Titus 2:5 says we are to be, “…busy at home.” Do you feel busy enough? Too busy perhaps? I believe homemakers typically aren’t the right kind of busy. And yes, there is a right way to be busy and a wrong way. One is productive and fulfilling. The other is hamster wheel spinning and fruitless.
The first is Biblical; housework, tending to children, etc. The second is a too many activities, too much stuff so housework is an uphill battle, untrained children, busy. I want to look at two very different mothers. One is thriving, the other is barely surviving.
The Un-Overwhelmed Mother
This mother gets up to a clean home most days. She sees her husband off to work, makes breakfast, feeds the children, gets everyone ready for the day, then takes a small break. The children read next to her on the couch while she has a cup of tea.
Mother and children do a few hours of school work, then get lunch ready. After lunch they may go outside for half an hour, then Mother puts the small children down for a nap. During that time she may check email and spend a few minutes online, then move on to working with the older kids and their more challenging school work.
When nap time ends Mom and the kids get more housework done. They easily transition and prepare for the evening with Mom or one of the older kids getting dinner started.
They enjoy the evening meal together with everyone helping to clean up afterwards. Dad reads as they sit together as a family, listening, then talking.
If Dad is a new Christian, Mom is patient with his attempts to lead and teach the family, not expecting him to be like other men who may be further down the path than he is.
Some days she adds a trip to the grocery store and some other errands. Otherwise, the description above is that of an average, busy day that doesn’t overwhelm Mom or children.
The Overwhelmed Mother
In contrast, the overwhelmed mom stays up much too late the night before. She gets up after the children have been awake for an hour or more. She hasn’t a clue what to make for breakfast, and is already feeling like the day is getting away from her.
The kitchen is a mess since the dinner dishes were neglected the night before, and at this point she is just ready to crawl back into bed and hope Mary Poppins drops in, and quick!
Yet facing her reality, she gets going on the dishes while the kids are getting dressed. She tries to work on getting the house in order for the day, but the kids are not cooperating and she is feeling more and more exasperated. A refreshing morning break is a dream at best.
They spend an hour doing school work, but the kids begin to fight again so she assigns something they can do without her and gets online (there is no dirty laundry, piles of dirty dishes or arguing children on Facebook.) When lunch comes, she is ready for a nap and is thoroughly worn.
Putting the children down for a nap is a chore, since they won’t stay in bed unless she stands over them until they fall asleep. Once again, they don’t get a nap. She sees the mess around her, but has so many unnecessary possessions that the thought of organizing it yet again, creates a mild panic attack for her.
Dad gets home and she apologizes for not having dinner ready. She leaves the kids to him and heads to the kitchen. Dad is a new Christian and isn’t quite sure yet how to handle the chaos around him. That leaves him unsettled.
She serves frozen burritos on paper plates. When dinner is done, everyone heads off to do what they please. She is so worn out from her day that the evening chores get left undone again.
It turns into a never ending battle that leaves her exhausted day after day after day. She wants a better life but sees no silver lining on her dark clouds.
Getting Your Home and Life Under Control
For a woman in this second category, encouragement alone isn’t going to help her. She needs to make a plan. She does need to be encouraged that she can get it together, but it will take some work.
Her first step would be prayer. The LORD wants her home and children in order, He is ever present with her. Secondly, she should confide in her husband. He most likely wants the home and children in order as well. He may be a new Christian and truly doesn’t know what to do. An older couple here would be a blessing, but isn’t always easy to find.
Next, they need to go to the children and let them know things haven’t been done correctly and the family needs to change. We sit our children down often and remind them what we expect of them, what the Bible says and why we want to, and need to obey.
When it comes to her home, she has much work to do. She needs to focus, she needs a plan and she needs instruction. Tomorrow we’ll talk about mindset and look at how to begin properly caring for a home that has been neglected.