It had been a horrible, rotten, no good, very bad week in our home, and this particular day was working out to be the worst one. I was almost positive motherhood wasn’t supposed to be this hard.
The kids had been at each other since they woke up, I was hugely pregnant with our youngest son, and someone decided to pee on their bedroom carpet…again.
The carpet that was less than three months old.
In the house we’d just bought.
My husband was still out of state at FLETC, and I was trying to balance everything, including my children’s socialization (because obviously, homeschoolers have to worry about socialization–but that is a soap box for another time).
I was a Momma on the edge, and no amount of chocolate was helping.
Prayer is Always the Answer
If at first you don’t succeed, try turning to God.
When the chocolate didn’t work, I did what I should always do first.
It’s possible I might have begged, actually.
Which is totally okay, because God loves us regardless of how much whining we do.
He’s amazing like that.
So, if at first you don’t succeed, try turning to God.
Things didn’t magically change overnight.
In fact things got harder before they got better, (and some days are still down right hard)and when that happens people often decide God isn’t listening or doesn’t care.
That couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, God is closest to us during our struggles.
Providing we allow Him to be.
God is always listening to our prayers, and He always knows what is going on in our lives. The problem comes when instead of turning to Him, we turn away from Him.
Often times people will quote the saying, “God won’t give you more than you can handle”.
That is a falacy.
It mght sound good, but it isn’t how God works.
He will most definitely give us more than we can handle, because He doesn’t want us to handle it. He wants us to turn to Him.
We need to turn to Him.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
The Motherhood Struggle: Dishes
Recently our dishwasher turned in its pink slip in the middle of a cycle, and since that time I’ve found myself standing at the kitchen sink a lot more than I’m used to.
This is just one more thing in the long line of, well, things that have become my new expectation of owning a home.
These moments are the times I miss renting, but only for a few minutes.
Anyway, back to the sink, and the dishes.
This is the Chore That Never Ends…
It seemed that when we had a dishwasher to rely on, there was often a sink full of dirty dishes waiting to be loaded.
Or a load waiting to be started, because there weren’t quite enough dishes in it to warrant turning it on.
One thing I’ve learned about motherhood, is that dishes are a quite necessary and often irritating part of raising children.
Kids want to eat, and when they eat they use dishes and glasses.
Often several at a time.
If you’ve been reading this blog for any time, or following me on IG, you likely know I suffer from anxiety.
A sink full of dishes adds exponentially to that.
The day the dishwasher died, I decided I wasn’t going to allow this new adventure to cripple me.
So, this time I turned to God and asked for peace about the situation.
Then I made a plan.
Sare Verses the Dishes
Several people I know, including my husband, are much more laid back than I am when it comes to chores and getting things finished.
To them, the longer they put it off the happier they are.
This doesn’t work for me.
If I put something off, like the dishes, that responsibility will follow me all day long.
My shoulders will become stiff with tension, my neck and jaw will ache, and my temperament will suffer.
To combat this, I don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink.
I don’t wait to do the dishes.
When I drink my pre-workout drink in the morning, I clean the jar and place it on the rack to dry. If I have a snack, I clean the dish and put it away.
Yes, this does mean I spend time at the sink more often, but it prevents me from missing out on time with my family if I’m washing an entire day’s worth of dishes after dinner.
If You Can Carry a Dish, You Can Help
After a meal, those who are old enough clear their personal places at the table and then wash their own dishes, placing them in the rack to dry.
This allows every one to take responsibility for the use of their own items.
It also helps this Momma to not spend hours at the sink scrubbing caked on food.
We are a family, and as a family we eat together and we work together.
No one has ever died from cleaning up after themselves, and my children will leave this house knowing how to take care of themselves and a home–regardless of their gender.
The Motherhood Struggle: Raising Productive Children
Ever since my eldest daughter was old enough to help pick up her own toys and place her blanket on the side of her crib, I have given my children age appropriate chores.
This is a big deal, sisters.
The other day I was volunteering with a group of third and fourth grade girls and discovered more than half of them don’t have chores.
Motherhood isn’t just about keeping a little person alive until they’re eighteen.
It’s about raising them and teaching them.
It’s about guiding them and giving them boundaries, balance, and skills to not just survive, but thrive when they’re no longer living within the walls of our homes.
What Are Age Appropriate Chores?
If you do a quick search on Google or Pinterest you’ll find all kinds of colorful charts listing chores by age group.
My eldest daughter (11) has a wide variety of chores including
Cleaning the bathroom she shares with her brother
Taking the dog outside
Feeding and caring for the cat
Helping with the dishes
Taking the trash and recycle to the street for pick-up
wiping down the counters in the kitchen
setting the table
helping with meals
doing her laundry
keeping her room neat and picked up (this includes bed made and art supplies stored away)
helping weed the yard and gardens
My eldest son’s (6) chores include:
Feeding the dog
putting away his laundry
making his bed
putting his toys away when he is done playing with them
wiping off the table
cleaning the toilet (with supervision and help)
helping to set and clear the table
bringing his dirty laundry down on laundry day
My youngest daughter (3) helps where she can. She:
Picks up her toys with help
carries the vacuum cord while I vacuum the main floor of the house
brings her dishes to the sink
puts away the step-stool after shes’ used it
Not all of theses chores are done all the time, but all of them have been done. Some of the are done weekly or daily.
Family Chore List
To keep things running smoothly (since our family thrives on routines), we have a laminated list of daily chores on the fridge.
Each chore has a name beside it, and that person is responsible for getting their chore done right after breakfast.
This includes Momma.
Once the chore is finished we cross it off and go about our day.
Since we try to do more together on the weekend I keep the chores down to a minimum on Saturday/Sunday. This allows for relaxation and play.
I wish I could take credit for coming up with this list, but for some reason I’d never thought of it until Stephanie over at A Simply Dunn Life shared how she took some of the struggle out of housework and motherhood.
Since my kiddos and I began using this daily chore list, there has been less stress, more team work, and an overall change in the attitude of our home.
Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t fix everything that causes stress and anxiety, but it definitely helps.
For that reason, I’m including a free download of the chart we use.
Just print it out, laminate it and you’re ready to go.