by Brandi Schunk
I am going through a big season of change right now, adding on work both in the home and outside of the home. As I was poring over my schedule and calendar, trying to figure out how to carve out an extra thirty two hours a week, it occurred to me: this was going to take a lot of teamwork, and it was time to bring my family into the conversation.
As mothers in this current time, I think we have a tendency to feel that we should be able to do it all. And indeed, a lot of responsibility tends to fall on us, especially as homeschooling moms; even more so if we have a job, too. I understand how easy it is to feel that we are failures if we aren’t getting it all done while still looking bright and beautiful for our husbands at the end of their work day. (June Cleaver, anyone)? I felt a burden to do everything for everyone and to do it perfectly. What I’ve found is that that vision is pretty much unattainable on my own and leads to burnout and resentment. Like the Proverbs 31 woman, what I need is a team.
It’s a good thing God gave us a built-in team: our family.
You see, in order to achieve big goals, it takes everyone working together, along with communication. When expectations are set and everyone has a role to play, when the vision is shared and everyone sees how they benefit, when there is a light at the end of the tunnel, a reason for sacrifice, suddenly it is easier for everyone to get on board.
So I called a family meeting.
I showed my family the list I had made of all of my current responsibilities and assigned an amount of time to each. I totaled how many hours are in a week and subtracted the time for each task. I was left with zero time and I hadn’t even included doing the dishes or a few other odds and ends. When our children saw this, they got really quiet. We talked about our financial goals as a household, my reason for going back to work, and let them know that this is only until the fall. We promised them little treats along the way, maybe an allowance, and let them see that excursions with them was a part of the list of mom’s commitments.
And then I asked the question, “What are you able and willing to do to help out?”
Doing the dishes and picking up toys may not be the most fun things to do but now our children have an understanding of why it is so important that they complete these chores. I also communicate with them daily, throughout the day, about our schedule. “I am going to be working in my home office for two hours and then I will take you for a walk.” When they know that time and attention and fun are coming, they can relax and (mostly) give me space to work. They know that if they want the reward, they need to contribute and do their chores.
In the end everyone wins and we feel more cohesive as a team.
If you are in a season of struggle and feeling like you can’t do it all, maybe it’s time to call a family meeting. Bring everyone in for a huddle, encourage everyone’s contribution of ideas, and work together as a team to win in this season of life.
You’ve got this! And God’s got you.
Brandi Schunk is a homeschooling, homesteading, working wife and mama of two.