Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Prioritizing housework when you're tired

I became a mama in June of 2008 when Katie took up residence in my womb.  Without a doubt, the last 3 and a half years have been the best years of my life. Bringing two precious little people into the world (Katie's birth, Benjamin's birth) and having the joy of being their mama has been an incredible, beautiful, amazing, sanctifying, awesome experience. I wouldn't trade life with my babies for anything!

But, I'd be lying if I said it was easy. Caring for a young family really is hard work. I have spent most days in this season of life in varying degrees of tiredness. These past 3 and a half years, I have gone through two pregnancies and labors/deliveries. I've lived through the newborn fog twice. I've either been woken by a baby kicking me in the bladder or one who wants to nurse for the vast majority of nights since becoming a mama. I look at my two-year-old running laps around the house and wish I had half of her energy.

So often, I excuse disorganization and messiness in our home because I'm tired, saying to myself that I will be a better homemaker in the "next" season of life, when I'm not pregnant/nursing/chasing toddler(s). But the other day, I had a thought:  

We don't believe in birth control* and I'm only 21. There is a good chance that, in God's providence, this season of being tired will last another 20 years or more. Perhaps I should just accept it and try to do what I need to in spite of my sleepiness.

Thinking about this over the course of a few days was pretty motivating. In truth, I don't feel any less tired when I neglect my housework. I find that, more than being too tired to do the work I need to do around our house, most days I'm just too tired to feel motivated. 

Lack of motivation is a lame excuse for not keeping our home with excellence. God has ordained that I be tired during this season of my life, and He has also commanded me to industriously keep our home for His glory and the benefit of my family.

I am definitely not saying that tired mommies of little ones shouldn't give themselves some slack (it's unlikely you'll come over this week and find me scrubbing baseboards, washing ceilings, or moving our big bookshelves to vacuum underneath them), but we still need to our best, even if that's not quite as good as it will be when we're beyond this season (and also have older children who can help us).

I have found that having a prioritized to-do list works really well for me right now. Keeping our bedroom and the kitchen clean and the clothes washed are pretty close to the top of the list. A quick bathroom swish & swipe every morning keeps our bathrooms looking clean enough in between deep cleanings. A 5 minute pick-up in the afternoon keeps the toy clutter down in the living room.

One of the best things about a prioritized to-do list is that it leaves plenty of space for me to drop what I'm enjoy my babies. I can read books or get down on the floor and play because the most important things on my list are done first.

Whoever said, "When you're a mother, the days are long and the years are short," was right. Rather than exhaustion and chaos defining this tiring season of life, I want it to be defined by God-honoring simplicity and treasured times with my babies.

How do y'all deal with doing what you need to do when you're tired most of the time?

*We believe that, barring some unusual situations, Christian couples should not try to avoid having children. In short, this is because God commands us to be fruitful and multiply and to take dominion. One of the best ways to take dominion is to raise up godly children to advance the Kingdom in the next generation. Since God promises to provide for all our needs, He can be trusted to plan our families well.


  1. Thank you so much for posting this! It's totally were I am. I'm expecting our 2nd baby and I'm just as tired as can be!! I needed this motivation to help me get things done! My 15mo old is very easy to watch; I'm blessed in that way and need to stay motivated to get my housework done! Thanks so much! Blessings -

  2. I'm so glad this post was an encouragement to you. Congratulations on your newest little one. Being pregnant and chasing a toddler is hard, but the end result is oh-so worth it! :)