Tag Archives: Mommy Tips

The Importance of Daily Time with Jesus

It was a normal Friday morning of cleaning and piano practice for the Maxwell family. Just before lunch, I sat down to do some computer work. Sarah called everyone to eat, and I jumped up with gusto. Between me and my meal lay the vacuum cleaner which I abruptly crashed into with my bare foot. Immediately I experienced that excruciating pain one has when they clobber a toe into an immobile object. In this case, though, the pain didn’t subside as quickly as normal because my little toe was indeed broken.

This mishap curtailed my ability to walk with Steve in the early mornings after our personal Bible time—a custom we have enjoyed for many years. I sorely missed the exercise my walk afforded me and the talks Steve and I have while walking. However, I gained a wonderful benefit from those extra minutes of being home each morning. I worked at making myself get up with Steve at our normal time, although the temptation was to stay in bed and sleep a bit more. By maintaining my usual schedule, I was able to spend what had been walking time for more Bible reading and prayer. Spending over an hour with the Lord each morning is something I only dream of because generally a half hour a day for my quiet time of Bible reading and prayer has been realistic and workable in my life. That extra time with the Lord each morning for six weeks was just what I needed.

It is not uncommon for a mom to come up to me after a workshop and want to discuss specific difficulties that she is dealing with in her life. After I listen to her problems, I try to make my first question: “Are you having daily, personal time to read your Bible and pray, knowing that is the key and most important starting point?” More often than not the answer will be that she isn’t spending time with the Lord and that she realizes this is what needs to change before anything else will.

I hear over and over again from moms that they struggle with getting up in the morning to spend time with the Lord. Usually there is a reason why she can’t awaken early enough to have Bible reading and prayer. It may be not going to bed at a reasonable hour the night before, a sick child up in the night, a nursing baby, or simply the enjoyment of staying in bed. While it is true that most of these reasons cost us sleep, we also have to make decisions about our use of time based upon our priorities. If we had an important doctor appointment after a late night, we would make ourselves get up so we wouldn’t miss the appointment.

Before Steve and I became serious about our daily, personal Bible reading and prayer time, we had to come to the point of seeing our need for and the value of this time. We would say we wanted to rise early enough to spend time with the Lord, but we were quick to let our many excuses for not getting up give us the freedom to stay in bed.

When I was in the years of pregnancy and nursing babies, I had scheduled a nap in the afternoon. This gave me the security of knowing that if I was really tired from getting up early in the morning, I had time set aside later to take a nap. With a newborn, I would sometimes change my Bible reading and prayer time to early afternoon, although it was not my preference nor did I want to leave it this way for long. Still, I could sleep in the morning and also rest knowing I would have time with the Lord, because it was scheduled for right after the children laid down for their afternoon naps. I believe it is best to have time with the Lord first thing in the morning, but when that isn’t happening, another time that works is better than not having the time at all.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Isn’t this our heart’s desire: that God would thoroughly equip us for every task He has called us to do? This verse tells us that God’s Word is the key to this equipping. It will teach and correct us. Yet, it is easy to say the right thing—that we want God’s grace to direct and help us through our days—but fail to do what we need to do to make it possible for Him.

Psalms 119 is a beautiful chapter showing us the value of Scripture to our daily lives. I challenge you to read through it several times. Let’s look at some of these verses to see how God’s Word meets the needs we are experiencing.

Do we struggle with sin? “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalms 119:11).

Do we need counsel on a difficult area of our lives? “Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors” (Psalms 119:24).

Am I afflicted in some way? “This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me” (Psalms 119:50).

Do I want to be wise and make good decisions? “Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments” (Psalms 119:66). “Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts” (Psalms 119:98-100).

Do I need comforting? “Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant. Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight” (Psalms 119:76-77).

Do I need to know how to make it through a trial? “Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction” (Psalms 119:92).

Do I need direction? “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalms 119:105).

Do I need rest and protection? “Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word. Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God” (Psalms 119:114-115).

I know what it is to be busy, homeschool, have a large family, be pregnant, be nursing a baby, have sick children, and have more to do than there seems available time. Yet I am convinced that there is nothing I could have done with that time I spent each day with the Lord Jesus in Bible reading and prayer that would have been any more beneficial to my life, my husband’s life, my children’s lives, or my homeschooling. I have a dear friend who has gotten up for years in the middle of the night to read her Bible and pray. It is the most consistent, uninterrupted time of day for her. Then she goes back to bed and to sleep. If Bible reading and prayer is truly important to us, we will find time for it and then be disciplined to keep it.

I am convinced that it is the heart cry of homeschooling moms to live in such a way that will honor and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. Plus, we want to guide our children in the paths of righteousness as well. May I challenge each of us that the starting place for this—the place to begin dealing with depression, anger, laziness, impatience, fear, anxiety (I share more about these issues in Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit), and every other need we have—is daily spending time with the Lord. It is likely that the busier we are—and the more we struggle with taking time to read our Bibles and pray—the needier we are for this time. May we each determine, with God’s help, that we will be committed to making Bible reading and prayer as high a priority as eating our meals.

I Just Want To Be a Mommy

Our first year of homeschooling, I had a seven-year-old, a five-year-old, and a three-year-old, plus a constant struggle with depression partly rooted in a lack of spiritual growth. At this time, I found another Christian mom, with children my children’s ages, in whom I saw wonderful spiritual maturity. This other mom agreed to spiritually mentor me. For a year, we met together, did a Bible study, memorized Scripture, and discussed the practical aspects of our spiritual walk as Christian women. I was so grateful for the investment this woman made in my life. That year my friend’s children were in a Christian school, but the following year she decided to homeschool them.

Although our mentoring time lasted only one year, we continued to maintain a friendship. After a year of homeschooling, my friend chose to put her boys back in a Christian school. I can still remember her words to me that afternoon as I sat in her home, and she justified her actions, “Oh, Teri. I just want to be a mommy. I want to welcome my boys home in the afternoon as their mommy. I don’t want to have to be their teacher too. I just want to be their mommy.”

My Heart to be a Happy, Homeschool Mom

I recall driving home that afternoon in tears. “Lord, I just want to be a mommy too. I want all the happy, fun things about being a mommy with none of the difficulties.”

In my mind, I pictured my friend’s children coming home from school in the afternoon. She would have spent the day in personal Bible study, prayer, exercise, housecleaning, reading, ministry, sewing, and cookie baking. As the children bounced in the door, they would be met by a beautiful, smiling mommy. I was sure she would have taken a long shower and blown her hair dry too. The children would smell the freshly baked cookies and scramble for a seat at the table. There they would happily discuss the excitement of their day in school. Finally, they would head outside to play while my friend started supper in peace and quiet. I just want to be a mommy too!

As I prayed about my heart-wrenching discussion with my friend and my personal feelings about wanting to “just be a mommy” too, the Lord soon began to show me some things. He made me realize that my homeschooling lifestyle was “just being a mommy” in its fullest sense. As we begin a new school year, perhaps you are struggling with feelings of not wanting to tackle another homeschool year. Maybe you have even thought the thoughts of my friend when she told me she “just wanted to be a mommy.” It could be that this is your first year of homeschooling, and you are concerned about being both a teacher and a mommy. Perhaps your role as a homeschool mom has lost the joy it once had. Together let’s encourage one another in the direction the Lord has led each of us in homeschooling. After all, I just want to be a mommy!

Definition of a Real, Homeschool Mom According to Titus2

What does being a mommy really mean? Titus 2:4 tells the older women to “. . . teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children.” Easily seen then, my role as a mommy is to love my children. Practically speaking, how is this done? Do I have more chance to love my children when they are away from home at school for seven or eight hours or when I have them home with me all day? The answer to this one is obvious: when they are home with me. By loving my children, I just want to be a mommy!

During those extra hours I have to “just be a mommy,” I can tell my children over and over again how special they are to me, how much I love them, how wonderful they are, and how blessed I am to “just be their mommy.” I have seven more hours a day to give them hugs, pat them, put my arm around them, smile at them, kiss them, laugh with them—opportunities to “just be a mommy.” The bottom line is, “I just want to be a mommy!”

What about the time we spend in homeschooling? Have I taken off my “mommy” hat and replaced it with a “teacher” one? I am taking the place of a teacher in a classroom in my children’s lives, but I am still “Mommy” in the fullest sense of the word. My mommy role as a teacher began from the first words I quietly whispered in each newborn baby’s tiny ear. Almost everything my children have learned in their young lives, this mommy has had a part in teaching them. Being an official teacher in our homeschool is simply an extension of this natural teaching relationship that exists between a mother and her child. Really and truly, I just want to be a mommy!

Reality of Being a Homeschool Mom and Teacher

I thought about what it meant to be a mommy teacher beyond simply teaching my children facts and figures. What teacher in a school loves their students like I love mine? What teacher’s main goal in life is to see their students grow up to love the Lord Jesus Christ with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength? What teacher is going to cuddle a sick student on the couch, tucking that student in with extra pillows and blankets, while loving and consoling him through his misery? Hey, I just want to be a mommy!

Perhaps I should consider the time spent in disciplining or correcting my children during school hours. Maybe I am not being a “mommy” then. Once again Scripture assures me that this is part of my mommy role. “My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother” (Proverbs 6:20). My friend didn’t like to have to make her children do their schoolwork. Sometimes they cried about what they were to do for school and this was part of why she abandoned homeschooling in favor of “just being a mommy.” One of my most important “mommy” responsibilities is to prepare my children for life. If they face a difficult task in their school and choose to cry about it, this is my chance, as their mommy, to encourage them to pray about it, to put forth some effort, to try again, and to rest in the Lord. What opportunity these hours my children are home with me during school time afford. Wow, I just want to be a mommy!

Every day I have a choice set before me. I can look at my homeschooling with resentment and think, “Lord, I just want to be a mommy,” while sending my children away to school and doing what I want to do all day. I might think these same thoughts without acting on them but all the while wishing I could put them in school. It will still affect my attitude toward my children and my homeschooling. Alternatively, I can view homeschooling with rejoicing in my heart and say, “Lord, I am so grateful to just be a mommy. Thank you that homeschooling is part of the mothering I can give to my children. I know there are moms who want to homeschool their children but can’t. I know there will be difficult days for us as I homeschool my children. Yet, it remains with me as to what I will allow in my thoughts.” May we be mothers who relish our roles as homeschooling mommies. Let’s never forget, I just want to be a mommy!


The topic of sleep is one that is very real to every mother. Pregnancies, babies, busy schedules, homeschooling, outside activities, ministry, relationships—almost every area of life has the potential of robbing us of sleep. If I feel tired throughout the day, is it because I am not getting enough sleep? Does it seem that I don’t have the available time to sleep the hours my body requires? Do I envy others who seem to have much more time in their day because they function nicely on fewer hours of sleep than I do?

Recently, a mom asked me:

I used to sleep up to twelve hours a night and still could sleep ten if I had the time. I find that as I have more tasks to care for, I am cutting down on my sleep. I know the rule that we need eight hours of sleep, but I have seen some women live on seven hours consistently. I also know back in previous days most women (families actually) went to bed at 9 and rose at 3:30 or 4 a.m. I would like to hear from you since you had seven hours sleep time scheduled but still nursed during the night, even if for only the first few weeks. That is the toughest time to get through! Any advice?

Scripture warns several times about the dangers of loving sleep, “How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man” (Proverbs 6:9-11). “Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread” (Proverbs 20:13).

These verses show us that in general we have to guard against wanting to have too much sleep. We should exercise caution as we evaluate how much time to allocate for sleep. Our tendency is to choose the easy path, the one that includes more sleep. Because of this warning, I believe we have to carefully observe our “need” for sleep and make sure we are meeting true needs and not fulfilling wants in this area. With this warning against too much sleep, I believe we can move on to evaluate how busy moms can get an adequate amount of sleep to function normally.

I don’t know about you, but when I don’t get enough sleep my whole personality changes. I am more easily discouraged. I become angry at small things. I can’t think well. I cry, and nothing seems right. This doesn’t appear to be uncommon among women. I have also seen in Scripture several extremely godly men who, at one point in each of their lives, ask God to let them die. To me it seems to be related to them becoming very weary. These men are Jonah (Jonah 4:7-8), Elijah (1 Kings 19:4), and Moses (Numbers 11:15).

I would encourage us to make sure our schedules are such that they allow us to sleep the amount of time we need to each night so that we can function well each day. Our family’s schedule helps Steve and me in this area. We have a set time to go to bed each night, Sunday through Thursday, and a set time to get up. There is very little that we allow to interfere with these bed times and wake up times. The consistency of our sleep schedule has enabled us to determine sleep amounts that allow us the greatest amount of productive daytime while still adequately meeting our sleep needs.

It may take some trial and error to determine whether one should have seven, eight, or nine hours of sleep each night. Obviously the number of hours of sleep we need may not be the same as the number we could sleep. In the case of the mom who wrote the note, she said she could sleep ten hours each night, but she may only need eight hours of sleep. That means she must determine how little sleep she can get by with so that she isn’t experiencing the sleep-deprived symptoms I listed earlier.

For most of my adult life, I thought I needed eight hours of sleep each night. However, I often couldn’t get to sleep when I went to bed. At some point in our married life, Steve and I decided to see if we could get more time in our day by sleeping fewer hours at night. We dropped down to seven hours a night. It was amazing for me. I functioned well on seven hours per night and no longer struggled with having trouble falling asleep. My body didn’t need eight hours of sleep.

If you have planned a schedule that allows for eight hours of sleep each night, or whatever your personal amount happens to be, but there isn’t time in the day to accomplish what should be done, then what? There are several possibilities. As you evaluate them, it may be that one will be helpful, or you may need to use all of them.

First, make sure you are using a daily schedule for your time and your children’s time. This will make you as productive as possible throughout the day. It will help you to discern your priorities and put your time where it is most needed and beneficial. The Managers of Their Homes book addresses this topic in detail.

Next, I would encourage the elimination of activities, based on their priority and urgency. Mom’s sleep must come before any outside-the-home activity, no matter how important that activity may seem. When we deprive ourselves of sleep for an outside activity, we aren’t trading off our personal preferences for our child’s best interest. Rather, we are giving away the possibility for our child to have a sweet, godly, loving mother, which has eternal value in that child’s life. Generally, we are making this exchange for an activity of temporal value.

Another suggestion may be a difficult one for some—a home business. If Mom isn’t able to get enough sleep and she has a home business, then I believe her priorities again are wrong. Anyone who has a home business will have a justification for having it. However, if the home business robs her of necessary sleep (or the ability to homeschool, train the children, be a keeper at home—any of her biblical roles), then the reasons for it have to be reevaluated.

The next area to look at would be time trade-offs. For example, it may be that your preference is to make your own bread and sew your own clothing. At some seasons of life, these may be reasonable tasks. Again, though, if Mom can’t find time for the sleep she needs, then these time-consuming choices may have to be eliminated. The priorities should be kept in line, and sleep is higher than homemade bread or home-sewn clothes.

Scheduling an afternoon nap can be another way to allow one to get by with less nighttime sleep. For the years I was pregnant or nursing, I always had a half-hour nap scheduled sometime during the afternoon when the children were taking their naps. This short rest gave me the added boost necessary to keep me going during those months that were taking a higher toll on my body.

Finally, as we look for ways to free up time for needed sleep, consider the type of homeschool curriculum you are using. Here again, we may decide to make different curriculum choices so that school and school planning aren’t requiring so much time. Hours that are deterred from a time-intensive curriculum can be given to sleep. Again, this change will likely only be for a season. Then, with another set of circumstances and available sleep time coming from another area, a return to the preferred curriculum can be made.

The Bible warns us first not to love sleep. We must be cautious to discern if our desire for sleep is a want or a need. Throughout our lives, there will be periods of time when we will be living sleep-deprived lives for one reason or another. However, because of what a lack of sleep does to us spiritually, emotionally, and physically, I don’t believe it is wise to continue to try, on an ongoing basis, to get by without adequate rest. We shouldn’t feel guilty for getting the sleep we need. We aren’t being selfish to do so. Rather, we are loving our husbands and loving our children as Titus 2:4 tells us because we are giving them a mom who is sweet, loving, and kind rather than angry, depressed, and sluggish. May we be women who value our families enough to make the necessary choices to allow us each the right amount of sleep.

A Few Helpful Tools for the Homemaker

Several years ago I was given a cute gift basket filled with various “goodies.” One of the items in that basket has been such a helpful tool in our home that it is something I want to share with you. I know how busy homeschooling moms are. We want to maximize every moment of our days. I thought it might be helpful to dedicate this Mom’s Corner to describing several items in our home that are invaluable tools and time savers for me.

The pretty little “goody” in that basket wasn’t edible. It was a skinny pad of paper with flowery decorations and lines on it. It looked like you might use it for lists or for writing notes. In addition, it had a magnet on the back. I put that pad on my refrigerator because it had complementary colors to my kitchen.

One day someone said they needed another bag of socks from Wal-Mart. I suggested they write “socks” on the pad on the refrigerator and title that page Wal-Mart. The next time I thought of an item we were running low on that we purchased from Wal-Mart, I added it to that list. When we went to Wal-Mart several days later, I just pulled the page off the pad and was ready to shop. Immediately, I wrote Wal-Mart on the next page of the pad attached to the refrigerator. I asked my family members to write anything they needed from Wal-Mart on the list, and our shopping list habit was begun.

Within a short time, I purchased another magnetic notepad and put it on the fridge. Now I had a Wal-Mart pad and a Sam’s Club pad. Those are the two major places we shop for basic necessities. Anytime we are short of an item or out of it, we put it on that list. Now whenever someone is going to one of those stores and asks if I need something, I can tear the list off the pad and send it with them.

I can’t begin to tell you how simple this plan is and how much time it has saved us in not having to make trips back to the store for forgotten items. In addition, it has freed me from the mental burden of trying to remember what we need the next time we go to the store. I am secure knowing my list is on the fridge and ready to go.

My next time-saving help also is related to a magnet and my refrigerator. In this case, it is a clip with a magnet on the back of it. It also hangs on the fridge and holds the list of evening meals for the week. When I make up the weekly grocery list, it includes a section where the evening meals for the week are listed. I cut or tear that portion of the list off after grocery shopping and hang it in that clip on the fridge.

This list has also saved me much mental time and energy by allowing me to lay out my evening meals and then quickly see what each meal will be. I used to think and wonder and consider through the day what to make for dinner. If I was too busy to think about it, I entered the kitchen in the evening in a state of dismay at having to make a decision on what to prepare. Now it is all set out for me. The decisions are made once a week. All I have to do is to look at my meal list and go to work.

Would you believe one of my favorite household tools is a feather duster? For twenty-seven of my twenty-eight years of being married, I used a dust rag or lambs-wool duster for dusting tasks. I also avoided dusting some things, such as picture frames, door frames, silk flowers, and mini blinds, because they were difficult to do with those dusting methods. Last summer when we purchased blinds for the living room, a feather duster was recommended for cleaning them. I tried my new feather duster for other dusting besides the living room blinds, and I loved it. I even bought one for my mother and daughter-in-law for Christmas.

So what makes a feather duster so great? It gets into nooks and crannies that other dusters don’t easily reach. It gives me several extra inches of height so I can reach areas normally out of reach. My feather duster gives me a good angle for dusting, while the lambs-wool duster had to be held in a certain way. When dusting lightweight articles, it doesn’t move them around or knock them over. I have to admit I almost think dusting is fun now that I am using a feather duster.

While vacuuming is at the top of my list for household tasks I like to do, ironing ranks near the bottom. However, two ironing tools have made the job quicker, easier, and more pleasant. These items may be ones you will choose to save up for if you decide to try them since they are much more costly than magnetized shopping lists and feather dusters.

When the iron I was given as a wedding gift “died” after twenty years of use, Steve bought me a Rowenta professional style iron. I was absolutely amazed at the difference in ironing. The Rowenta is larger and heavier than normal irons. That means it irons more quickly and efficiently. Now I feel blessed, rather than resentful, every time I need to iron.

One day about two years ago one of my children decided to sit on my twenty-five-year-old ironing board. While Steve is great at fixing many broken things in our home, the ironing board was beyond help. I went out and purchased the most expensive ironing board I could find at Wal-Mart. When I set it up at home, I was appalled at how unsteady it was. With young children, I was concerned about their safety when they were around if I was ironing. We took that ironing board back.

Then we purchased a very nice ironing board at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I think this ironing board was around ninety dollars, and we had a coupon for 20 percent off. The ironing board from Wal-Mart was less then twenty dollars. I could hardly conceive of spending so much money on an ironing board. However, we decided, based on the board’s stability and added safety, to purchase it. I think every penny we spent was worth it. It should last the rest of my ironing life!

Not only did we gain the safety benefit we wanted, but we noticed several other benefits. This ironing board has a much larger ironing surface. That means I can iron more quickly and spend the saved time in another way. The board itself is taller so that I can stand more erect while ironing and not hurt my back. It is much heavier and sturdier so that it doesn’t rock when bumped. The ironing board has a place on the side to set the iron in so that it isn’t sitting upright on the board itself when someone isn’t holding it. Therefore, the iron is less susceptible to being knocked off the board. Each time I iron, I think about how grateful for something as simple as a high-quality ironing board.

The Lord has given homemakers the responsibility of being a keeper of the home. For me, having good tools to save me time and to help me in this process is extremely beneficial. I am happy to be as efficient in my homemaking as possible so that I have more time for mothering and schooling.

Hard Work, Taking Thoughts Captive – Part 2

The tasks set before a Christian wife and mother are high callings from the Lord. While they can involve a great deal of hard work, we want to embrace our jobs with joy. In last month’s Mom’s Corner I discussed this part of the workload of being a mother. Now let’s look at some of the practical aspects. Are there ways to manage our workload and perhaps even lighten it?

I simply cannot speak highly enough of the benefits a schedule brings to a mom in her ability to keep up with life. I knew a daily schedule helped me immensely. However, since the publication of our book on scheduling (Managers of Their Homes), I have heard the same thing from many other moms who have begun to schedule their days.

While I am not going to try to recap all that is in Managers of Their Homes, let me share with you a few benefits a schedule has that apply to a mother’s workload. First, your schedule makes you more productive. You know what to do throughout each scheduled segment of the day, so you are not wasting time trying to decide what to do or simply doing nothing because it all looks too overwhelming.

You can schedule time to accomplish your work tasks, but you can also schedule in time for other priorities. This should most importantly include daily time with the Lord. Other scheduled personal-time activities might be exercising, crafting, reading, or napping. With a schedule making you more productive, you might discover you actually have time for projects you would like to accomplish. Plus, it is put into your schedule to assure it happens!

A schedule causes you to realistically evaluate what you can and can’t do. A mom who is away from home a great deal may have trouble keeping up. This could make her believe her workload is too great. If you are trying to do too much within the home, you will have the same struggle. Putting all you would like to accomplish on paper brings a level of realism that isn’t found any other way. If the planning stages of a schedule cause you to see that you have more to do than time to do it, taking the problem back to the Lord and to your husband may help you know what you can release.

It is imperative that a mom gets the amount of sleep she needs if she is to have any hope of keeping up with her work and having the right attitude toward it. It is tempting to continue working until way past a reasonable bedtime, night after night, in an effort to accomplish all we “think” needs to be done. On the other hand, we may find ourselves so exhausted we do nothing productive in the evening, but neither do we go to bed to get needed sleep. When we are tired, everything looks overwhelming!

We will do our families and ourselves much good if we take our thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). All the “I-have-to-do-this-before-I-can-stop” thoughts that cause us not to go to bed at night need to be taken captive to the truth that our sleep is more important. When we are well rested, no matter how much work we have to do or how busy we are, our spirits will deal with it in a much better manner than when we are tired.

Please, please schedule a nap each afternoon if you are not able to get the amount of sleep at night that you need. Perhaps you have a nursing baby with whom you are up one or more times in the night. Maybe you go to bed later than you would choose because that is your husband’s preference. Whatever the reason, if those nights are shorter than the sleep your body requires, have a nap scheduled for the afternoon.

Schedule exercise time into your day even if you don’t think you can afford the time. You will discover that the minutes spent exercising will multiply themselves many times over in your energy level. When you are feeling better, you will be able to accomplish more and keep up better with the work of being a wife and mother.

Sometimes I ask Steve for help. I am designed by God to be Steve’s helpmeet. There are times, though, when I simply request that Steve help bail me out of what have become overwhelming circumstances to me. This might mean that he says “no” to some tasks I have thought I could keep up with. It could be that he will physically pitch in and help make dinner or clean up. He could even send me to bed for some added sleep!

Be sure to train your children to help. You are not robbing your child of his childhood by doing this. You are preparing him for life. I hear over and over again of moms who say they were not taught as children how to care for household responsibilities. We also are very aware that many men do not know how to help their wives because household chores were never required of them as they were growing up. If you teach your children basic home duties, not only are they lightening your workload, they are also being prepared for life.

Stay home more! It is extremely hard to keep up at home if you are frequently away. Somehow, once we leave home for a meeting, Bible study, activity, trip to the store, or whatever it might be, we don’t have the same energy level and momentum for doing our home tasks as we have on the days we stay home. In addition, by being away from home we lose many, many hours that could have been used to accomplish our work. I cannot overstate the importance of limiting outside-the-home activities if one is struggling with a negative attitude toward a day that goes nonstop. If you do choose to be gone from home frequently, then you must accept the trade-off of being extremely busy when you are at home. Your outside-the-home activities are your discretionary time that could be used for rest and relaxing if you were home rather than away.

Finally, look at your schedule and tasks to accomplish and evaluate what you could do less frequently. Are there jobs you currently do every day that could be done every other day or once a week? Take vacuuming, for example. If you vacuum every day, limit yourself to doing it every other day for a month. See if you and your family can live with that level of carpet cleanliness so that you can invest the time elsewhere. What about tasks that you are doing three times a week that you could cut back to once a week? Vacuuming the carpet every day may cause a mom time pressure that leads her to be frazzled. Perhaps it would be better not to vacuum so frequently, choosing instead to put up with a less than ideally clean carpet!

There is absolutely no doubt about it; being a wife and mother means plenty of hard work, but it pays wonderful, eternal dividends. May I encourage you to consider the use of a daily schedule to help you manage your time, including both work and rest. Teach your children how to work and also be willing to ask your husband for help when needed. Remember the importance of staying home and adequate sleep in keeping up with the work of a wife and mother. May we be committed to serving the Lord Jesus by serving our families, even if the cost is hard work!

Hard Work, Taking Thoughts Captive – Part 1

Here is part of a recent question that was asked of Teri:

My children are 8, 6, 3, and 17 months. I homeschool. I had a miscarriage 5 months ago. Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in everything to do. The home stays relatively picked up. It stays cleaned. We don’t have fancy meals, but they’re always on the table and usually on time. The children are well-behaved most of the time. They have issues that continually crop up because they’re human and sometimes these overwhelm me. So what is the problem? I feel like I’m going non-stop. Jennie

Can you relate to Jennie? Have you felt like this? Maybe you are struggling with some of these same emotions.

Through my twenty-seven years of being a wife and twenty-five years of being a mother, I have come to see that what the Lord has called me to do is just plain “hard work”! There are no guaranteed vacation days, no promised full nights of sleep—not even an uninterrupted trip to the bathroom! However, Scripture tells us in Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” There is nothing of more eternal value that I could invest my life in—if working hard is even truly suffering—than my husband and the children the Lord has given to me.


My first step in how to handle my emotions concerning “hard work” is through my expectations. If I expect to complete my work by dinnertime so I can sit and relax all evening, then I am frustrated and perhaps even angry with circumstances or people whom I see as robbing me of “my” time. On the other hand, if my expectation is that being a mother is a difficult job that goes from the time I get up in the morning until I go to bed at night—plus some nighttime interruptions—then I am only doing what I expect to do!


My next step is to recall why I am doing what I am doing. In Romans 12:1 we find these words, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Isn’t this what we are doing every day as we serve our families? We are choosing to be living sacrifices that are holy, acceptable to God, and our reasonable service. We could be investing our time in many areas of our own pleasures and interests. Instead we are making the choice to be a living sacrifice and obediently follow what Jesus Christ has called us to do.

Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” In John 12:24 we find: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”

I have not been called to follow my pursuits. Rather, I have been given a specific calling to “well doing” that says I am to be sober, to love my husband, to love my children, to be discreet, chaste, a keeper at home, good, and obedient to my own husband, that the word of God be not blasphemed (Titus 2:4-5). This is “hard work.” It starts the minute I open my eyes in the morning.


The final suggestion I want to make is to simply accept the “hard work.” Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying there will never be any time for rest, relaxation, or pursuing something I am interested in doing. What I am encouraging is that it not be my focus and goal. I don’t want a craving for “my” time to cause me not to have the meek and quiet spirit that is of great worth in God’s sight (1 Peter 3:4).

It is interesting that the more I submit my heart to the Lord’s direction to be content (Philippians 4:11) and to be grateful (1 Thessalonians 5:18), the more my “hard work” is what I like doing. It becomes what I choose to do even if I don’t have to do it.

When my mind is set on things above (Colossians 3:1-2), then days filled with work and activity are blessed and a joy. I feel a sense of peace and contentment in the tasks set before me. How easy it is, though, for me to take my eyes off the Lord and His calling to be an obedient, living sacrifice and instead have them on me.

This is most likely to happen when I get tired. Then my thinking becomes particularly skewed. Here are the kind of “poor me” thoughts I will have: “No one picks up anything in this house except me! The children will never do their chores without being reminded or disciplined! I have more to do than is possible!”

These thoughts are not true! At that point, I should battle the thoughts through prayer. So often, though, I am too tired to even do that and tears combined with those false ideas are my companions. However, with a good night’s sleep, I find the Lord’s mercies are new every morning. I am again ready to face the day, where the truth is that the children do accomplish some of their chores without being reminded, family members do put things away, and I can do what the Lord has called me to do.


This Mom’s Corner is not about schedules, timesaving suggestions, or ways to simplify our lives. These are important, and I will be writing about them in next month’s Mom’s Corner. However, I think we would do well to also encourage each other in the “hard work” we have set before us. Our labors are our living sacrifices—the sacrifice of ourselves. Through our “hard work” we die to ourselves, but live to the Lord. The rewards we will see in our husbands, children, those around us, and even our own hearts are the rewards that truly matter!

Sisters, may I encourage you that you have chosen a good thing when you obey the Lord’s calling on your life to invest it in your family by serving them. May I also suggest that this lifestyle is one that requires constant, vigilant, “hard work” with bountiful rewards now and in eternity. Let “hard work” be our expectation, one which we seek the Lord to help us embrace with joy. May we die to the wants we have for our “free time” and invest all that it takes in the areas in which the Lord has called us to serve. May we simply, contentedly, and happily accept the work that comes with serving our families!