I’ve recently been taking a ride on the “Overwhelmed Highway.” My world feels like it’s spinning, and I am prone to motion sickness. Not a good combination.
It’s so hard for me to admit when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I like to put on a good face and encourage everyone else. I feel like admitting that I have days that feel crazy might discourage someone from wanting a large family or from homeschooling. That is usually the first conclusion that people jump to anyway:
– “Oh, you’re feeling overwhelmed, you should think about putting your kids in public school.”
– “You poor thing. I hope you aren’t thinking about having more kids. Five is too much. You know, there are things you can do to prevent ‘that.’”
Comments like that don’t really help. They usually lead me to hide in my pantry to cry, spoon in hand, with my open container of mint chip ice cream.
Everyone gets overwhelmed, right? I felt overwhelmed at times even before having kids! Back when I had baby #1, I felt overwhelmed, too. The year and eight weeks I had my kids in public school, I had moments where I felt overwhelmed.
I know it’s a season right now. Recovering from the 6-8 weeks of practically no sleep, doesn’t help things either. But like it or not, I have to get through this season. (I should note that our 2 month old is a great sleeper and my easiest baby, but still a new baby). 🙂
I feel like, overall, I’ve been managing things pretty well. But it just takes so little to knock me out of sorts and suddenly I lose control of the order, and then chaos ensues.
Where is this all rooting from? Well, having lots of kids, homeschooling, and running a household! But lately so many other things have me spinning.
- My house: I’m an organized person but right now my house doesn’t reflect that. Right now, well, it looks more like we are studying World War II in our home – a reenactment. And as silly as it might sound, I also feel like my cleaner only complicates my life. Yes, I have a cleaner who comes every other week. Yet, since the house doesn’t stay clean for two weeks, I’m still cleaning it. Plus, I have to clean up all the clutter and mess before she gets here (ironic, isn’t it). Cleaning is the easy part once all the clutter is picked up. Plus she comes early in the morning which makes for really crazy mornings. We have to strip beds, wash the sheets and get tidy, oh, and start school and all our other normal morning things.
- Hosting friends & family: I love entertaining. & I love family and friends. It’s really not a burden at all to have people come and stay with us. But I do try to let things go (errands, emails, calls, etc.) while we have friends and family over, and that tends to get me behind on things that need to get done.
- Kids: We have some discipline issues which need to get addressed. This is pretty normal when a new baby comes home. Everyone is so excited, but confused as to how their roles change and gets redefined. My 2 year old is no longer the baby. We tried to prep her for being a big sister, but until baby comes it’s not fully understood. All in all, we’ve let things slide and it’s time to get on top of it. This, of course, requires time and patience and a ton of consistency. Discipling (not just disciplining) takes time.
- Homeschooling: Homeschooling is SO hard at this stage – toddler & newborn plus homeschooling kindergarten and 4th & 5th grade is tricky. Everyone needs help-and it seems they all need it at the same time. Mainly, it’s my sweet 2 year old who makes things a bit complicated. That’s why I own almost ever homeschool conference CD on getting things done with toddlers.
- Eating: I’ve quite the belly right now. Yes, I know it’s because I just had a baby, but my post-partum body is driving me crazy. I still look pregnant. I’m still nursing, so I can’t go too overboard with my diet. But I can start eating with more moderation and not downing a 1/3 of a bag of Double Stuff Oreos. I know that’s not helping. I’m justifying the Oreos being in the house, because we are studying M for Moon. Nothing illustrates moon phases better than Oreos. 🙂 Plus, I have added guilt about how others are eating. My friend has gone gluten-free, not for weight loss or celiacs disease, but because our wheat is all contaminated with all the genetically modified chemicals. So, I thought to myself, “Am I poisoning my kids by giving them whole grain bread? Maybe I should go and get organic wheat berries. That way I can grind it and make our own bread.”…you know, with all the extra time I have on my hands.
- Exercise (or lack there of it): I need to find time to walk or do something, too. It’s so good for my body, but also my overall mental health. Getting outside and moving always helps. But when time is short and my hubby's schedule is crazy (meaning I have no childcare), it’s hard to squeeze it in.
All that and throw in a building project in my backyard and my sweet, puppy of 12 years dying last week, and you have the perfect storm for being overwhelmed.
So, where do I go from here?
Well, right now I’m clinging to the Lord for strength and to His truth. He promises that He is strong in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9 & 10).
People often misquote 1 Corinthians 10:13 when they say, “Oh, the Lord will never give you more than you can handle.” The truth is that He does! He specializes in that! He wants us to reach the end of our strength so we have to rely on His strength.
So, today I’m just telling myself these four things:
- Take things one step at a time. I’m living moment by moment. God gives us what we need for each day — for each step — nothing more. So, I’m trusting in His Word and His strength for the day. My daily Bread!
- Ask for help (& prayer) when I need it. I’m trying to do a better job of asking for help and accepting help when people offer. It’s okay to admit that I’m not a super mom.
- Try to find the humor when the day throws a few wrenches into my schedule. Learning to laugh when life gets crazy helps me to keep things in perspective. Perspective is important. I’m really quite blessed. My problems are first world problems.
- Pray, pray, pray! His plan for the day, not mine! His strength, not mine! The more my knees stay dirty, the more I can find joy in the chaos.
I’m really just trying to remind myself that this is a season. Yes, it seems to be a season that I find myself in a lot, but it is really just for a little bit. My kids are growing — faster than I’d like. Someday my house will be quiet and really easy to keep clean. So, for today, I’m trying to find the joy and blessing in the craziness.“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4: 8 & 9 “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not one what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17
(I think Paul was really tired when he wrote 2 Corinthians. So many great passages for me to glean from in this season.)