I am finding myself frustrated off and on as I am trying to juggle all of the comings and goings in our house with keeping the house clean and stocked with necessities. I am so tired by the end of the day that I walk but the laundry basket that is in dire need of folding and then returned to its rightful owner because I know they won't come to collect the clean laundry. I have stressed enough about it that I get headaches. I know it is possible to achieve the much needed balance in our lives that I desire. I know this because I know the Lord wants us to have balance in all things. Sometimes it is hard for me to say no to helping others because so many have helped and continue to help us at this point in our lives. I also know that we must pick and choose what we can and should do. With that said, here are some small things that I have done to start on the path to achieving not only balance in my life but for our whole household.
1. Get rid of things that we are not using. Give them to someone who needs them now. If I should need it in the future, then someone will have one that I can borrow or have.
2. Make my children responsible in helping keep the house clean. We now have a bag that has 4 daily chores in it and another that has 4 weekly chores in it. Everyday when we get home from school, each child draws a daily chore and does that chore before they change or snack. The dailies are: sweep the floor, rotate the laundry, take out the trash and unload the dishwasher. Weekly chores are: mop the floor, vacuum the living room, put all the shoes in their cubbies, and wash dirty hand prints off the walls. The dailies literally take only 3 minutes each while the weeklies take about twice as long. This is one of the best things we have done and I still don't know why we didn't think of it sooner. BTW, the kids are the ones who chose to draw rather than me assign the tasks.
3. No friends can come over during the week. We have too much going on and homework doesn't get done. They are allowed to come on Friday and Saturday if chores are done and rooms are clean.
4. Not feel guilty about telling my kids and friends no. Still very hard for me to do, but learning it is okay to tell someone that I don't have time to do something right now.
5. Play the scriptures on CD in my house while we are doing chores. It really helps keep the peace.
6. Pray often. Some days I have an all day conversation with the Lord. I know he hears me because on those really hard days, he sends me some love through a friend.
7. Be grateful by saying thank you often to the Lord and those who lighten my load. Say thank you to my kids for not fighting, for getting their homework done, for being a good example, for helping someone in need.
8. Not sweating the small stuff. The laundry will wait. It may get wrinkled in the meantime, but my kids lives won't wait. Them wanting my time and attention seems to get less every year. The 12 year old doesn't need me as much as the 5 year old, but I make sure I put down whatever I am doing and look into her eyes as she speaks to me. I do the same with all of my kids. If I happen to be busy in the kitchen, I have them come sit at the counter and talk while I do what needs to be done, making sure that I make eye contact every few seconds so they know I am paying attention. Sometimes I even make them help me while we visit.
My list is still growing and I am still trying to achieve balance in my life. It is an everyday struggle for me as I am not perfect and do not claim to be even close to perfection. I am still looking for an elusive cleaning fairy to take care of my house so that I can spend more time doing other things so if any of you has one that you will lend or give me, I promise that I will give it a good home.