Overload: Finding refreshment and peace and focus

Recently, our days seem to have become intensely busy. However, we have been making efforts to slow down and enjoy the incredible life that God has given us. It is easy to get wrapped up in things that, when you sit down and think about it, are basically nothing but busy tasks that are not near as important as what you think they are.
A messy house, a disorganized laundry room, the missing toddler’s shoes are some of the frivolous things that can interfere with the peace in my life. I personally love a spotless kitchen and a ultra-clean house. (HA!) That love and having 7 young children, which I love more, are at competing odds at this phase in life.
Often, my husband gives me nuggets of wisdom with his wise words. One evening as I was lamenting my failures as a housekeeper in a state of being extremely tired and overwhelmed, I pointed out to him that my kitchen is always a mess and that I can not seem to keep it clean. Every time it is spotless, soon I am cooking in it again. It is never ending. He paused to consider my complaint and basically said that I had a skewed view of how my kitchen should be. A kitchen that was used for feeding 9 people all day long, every day wasn’t supposed to be immaculate. We use our kitchen, unlike the majority of the American population where kitchens have become abandoned.
How I work myself into frivolous frustrations, I do not know? However, that little reminder from a clear thinker changed my outlook. I can look at my kitchen like a well oiled machine: it may not be as pretty as the neighbors, but it is obviously used and highly productive!
I have to be careful not to let the cleaning overtake my life. It is easy to work into insanity. I have come to see that while my life consists of lots of little ones, certain things will have to be put aside at this time in my life. Not that cleaning or organizing is completely forsaken, but that is not the goal. The goal is focused around my children. The training, loving, reading, playing, feeding of these little ones takes precedence over cleaning.
Yesterday, the cooler weather put a spring in our step as the children enjoyed romping and playing outdoors. Baby Annabelle enjoyed a lazy day afternoon watching her siblings and feeling the grass prickle her little bare feet. I enjoyed interacting and observing their youthful vigor and wild imagination. The older boys were convinced they had seen a……in their own words, “Mom, we saw a Rhamphorhynchoid Pterodactyl flying over our house!!” (maybe this story on another blog post) The younger boys were catching bees on the clover. The girls were pushing around their baby doll stroller in the yard. Though the kitchen and bathrooms needed cleaning and the floors could have been scrubbed, the time spent outdoors with the children, not only refreshed me, but reminded me of where my focus was supposed to be.
Though the work load and logistical aspects of running a large family are at times overwhelming, taking a brief break to take a walk, or just sitting outside sipping some iced tea can do wonders for me. It reminds me to slow down and focus on the important. The cleaning can wait, it will always be there. For now, I will get around to it when I can. It isn’t worth sacrificing my peace and refreshment and distracting me from my primary focus.
summer
On their way back from being in the creek…soaked and dirty…but now depleted of energy and ready for clean up and supper.

6 Comments

  • sarah says:

    A well thought and wonderfully put post. You are a great inspiration to me.

  • sarah walston says:

    very sweet!!

  • Christine says:

    Thank you so much for reminding me of what my priorities always ought to be. Your blog is such a blessing!

  • Sally says:

    Even though I only have one kiddo, I deal with the whole priority dilema – I’m a clean freak by nature, but I also love time with my family and even just a few minutes to sit down and unwind now and again…Phillip has been a big help with this for me. It’s finally hitting me that a few dishes in the sink isn’t going to make the world come crashing down…and not picking up Ethan’s toys before dinner, doesn’t make the food taste bad at all. 😉 I’m seeing the difference (and value) between being a “clean freak” and being tidy. It’s a tough lesson for me, but I’m learning it…and my household is happier for it.
    ps – thanks for your honesty 🙂

  • Jennifer says:

    Thanks for such an encouraging post! It is exactly what I needed to hear at this very busy phase in my life! Our 5 little ones are ages 5 -4 months and for the first time I am simply not able to keep up with the laundry, meals or housework, I am always behind in one or the other. I have been feeling a bit desperate about it, but have also been trying to keep my priorities straight. While it certainly helps to have the basics kept up with I think I need to learn not to worry if the silverware drawer needs organized, or the dryer needs dusted, or even if there are clothes waiting to be folded (at least they are clean) 😉 Thank you for the reminder to slow down and enjoy my little roses 🙂
    P.S. I have been greatly enjoying your blog since stumbling upon it a few weeks ago. I remember when you moderated the Quiverfull digest 🙂

  • admin says:

    Thanks for your post Jennifer… Isn’t it silly all the things we worry about that aren’t as important as our children and the peace in our homes…we must guard against little non-important things that soon steal the peace in our home.
    haha! Sally…I laughed at your, “not picking up the toys, doesn’t make the food taste bad at all”! Your right!

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