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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Train, Train, Train and you shall Reign, Reign, Reign!

I remember reading and hearing this even before my son was born. I also had this modeled before me with a family in our church in Texas. The family had 9 children. I remember looking in bewilderment. How in the world did this mom manage her home, her children, her life?  When you came to her house, it was clean, it was orderly, she made home made bread, she had chickens, and goats that needed tending, and milking and eggs to be gathered, they had their own crops that needed to be planted, and harvested, and food to put up and prepare. They cut their own firewood.  Her children all sat in church during long sermons. There was no nursery or children's church at the time except for infants on occasion if there were more than 1.  Her youngest was 2, she was pregnant all the time, her oldest was 13 or 14.  They didn't own a dish washer, their clothes were hung out on a line in back of the house, and guess what else, she even homeschooled all her children. She didn't have family that lived close to her to help her out. How did she do it?
Well, one day I asked her about it. She said if you will train your children, you will reign as queen. Or you can try to do it all yourself. (But you never will be able to.)  Now don't take this wrong, the queen looks over the affairs of her house, and she also WORKS, and she DELEGATES, she MANAGES her home. She begins teaching her children at a very young age that they also have certain responsibilities.  No manager does all the work themselves. (The proverbs 31 woman, that we all say we cannot live up to is resourceful.) She doesn't try to do it all.  But, She seems to do it all, because it is all under her command. Go read this passage yourself. The proverbs 31 woman had servants. (She had help. ) Well now most of us today don't have servants or hired help. So we have to be more resourceful.

One thing I learned early in my business career was to identify my weaknesses and try to make adjustments for them. It might be surrounding myself with people that had those strengths. Nevertheless I had to find a way to accommodate for them. If I couldn't hire someone to help me, then I had to make a system that would work for me, one that would allow me to manage my home. Some women today do this by carefully scheduling their children's feeding and sleeping times. That is a one great strategy. In the past I utilized resources from the FlyLady. While I never did adopt her whole system, I did find great success in some of her ideas, especially the 15 minute zone cleaning at times, and the quick de-clutter.

When we moved to Middle Tennessee I met another family. They had 5 children.  She was a little more modern, no farm animals, she had modern conveniences; dishwasher, dryer, she bought her bread, milk and vegetables from a store. She had a church with a nursery and children's church. She had family around, she had moms support groups around and she took advantage of them. She learned from other moms, and helped teach and encourage other moms. She traded off babysitting for time alone, or time to run to the store, she learned to network.  She also homeschooled her children. She utilized homeschool groups, and co-ops to help her in this endeavor. She knew she didn't know it all, have it all. She was however, resourceful in getting the things she needed in order to get what she needed done.

When we moved to East Tennessee, we met a family at a local church we were visiting, they also have 9 children. They invited us to dinner. (I am sure her family seldom gets invited to dinner, I wouldn't even know where to start to feed a crowd like that.) Nevertheless adding 4 more to her dinner plans were no big deal to her.  We got to their house, it was clean, it was inviting, it smelled great, there was a piano and musical instruments that it was obvious their children knew how to play, their children were well behaved and polite and they were happy.   I saw a woman who had learned to manage her home. She was not overworked and frustrated, She was/is a beautiful woman, who cares for her own health as well. She planned a meal for her family of 11 and our family of 4 and even made dessert too!  (Something I rarely do, but it was common at their house,) She didn't look like she was neglected. She has been purposeful in her attempts to run her home and train her children.  One of the things they mentioned was that after child number 3 they really had to get a handle on having the kids obey. They worked on obedience training. You might handle 2 kids bickering or being disobedient,  but when 3 unruly kids get into the picture you better start doing something fast to get it corrected. You have to diligently work to make things go smoothly. You have to shape attitudes. I left encouraged, not discouraged. I didn't think "well she can do it because she now has older kids to help her and mine are still so young,) Instead I left thinking if she can manage 9- then I can manage 2! 

So my encouragement today is to begin to see your self in a different light. You are not the maid, the cook, the chauffer, etc, You are the queen of a castle (no matter how big or small). It is your job to bring these things under your command, you are the manager, start managing, the sooner the better. You cannot do it overnight. You have to begin where you are and start taking small steps. Taking a lot of small steps will add up over the course of a week, month, year.

1. Assess were you are now.
2. What is the biggest problem you face? Your house, misbehaving children, meal planning, trying to get the shopping done, no time to yourself?, you just want to take a shower?  (Every mom can relate to this. We have all faced these issues.) We found ways to work around these things and to change them.
3. Pray and ask God to show you how to better manage these areas.  Seek Godly counsel from other women at church.
4. I'm A list person. Make a list of what you want to tackle/change. Then list things that would help you. Gather resources to help you.
5. Share these things with your husband -ask for his help.  My husband was good about watching the kids when he got home so I could get dinner ready. Some days we ate left overs, some days I used the crockpot, some days we got pizza. (My sanity was worth it!)
6.  Get in moms support group or start one. A MOPS (Mother's of Preschoolers) group was a great encourager for me as a young mom. Even though we only had a meeting once a month, it was a time of refreshment, meeting other moms that had the same challenges as I did, most of the time more challenges than I had. We had a small group, then a large group meeting, usually with a fun craft of activity that encouraged bonding.  The children were taken care of for 1-2 hours during this time for a very low fee of around $5.00. Well worth it! I also got involved in a MOMS club. Just an attempt to meet other moms and network, fellowship, and have play dates.

7. Adjust your expectations-prioritize.  I remember asking my husband one time, "How do you stop, how can you just sit back and relax? I can't stop till everything is done or I can't sleep" He said that is the problem-but I realize that no matter how much I do, there will still be things left undone and I will work on those tomorrow." He said if I had to finish everything at work today-I would never leave. So I learned to prioritize for the day. Tomorrow I start a new list. With the most important items at the top.

8. Keep in mind this is just a season. This too shall pass. Whatever you are going through today, things will change. (Enjoy the season you are in, you will miss it later.) While it was hard when the kids were so little, now that they are older, they can take care of themselves more now. As I delegate responsibility it frees me up to do other things.