Finding the perfect balance between homeschooling your children and getting everything done around the house is a tricky task—a task many moms find impossible to nail down. We tend to do well in one area while the other slips, or vice versa. Below are some things I reflect on when I find myself in this uneasy “see-saw” routine of balancing priorities.
1. First Things First
When we start our day with Scripture, everything flows so much more smoothly! Now, that is not to say we always get everything done…it’s not a promise that my house will be clean at the end of those days…but it seems our attitudes are steered that day in the appropriate direction, and the little things aren’t near as big of a deal. Colossians 3:2 tells us, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth”…and goes on to say we should put all these things aside: “anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.” Just a few verses later we are told, “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” Once God has the appropriate place in our minds and in our hearts for the day, we are MUCH more likely to maintain a balanced poise.
It’s not easy getting everything in the appropriate order. Often, I put things in the wrong place! Often, I am selfish. I strive to put God first, husband second, children third, and myself last. Where should household tasks of cooking, laundry, and cleaning rank in that line up? Well, each family is different, and you should discuss the importance of each task with your husband. Maybe one family will decide healthy meals are more important than a house that is “spic and span” every evening. Another might decide to settle for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so the house will be clean. Whatever you decide, make sure it works for your family, honors the Lord, and supports your family’s long-term goals.
3. Seasons Change
Be comfortable with different seasons of life, and know that there will REGULARLY be irregularities. J Ecclesiastes 3 says, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…” Let me tell you how this looks in my home:
A time to fix meals, and a time for everyone to fend for themselves;
A time to stay of top of laundry, and a time for the laundry bin to overflow;
A time to kill school, and a time for school to kill us;
A time to do school indoors, and a time to let my kids play outside all day;
A time to feel overwhelmed, and a time conquer;
A time to be sick, and a time to be well
A time to be quiet, and a time to be loud (maybe too much);
A time to jump around, and a time to be still;
A time to weed the garden, and time to let it be overgrown;
A time to have a clean house, and a time to let it be messy;
A time to put up Christmas decorations, and a time to take them down.
Read on in your Bible, “I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with…I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God's gift to man.” How good of God, to design us knowing that we would go through many seasons, and to expect nothing buy joyful hearts in the midst of those seasons! …although, I guess that is really the hardest part.
4. Train your Children
Initially, it may be more work to teach your kids to do chores, but in the long run it pays off! Kids can do all sorts of chores—unload or load dishes from the dishwasher, sort and/or wash laundry, fold clothes, put away their clothes, clean bathrooms…the list is endless. Write down some simple things your children can do that will lighten your load and train them to do those tasks. View this as part of their education because it is!
One of the most helpful things I do when I start feeling overwhelmed is clean out my clutter! Things can be a blessing, but also a burden. The more you have, the more you are responsible for taking care of. Start with toys, kitchen items, kids clothes, your clothes, garage mayhem, or anything else you notice is pulling your attention away from your priorities. If you can’t walk through your house without being distracted by something, chances are you have too much stuff! I recommend keeping a box or bin in which you can throw unnecessary, unwanted items into at any moment. This saves me a lot of time and energy during de-cluttering.
I hope these help you as you strive to be a better home school mom, wife, and Christian woman! ~meg