Thursday, September 29, 2011

homemaking with little children

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I roll over in bed, awakened by a bubbling one year old ready for the day ahead.  On a good day, I wake up, change her diaper and pop her in her high chair to have breakfast.  While she feeds herself breakfast and starts the day off with either Baby Einstein or Praise Baby, I get myself somewhat prepared for the day; brushing my teeth, changing, etc, etc.

And then it begins.

My day is now full of chasing my little one around, constant redirecting and teaching as well as lots and lots of cuddles and kisses.  It is the most rewarding job I've ever had, yet the most challenging.  This beautiful role I play isn't just rewarding, it's so time consuming I find myself having little time for anything else.

This part my friends is a Catch-22.

I remember the advice people gave me while Aaliya was a newborn.  "Don't expect your home to be clean anymore, you'll no longer have any time to clean."  "Make use of that nesting period!"  And on and on and on it went.

No offense to any of those people, but I really don't know they were very right.  Having a clean home while Aaliya was a newborn was relatively easy.  As an infant, the attention she demanded was minimal compared to the attention she needs now.  When she wasn't mobile, life was pretty much cake and keeping a clean was the icing on top.

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Now, I'm working from sunup to way past sundown and feel like there's always still such a long to-do list for the next day.  Although I'm no time-management pro, I tend to be pretty focused when I'm at home.  And still, the house is just not clean enough, laundry is never done (we have entirely too many clothes), and I just can never get to those dirty toilets and vacuuming that floor.  Occasionally, I try to get motivated to do things like Sarah Mae's 31 Days Challenge and such, but I just can't seem to do more than a couple of days at a time. Between working outside the home, working inside the home and then the few ministry roles I've taken on with the House of Prayer (these are all very minimal roles that I fulfill after the baby's asleep), I just can't commit to the exact same schedule daily.

So, what do we do?

  1. Set goals and work to achieve them, but keep homemaking responsibilities to a minimum during this season.  Loving our husbands and babies is far greater than homemaking.
  2. Take care of yourself;  When mama isn't taken care of, mama can't take care of anyone else.  I don't necessarily agree that Mama should take care of herself first but I do believe that prioritizing ourselves is of the essence.
  3. Keep It Simple, Silly;  At this point in my life, it is simply realistic for me to take on extensive organization projects and to do anything more than basic upkeep cleaning.  Even though in my overachieving mind this isn't ideal, I have to understand the beauty found in Ecclesiastes 3... There is a season for every activity under the sun.  This season is devoted to that active one year old that has stolen my heart, not to purging and focusing solely on my home.
  4. Become an excellent steward with your time; Needless to say, with the litmited time we have for anything other thn child-rearing, this is an excellent time to reevaluate how we spend our time.  Cutting out TV, Facebook and any other time-traps in order to achieve more at home, during our time at home may be the solution.
  5. Kick off laziness!  I am such a lazy person by nature.  Yet I find that when I purpose my mind and heart to kick off every ounce of laziness, I (obviously... hehe) get so much more done.  I find that the pros of being proactive instead of being lazy far outweigh the pros of remaining lazy.  And that keeps me motivated to keep goig.
  6. Find rest in Christ; I have realized that I was depending on that 5:15p time to show up on every clock of our house because I knew that's when Caleb would get home.  I wanted rest, and would often attempt to find it in front of the TV.  It was almost like when he got in through the door, I clocked out of the mother and homemaker role (mostly) and would use the excuse that rest was needed.  Yet I have found that when we actively set our minds and thoughts to Christ, I am well rested throughout the day and I am able to manage our home a lot better.  Now, instead of mindlessly vegging in front of the TV after Aaliya goes to bed, I clean the kitchen and get ourselves ready for the next day.  It's made for an easier clean-up routine and I am very content.
How do you maintain a consistent cleaning routine and parent little ones at the same time?

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