Friday, September 28, 2012

DON'T THROW IN THE TOWEL! (Unless of course you are throwing it in the wash.)

It was one of those days.  9:30 a.m. and I'm a mess.  "I can't" is flying out of my mouth left and right. ~  I can't keep food in this house.       I can't get all of this laundry done.  I can't do all the work I'm supposed to do.  

I've been here before.  I end up at this place every once and a while.  I'm not sure why.  It just happens.  The kids are being loud, difficult, and unkind.  The laundry room is a disaster. I'm still in my pajamas.  The house is a wreck, and dirty.  There are stacks and piles of books and worksheets that I need to go over with each of the children.  I just changed a diaper and realized there are no more.  UGH.  

{If I'm going to be a sweet mama, I've got to pull it together...and fast!}

So...what do you do on those days when you feel like throwing in the towel?  I'm going to tell you what I suggest you do when you get stuck in one of those days.  I've learned a little from all of "those days" I've had.  Maybe it will help you the next time you have one.  

  • First, stop right where you are and pray.  Give thanks to God and ask Him for help.  Commit your work to Him.
  • Next, get yourself cleaned up and get dressed.  No excuses.  I know you might be cleaning bathrooms today but you still must make yourself get dressed.  NO PAJAMAS!  I have a totally different mindset once I am showered and dressed.  It really helps if you put on shoes (the kind you tie...not flip flops).  Your mind and your body know it's time to work if you are wearing shoes.  When you need to take out a bag of garbage you are ready to go.  Plus you won't stub your toe and your feet won't ache so bad at the end of the day.
  • When you see the children, smile at them.  Give them a hug, tell them you love them and smile.  A bad day will only get worse if you are a grouchy mama.

If you are having one of those days today, stop reading here and go do these first 3 things.  
  1. Pray.
  2. Shower and dress.
  3. Smile and give some lovin to the kiddos. 

  • After you are showered and dressed, start a load of laundry.  Set your timer so that as soon as the clothes are finished washing you (or one of the children) can move them to the dryer and start another load.  Use your buzzer on your dryer so you won't get busy doing other things and forget all about the laundry.  
{When the laundry gets backed up at our house we pull out our folding table and set up a laundry station.  We have an extra folding table in the upstairs closet that comes in handy for all kinds of things.  We set it up in the hallway right outside the laundry room.  Every time the dryer buzzes we get the clothes out and dump them on this table.  I fold the clothes while the children put them away.  I usually ask a couple of the kids to be "runners".  I fold and they run the items to where ever they belong.} 

  • Once you've got your laundry going decide what's for dinner.  Come up with something you have the ingredients for.  Don't leave the house.  Do all the prep work you can now so that dinner is ready to go at meal time.  Today I'm simmering Sloppy Joes in the crock-pot.  I really do love the crock-pot.  Busy mamas should use their crock-pots as often as possible.  Load it up first thing in the morning and let dinner cook itself all day while you do other things.
  • After you finish prepping for dinner, clean up the kitchen.  A clean kitchen will make you feel better and will bring a smile to your face.

Now, look at all you have accomplished!  You are clean and smelling good and you can answer the door without the embarrassment of being in your pjs.  The laundry is moving and dinner is cooking.  Ahhh...time for a little break.  Give yourself a few minutes to enjoy a cup of coffee or a cup of hot tea.  Perhaps you could read a short book to the little ones.  Put your feet up for a few minutes but don't get carried away.  A 15 minute break is all you need and then get back to work.  Don't use this time to check email, or read blogs, or look at Facebook.  You might get pulled in and will lose a great deal of valuable time.

  • Here's what I do next, (and it's really fun).  Grab a bag.  (I use one of my Walmart bags that I've saved.)  Go from room to room finding things to throw away.  Carry your bag with you as you enter each room and start tossing.  I usually find gum wrappers, old school papers, dryer sheets, broken pieces of toys, empty shampoo bottles, soap wrappers, post-it-notes, broken hair bands, old torn up socks, paper cups, junk mail, pages from coloring books and on and on and on.  Make sure you go in every single room and find things to throw away.  Aim for a certain number.  I usually try to find 20 things.  Everything counts, no matter how big or small.  When you are finished tie up your bag and take it out to the big trash can.  Whew!  Gone!  Doesn't the house feel better already?  Remember you can't save everything, especially when it comes to the kids' art projects.  Save your favorites and toss the rest.  My children are doing arts and crafts projects quite often and if I saved all of their creations we would not be able to walk through our home.  You can always take a picture of your child holding their art project.  Saving the picture will be easier than saving the project. 
  •  Before starting anything else see to it that all of the beds are made.  I believe in teaching children to make their own beds.  By the time our kids are 5 they are responsible for making their own beds.  If the beds are all made and the kitchen is clean you are well on your way to turning your day around.
  • Make a list of the things you need to accomplish today, then get started.  Do one thing at a time and when you are finished, mark it off the list and move on to the next thing.  It is nice to play music as you work and remember to give yourself a break once in a while to sip on something and pay some attention to the kids.  In other words, don't work like a mad woman all day and forget your children or forget to eat.
Little by little you will get things done, you will see progress, and feel better.  The main thing is just getting started somewhere.  Any cleaning, cooking, or washing you do will bless your family.  If you feel yourself getting stressed out take a few moments to put things in perspective.  People who are starving and have no money or place to live would LOVE to have your messy home to clean up.  Mothers whose children are in the hospital dealing with terminal illness would love to see their kids running around making messes and arguing with their siblings.  It's easier to train a child's behavior than to fight cancer!  The woman who longs to have a baby and cannot conceive would love to have that huge pile of dirty clothes to wash if only she had children to dirty up that many clothes.  Once you start thinking, you realize your situation is not so bad.  Be thankful for the food, (dirty dishes), the children, (messes), your family, (dirty clothes), your home, (chores), and everything else God has given you.

Don't throw in the towel.  Make it a great day!


  1. Wow, excellent advice!! I love it! I've definitely had days like that. Thanks for the encouraging words!

  2. Great advice!!! Thanks for sharing. I know I have days like this as well. I'll reread this when I need another pep talk! Thanks for the encouragement. Blessings~Jennifer



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