Time for Mom: Put Your Hands to the Task

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If you’re just now tuning in, you can catch the beginning of the conversation here.

My overarching goal for the year as a wife and a mother is to grow in reliability. I want my husband and my children to know that they can count on me. A few weeks ago I hit a low in this area. I looked around me and felt like much was out of control. School papers to grade had piled up beyond belief. The laundry has been an ever-changing mountain in the laundry room. The house wasn’t as clean or as organized as anyone would like it. Things hit a major traffic jam.

In fact, when I asked my eight-year old how he thought we could improve our family life, he said we should get our stuff in better order. Whoa! Out of the mouths of babes.

You see, there is good reason for my chaos. A little over six months ago we were a family of seven living in Kansas City in a home that we had recently repainted and redecorated. Within six weeks, we added a baby to our family, put our house up for sale, packed up all our earthly belongings, closed our business, moved into a rental home in San Diego, and my husband started a new job as a government employee.

Hey, FishFamily, why don’t you try to do almost all major life changes all at once?!

The last six months have been an adjustment, to say the least. We’ve gone from being privately employed to working a state job. We’ve grown from a family of five children to a family of six. We’ve left a house that we had “tooled up” to fit our family and how we roll and are not completely unpacked here since we plan to purchase a home and move again in another six months.

The train has left the station, and I don’t think I’m on it. Everything that was familiar in terms of routines and organizational systems has disappeared, and I’m standing here with my bags half packed and a puzzled look on my face. I guess you could say, I’m still looking for the “new normal.”

Going through my priorities once again was helpful to me. I feel like I know where I’m going. And while there is no quick fix to my situation, there is a starting place. Long ago an older mom counseled me, “Just put your hands to the next task.” She said that if she didn’t know what to do about a certain situation, she would go wash dishes. She knew that needed doing and while she might not be able to perfectly order her life, she could accomplish something in doing the dishes. And when those were done, maybe the other things would become clearer. If not, at least there was one less thing to be done.

So, this week I’m going to reevaluate what I can do as regards my priorities. I use this sheet to help me organize my tasks in light of my priorities.

Do you have a special trick to getting life in order? Struggling with this, too? Let’s problem solve together. See you in the comments.

Part Ten: Spend Your Time Wisely

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  1. This really ministered to me today! I have definitely not gone through all the life changes you have in the last 6 months, but just dealing with a colicky, fussy, high-maintenance baby (#2) has brought me to my knees so many times since she was born in Sept. I often feel overwhelmed & since I don't know where to start, I just don't start.

    I love the advice you passed on, about just doing the dishes if in doubt where to start. I plan to put this to use this week!!

  2. Boy do I struggle here. I constantly feel like I need to get on top of things and every time I try and then get close we all get sick or something else happens. I know I’m not a born organizer. I desperately need to be more organized. That would help tremendously. I enjoyed this post. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who feels like that.
    God bless,

  3. Thank you for the very useful priorities chart. I needed something like that, but I don’t tend to be very creative – so thanks for sharing! I can relate to the life changes in 6 months (husband commissioned as officer in the USMC, moved, had baby #2 and we’re moving again in July!)…and I often need that reminder to just put my hand to the next task and not get so distracted by all the things I-wish-I-were-doing-better.

  4. Jessica,
    I was just considering our life changes the other night, as I lay in bed feeling lost and out of control with our home.
    Since Sept-hubby cut his hand at work, requiring 2 surgeries and months of therapy; my grandmother fell and broke her pelvis, then had 3 major strokes, and passed away this past Sunday; had a miscarriage; had one child diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes and spent 3 days at the hospital, leaving my 14 yo daughter at home to care for 6 younger siblings for those 3 days; and now have a full blown case of the flu, and have had fever of over 102 for 4 solid days.
    Yes, the laundry is several mountains high, the dishwasher is doing overtime, and everybody is a little stressed.
    But if I EVER get over this flu, we will see what we can do about getting back on track! Thank goodness life isn’t ALWAYS like this!!

  5. Woah, how did I not realize before that you’re in San Diego? Me, too! Hope you’re enjoying it here. 🙂

  6. Thank you for the “put your hands to the next task”. It’s a good reminder.

    I purchased a graceworks planner last year and it has become an essential for me. It has really helped in getting my life in order and my daily tasks under control! I’m actually writing a little series about it on my blog. If you are looking for a planner – they have wonderful ones geared to home-makers. homeschoolers etc.

  7. I just found your blog and appreciate your honesty. I make lists for everything. I use the Family Organizer from familyorganizer.com and I write in it every night before bed. I(we 🙂 have 1 year old twins and a preschooler so it’s nuts here too. If there is any extra $ in the budget, I would also suggest a young mom’s helper to come while you “power out” some chores once in a while. No matter how organized we are, there are only so mnay hours in a day. Blessings, Nancy

  8. So many ideas here and not sure where to start in commenting back. Glad to know I’m not the only one in this boat. I think it’s essential to remember that we’re not the only ones and to help and encourage one another as we try to get back on track. And yet, it’s easy to be tempted to compare and wonder why we can’t do while someone else has it seemingly harder. May each of us put our hands to the tasks that God has given her. He has His reasons for making them different.

    Dawn, wow! Praying that your load feels lighter today.

    Love the planner suggestions, ladies. Thank you. I will check those out.

  9. I’m still trying to figure it out myself. But I agree with your mom. While you’re trying to figure it out, do something! Heehee. That’s the great thing about being a mother, you never have to wonder what to do, you’re too busy!