I struggled with depression on and off for about twelve years. Many of you who regularly read the Mom’s Corners have seen me talk about those battles before.
Those were difficult and dark days, not only for me but also for my family. In a previous Mom’s Corner I shared about that battle and several of the things the Lord used to help pull me out of depression. In this Mom’s Corner, I want to focus on a specific tool that helped me navigate life in the midst of depression and care for the needs of a young and growing family.
When the Lord called our family to homeschool and then began giving us more children, my ability to keep up with the childcare responsibilities, housework, cooking, laundry, plus homeschooling, failed. Falling behind with those tasks caused stress, worry, guilt, and a host of other negative emotions such as anger, frustration, and impatience.
Time Management Tool
When I asked the Lord for help, He began to teach me to schedule. “I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication” (Psalm 142:1). Since I had a home to run, which had many similarities to a small business, I needed time management skills to do so. Back then, I didn’t have time to read books on time management, nor would I probably have found any that dealt with time management for a stay-at-home mom who was homeschooling. However, I am excited to find that what the Lord taught me years ago about time management in a home is exactly what time-management experts recommend in the business world today. Time management is powerful in business, and it was powerful for me with the specific needs I had as a stay-at-home mom with children to care for and educate.
I started putting together a daily schedule to help direct my time usage, and also the children’s. I used a paper and notebook. There was much erasing and rewriting, but it gave me a basis for my day. (Now we have a scheduling kit that comes with Managers of Their Homes, and also ScheduleBreeze, which is an add-on scheduling software for Managers of Their Homes users. )
The Schedule Makes Decisions
While scheduling has been beneficial in a multitude of ways in our home through the years, I want to deal specifically with how it impacted me during my depression. A depressed person doesn’t make decisions well, nor are they motivated to do much of anything. Because of my love for my husband and children, I had a desire to care for their needs. Having a schedule gave me direction for how to use my time. I didn’t have to make decisions; they were already made for me. I had direction through the schedule. When the mind is tracking things that need to be done and decisions that need to be made, it is an extra weight.
I remember back then listening to Elisabeth Elliot’s radio program for Christian women, called “Gateway to Joy.” She would say, “Just do the next thing,” to encourage women to keep up with daily tasks. My schedule told me what my “next thing” was when, in my depression, I could not figure it out.
A Schedule Gives Sense of Accomplishment
That schedule also allowed me to have a feeling of accomplishment at the end of each day, rather than being saddled with a burden of all that was left undone. As a depressed woman, consider what sitting and doing nothing—which is typical in depression—would have done to deepen that depression, versus the positive aspects of caring for my family and keeping up with the home management plus homeschooling. I know that this was a vital part of helping me through and out of the depression, whereas without the schedule, I would have spiraled deeper and further into it.
Moms write me who are living with depression, and they often say that their homes are out of control. They also tell me that they aren’t spending any time with Jesus. Of course, they share the deepness of their misery, and I more than understand their feelings. Putting together and using a schedule brings structure back to their lives. I’ve seen countless times how depressed moms are encouraged when they follow their schedule. It does for them what it did for me.
A Schedule Renews a Depressed Mind
The most important part of a schedule is to plan daily time to spend in Bible reading and prayer. “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is” (Psalm 63:1). There is nothing a depressed mom needs more than to be spiritually nourished. God’s Word will give her the help she needs for many of her emotional struggles, just like it did for me. For example, when she reads this, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4), she probably thinks, “But, Lord, I don’t feel like rejoicing. I just feel sad and unhappy.”
She might also read, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Hopefully, she will then decide to choose to rejoice rather than letting her feelings rule her. Victory begins to come to her, step by step, just as it did for me.
A Schedule Helps Many Moms
I honestly believe that a schedule helps not only a depressed mom, but also most other stay-at-home moms. All the benefits the depressed mom realizes with her schedule are ones that other moms will experience as well. Perhaps that schedule will keep the mom who isn’t depressed from becoming depressed. The schedule certainly brings peace and productivity to days that can be chaotic and stressful. There is a wealth of information in Managers of Their Homes that allows me to come alongside you as you learn about scheduling and implement a schedule for your time.