Do you ever feel like nobody else is helping in your home? You have to cook, clean, do laundry and more, but you literally feel all alone…so alone, that you’re not sure how to proceed.
How do you manage your home when you feel all alone?
I realize that what we’re going to talk about today can be a bit of a sensitive topic, but please know that it is not my intention to offend or hurt anyone. I am going to give a couple of tips today that I hope you will take as an encouragement. My goal is always to encourage you.
Sometimes, you want to manage your home well, but you’re overwhelmed and downtrodden. You want to do good things, but feel so low that you just can’t. I have been there in the past – especially when my children were smaller. And I know some of you are in this place right now.
A lot of times, you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed and angry about how much work you have to do to manage your home. But I have come to realize that when I have a ‘woe is me’ mentality, the problem doesn’t usually have anything to do with anyone but me.
Y’all should hear my inner dialogue sometimes.
Picture me all down in the mouth, complaining, “I’ve gotta vacuum, fold clothes, fix food, clean the blinds. Grrr… Now, wait a minute, Stacy! Does anyone else in this house have a bad attitude? Nope, it’s all you, girl.” If there’s a problem, most of the time, it’s a negative mindset for me to change. We’re all down sometimes. If there were no valleys, there’d be no mountains.
But we can’t manage our home based on our emotions – because if we do that, we won’t get anything done.
How you feel about something shouldn’t be the driving factor in the decisions you make – especially when it comes to how to manage your home. If I did what I felt like everyday… I’d wake up, put on my elastic waist pants and lay on the couch watching Netflix or Amazon Prime, eating chocolate all day. I’m just being honest with you.
And any time I tell my kids to do something, like clean their room, make their bed, or clean the playroom; they almost always have that look of, “I don’t feel like it.” And what do you think I tell them if they say those words out loud? “I didn’t ask how you feel about it. And I really couldn’t care less how you feel about what I asked you to do. I told you to do it.” We simply can’t base how we do things in our home on how feel.
I have two questions for you to ask yourself when you feel like you are carrying the burden to manage your home alone.
1. Do your kids help you?
My kids do help, but I have to make them. My kids would never come to me and say, “Mom, we were playing, but we’re tired of playing and would rather do housework. What can we do for you right now, Mom?” Umm, no. That’s never happened!
I’ll say, “I need you guys to clean up the playroom now.” You may think that’s mean. I’ve come to the realization that I’m the mean mom, and I’m alright with it. But in all seriousness, we have a rule around here that if you don’t work, you don’t eat (it’s in the Bible). That translates in our home to: you help out around here if you want to be served the next meal! Of course there are exceptions, but each person in our household is expected to contribute at a level appropriate to their age and abilities.
Let’s dive deeper into that discussion for a minute. I can’t just say, “Go clean the toilet!” They won’t clean the toilet the right way. I have to take the time to teach them how to do a job correctly. First you instruct, then you let them watch you. Next, they do it while you watch. Finally, they can do it by themselves. And this process might take a few (or maybe a lot of) tries before they get it right!
But the point is, you can get your kids to help you. You just have to teach them how. Hopefully, if you teach them when they are little, as your kids get older, they will still listen to you! Teaching your kids to help out is an important way you can manage your home well.
Now, some of you are thinking…what about with my teeny-tiny ones? Girl, you know I’ve been there and yes, when they are really little, you can’t expect them to help. I always did everything during nap-time, working like a crazy person. When Annie or Andy were really young, I’d clean the whole house while they were sleeping. Or I’d put them in the pack-n-play in the room I was cleaning or push them around the house in a stroller while I cleaned. Raising small kids isn’t easy – can I get a witness?
But during those little years, you may just have to cut back.
Sometimes, there are places you don’t go, things you can’t do, and chores that get left undone. Because with little ones, you just can’t. I know it feels like you are in that spot forever; it feels like that time will never end. And there have been times that I’ve cried to Barry, “I don’t know if I’m going to make it out of this gig alive! I’m not sure I’m going to be sane when the kids leave the house!” But y’all, this too shall pass.
2. Are you asking?
Usually, if you ask for help, people are willing to give it. I’m the world’s worst asker, so I don’t often ask Barry for help. But then I get mad at him about something I didn’t even ask him to help with. I’m really bad about that. I can’t get mad at my husband or my children if they didn’t do something I never asked them to do and wasn’t an expectation they knew about.
Sometimes, people don’t help because they don’t realize you need it or they don’t know how – so ask them!
If I ask Barry to do anything, he almost always says, “Sure, I’d love to help.” For the most part, I take care of the inside stuff and he does the outside stuff. That’s the relationship we’ve worked out here. But if he ever asked me, “Hey, would you help me rake these leaves.” I’d never tell him no. I’d say, “of course!” Just like, when people are coming over and I inevitably get behind on something – like making biscuits. If I ask him to run the vacuum for me – he never says no! He’s happy to help.
What if you do ask someone for help and they tell you no?
Then, we proceed and we change our attitude. If I asked and they said no, I have to move on. I have to reevaluate my plan. Managing a home is not a structured routine that you schedule, then follow it to a T. It’s always changing and evolving. Especially if your spouse isn’t helping, this is an issue that runs deeper that the two of you need to work on…together.
One thing to remember: I can ask my husband, my family, my friends. But I don’t ask my kids – I tell them. 🙂
Now, if you are single and overwhelmed, you might have to look at things differently. Maybe there is something that you can cut out of your life. Perhaps you don’t need to be volunteering, singing in choir, or cultivating a 40-tier garden in your background (that’s a thing, right?). Maybe you can’t manage your home and your life because of the clutter. Girl, maybe you need to KonMari!
3) Do you need outside help?
Did you know it’s not a sin to call a cleaning service? Whenever you call a cleaning service to help you, you are supporting another entrepreneur. You are helping a working person put food on their family’s table. And that’s a good thing!
There is also a thing called a “Mother’s Helper”. This is usually a teenager that will come over and play with your kids for a while so you can clean, cook or do other odd jobs to manage your home. It doesn’t matter if your kids are tiny or 7 like Annie, they’ll love having someone come over to play with them. this isn’t the same thing as a babysitter because you are there as well – you are still in charge; they are just a playmate and helper so you can get more done.
Wrapping it all up
Y’all know sometimes I say things to try and help, but you might not want to listen or be open to hearing it right now. I may have even offended you or “called you out” unknowingly. If that is the case, please forgive me. My goal with what I’ve shared is to encourage you. You are not the only person who struggles. You are not the only person who sometimes feels alone. As Jon Acuff (and others) have said, you can’t compare your daily life to someone else’s highlight reel (social media feed). Encouragement is always my goal. Feel free to reach out here, or on Facebook, so I can support and encourage you!