Common sense, healthy living, Homemaking stuff, Life hacks, Uncategorized

Work what works for you.

When I first discovered Christian housewife blogs, there was a lot of stuff our there that seemed to promise that if you just follow the right system, your home would run like a well-oiled machine. There were homemaking binders and systems for sale from just about every one. Even after more than 15 years as a housewife, I still felt inept and wanted to be a productive and orderly wife. The kind God would approve of.

Those ideas spoke to me because there are few things I like more than a good list or supposedly fool proof system. Spontanaiety or flying by the seat of my pants doesn’t work for me. For the sake of balance, God decided to marry me up with a spontaneous guy who occasionally enjoys flying by the seat of his pants. Who says He doesn’t have a sense of humor? Nevertheless, the binders and rigid checklist system didn’t work, not even for me. Our life and schedule simply won’t support extreme rigidity, even when the Benevolent Dictator is not here.

A few years into the homemaking binder craze, there seemed to be something of a backlash against the very idea of the perfectly organized homemaker with her binder which made everything go off without a hitch. In fact, there was a saying floating around: Just do the next thing. Some Chrisitan women were so disgusted by the idea of home run like a professional office job that they began to compare homemaking binders to the law, as described in Galatians 3: They might help as a short term solution for the new homemaker. They can serve as a tutor to help work out some of the kinks, but at some point, we should be doing what we should without rigidity and lists. Some even suggested that the need for lists necessarily defined those who use them as lazy and inept. And so, as much as I hate to admit it,  I bought into the idea that the need for tutors marked me as a spiritually immature homemaker, and committed to staying busy, and trusting that everything would get done.

That didn’t work for me either, and I found myself back to the lists. Even if things go a bit awry from time to time, there is no denying that in our home,  a lot more gets done when I have a list to check off than when I do not. Rigid schedules and homemaking binders aren’t really my thing, but I at least need a loose framework to keep me moving in the right direction. In other words, I didn’t fit neatly into any of the Godly housewife boxes and needed to find what worked for me, my family, and our household.

First up was homeschool, which demands a schedule of some sort if our children were to receive anything resembling an adequate education. And should the county decide to randomly audit me, it can only help to have one. The schedule I have below is detailed, with plenty of time built in to make adjustments as needed for errands, appointments, and outside commitments, which are a requirement in this family. Staying locked inside with only ourselves and our books for company, scrubbing and cleaning in the interim to work our way into a picture perfect place of godliness? My benevolent dictator isn’t having that anyway.


I found this year that one area which I thought I had conquered was not conquered at all. When February 2016 began, I was in the best shape I had been in since I last gave birth 8 years prior. I was about 10 pounds overweight, but I was running, lifting, eating squeaky clean and full of energy, and had been for the better part of a year. A sudden, major and unexpected loss set me off track and by the beginning of February of this year, I had put on 10 more pounds. In a year.

I know my father would want me to follow through and finish the quest for good health that I had begun. He hated the idea of not following through on something.  But quite frankly, I didn’t know how to get back executing what I know. Therefore I made a list, that lays on the countertop, and gets checked off as reminders of the things I want to do to recapture optimal health rather than get caught up on avoiding and thinking about what I can’t have. This is what works for me.


For laundry, I need a schedule. I need to conquer it in bite-sized pieces so that I don’t have what I have on occasion: several loads of washed, dried, unfolded laundry.  And so:


When I have the time to do more than just clean whatever room I am in for the 20 or 30 minutes I have free to do it, I like the lists provided by housewife how-tos. I pull up one of the lists and simply go down it in order for as many minutes as I have to devote to the task at hand.

There are lots of other areas that I might be better served in by making lists or keeping a binder or doing any number of things to keep me doing the “next thing”, but loose roadmap with room for detours and the ability to be of use to someone else rather than a slave to my schedule is what works best for us.

If it hasn’t become apparent yet, learning to live within the reality of my own life and limitations has highlighted for me how important it is for each of us, under the direction of our own husbands, and considering the needs of our own families, to do what works best for us. I am of course referring to practical matters of daily living.

Living as a Christian wife and mother does not mean subscribing mindlessly or slavishly to the dictates of anyone else’s understanding of what it means to be a “godly wife”, “godly woman”, or righteous person. We are called to unity, not uniformity.

You’d be surprised how much you can get done even without living in a way which would get you nominated for the Oppression Olympics. You can have a clean [enough] house, good enough food., educated kids, a godly life, a satisfied man, and still go out for coffee with a friend a couple of times a month. We found our groove, without all the guilt I’d get following the commandments of tose who don’t know anything about me and mine.

Work what works for you.

*All the lists shown are partial and not in their entirety, although none are a mile long.


10 thoughts on “Work what works for you.”

  1. I used to do weekly schedules/lists and that works best for me. I look at what’s going on this week, the weather, etc, and then form my to-do list around that (as well as my menu). Usually I do that of a Sunday afternoon – thank you for the reminder. 🙂

    I need to get back to it, this month has been crazy and DH being home often has thrown my schedule completely out of whack. The menu changes alone have been enough to make me want to lie down with a cool compress.

    When I sit down with my (ever changing) schedule again in the fall, will you please remind me to schedule myself for the busy months, not the quiet ones?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lists are good. I think it is very important to watch out for allowing ourselves to be a slave to someone else’s priorities.

    For what it’s worth, school rarely starts at 8 sharp around here. Closer to 8:30 is more realistic and sometimes 8:45. The schedule is more about what gets coveted which days and in what order.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “I think it is very important to watch out for allowing ourselves to be a slave to someone else’s priorities. “
    Yes, I actually wrote a post about this last year!

    I was thinking 8 O’clock starts sounded early! But I guess if you and the girls are morning people, that would be when you are sharpest! What time do you usually wake up?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I change schedules every school year because of glorious charter school and the difference in kid ages/stages/activities. Currently we have the following things going:

    Me: Weightlifting 2-3x/wk; prayer mtg 2x/mo; date night 1x/wk; mentoring mtg 1x/mo; ASG 1x/mo
    12yo: Youth group 1x/wk; school 4x/wk (usually); orthodontist 1x/6wk
    16yo; crossfit 2x/wk; school 4x/wk (usually); playdate 1x/wk; ortho 1x/6wk; grandpa morning 1x/wk; drama 1x/wk
    DH has every other Friday off of work… is hoping to integrate men’s group after he’s completely well.

    If I don’t figure out the dance steps, it goes south very, VERY quickly. For next year, at least one dance step will change – 12yo will be going to school 2x/wk (mostly), not 4x, and we’ll have to reschedule homeschool rather than, “nag child about schoolwork”.


  5. I get up at 5:30, along with my husband (who used that as his quiet time) and our oldest daughter (who joins me to work out from 5:45-6:30).

    By 7:00, the whole house is awake breakfast is under way with the goal it get it served by 7:30.

    Most weekdays, it goes off that way although we don’t wake up the two youngest (8 and 10) if they uncharacteristically sleep past 7:00. When that happens, I choose to see that as their body needing extra rest for some reason.

    We’ll survive if school starts at 9, You know?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yep, figuring out the dance steps. Good way to put that. I used to make myself and my kids miserable every Tuesday by trying to do way too much before we had to leave for Co-op. Given that we have ministry duties as a family on Tuesday nights, the last thing we needed was to set our day up where we were stretched so thin and harried that we were all biting each other’s heads off by the end of the day.

    The other thing I’m learning is that even though we’re not spending 7 hours a day sitting in desks devoted strictly to school work, we take every opportunity to learn and be better educated that comes our way. That counts for a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s