Homemaking When You’re in Survival Mode

Homemaking When You're In Survival Mode

Whether it’s a life change such as moving or a new baby, illness, or a busy season with a job, there are times when all you can do is just survive. Forget serving balanced meals; you’re happy that you even remembered to call the pizza delivery man.

How do you keep your home straight when you can’t even seem to find time to keep your head on straight?

These are some of the things I’ve learned about homemaking when I have to face those seasons in my own life:

1. Be willing to accept help.

This is hard for me, and I’m sure it’s hard for most people. It’s embarrassing to let someone see your messy house, let alone allow them to clean it for you. You feel badly letting someone else trouble themselves to cook your supper or watch your kids for you. But if people want to help – let them! They want to be a blessing, and you’ll be glad when you allow them that opportunity.

2. Lower your expectations.

Don’t get upset if you’re not serving your usual home cooked meals for supper.  Let everyone eat sandwiches, be happy they have something in their belly, and leave it at that.   You may be running clothes through the washer and dryer and never getting them folded.  If you have to live out of the laundry basket for a while, don’t sweat it.  Just be glad everyone has something to wear.

Your house will not be spotless.  Accept that fact, do what you can, and don’t worry about the rest.

3. Simplify.

Make everything as easy as possible for yourself. Remove everything from your schedule that is not absolutely essential. Use paper plates at meals. If you’re in the bed and you have small children, try to keep everyone confined to the same room. This will save the house from getting torn apart by curious little hands. Occupy the kids with videos or activities they can do themselves (coloring books, puzzles, etc.)

4. Use the timer.

Whether you’re suffering from illness or are just extremely busy, most people can still carve out one 15 minute cleaning session each day. Set the timer for 15 minutes and straighten the house as quickly as you can, starting with whatever area is bothering you the most. If you absolutely can’t do 15 minutes, try to do just 5. You’ll still be surprised how much can get done!

5. Brighten your mood.

When you’re not feeling well, the house is falling apart, and you feel like a lousy wife and mother because you can’t keep up with everything, it is easy to start feeling depressed. Make it a priority to spend time with the Lord each day because the joy of the Lord is your strength. (Here are some ways you can find time for God when you can hardly find time to breathe.)

Find other ways to cheer up the atmosphere of your home. Raise the window shades and let in some sunlight. Clean one room thoroughly, shut yourself in away from the rest of the mess, and enjoy the view! Turn on some uplifting music. Count your blessings and focus on the positive.

~ MaryEllen Bream, ImperfectHomemaker

*Are you in a season of surviving?  What can you do to make things as peaceful as possible in spite of your difficult circumstances?

100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

How Changing This One Bad Habit Changed Our Home for Good

How Changing This One Bad Habit Changed Our Home For Good

It all came to light at the kitchen sink.

Starting with a sigh—so natural to me that I never noticed it escaping my lips.

A long, heavy sigh.

I was washing vegetables for the dinner salad. Celery, peppers, and carrots. The typical evening prep.

Feeling behind and burdened by my day.

That’s when my husband walked in the room and asked, “Hey Babe, how was today?” And then, “Why the big sigh?”

He asked and I answered. And it went something like this . . . .

The bickering kids,

the avalanche of housework,

the half-broken appliances (like that dumb dryer!),

the errands that took far longer than they should have,

and

the 3 medical bills that had arrived in the mail.

A long list of complaints, but nothing special. All the usuals.

But right before my eyes, I watched those strong, solid shoulders of the Man I Love . . . drop a little. Hunch over a bit. Heavy with all I’d just dumped on him.

But he’d asked and I’d answered him honestly.

And I believe it’s important to be honest, don’t you?

Except for one thing.

My “honesty” was taking him down. Taking my whole family down really.

I was literally sucking the life out of our home with my complaining. 

I’d developed the very bad habit of grumbling and I’d masked it all under the disguise of “being honest” instead of calling it what it really was.

What I really was.

The Complaining Wife.  

And that’s when I knew that something had to change. I had to stop this negative stream of communication that greeted him most every evening. It was time to trade out my whining discontent and replace it with a thankful spirit. Choose cheerful words rather than negative ones.

I wanted to breathe life back into my home.

Oh, not that it meant I could never be “honest” again because there’s definitely a time and place for that. But I realized that I could save it for another moment. And I was going to make sure that I wasn’t merely “dumping” on him, but truly coming to him for support, help, or a little sympathy. Not complaining for the sake of complaining.

I decided to change my habit. Rather than focusing on all that had gone wrong, I was going to concentrate on all that was good in my day.  Things that were true, lovely, and worthy.

And that goes something like this . . . .

The kids had lots of fun at the park today,

got the pantry cleaned out,

so glad for my washing machine and (partially-working) dryer, 

made it to the grocery store,

and

grateful our girl got medical care when she really needed it. 

Same day – different perspective. Which has made all the difference in the world. 

So this is why I traded my sigh in for a smile and try to speak words of joy instead.

Changed my habit.

Changed my heart.

And how it changed our home for good.

….whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

~ Philippians 4:8 ~

Maybe you’ve picked up the habit of complaining as well? Try changing this one bad habit and see the good it brings to your husband, yourself, and your home. 

Breathe words of life.

In His grace,

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100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

Growing Up Girls: An Encouraging and Helpful Resource for Raising Daughters

Growing Up Girls: An Encouraging and Helpful Resource for Raising Up Daughters

You probably know that I have four daughters.

And that I love these girls all to pieces. Each and every one of them.

They are my dearest friends and the ones I go to when I need prayer or encouragement. Or help. Or even advice, now that they’re getting older.

And coffee. I definitely go to them for coffee.

And they come to me for chocolate.

So you can see that we’re very close, these girls and me.

Even though each one is so different with her own unique personality. With her own individual strengths and weaknesses. And me with mine.

And we talk together and laugh and sometimes cry. Then talk some more and hopefully laugh again.

Because . . . well, because we’re girls, I guess.

And we’re growing up together.  These girls and me.

Growing Up Girls

Maybe you’ve got girls too?

If you do, then I’ve gathered some of the words I’ve shared over the last few years about raising daughters and some of the things I’ve learned along the way. Plus a few things from their daddy too. Stuff I hope will encourage and help you with your girls too.

Encouraging & Helpful Articles on Raising Daughters

21 Questions Your Daughter Really Needs You to Ask Her

How Does Your Daughter Grow Up To Be Your Very Best Friend?

One Hundred Things I Want to Share Before She’s A Bride

To My Daughter: A Good Man Is Worth Waiting For

24 Ways to Prepare Your Young Girl to Become a Lovely Woman

A Dozen Ways to Look After Your Daughter’s Heart

6 Truths Every Daughter Needs to Know

My Dear Daughter: A Word About Love Stories and Happy Endings

And from a Dad’s Heart:

8 Things Every Daughter Needs To Hear from Her Dad

20 Daddy-Daughter Dates

Growing Up Girls

And now I’m going to tell you something that you already know, but I have to say it anyway.

They grow up fast. These girls.

The next thing you know, she’s a woman and not merely a girl. And not only your daughter, but hopefully your friend too.

Drinking coffee and sharing chocolate together.

Talking, laughing, crying, and praying together.

Because that’s what grown-up girls do. ;)

Growing Up Girls - An Encouraging Resource

In His grace,

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P.S. Here’s another resource if you’ve got boys: Bringing Up Boys: An Encouraging and Helpful Resource for Raising Sons

100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

How to Draw Closer Together…When You’ve Drifted Apart {& Date-Night Giveaway}

Club31women.com_How to Draw Closer Together When You've Drifted Apart

She wasn’t sure how it even happened.

It’s not what either of them had ever intended.

There was a time when she felt close to him, but now . . . somehow . . . they seemed so far away from each other.

I suppose they could blame it on the kids. I mean, it’s a lot of time and work to raise children.

Maybe it was her health issues and all that she’d gone through as of late.

Or maybe it was his job. It seemed to take everything out of him and he was away a lot of the time.

Perhaps it was all the problems with extended family, or the ministry. So much to do and so many people to care for.

In any case, here they both were. Living in the same home. Standing in the same spot. But feeling a cavernous distance between them.

So how do you draw closer together . . . when you’ve drifted so far apart?

7 Ways to Draw Closer Together

1.  Be the one to make the first move.  Don’t wait for him to start the steps forward. Reach across the span and see if you can’t bridge the distance.

2.  Be willing to open up.  Be the one who starts the discussion – just make sure it’s encouraging, building-up talk.  This isn’t the time to address all the things wrong with him, or what you’re unhappy about. Think of at least one small thing you can be thankful for and begin there.

3.   Please don’t give up.  No matter how discouraged you are with where you’re both at. Dig in for the long haul and determine to make it work.

4.   Slowly move together. In the same way you had slowly moved away. Lasting changes are often made incrementally and gently over time.  And before you know it, you’re looking back and seeing how far you’ve both come.

5.   Reach out for help.  Friends, we were not made to walk through this life alone. Call out to a friend, or a godly, older couple at your church that you can ask for help. Get professional counseling, if it’s necessary.  A wise, outside perspective can make all the difference in many cases.

6.   Pray for your marriage.  Ask God to renew your love for each other.  Ask Him to show you any blind spots or barriers that are between you. Pray with faith and pray for change. 

7.   Remember that you love each other.  Because sometimes we lose sight of that, don’t we? We get caught up in the busyness and pressures of daily life, that we forget that we actually like each other. That we used to be crazy-in-love with on another.

And when that happens?

Sometimes the best thing you can do is to take a little time out and time away to remind each other of those things that drew you together in the first place. And don’t wait for your 25th anniversary or that dream cruise to come about!  Instead, put aside a special time so the two of you can pull away and renew your love for one another.

And with that in mind . . . . . (are you ready for this?) . . . .

We’re offering a chance to win this fabulous Stay-at-Home Date Night Giveaway!

Date Night Giveaway

Stay-At-Home Date-Night Giveaway

Are you ready for an unforgettable date night? I’ve teamed up with some of my favorite bloggers to offer you one of the best stay-at-home date nights ever!

Alison of Pint-Sized Treasures

Crystal of Crystal & Co.

MaryEllen of ImperfectHomemaker

Becky of YourModernFamily

Melissa of AVirtuousWoman

And together we’ve put this HUGE package of date-night goodies that will arrive on your doorstep just in time for Valentine’s Day!

So what’s included in this amazing date night package?

Here’s the scoop!

Love jewelry? What woman doesn’t! Enjoy this $100 gift certificate to Luxe Design. They offer a fabulous selection of personalized and sentimental jewelry. They have a number of items that would be perfect for wives who wish to wear a tangible reminder of their choice to love their husband.

Jewelry

What’s Valentine’s Day without chocolate? Of course, we only included the very best for our readers — Godiva Truffles!

Godiva Signature Truffles

Are you a Dayspring fan? We are offering some super-fun gifts from them to celebrate your marriage! These will add the perfect pinch of romance and sentimentality to your at-home date with these gifts below:

  • Mr and Mrs. Coupon Book
  • Mr. and Mrs. Love Note Set
  • Love Never Fails Plaque

Mr. and Mrs. Coupon Book

How about some items to help you freshen up for your date? Don’t worry, we thought about that too! The winner will enjoy the following products from a fun place to shop for moms — Zulily.

  • Liz Claiborne Spark Eau de Parfum
  • Adrienne Vittadini Bright Five-Piece Lip Gloss Set
  • City Color Cosmetics Vibrant Palette Makeup Set
  • Raspberry Foaming Milkshake Bubble Bath
    lip gloss

For some awesome, inspirational reading, we are also including hard copies of the following books (look familiar? *wink):

100 Ways to Love Your Husband

Since it’s Valentine’s Day, we thought you needed some extra sparkle!

Enjoy some extra shopping by choosing one gift from either of these stores (item will be shipped separately from the winner’s package):

Monarch Jewelry

To finish it all off, enjoy a good scrub and long soak with these natural bath products. Get ready for some pampering with this AMAZING basket of goodies from Bend Soap Company.

  • 3 Lotions
  • 3 Soaps
  • 1 Milk Bath in a bag
  • 2 Travel Size soaps
  • 2 soap dishes
  • 1 Natural Loofah Pouch
  • 1 Foot Scrub Brush
  • $25 Gift certificate

These goodies all come in a reusable stylish antique copper tin. Soaps and lotions are in the following fabulous scents: Oatmeal and Honey, Cranberry Wassail, English Garden, Lemon Verbena, Island Coconut, Sweet Orange, Almond Delight, Eucalyptus Spearmint, and High Desert Rain.

Bend Soap Company makes natural goat milk soaps and lotions on their farm in Bend, Oregon. Made with only the highest quality of ingredients, including farm fresh goat milk, coconut oil, olive oil, and palm oil. The luxurious, handmade products soothe dry skin and offer a nourishing elixir to the skin in place of the common commercial skin care products on the market.

Choose to Love Your Skin … One bar at a time with Bend Soap Company. Visit their website and order online at BendSoap.com

Bend Soap Company Gift Basket

*Enter below for your chance to enter this HUGE Stay-at-home Date Night Package:

Happy Valentine’s Day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Giveaway is for U.S. Residents only

7 Ways to Lovingly Prepare Your Marriage for the Holidays

7 Ways to Prepare Your Marriage for the Holidays

Drifting snow. Twinkly lights. Lovely gifts, woodsy garland, and a simple nativity scene.

Mystery and joy.

It was Christmas Eve and our very first together.

We were newlyweds living in those dreadful pink apartments and I was eager to have his family out to celebrate Christmas Eve with us. Everyone was invited over for “light snacks and a festive evening”.

(Did you catch that? “Light snacks and a festive evening.” Just wanted to be sure.)

I put together a platter of cheese and crackers, a large bowl of popcorn, and an assortment of Christmas cookies.  The doorbell rang and Matthew’s parents, his sisters and their families poured in and soon our tiny apartment was full to overflowing. Everyone was in good cheer and began nibbling on the goodies.

After an hour or two, however, something seemed wrong.

A slight tension.

I could feel it in the air, but couldn’t quite figure it out.

Finally, my sister-in-law softly whispered, “Um…..I don’t mean to be rude, but my children are starving! When are you going to serve the dinner?”

Dinner . . . ?

I’m quite certain that I had specified “light snacks” because, of course, that is what you do on Christmas Eve—saving your big, fancy meal for Christmas Day.

Yet apparently, that is not how they did it in his family. Not at all. So my “light snacks” were misinterpreted as merely a humble offering on my part.

Except that I had meant it.

Rather literally.

I suddenly realized that our small apartment was full of very hungry people who look forward to this special dinner every year. And I had unknowingly offered them a rather meager bowl of popcorn . . . .

So I did what one can only do in such a circumstance: I burst into tears.

Horrified. Embarrassed. Stressed. Upset. Even angry.

Why hadn’t my new husband thought to tell me that this was the tradition in their family??  The misunderstanding seemed so unnecessary. 

This was the first of many lessons I would learn about marriage, family expectations, and holiday traditions.

7 Ways to Prepare Your Marriage for the Coming Holidays

Thankfully, over the years I’ve learned some ways to help prepare our marriage for the coming holidays such as…

1)   Communicate your expectations: Often we assume our spouse knows what we value and expect over the holidays, but it’s usually worth a conversation or two. You might both be surprised at the honest answer. You also might find that these things change over time.

2)   Hold your traditions loosely: Traditions can be delightful – but they should never be held above your relationship. God cares more about the love and peace between you two than any long-standing traditions.

3)   Protect your marriage: His family is important. Your family is important. But your marriage is your first priority, so make decisions together that are in keeping with that priority.

4)   Keep it simple: I know, easier said than done. But if attending every event and upholding every tradition sacrifices the peace in your home? Is it really worth it? Probably not. Be willing to let go of some activities to lessen the stress.

5)   Stick with your budget: Often the holiday stress stems from financial pressure, so determine your budget and then keep to it. Cut back your gift list, decorate simply, and make things at home.  Debt is always a damper to celebration.

6)  Be considerate of one another: For instance, my husband is an extrovert and I’m the introvert. Basically he has more “party” in him than me. So we try to accommodate one another – each giving up a little for the sake of the other.

7)   Keep Christ at the Center. He is the reason we are celebrating. It’s not about the presents, cards, food, fun, or even family. It’s about rejoicing in the Prince of Peace, amen?

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  ~ Isa. 9:6

I hope some of these things help you both to enjoy a loving, joy-filled Christmas this year.

And now you know, if I ever invite you over for “light snacks” . . . well, I really mean it. ;)

Blessings on you and yours as we celebrate the birth of the Christ-Child and King!

*How about you? What are some ways you prepare your marriage for the holidays? Or what are some of your challenges? 

Addendum: So many people asked how this story ended, that I thought I’d share it here.

While I went back to the bathroom to blow my nose and clean up my mascara, my sweet sister-in-law rummaged through my cupboards and freezer and started cutting up miscellaneous items like summer sausage, some fruit, and I think even some leftovers! They all had the kindest smiles for me when I got back out (Did she say something to them??) and no one has ever mentioned it since.

And just so you know? It’s a HAM dinner this year! ;)

In His grace,
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100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get the FREE eBook, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage).

FREE Printable: 21 Questions Your Son Really Needs You to Ask Him

Free Printable - 21 Questions Your Son Wants You to Ask Him

You see this boy here?

He’s my quiet one. He’s usually got way more on his heart and mind than you would first guess.

I find that I have to prompt him a bit. To get the conversation going.

And I’m always surprised at how much goes on inside that young man—the things he’s excited about, the stuff he’s worried about, and the adventures he wants to go on.

You just wouldn’t guess.

I have to ask him about it.

To prompt him a bit with a few questions.

Questions Your Son Really Needs You to Ask HimThen there’s this guy.

NOT my quiet child.

Nope, this one’s a talker. He’s also got lots on his heart and mind. He’d be glad to tell you all about it – and more – if you’d like to hear it.

And you know what’s interesting about him?

Yes, he’ll be happy to chatter on and on with you. But if you want to know what he is really thinking and really feeling?

You guessed it.

You have to ask him.

And then you have to listen. Just listen

Either way – whether quiet or a talker – that boy of yours?

Your son really needs you to start the conversation. He wants you to ask him.

And he wants you to really care. 

21 Questions Your Son Really Needs You to Ask Him

As a follow-up to the recent post, 21 Questions Your Son Really Needs You to Ask Him, here is a FREE printable!

Simply click the link below the picture to download your printable:

FREE Printable - 21 Questions Your Son Needs You to Ask Him

Click here to download: Printable – 21 Questions Your Son Needs You to Ask Him

Blessings on you and your own sweet guy!

In His grace,
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P.S. Also:  21 Questions Your Daughter Really Needs You to Ask Her 

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)
100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get the FREE eBook, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage).