Being joyful when overwhelmed


Tell another Mother that they need more of that in their lives and you are likely to be attacked with bad looks.  Most moms that I know have piles of laundry that seem to never get done, they change diapers round the clock, they get less sleep than anyone I have ever met, and they are generally on overload most of the time.

So how is it that we as mothers can experience more joy in our lives?

Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.

― Marianne Williamson

In reading 1 Peter 1:6-7 it reminds us that we can be both joyful and overwhelmed at the same time:

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith,being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

In these verses Peter was writing to people who were rejoicing in spite of trying times.  This is something that we need to look at first

It is possible to experience joy and be overwhelmed at the same time.

We live in such comfort in this country that we come to expect freedom from hunger, sorrow, and too much work.  God sometimes uses pain, persecution, or difficult situations to bring His people closer together.  How is He going to do this if we avoid everything so that we won’t be overwhelmed?

Have you ever noticed that a mother of 2 can be just as overwhelmed as the mother of 10?  This should tell us that it does not matter how many children that you have, even though having more certainly does bring about more work, but rather it is about our attitudes towards having them.

If our attitudes do not line up with Christ, then it can cause us to be overwhelmed.  If in the back of our minds, we are harboring thoughts of what if…..what if we spaced our children farther apart…what if we didn’t choose to have so many…what if we stopped altogether…..maybe we could cope better.

But God does not give us more than we can bear if we rely on Him.  It just doesn’t fit the description of God.  Why would He create a child and then swamp the mother with so much work that she didn’t have the time or the ability to properly raise him?

I know that God has each of us in different places in our lives and some He has called to have large families, others He has not, but what I am trying to convey is that it is about our attitudes of the heart not whether we have 2 children or 10.

I often think of people in other countries who have families and how difficult it must be to just complete the daily tasks for the day without all of the modern conveniences that we have available to us. Doing something as simple as washing the clothing, could possibly take an entire day to do.  Especially if they had to walk a distance to get the water.  Then as we look at doing laundry and sometimes it does take all day, but we are washing 100 times the amount of clothing.  Thank God for a washer and dryer to do all that in.

All of us Mothers have times when we feel overwhelmed.  There are times when even when night time rolls around we are still trying to get tasks done for the day.

There are certain tasks that need to get done and there is just no way around it.  If I see that I have too many tasks on the agenda, I make a list of what needs to be done.  I might scratch off those tasks that aren’t going to hurt anyone if they don’t get done, even if they seem important to me.  Maybe my refrigerator hasn’t been wiped out in months.  Maybe those windows have been smeared with fingerprints  for most all of the season. It is okay to let some things go.  I am sure your family would rather have a mother who wasn’t worn out and tired than one who got everything done and was short and snippy each day.

Some husbands prefer their wives to have their tasks completed so that when they return home from work they are able to sit and relax together.   Others don’t mind if their wives are bustling around sometimes creating more chaos.  This will be a personal choice whether you choose to be done or keep working.

An area that you can cut corners with is food.  It is better to be a happy mom than one who serves desserts or time consuming meals.  If you are busy, keep your meals simple.  There will always be another day when you can bake cookies to save for another day.

Keep your lunches simple.  Heat up some refried beans and put on tortillas with some cheese.  A quick and easy lunch.  If you serve with some apple slices you can even get away with not serving on any plates.  Use napkins.  Make clean up easy.  If you are constantly feeling busy, you need to lower your standards in order to find time for the more important things.

Remember when you get a day that isn’t so busy take the time to do something out of the ordinary.  Take your children to the park for the day.  Pack a simple lunch and just let them play.  Join in with them and play.  It will make you feel rejuvenated especially if you have been stuck in a house with a crying baby.

Sometimes it helps to tell the children, if you help me finish baking on Wednesday then Thursday we will be able to goto the park for the afternoon.  Include them in your tasks, life shouldn’t be overwhelming especially with a house full of willing hands.

It helps to set up certain times to get normal household tasks completed in a week.  I used to feel like I had to have everything done and my house spic and span and then I could enjoy myself.  I was a wreck trying to get it all done.  Now I ration out my chores for the week and then I do them on the specified day.  Sometimes that means I have to endure looking at dust covering my television and tables.  I know that I will eventually get to it that week, just not going to stress about it today.  If you want more information on how I organize my weeks look at large family organizing.

Another area that is important to watch out for is lack of discipline.  Maybe the reason we can’t keep up is because we like to sleep in or we go to town too often.  If this is the case, we need to change our ways.  We are called to be keepers at home, that doesn’t mean that we spend the majority of our time away from the home.

Sometimes that might mean that we need a quick cat nap in the afternoon to help keep up.  It is better to leave some work undone and take care of ourselves than to drag on to the last drop of energy.  But if we are reading an interesting book instead of getting our work done, than that is a different story.  We need to be mature enough ourselves  to discipline and work and rest and accordingly.

Remember, sometimes we  are just not going to have it “all together.”  It happens to all of us.  It isn’t a lack of faith or poor management.  It is part of having a family or having too many irons in the fire.  We have to look at the big picture daily or we will definitely not be joyful.  We need to constantly remind ourselves that God will not give us more than we can handle if we keep our priorities straight.


Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys. If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it.
Fyodor Dostoevsky

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