Faith Inspiration Journal

For The Overwhelmed Mom: Six Ways You Can Find Peace in Your Home

Written by Beth Keck

I stopped by your house today, young momma. You knew I was coming but you didn’t know I’d come inside, since your get together was an outside event. Even then you apologized for the state of your house; you didn’t realize that I care more about you than the mess. When it was time to go, I had to run inside to retrieve my son, who had made his way in uninvited. 

With two kids, two dogs and a hubby who has virtues other than cleanliness, the house was a mess.

A disaster, really.

I could tell you were a little embarrassed but more defeated than anything. The kid’s chore chart hung halfheartedly on the wall.

You were trying so hard. No one would fight the battle with you. 

So tired. For so long. You had given up.

I looked at your face as you hung your head low and thought, wouldn’t it be great if all of us older wives/moms let the younger ones in on the little secrets? I remember being where she was, no matter what I did I felt like a hot mess. Spinning my wheels. Sometimes I’m still there if I get behind, but it’s not overwhelming anymore. I don’t stress about it since I know how to get back on track. 

Yes, this is the messy lady giving cleaning advice. A neat person might not understand. Neaties, this is common sense stuff but we messies need a reminder sometimes.

1. Enjoy your kids and don’t expect perfection. You need your home to work for you, not against you, but don’t go overboard in the opposite direction and expect perfection. It does get better as the kids get older. EVEN THOUGH IT FEELS LIKE IT WILL NEVER GET BETTER, THIS WON’T LAST FOREVER.

2. Declutter DECLUTTER Declutter! Start room by room, even if it takes you all year. When you only have a minimum of things to keep in place, it only takes a few minutes to tidy a room. Get rid of all that stuff! I can’t stress this enough. When we moved recently, I got rid of so much. We have lived in the new house about two years and even though it’s a bigger house than I had before, it’s still easier to keep up than my old one.

TIP: Throw paper AWAY! Keep and file only what you HAVE TO HAVE (as in things with personal info like social security numbers, bank accounts, etc) and do the rest electronically. Take pictures of things you might want to reference, even some of the kids drawings, and toss the rest (or shred if necessary). You really don’t need to keep those sales papers, magazines, cable bills, etc.  The emotional well-being of living in an uncluttered space is worth it alone.

3. After decluttering a room, make sure everything has a home. If you lost an item, where would you go looking for it? If I was looking for the scissors, I’d look in the kitchen drawer by the sink.  That’s it’s home. Some people have a more organized strategy, do what works for you.

 4. Clutter and mess begets clutter and mess. Does your family do this? If my kitchen is a wreck, my little chitlins think the countertop is a resting haven for their food wrappers, dirty dishes, school papers, etc. If it is clean, one thing laying out on my kitchen island looks out of place. I give them the evil eye and they put it in it’s place. 

And sometimes I get sassed and have to lay down the law, but that’s another post. 

Start fresh! Schedule a time, ask someone to watch the kids if you can, and spend a day (or two!) getting your home really clean so you can start fresh. Make this time nonnegotiable, get ‘er done! It’s so discouraging to try to keep it up when it’s already a disaster. If you feel like you work and work but never accomplish anything, finish cleaning one whole room at a time so that you feel like you have completed something. (Instead of dusting the whole house first, vacuuming the whole house second, etc. You are less likely to float from place to place getting distracted….I used to spending all day cleaning, only for it to still look like a tornado hit it because nothing was ever fully completed). You could also add in the decluttering phase when you clean each room. Listen to favorite podcasts and music during this time so it becomes a time to look forward to.

5. It gets better when you make yourself a routine. What’s your pet peeve? Start there.  Is it the dirty clothes piled up by the bed, getting higher and higher, day after day? Start a new routine where you put them in the hamper every morning or evening. Find a trigger to remind you, even if it’s setting an alarm on your phone. Once that’s a habit, add another.

A speaker at a conference I attended once suggested the following:  Empty the dishwasher first thing every single morning, start it every single night at bedtime. Don’t start a load of laundry unless you can complete the cycle: wash, dry, fold and put away that day. Common sense, right? But if it’s not a routine, it can cause havoc. There’s nothing more discouraging than wrinkled, clean laundry laying in piles all over the house. Except for wrinkled dirty laundry, that’s worse. Set a routine where you throw a load in at the same time every day and complete the cycle. If it has to stay in the dryer too long and you don’t have a steam cycle, throw in a damp washcloth and dry again to get the wrinkles out, but finish it that day!

TIP: When you get so little ‘me’ time, it can be tempting to throw it all to the wind and do something for yourself. Do that occasionally. Don’t feel guilty. But when it’s time to get down to work and you are soo tired of the boring routine of keeping house, time each chore.

You may be able to face cleaning that toilet One. More. Time. when you remember it’s only 10 minutes of your day.

And then wash up and have a piece of chocolate. Because if you have kids, cleaning a toilet is traumatic and you need a reward.

6. Here’s the secret sauceIt gets better when you pray every morning. Start your day off right with scripture or a devotional, even if it’s just five minutes. Take care of yourself spiritually so that you can take care of others.  

You will feel like such a weight has been lifted off your shoulders if you’ll implement a routine that lets your house welcome you home instead of greeting you with your burdens. Girl, you need peace. Peace within the space that you live and peace within you.

Now work it sister. You got this.

And move that chore chart down where those cuties can see it.

About the author

Beth Keck

Elizabeth Keck lives with the man of her dreams, her two wild boys and beloved dog, Ellie. She’s a foodie who loves coffee and writing about faith, french country decor and her crazy life at http://www.ellieandelizabeth.com/

16 Comments

  • Loved this post. I’ve been employing most of these techniques since my children were little, and you really hit the nail on the head! It’s so difficult to stay engaged in the process when you are too behind to make a dent. Love the tip to set aside a few days so you can start fresh….and de-cluttering is required! Especially when you are raising packrats (all kids are packrats!).

  • A client of mine has a five year old daughter and a newborn. This is her life! I am going to send it to her to remind here this is hope and she is not alone.

  • I remember when I was a young mom and tried to do it all with perfection. I also remember being tired all the time. These are all great ways to find peace and prayer always works!

  • Love these tangible suggestions! I especially appreciate that it isn’t all about letting your house stay messy and pampering yourself, which is what many advise moms to do under the guise of “taking care of yourself.” You hit the nail on the head that it is a balance. We need to take care of business, but we also need to set aside time for ourselves to refresh. One suggestion I’ll add is when you throw papers out, put them in a dark trash bag (or in the outside trash) so the kids don’t find them. I threw my husband under the bus more than once when my kids discovered their ‘treasures’ in the trash. “Oh, Dad must not have known how important that was”. 🙂

  • This piece is the recipe so many of us have been seeking and you laid it out in perfect fashion! Terrific job and I loved your advice in #6!

  • I don’t have any children, but these tips look very useful. Don’t expect perfection is very good one. You’ll only get frustrated if you’re looking for perfection. Great article on how to get organized and get everything in line!

  • Felt like you were talking to me all through this post. So much great encouragement. I really need tis today. Thanks much for uplifting us moms of younger kids who feel like we just can’t keep up!!

  • I LOVE this! You are speaking right to my heart! We are currently decluttering and I am trying like crazy to get organized and into good habits, so it doesn’t end up being such a “chore” but more of a habit. Thank you for this! I’m pinning this to pull out whenever I need it. Thank you!

  • Hi Beth! I think it’s the first time I dropped by your blog. I’m not a mom, but I have always admired them for the unpaid labor they do… a true labor of love! I think among the tips, it’s so unique that you put praying in the morning. It’s so much easier to get through the day wrestling with the chores but not going back to your core 🙂

    http://followyouroad.com

  • These are great tips!! I’m not a Mama yet, but I’m a newlywed who comes from a big family (I’m the oldest of ten!) so I know the truth to these tips! Still, it’s so refreshing to hear them in one place and order so succinctly… totally pinning this to come back to as a form of encouragement when I am “spinning my wheels” again.;)

  • Great tips! I find that the holidays are especially defeating when it comes to keeping things neat–mostly because so many family members are visiting/staying, and they create their own little messes ;). We’ve learned to do things like assign ‘parking spaces’ for visitors’ water cups on our window sill above the kitchen sink (name written on a piece of tape). That takes care of a HUGE clutter problem ;).