The year I had my third child was the year I began dreaming the same dream over and over:
I wanted a hired hand. The children outnumbered the adults and the number of arms I had. The laundry was a living thing, threatening and growing. What to feed all these little animals was a constant question. And I had nearly lost the ability to engage in anything extra-curricular, like cleaning the shower or reading a book.
I found myself almost daily fantasizing about hired help. We couldn’t afford it, but still, I’d imagine what life would be like if I had someone to help me with a deep cleaning project (there was one calling to me from every room), do a bit of ironing, or just hang out with my kids so I could get something done without an interruption every 30 seconds.
This desire morphed into what I felt was a justifiable need while I was at Relevant. I met so many wonderful, type-A woman like myself who were doing it all – but freely admitted it was with help. Woman I respected like Crystal Paine and Angie Toplin said it was one of the best decisions they ever made. I headed home with the goal of figuring out a way to get my hands on my own personal Cinderella, feeling it was essential to my calling as a wife, mother, and blogger.
I brainstormed with my roomie on the long drive home about how I could pull this off, but my quest took a turn when she asked one little question. She wasn’t critical, just curious –
“Why?” Why did I feel I needed help?
I quickly filled her in on all of the above – I couldn’t do everything I was called to do on my own, and all the most productive woman at the conference encouraged delegation and getting help. But as I spoke, I heard tones of justification. Suddenly I began to wonder if this really was a valid need, or a selfish desire I was justifying with all my lofty goals.
It was the very next week that the Lord began revealing to me some pretty thick veins of pride running through my life – pride concerning my blogging goals, my household goals, my personal goals – pride was everywhere! And pride, get this, was at the root of my desire for a helping hand. “If I just had help, then I could do it all!” And doing it all was what my prideful heart wanted most.
That’s when I let go of my Cinderella Dream. That’s when I saw it for what it was – a selfish, prideful desire, and began to trust the Lord that He would show me the way through all my desires and goals and dreams, and give me the strength to accomplish what He has called me to.
It’s been a journey, but I want to share with you what I have learned. About the Art of Sacrifice, The Beauty of Prioritizing, and, a Trick that’s actually made me feel as though I have gained an Extra Hand around the house (not to mention a large does of Peace of Mind). If you feel like you never will get it all done or make it through the challenging season you’re in, I want to encourage you. God will show you the way. And I’m gonna make room for you on the stepping stones I’ve found along the way…
I struggle with always wanting to do it all and feeling short as well. I have since read a post on a different blog which has 'hit me' and sets me straight whenever I get overwhelmed….
“You have exactly enough time every day to do what the Lord wills every day” …”He has provided everything and all the time you need to do all that he wants you to do.”
(this is loosly quoted from homejoys.blogspot)
When I'm feeling overwhelmed, then I obviously have to check and re-evaluated my to-do list to be like the Lords!
Debbie – sounds like you're doing really well – I hope something I share can help!
L – Just read a chapter in 31 Days to Clean (Sarah Mae) that addressed that Prov. 31 woman with all her servants – loved the perspective that, though we don't have servants, we do have a ton of modern amenities and appliances that she never had – I have a washer, dryer, dishwasher, stove, running water, computer, car – this list goes on! I think the challenge to us modern women is to utilize our 'servants' well. Think of all we can do simultaneously if we run several appliances at once?!
Stephanie – I'm right there with you! And I believe that even us type-A gals can find rest. Thanks for sharing and letting me know I'm not alone in this struggle.
Erin – always appreciate your comments, and I treasure this reminder. Bless you.
"Pearl of Great Price" says
Thanks for sharing! I look forward to more posts related to this topic!
I think every woman who has a heart for keeping her home faces this same challenge. So much you'd like to accomplish, but not enough time, money, resources, or the help needed to get it all done.
Let me speak now though, as a wife of 11 years, who hasn't yet been blessed with children, but would love a large family…
Cherish your little ones. Time-demanding and mess-making, though they may be. While your heart's desire may be to “do it all”, remember that there are some of us who could seemingly do it all, but would really just love to have a houseful of little people making our days richer, fuller, busier, messier, more blessed. Be content to love your children and do what you can as the Lord grants you opportunity. “But godliness with contentment [in every season of life :-)] is great gain.” I Timothy 6:6
I have those same struggles. I try to remember I'm just in a season of life where certain things just aren't going to get done! It's hard though – I want to get everything done!
About that cleaning lady – I used to feel bad whenever I read about the Proverbs 31 woman. Until it finally it me one day that she had servants! Just think how amazing we could be with servants! (or maybe not …)
I second Mandys comment! Thank you for sharing this personal struggle. I think we all can feel this way to an extent. You encouraged me again. 🙂 jyl
Everything you said in your post spoke to me. It must be part of our “type A” personalities. I am always working and I never seem to get it all done.I am a perfectionist by nature. In the back of my mind I am always thinking…. If I could just get everything done then I will start doing things I like to do. But that day never comes. Books are left unread, cross stitches are left unfinished and my anxiety grows. I am looking forward to learning what you God is teaching you.
We only have 2 living children so far and I feel quite overwhelmed. I have given much time and energy into schedules and planning and organization to help with the load. It has helped for sure, but the work is a daily struggle. I am excited to see what you have to offer! I can use all the help I can get!
Yes, Mandy – this is all stuff I hope to write on in the coming month, Lord willing!
hey, sarah – no comment moderation – the computer's eating my comments, too! Boo! 🙁 Thanks for persisting. 🙂
I don't know if the internet ate my last comment or if you have comment moderation on…if it's the latter, you can just delete this.
This is my biggest struggle and has been the number one argument in my marriage. My childhood home was always clean and orderly, no matter how many children were there(six in a three bedroom trailer, at one point). And yet when I reflect on it, I have to remind myself that my mother had a cleaning lady once a week until I was teenager. My mom wasn't raising eight kids, homeschooling, cooking all meals from scratch, etc. and keeping a nearly perfect house by herself. Someone else came and scrubbed the bathrooms, mopped the floors, cleaned the oven and fridge, dusted, ironed and thoroughly vacuumed once or twice a week.(Until my mom had teenage daughters, and then those chores were doled out) Because my grandmothers also employed a cleaning lady, it was just the norm I grew up with, and assumed I would also have. My husband grew up in a completely different situation, and cannot wrap his mind around paying someone else to clean. I really, really struggle with trying to raise a toddler, have a husband who works seventy hour weeks, remodel a home, cope with pregnancy exhaustion, work a job, plan and cook healthy meals, and keep a house. Somedays it is almost impossible, and because we can afford to hire someone to do some of this, I really struggle. My answer? I've simply had to lower my expectations. My mom had a better designed house all along with storage space, outside help, and children spaced farther apart(and, frankly, because my parents had less money and less house, we simply had a lot less stuff than my one son does). My house is not ever going to be clean as the one I grew up in or as clean as I would like, and I just have to accept that one and move on.
I assume those are titles of upcoming posts…? If so…I am so hooked! 😉