Monday, June 29, 2009

The 4 Ingredients to My Happiness & Success as a Home-maker

I DID say that this would be a 4-day series. I DIDN'T say 4 consecutive days. :)

Ingredient #2: The Age of My Children

I don't know about you, but I tend to look around at other people's lives and homes and become envious of those who seem to have it all together. I never could understand why some moms could "do it all" when I struggled just to get 3 meals a day on the table and make sure my children survived another 24 hours.

Years ago, a friend of mine helped me realize that other moms either 1) don't have as many children, 2) send their children to school, or 3) have older children.

I have found that for me, a huge ingredient in my success as a home-maker is the age of my children. My youngest will be two years old tomorrow. This is the longest I have ever gone without having another newborn in almost 12 years. SIX of my children are potty trained leaving only one child with regular diaper changes. He only has to eat 3 times a day instead of the 7-8 times a newborn needs to eat. I sleep through the night! My older children help keep an eye on the younger ones while I do things around the house that need to be done. I have an 8 year old that even VOLUNTEERS to change diapers!! My kids do chores. Yes, they even DO DISHES!!!
Do you see where I'm going with this?

When I had 5 children 6 and under, friends told me to just hang on, things would get easier. Friends with more children than I had, but older, said that they had it much easier than I because of all the help their children gave them. I never thought that day would come, but it has.

They were right!

My older children are like 2 extra sets of hands. It has come to the point where I hardly ever go anywhere with my youngest two without older children to help get them into and out of their car-seats. They help take in groceries and unload them. They hold the hands of younger siblings when we're out. They even bake desserts from time to time. The amount of time they save me has enabled me to recently get projects done that have been on the back burner for years. What a blessing!

The fact that I was able to clean all of my children's closets and dressers in one day and the attic the next is all because my children are at an age where they are becoming a bit more responsible (a BIT). When I cleaned out the attic the other night, I assigned dinner clean-up jobs to various children. That was 30 more minutes I could put toward the task I've been wanting to accomplish for over a year!

I am not talking slave-labor here. My children have more than enough time to goof off and play. They live a life that I can only compare to a perpetual carnival. However, they are a part of a family. They realize that if every one pitches in and helps, mom has more time to do fun things. We can get through our chores faster and on to more exciting activities by each person doing their part.

I am excited that we are now at a point in our lives that I am finally able to dust my house again on a regular basis. I am actually caught-up on laundry and ironing. I amazingly have time to relax in the afternoon, once in a while, and to do things like, well, blog.

If you are a mom of young children, I encourage you like my friends encouraged me. Just hold on. Your time will come. Do what you can, but don't stress if your house isn't 100% dust free, your laundry reaches the ceiling, and you have to order pizza...again.

Yes, you're going to see some young moms who can seemingly do it all, but you may not see the people they have behind the scenes who are helping out that you may not have access to. Or, you may not see the stress levels they are putting on themselves or their family. You don't have their whole picture. You only have yours. And God has it, too.

The same friend who helped me see other people's realities also shared with me this truth when I was struggling with those 5 children 6 and under: Pray. You may not have the time or energy to even read one chapter of your Bible, but you can pray anywhere. Even if it's "HELP, LORD!" He hears the prayers of the mommy. Read a verse here and there if you can. But, always talk to the Lord.

That advice helped me through a very difficult time in my life. A time when everything seemed to be a wreck. But, that seems forever ago. God walked me through. My children have gotten older. And, I'm feeling more successful.

But, wait. Looking back, I was successful then, as well. Success is doing what God wants you to do when He wants you to do it. It's not what the world, your friends, your mom or mother-in-law think you need to do. It's doing what HE wants. If you're doing that, you are a successful home-maker already. In a few years, you'll get to do the extras YOU want to do!

Just hold on.


Sally and Greg said...

Thanks for the encouraging words. As always, it brought a smile to my face.

Persuaded said...

Very true.. my "littles" can barely even be called littles anymore, and it certainly makes for a more efficiently run, peaceful home... although I am the weird sort who misses midnight feedings and even diaper changes, lol.

If I may recommend a book: Passionate Housewives Desperate for God by Jennie Chancey and Stacey McDonald was almost revelatory for me. The chapter on prayer and quiet times was particularly interesting and framed the whole subject in a completely novel way. Definitely a very good read☺

Bless you and yours!

Sarah said...

Great thoughts, Vicki!
I said the same thing when we had 5 kids...6 years old and younger! Time moves on and I am thankful for those times as well as NOW! And look at what we (& you) can do now...You are so right about being successful is doing what God wants you to do, no matter what others say! Thanks again!

Little Family said...

Oh you know a young mom's heart too well. Thanks! I have to admit, I put myself down so much comparing myself to Amy. I know... sinner! She has 3 kids... bakes cakes... clean house... sews... and Jason really doesn't have to do indoor duties. Me, I barely can get the kids to bed without Peter. But God is showing me that we have different gifts and like you said, we don't see the whole picture. Have I ever told you that you are a blessing? Well, you are. :)

Sun-Kissed Savages said...

I love this whole post! My favorite line: "Success is doing what God wants you to do when He wants you to do it."
I have four children, and we homeschool. My older two children truly save the day!! I don't know how I ever got along without them.
I still get behind and overwhelmed at times, but life is manageable AND enjoyable!

AmyLin said...

Thank you Vicki! My definition of success has definitely changed since we had kids. Now there is nothing sweeter and more fulfilling than a clean house, clothes and good food...where before those were just afterthoughts! And Julie, I am the first to admit that I have an incurable mental illness handed down my family don't know how I wish it didn't take such an effort for me to sit down and relax and just enjoy my kids! I'm certainly working on it...this growing basketball in front of me is helping me towards that end... :)

Eve said...

It is good to hear from another Mom that has so many little ones. Like you, I have 7 blessings. However, our oldest is 9 years old and our youngest is 9 months old. We did cheat by having two at a time during one of the 6 pregnancies. I have met many families with 6+ children, but for a long time I didn't understand why they were thriving and I was struggling to survive. Now that our two oldest kids are 8 and 9 years old, I understand what a difference it makes to have capable helpers. What a blessing they are now and I'm sure their future wives will be grateful to have husbands that know so much about raising children and caring for a home.