April 19, 2024

How to stop feeling overwhelmed as a homemaker

Written by: Tahnee Wientjes

Do you feel overwhelmed as a homemaker living in survival mode? Discover how to build character and resilience for a peaceful home.

Table of Contents

Feeling like you’re in survival mode

I have been a full-time homemaker for more than 10 years. I understand the overwhelming feeling when the sink is full of dirty dishes, laundry baskets are overflowing, and at the end of the day, the messy living room needs a good decluttering session. The to-do list seems endless and you just want some peace in your daily life. But you just lack the energy and motivation to tackle it all.

This sounds like survival mode to me. Take a deep breath and read on, there’s some helpful encouragement coming up. It will help you take the first step in taking care of your home and family again.

From practical to character-forming

What I often see, is fellow homemakers who share their well-meaning advice for the overwhelmed homemaker on social media. But, they focus solely on the practical side of homemaking. Let me explain what I mean by that.

Tips like meal planning, doing a load of laundry every day, plan your grocery shopping trips so you can make several freezer meals can be very helpful, but they can also add to the feeling of overwhelm for the already overwhelmed homemaker. This may be true for the new homemaker, seasoned full-time homemaker, and stay-at-home mom, but also for the working mom.

You may get even more overwhelmed by all these tips, because you feel like “If only I could… meal plan/ declutter the living room/ do a load of laundry every day, etc.”. The “if only” steals away from what you can do right now.

Growing character through challenges

You know they say that diamonds are formed under high pressure. While I don’t want to sound cheesy here, indeed, hard times are usually the times that will shape us into who we are.

When days are smooth and there is not a lot to worry about it’s easy to be patient and cheerful. But when you haven’t had a good night’s sleep in weeks, things will be a lot more difficult.

It’s those days that are hardest when it comes to forming character. But, these days can also be the strongest in your homemaking journey as they can be character-forming.

One character trait that we all need is patience. And patience may be the hardest to form. When you have young children to care for it may be hard to get into a daily routine. When there’s no routine you need to constantly adapt to the situation. You may have less time to do what you feel needs to get done.

So there’s a constant priority shift that requires adaptability and patience until the hard work gets done.

Shifting your focus from trying do to a lot of things to setting top priorities requires that you need to know where your priorities are.

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Strength in Community and Support

There are a lot of fellow homemakers out there who can be of great support. It may be inspiring to you to follow others who share their homemaking journeys online. However do keep in mind that whatever they share on social media, these are just snippets of their day.

Also, your season of life might be different from theirs. So, know your boundaries of when inspiration ends and frustration starts for you.

There may be older women who can help you on your homemaking journey. They have been in the season of life you’re in right now. An older woman might be able to tell you what is normal and where your expectations should be. Don’t be afraid to ask; their words of wisdom might just be what you need.

Perhaps there are family members that can help and advise you. A best friend might be able to offer a hand during a busy day.

Keep your focus on the big picture, not all the daily tasks that need to be done. We’re trying to form character, not work our way through a list of things.

Embracing imperfection

I will share some examples that cause many homemakers to feel overwhelmed. I hope you can relate to some of them and that these examples give you some assurance that you’re not the only one. The purpose of the list is not to give you a checklist and see how overwhelmed you may be, but rather for you to find examples you can relate to.

You do your best to maintain a structured routine throughout the day. You schedule your daily tasks in the morning and aim to have a clean house by noon. However, the truth is that you are unable to complete most of your household tasks. By the end of the day, the entire house feels like a big mess and there is still a lot of unfinished work left to do.

You are a mother of two young children and have very little free time. You make an effort to divide your daily tasks into manageable ones, but time management is not your strong suit. You often find yourself jumping from one task to another. For example, you might plan on starting the washing machine, but on your way to the washing machine, you find 10 other things to do. This habit of jumping from task to task is preventing you from completing different things.

It’s 11 p.m. and you open the drawer to get some clean clothes for the next morning. You find the drawer to be empty. Your alarm will go off at 6.00 am and there’s no way you can wash, dry, and iron a new set of clothes for a new workday. Why do these everyday tasks and household chores never end? All you want is a life with less stress, but you feel these homemaking tasks just drag you down.

These are the hard days. It’s hard to have a very structured day and even the seemingly manageable tasks seem to take a lot of time and energy.

This season of life is very demanding in specific areas. It’s not beneficial to add more tasks of the same category. For example, if laundry is hard to keep up with, it’s not beneficial to try to implement a whole new laundry routine. You can buy all the matching laundry baskets and still feel overwhelmed. So what’s one to do then?

Because this is such a busy and demanding season of life it’s best to focus on the areas that you can change. Let’s see what there’s to change so you don’t feel overwhelmed as a homemaker as much.

Focus on building character

Now that we’ve distinguished between practical advice and building character, let’s see how we can shift our focus from the hard things to the next thing: character.

The next time you find yourself on a hard day, determine what you are struggling with.

Do you get angry quickly? Do you feel like you’re never able to do all the tasks on your own? Do you feel frustrated by a lack of resources?

Find out what it is that makes you feel overwhelmed. It’s usually not the tangible pile of laundry or dishes in the sink. Rather is the way you deal with hard things.

Maybe you need more patience, perseverance, joyfulness, gentleness. These are all character traits that you can practice. View these hard days as training days, not as struggles to work your way through.

If you see these moments as a way to train yourself in the right things. You can form a habit of patience, gentleness, etc. You will give yourself training moments daily. This will greatly benefit you and your family in the long run.

Christian advice for the overwhelmed homemaker

If you’re a Christian homemaker you can draw great comfort from the word of God. Numerous scripture passages can help you focus on the eternal rather than this life here on earth.

Know that God’s grace is sufficient for you (2 Corinthians 12:9) and that the Lord knows your every struggle and weakness.

Make sure you read a passage of scripture first thing in the morning, even if it’s just one verse. Christian women, be an encouragement to another sister. Share your advice and be understanding.

Lastly, I want to end with a special note to the older women. You know that life can be overwhelming and days be discouraging. Be there for the younger women and advise them. Lift them in prayer.

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