from the heart

True Confessions of an Overwhelmed Homemaker

I’m overwhelmed. You know the feeling.  There’s so much going on in our lives right now. I don’t really feel comfortable sharing everything, and I don’t know that it matters anyway… We each have our own specific set of circumstances, and no two will be exactly alike. We’re just in one of those seasons. It’s not easy to push through when you don’t see the end or understand the “why” behind everything that is happening.
There’s just too much to do and not enough time to do it. Sometimes it feels like I’ve been working all day, but the only thing I have to show for it is a disaster zone for a house and, if I’m lucky, something that wasn’t on the meal plan for today hitting the table before LO’s bedtime.

Sometimes I crave a simpler time. I’m talking several decades ago before technology and “all the things” took over our lives. A time when the only responsibilities a wife had was to simply manage her house, feed her family, and keep her children alive. None of the outside stuff mattered. A time when you didn’t have to worry about what was entering your family’s bodies every time they took a bite of food or went to the doctor. A time where almost everybody had the space and knowledge to grow and preserve their own food… and they did!

I crave an era when the older women taught the younger women how to manage their homes and families so they didn’t have to figure it out through trial and error. When it wasn’t so intimidating to talk about your faith because we were “one nation under God.” When we weren’t being pulled in so many different directions and not thriving in any.

Sometimes it feels like we are so busy with so many things that we aren’t doing any of them well. Sometimes it’s so easy to feel like a failure because we are stretched so thin we cannot devote the time and attention necessary to do our jobs properly. Then when something does go (sometimes horribly) wrong, we beat ourselves up and blame ourselves for the outcome, whether or not it was our fault… which inevitably means putting even more pressure on ourselves to do better and stretching ourselves even thinner.

Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever feel like you are one more thing away from snapping? Like if you slow down long enough to give yourself a much-needed break and rest that you are neglecting all the other things that are calling your name?

I’ve been feeling all of these things and more the past several weeks. But I have to keep reminding myself of Proverbs 3:5-6:

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

It’s not easy to trust when you can’t get your head above water long enough to see what’s going on around you. But that’s what trust is, isn’t it? Faith. Knowing that God has a purpose, no matter how hard things are and believing that He will work it all out according to His plan. It’s begging for wisdom to know where to place your foot for the next step, then trusting the “lamp” and “light” that He has given you to show you where the solid ground is. (Psalm 119:105) 

HeisAble
I don’t know who wrote it, but we used to sing this song in my college prayer group. It’s been an encouraging reminder to me lately. 

Does that mean that when we are feeling overwhelmed and pray to God that we will instantly feel better and the stress will just melt away into sunshine and rainbows? No. While I’d love to tell you that I feel instant peace when I ask God for wisdom and help, I usually don’t. My flesh gets in the way. But acknowledging that I really have no say in how everything will turn out, that I am completely incapable of deciding what happens next, forces me to look to God and fall into His arms, trusting that He will catch me.

It’s not always easy, but neither is anything else. This year I’ve been really trying to work on my faith and trust in God. If you’ve been God’s child for any length of time, you know that when you ask God to grow you in some way, He will send you teachable moments and tests in order to accomplish that growth. They don’t feel good. Sometimes they really hurt. But they are for our good.

I’ve been overwhelmed by everything I have to get done and never seem to accomplish. It’s too much. Sometimes I just have to do what I can, prioritize the immediate, necessary things, and let the rest go. Sometimes I need to give myself permission to take a MUCH needed break and get some rest so everything else doesn’t seem so big (it’s amazing how much chronic sleep deprivation… i.e. an 18 month old who still doesn’t sleep well at night… can affect your outlook on, well, everything). Sometimes I need to ask my husband what things are most important to him, focus on those things first, and let the rest slide if it doesn’t get done right away. But most importantly, I need to look to God for help. I CAN’T do everything on my own. I can’t get it all done without His help and guidance… and some sleep. 😉

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4 thoughts on “True Confessions of an Overwhelmed Homemaker

  1. I chose to walk a less beaten path, so to a certain extent I really have no idea some of the finer points. But life itself can be a hurried business, with no end of things to do and not nearly enough hours in the day to get it all done. I know what that’s like full well. For me, I’m learning how to be mindful. I take a moment to stop and center myself – paying attention to what my senses are telling me is going on – what I see, hear, taste, smell, and feel; also I ask myself how I’m feeling emotionally and try to take a deep breath – infusing my system with oxygen and inducing an altered state in my brain signaling it to stop firing madly and to take a moment to just smell the roses. Surprisingly, I feel better just trying to to do something about maintaining my calm and not fall victim to my tendency to run around like a frightened chicken. I’m learning to get what I can done and not worry about the things that I can’t do – because no amount of fretting over them can change how many hours there are in the day. I’m learning to focus on the big priorities and then worry about the finer details once the worst of the most important tasks are out of the way. I’m learning to listen to the fan in the window, the hum of the appliances, the tap-tap-tap of my fingers as I type – to see the colors all around me as different shades and hues, to pay attention to that delicious smell coming from the slow-cooker, and to notice the textures around me. I can’t believe I used to let it all slide and treat it as if it were irrelevant to what I’m doing – but each detail helps to remind me where my focus lies and reminds me that God thought it was important and so I should look for those little Easter eggs that’s he’s hidden in plain sight for me to find and delight in.

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    1. Thank you for the encouragement and reminder to prioritize and let slide. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m an “all or nothing” type who tries to do it all, whether I can accomplish it all or not.

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      1. I hate it when my shift ends and there are three or four things I didn’t get done – I’m only moderately pleased when I get very nearly everything done – but when I do get it all done, I”m always sad I couldn’t do more. I’m only just beginning to realize how unhealthy that is and how it’s sapping joy from my life and making me a miserable person. So now I choose to pursue happiness and wholeness – to that end, I learned that in Spanish-speaking cultures, being on time / getting things done is never more important than a person’s well-being is. People show up when they’re ready and start on things when they’re in the mood for it. It’s my culture that has a backwards idea that our well-being is less important than showing up on time and getting stuff done. But that idea has taken it’s toll and we’re a stressed out society.

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