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  • kenziedegraaf

Managing Your Home Without Overwhelm

Updated: Mar 5

Are you a mom? Do you feel overwhelmed by the large, seemingly never ending to do list, cleaning tasks and household responsibilities?

Recently I have been seeing a lot of chatter online from both moms stuck in the overwhelm of all the daily tasks and responsibilities of "mom life," parenting & keeping a home, and I've also seen a huge movement of other moms calling us to "stop being lazy" and almost shaming moms who are struggling to "get it all done." I watch both of these groups with a hint of heartbreak. While both are wrong, both have some truth that is lying under the surface. Let me explain.

The first group of moms, the ones stuck in overwhelm, are rightly acknowledging, that there are many many responsibilities that we as adults, parents, and dare I say, specifically moms, typically carry. Often, and especially so for stay at home moms, or single moms, the majority of household responsibilities falls on our shoulders, paired with parenting responsibilities and the details of managing all the schedules, appointments, playdates, cooking, grocery shopping etc. And the way God so wisely designed the female brain to be able to have a string of continuous thought going, that can really help us when holding a baby, cooking dinner and talking to our mom on the phone, can also feel like it's working against us, when we don't have a good system in place to organize the clutter of thoughts from our to do list rushing at us, in a chaotic moment.

On the other hand, the moms who are advocating for mom's to "stop being lazy," though in my opinion not using kind and considerate words, are correct, that as moms, and women of God, we should not get stuck in apathy for ourselves, and give less than our best effort. Yes, the work is hard, but it is worthy work, holy work, we should do unto the Lord, with our best effort and attitude.

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men," Col. 3:23

So what are both groups missing? First off, as I mentioned, I don't think shaming moms by calling them "lazy" is godly or encouraging, as I wrestled with the unease I felt over the phrase, I felt like there was another reason it didn't sit right with me. I felt like it's untrue. I think many moms aren't lazy, but rather truly overwhelmed and don't yet have a system that works to help them give their best. Often times they don't know how to start to develop that system, or they haven't seen others model one. I even think many moms just "accept that this is the way it is," and don't even know another way is possible! And what do the first group of moms have wrong? The belief that this is true, there's no way to overcome this feeling, and that because "we can't get it all done" we don't even need to try.

If you're like me, I've fallen in both camps in my self talk. I've been over critical of myself, and will beat myself up for not getting all I wanted to get done that day, days where I haven't given my best, and truly been lazy about things. And I've also had days of feeling over-whelmed like the mountain of dishes is impossible to get through, where things beyond my control keep tasks difficult throughout the day, where it is a true challenge no matter how hard I try.

So, what are we to do? Well firstly, I want you to know that my attitude is one of encouragement and not condemnation. If you tend to be the over-critical mom, I want to encourage you to ask the Lord for His compassion. Instead of judging others or yourself, ask God to give you His wisdom, to know the difference between true laziness and a lack of understanding or resources. If you're the mom who tends to feel like there is no way to have joy in motherhood, and you might as well not even try, I want to encourage you that it is possible to have joy, and our homes do not need to be chaotic and un-organized.

No matter where you tend to fall on this spectrum of thinking, I want to share some practical tips, that I have found really help me manage my day, my week and our home, as well as my mental and spiritual health, in my homemaking and mothering responsibilities.

Tip 1: Ask God to give you a different mindset

If you believe that you are incapable or that motherhood is "just this way," then you will not even want to try. But if we instead, call out the lies our culture is telling us, and believe that God can help us, that even our "chores" are a gift and an invitation into God-likeness of caring for and creating spaces in our home and family's lives, where there is safety and peace, we can be encouraged that this is a gift, rather than a burden. We "get to" do this, instead of "have to" do this or "can't do this."

Tip 2: Create tasks list that distribute the work throughout the day/week/month.

I have found that having simple tasks that happen each day, as well as tasks that get contained to a certain day of the week or once a month, really helps me remember, that everything has a place and will get done, but it won't and can't all get done in one day. If the God of the universe, who truly could have created all things at once, took the time to create in 6 days, and did so in a way of order and grouping and complimenting, of creating and filling, creating and filling, then we can take this wisdom and apply it to our homemaking as well.

Do I follow this list perfectly? No. Do I have help with the dishes? Yes. Do I find that my week goes so much smoother when I do follow through on my tasks with diligence? You bet! So as I share this, know that I am in this with you friend. I need this as much as anyone to help me stay faithful in my responsibilities to the wonderful, beautiful family and home God has given me to steward and manage. I have included a sample of my actual checklist with a few blanks so you can add to this list, and a blank version to create your own as well.

Mama Checklist
Download PDF • 24KB

Blank Checklist
Download PDF • 17KB

Tip 3: Ask for help

This can be a hard one for many of us mamas, but one that helps keep us humble and grateful. When we realize that we aren't meant to do things on our own, and allow someone or something (think grocery pick up service) to offer assistance, we have a chance to express gratitude to God for providing that assistance. Help can look so different. Maybe you have a family member who can help watch your children a couple hours each week while you get something that takes extra focus done. Maybe you trade babysitting with a friend for the same reason. Maybe you are able to hire a cleaning service to come once a month to help with the deep clean. Maybe you plan an easy prepared store bought meal for those busy nights when you can't whip something up "from scratch," but don't have the means for going out. Find out what resources are available through your church or local organizations.

I believe that this part, asking for help, is so individualized, so pray and ask God to show you where you need to ask for and allow help. If you don't know where or how, ask Him to bring you help, but be ready that it may look different than you had in mind.

In conclusion I hope that these tips encourage and serve you mama, like they continue to bless me. I am so grateful for my family and home, and all the ways God provides for us. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and give my best, and the grace to know I can't control it all. There is room for help, and grace when we fail. God is right there ready and waiting to forgive and help us. You can do this mama, with His help, so don't throw in the towel, but with prayer, and thanksgiving, and help from your community, keep on giving your best and receiving God's grace and love from others who want to help.

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