day. And being organized about the necessary tasks is crucial. But what’s most important is making godly, responsible decisions about our time use.
So we have had to decide what’s most important. Learning. Time together. Music. Outside time. Healthy food. A peaceful home. Church. People. Developing talents. Rest. Sleep.
We’ve had to learn how to minimize the demands of other things. For years I’ve been on a mission to simplify, de-junk, streamline, and organize. The de-junking has been helpful, but we didn’t make much headway until we started giving away baby things.
Somehow, this past year, we’ve all learned to do our basic home chores more efficiently, and we reap the benefits of that every week. The children help with meals, and that makes a huge difference as well. This summer I want to streamline the yard and garden work too.
Even so, we do not aim to ‘do it all’ because that is not our calling. Occasionally, I forget and tie myself up in knots of frustration at undone work. I’m learning to recognize that frustration as a sin rather than a time management problem.
So how do we do it all? Thankfully, we do not have to.
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