My eldest has started pre school this year, and my daily routine (such as it was!) has been shot to ribbons.
After being dressed and eating breakfast, the children were usually quite happy to amuse themselves for a few hours. Around 10 or 10:30 am they would be ready for a snack and some quality time with Mum- a story or a game... and I had learned that after this break in momentum I couldn't expect to do much in the way of housework any more. I would make an effort to get as much of it done first thing in the morning, while the children were fresh. I had set days for shopping, Mums & Tots (our church playgoup) etc.
Pre school has changed all that! When she has a morning session, it seems to be all I can do to get the children ready to leave on time. ( I do still make an effort to sit down to breakfast together and start the day with prayer and a Bible story.) Breakfast crumbs stay on the floor to be dealt with later, dishes stay on top of the bench until I get around to emptying the dishwasher... and we dash out of the door.
Once having delivered her to pre school, we have a few hours before we have to pick her up again. Sometimes we go and do our shopping. If I go home and try to do some housework, it just doesn't go as smoothly as it used to. For one thing, my 3 year old boy doesn't play quite as well on his own as when his sister is at home... (It is actually a great opportunity for some one-on one time with him, which takes priority over the dishes anyway!) By the time we pick her up, they have both got to the tired-and-grumpy-but-won't-have-an-afternoon-sleep stage, and dropping everything else to spend time with them is the best move.
Other things need to be fitted in on days that she doesn't have pre-school, leaving fewer hours in the week!
... In short, although I manage basic tasks like vaccuuming, washing dishes and keeping the living areas tidy, other things are getting out of hand. I never seem to be on top of the piles of washing and folding. The ironing pile is growing, and growing and growing. The kids' bedrooms are only superficially dealt with, and upstairs... well, no-one but us ever goes there, so it is low on the list of priorities.
The result is that I feel stressed, dissatisfied, irritable at anyone making more work, guilty at not doing more... One moment I can feel depressed: "I'm a failure as a homemaker, wife, and mother." The next I find myself making demands: "Why do I have to do all the work around here?"
While vaccuming the other day, I kept thinking of what it says about Jesus: For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. He wasn't a wife and the mother of two little messmakers, but he was tempted in all points like me!!! He knew what it was to be tempted to become discouraged, to have demands, to be anxious and stressed. Yet without sin!!
I looked the verse up, wanting to read it in context:
Hebrews 4 : 9-16
There remains therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. 12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened to the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Whether or not my house is spotless is not the main issue. What is important is that I enter into rest! May that be what my family taste from me as I go about my daily business.
And as regards housework, this thought came to me: main course first, dessert afterwards!! I have to get stuck into what needs to be done (like ironing!!!), and save what I like to do (scrapbooking, craft, spending time online) until the right time.!! No excuses! After all: God knows the thoughts and intents of the heart and all things are naked and opened to the eyes of him with whom we have to do!!