. When Life Becomes Overwhelming
How do you address a situation where:
1) a wife has to work full-time to provide insurance for a sick husband,
2) care for an elderly mother who at 93 has her own emergencies that become your emergencies (because other family members live out of town),
3) teach gospel doctrine; and,
4) try to be a mother to eight children and 23 grandchildren. Often there is no time left to “set in order” no matter how you try to “plan and prepare.”
My friend, I don’t know all your particular circumstances and surely cannot completely understand your stress. I’m assuming your husband is not working outside the home and that you are providing both income and insurance coverage. I’m also assuming your mother lives in her own residence, you contact her each day, and visit often her. I’d expect you teach Gospel Doctrine each Sunday. I’m also assuming your eight children are all grown, are independent, and live outside your home. From the situation as you have described it and my assumptions, I would like to offer several ideas for your consideration.
For our purposes, we will plan on you being away from the home for 50/hours week working and commuting. Is your husband well enough to do some of the housework, yard work, and laundry while you are gone, say one room a day and to fix dinner? If so, put him to work handling some simple household chores, the laundry, and preparing the evening meal. Make up a simple, Master Menu for Two to simplify your life.
Plan to take visit and take care of your mother every other day, except in the direst of emergencies. Family members that live out of town can take turns, by the month, of calling your mother each day to give her company. So Joan might be in charge of calling your mom during September and Fred handles October, and etc. Tell your mom you will call every day but will only plan to visit on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturdays to take care of her needs.
Plan Out the Week
Always plan out your week on paper. In addition, plan to prepare your lesson for next week on the afternoon/evening of this Sunday. Pare down a bit what energy you devote to preparation and rely more on competent attenders. Pick the eight best students in your class and plan to call on them on a rotating basis to contribute to the class. “I’ve asked Brother B to give us a summary of today’s reading assignments and make several comments regarding today’s lesson before I begin our discussion.”
Reach Out To Family
Plan to call your children on a rotating basis, one each day and three on the weekend (for example) to see how they are doing. If time is tight, try emailing them instead. Have a master calendar with everyone’s birthdays. If you buy gifts, buy them in one big shopping trip, twice a year, and wrap the gifts in bulk and label to whom they will go. Plan to mail them out on the Mondays, far enough in advance to arrive by their respective birthday.
Whenever possible, simplify, consolidate, and slow down. Avoid too many other commitments right now as you are full to the brim with responsibilities, but don’t skim on personal needs, personal primping, and personal renewal.
Hope these ideas will help!
Find more helpful ideas in my House of Order Handbook.
Photo from sxc.hu. Used with permission.