Someone recently wrote to ask me how she could become a more organized Mom:
QUESTION: I am as far from a Type A personality as they come, and I struggle (still!) with productivity and discipline. As a Homeschool mom of 5, with number 6 due in just weeks, I am convicted of how important discipline and order is. It’s not that I don’t eagerly desire to move from point A to point B… I just don’t know how! And every attempt over the years has proved to be unsuccessful. Do you have resources that you can recommend for a girl like me? I WANT to be an orderly, productive mama….
ANSWER: First of all, I’m somewhere between a Type A and whatever other type there is. Not a true intense A, 24/7. But girl, I’ve raised 10 adults with two more to go, and still struggle with productivity and discipline. Actually I choose to say “productivity and discipline are a challenge” because I stay far away from the struggle word. I don’t want my brain to overhear me speaking that over my life and self, because we move towards what we think about. I want my brain to think “rise to the challenge!”
You have to decide what being orderly and productive means to YOU. Don’t compare yourself to other families or Pinterest or who you think is an organized mom. What do you want YOUR life to look like? What is really important to your husband and your kids? Ask them, the answers might surprise you. Then make a written list and decide what you can reasonably do. Write it down to prevent the things on this list from becoming a swirling vortex of thoughts in your mind.
If you’re overwhelmed by something, figure out a system to help. For instance, when we had 8 kids at home, laundry was often overwhelming. It helped to get a basket for each person and keep it in their bedroom where they got undressed. On weekdays two kids were assigned to do their laundry, the older helping the younger. If your older kids need some training or help from you to do that, I promise it will pay off in the long run. Start by asking yourself “what is causing me stress?” Hint: Sometimes it’s a discipline issue, not the laundry. It might even be a child’s discipline issue.
If the house is continually a mess, get rid of a bunch of stuff. It’s not worth the stress and feelings of failure to keep stuff. Only have a few toys out at a time, put the rest away and rotate them. Decide on a certain amount of clothing per family member. Evaluate the mess-makers and cut back where you can.
Simplify as much as you can, especially when your new baby comes. (By the way, here’s my postpartum advice). Paper plates, disposable diapers, etc.—anything to make life easier. For whatever stuff you keep, figure out a way to store it so that it doesn’t look clutter-y. Baskets are great because they look neat and uniform on a shelf but inside they can be a casual jumble, making it easy to clean up after a task by tossing in items. Part of being an organized mom is recognizing your human limitations and keeping things simple accordingly.
Ask God for wisdom. He gives it liberally and without reproach. He sings over you and He is gentle with you. Give yourself grace. Your most important work right now is growing a human being.
Don’t make personality or the stories you tell yourself an excuse to not improve areas of your life. Speak life over yourself and your home. Take thoughts captive when they say you’re hopeless or disorganized. Turn your thoughts to hope and belief. Tips are helpful but they can’t fix things like despair and discouragement. Our self-talk and untrue identity and strongholds of belief become the ungodly filter through which we view everything, and I mean everything–from the interpretation of what your husband said to your confidence as a home maker. Who told you that you’d never be an organized mom? What happened that made you feel hopeless to gain self-discipline? You get to change the story and take out the parts that aren’t true and real.
Start today with just three things. There are three things that you or a child or your husband can do to have a cleaner, more pleasant home. Write them down on three sticky notes and crush ‘em when the task is done. Or write them on a list and boldly cross through them to feel the satisfaction after they’re finished. Small wins give you a feeling of success, and that will condition your brain to look for more small wins.
These may seem like small, simple things to do, but that’s how we grow and make changes: a little at a time. What if you made three changes per month? By the end of the year you’d make thirty-six changes. See how that adds up?
I bet you have some tips and encouragement for this mom, too. Please share!