Back in 2008 when this was first posted, many of us were struggling with homeschooling and home management. Are you there? Then this post is for you. And guess what? The ages and stages of my children have shifted (now it's one in college, two in high school, one in jr. high, two in elementary, and two preschoolers) but the issues remain very much the same.
I struggle desperately with balancing everything that must be done. I have yet to figure out how to give my oldest the help and teaching he needs for school while teaching my 5 yr old to read, etc. All this while 2 little ones run around. Not to even mention the laundry, cooking, cleaning, and housework that may or may not get done.
My first thought when I read your list: “housework, paperwork, and homeschooling” was:
“what housework? what paperwork? what homeschooling?”
currently we’re not getting to *any* of those things. well, okay- a bit of housework and the necessary paperwork, but that’s IT.
Hope you’re on your feet again very soon! And yes, I am one of those drowning in housework, homeschooling, etc. No family nearby, friends all in the same life stage as me (young kiddos), so whatever wisdom you can offer will be appreciated.
I recently read your article from 2006 I think, entitled Put Your Life in a Binder. I am attempting to do this but it is a big task. Any tips on how to get it done?
Me too. No, really. I do have help, and yet in this season with a high schooler, a junior higher for whom I've begun to plan high school, three elementary students, a kindergartner, a toddler, and a baby, I am drowning in home management, too.
So let's all take a deep breath and try to gain perspective.
First of all, define what your "Rock List" should be. Remember that old Sunday School illustration where you fill a jar with sand (all of the non-essential activities of life), then try to fit in the rocks (all of the essential activities)? The rocks don't fit that way. But if you reverse the order- rocks, then sand- everything fits just perfectly.
My wiser-than-I-am friend Colleen once asked me to define my "Rock List"; that is, the essential activities that have to be done daily. I made a massive list of items that I had on my plate, big and small, and then began to put each item into the "Rock" column or the "Sand" column. While this was a helpful exercise that saved my dwindling sanity that year, everything was about to come crashing down and demand redefinition...
I had a miscarriage. I was pregnant two months later. I had a baby. I was pregnant five months later. I had that baby. I was in the PICU with him seven weeks later. And the Rock List suddenly became a burden.
I was relaying my waves of overwhelmment (I know. It's not a word, but I would make it one if I could) to my wiser-than-I-am friend Cheryl who said, "What are the top five non-negotiable activities of your life?" Five. That's it.
Can you define your top five non-negotiable activities? I am reluctant to even tell you mine, because I really want you to think this through and pray over it without any outside influence. Your top five non-negotiables should be between you and the Lord.
In Drowning in Home Management, Part Two, I'll touch on each aspect of home management and how I am currently tackling/juggling these things in our home. But I really, really, really want you to make that Top Five list before you read about what we do here, because my home isn't yours, and I don't have the corner on that market!
I might be pursuaded to list my Top Five in the comments, but not until some time has passed so you can go before the Lord on this one :)