About the Author

Angie is the proud wife of Todd Smith of Selah, and the blessed mommy to Abby, Ellie, Kate, Charlotte, and Audrey Caroline, who passed away the day she was born, April 7th, 2008. Angie was inspired to write Audrey's story, and began the blog www.audreycaroline.blogspot.com in honor of her. You...

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  1. I could have written this exact same thing, today actually. Thanks Angie for keeping it real!!

  2. this made me laugh – at least the swivel thing anyway. i think it’s so important for moms to be honest with each other and say – my house is a wreck and i feel like i’m drowning. because we all feel like that sometimes. and i learned, kind of the hard way, that we. must. rest. guilt-free. we are better moms if we are rested. and playing with kids is better than making sure the barbie carcasses are picked up. if it makes you feel any better, i’m sitting here reading your work, dirty dishes in the sink, while i am supposed to be putting on make up to go to work!

  3. I loved your post. I am currently in the season of raising a 16 and 15 year old boys. Each season is different beyond words. As a christian I am and have tried to imbrace each season walking with God and enjoying each minute. I must say this is the hardest season by far. They are growing into Godly men and I miss the kid things. I know you feel overwhelmed at times but remember there is a mom in Texas that would love to go back even for just one day to where you are right now with your kids. Enjoy each minute time does not just go by fast it is seriousy like a snap. By the way my mom is known as the gadget queen.

  4. Sounds to me like you are hard on yourself. Well, that would be me too. I am super hard on myself and when that happens things get blown out of preportion. Really you probably have some days when you feel more “together”. So when we are having one of those days. Rest in your Lord and let it be and realize this too shall pass. Tomorrow may be a day when things look better. You know, seasons can come where we feel this way for a bit of time, but usually it is when we are busy. I know you are busy right now so just remind yourself that this is a season. Be patient and kind to yourself. Treat yourself like you would treat your friend. Oh and remember that “one better” thing. I LOVE it! Abide in your Lord my friend and things will look better now matter what!!! He is where it’s at!

  5. Did you read my mind? hahaha I struggle with feeling like I can’t keep up now yet, when I worked full time after having my first, I kept up fine. Everything is always messier now that we are home all day. How do I cope? HOnestly, I shut down. Isn’t that terrible? I sit and read or watch tv. That usually lasts for a day (or sometimes two when it is REALLY bad) and than I’m ready to tackle it all and I always find it takes much less time than I thought! My theme word this year is “Simplify” so each month I’ve focused on differant areas and have tried to find ways to simplify that area (i.e. creating a family recipe binder to make planning meals easier; creating a home management journal; finally setting up my jewlery so I can actually see what I have etc) No, there is no “easy” way to live simply but I think that if our lives are organized and things have an order, it will be easier to keep up. I’ve found, in the things that are done, that it is ture. Not perfect, but true. (Trust me, I’ve sat in the chair reading A LOT lately! ha!)

  6. Oh Y-E-S, how I understand!
    It is always so life producing for me when God shows Himself admist the sticky handprints, scattered books, baskets of laundry & sink full of dishes. It is like my opportunity to “wash feet” awaits me each and everyday! When I choose to take down my self-pity (I’m the center of the universe) lenses… putting on His (self sacrificial- become less to become more) lenses… I begin to see each of things as opportunities of praise. Oh,….. to die to myself daily! Thank you God for the evidence of Joyful thriving husband & children!

    Always a pleasure to read your heart, Angie & to laugh out loud along side you!

  7. I know this feeling too Angie.
    I love Ann Voskamp and I remember this the most . . “life is not an emergency”.
    And it has really helped. Really.
    Leave the dishes for a moment, just be. No rush.
    I use Tsh Oxenreider’s goal of just getting the three MIT (most important things) done.
    And if I can’t, I remember that “life is not an emergency”.
    I intentionally try to find “simple” in all things complicated and messy.
    Including dishes!
    It usually works.
    Just keep your eyes on Him.
    I know you do.
    Love and blessings to you Angie! Enjoy your day! No emergencies! 🙂

  8. Hi Angie! I know exactly how you feel. I have been given the blessing of having 7 children. We only have 6 (oldest 12, youngest 16 mos.) with us now as one went home to be with the Lord early in his life. Every time I look around I see clutter and mess everywhere. And like you I remind myself it is a season. I am thankful to all my mom friends who were once where I am and could give me that reassurance especially when I see the transformation of what some of their homes looks like now. It offers me hope. And we’re a homeschool family which really magnifies the mess. So often I cry out to God, “Lord please help me to get rid of all this stuff!! If you were to call me away from my home and onto the mission field elsewhere, how much of this would I really need and only take?” Then there is a quiet assurance from Him that says, “Its okay. Do your best. You are doing what’s most important. Do your part and I will take care of the rest.” He also reminds me that during the school year there isn’t much time to focus on deep cleaning and decluttering. So I have my children help me tidy up so we have at least one area of my home that’s enjoyable and comfortable. We focus on the living room and dining room since they connect. And I keep the foyer area free of excess clutter and shoes. Because these areas are what others see first, these areas become the main focus and hopefully they won’t remember or really notice the other stuff. As long as my home is warm, inviting and loving. It has taken me a long time to come to this point. It is only because of the confidence of who I am in Him and because my husband and I are raising 6 children. This is real life happening in real time. I often stop and think of what is most important and keep surrendering it to God. The other day I was walking from the living room through the dining room when I stubbed my toe on yet another toy. I looked at my husband and yelled, “I am so sick and tired of all this junk! I want to just through it all out to the curb and let bulk trash come and collect it. Then my life would be a lot simpler! Then I will be able to mange my home better!” One of my boys was standing behind me at that point and my husband was before me and we just all laughed so hard. So the Swivel-Sweeping Gadget Thingy sounds wonderful but in my house it will be another thing added and something else to store somewhere. I think a simple broom and dust pan and vacuum cleaner is so much simpler and it still works! Hope this helps!
    Blessings to you!

  9. Oh my word girl…were you sitting in my living room at 3AM watching that info-mercial?
    You just wrote my truth in about 300 words.
    And I don’t have any real answers, except pass the M&M’s and lets pray for each other and laugh.

    I’ll be over at about 5pm for that roasted chicken thing. Sounds divine! 🙂

  10. GET IT!! The swivel-sweeping thing. Every mother should have one. I’m on my second one and have given them to my daughter and daughter-in-law. You can get them at drug stores and home improvement stores. Kids even like using them and when kids help that always make mom’s life easier. But easier is a relative term. You might have to get 3 then give each of the older girls one and go sit on the porch.

  11. I feel like this could have been written just for me! I feel, a lot of the time, that I’m the only one whose house smells like Graham crackers and urine, so thank you for letting me know I’m not alone! I will come back and read everyone’s nice comments when I have a few moments. : )

  12. I agree with Danelle……..it’s about choices and expectations. Your children will not be there long…mine are out of my nest now, and there’s not much mess, except the ones I make. But I miss them. So step back and look at the big picture and get the MIT done, then play with/sit with/create with/read with your kids…they will REMEMBER that…not how spotless your house was! Organize them, and get the jobs done, then play. But don’t burden them with your expectations…make good enough, good enough. Training them to have order and cleanliness can’t start too soon, but don’t make it the top priority over loving them.
    And yes, take time for yourself and for resting…..so important in being geared up for every day!!!

    Suzanne

    • Suzanne is so right. The day will come and they will be gone, and you will miss the times you had with them. My youngest (18) is preparing to move away to go to school at the end of this month and my next one (20) is finishing school soon and will be moving out with his fiance and baby.
      Funny thing is, I have replaced those mess makers with the 4 legged kind!
      Bernice
      What we REALLY want for Mothers Day

  13. …because I think my MIL bought me that swivel thing for Christmas, and we managed to break it shortly thereafter 🙂

  14. You know I’m sitting here with a sink full of dirty dishes too. But I’m drinking my coffee, reading my favorite blogs and listening to my kids play and actually get along for once! I’ve been a stay at home mom for 8 years…I have an 8 year old and a 3 year old so my life is not as hectic as others. I do homeschool my son but we’re done for the year. I used to be obsessed with the house being in perfect order all of the time and I’d work from sun up to, well, well past dark and I kid you not, within two hours of being up the next day, it would look like I had done nothing! It drove me insane! But, I was blessed with the most wonderful and supportive husband that has spent years urging me to take time for myself. He doesn’t care what the house looks like. He could come in from work with stuff strewn from one end to the other and he wouldn’t even notice it! It’s been recent but I have learned not to stress about it. I’m not going to live my life obsessed with it and miss all the wonderful things me and my kids get to do when I’m not focused on the house. So, I devote an hour here and maybe an hour there to cleaning and let the rest go. I rotate so everything does get clean and I do dishes once a day, and one load of laundry. That’s it. I’m done with wasting my life obsessing over my house. It was hard at first because looking at a mess made me feel stressed out but I have learned to step over it too! (Oh, and I have made my kids a chore chart for cleaning up their messes. They’re still learning but they’re doing pretty good. Life is short here on earth and your kids and husband are more important so relax and spend some time with them instead.

    • It is so awesome that you have reached that place where you are okay with a level of what is good enough. We need to stop beating ourselves up thinking that everyone else is superwoman and we are not. Most of us are not and we wear our selves out trying to make sure that no one else realizes it!
      Bernice

  15. I know the feeling! I usually feel like this at the end of day after a full day’s hard work. And what I realise is, things always look better in the morning after having some rest. I think the best thing to do when feeling like this is to leave all the mess and put your feet up. When you are rested you discover that its actually not as bad!
    I dont have any answers to how to make it simpler. I think about all I do and wonder which one is not really necessary. I feel they are all important so I must continue to do them and juggle them and trust in the Lord for strength and learn from other women of God like you!

  16. Angie,

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. Life is to short to worry about all the little things!
    It won’t hurt to just stop and enjoy life for a few minutes.

    One of those “make life easier” gadgets would come in handy at times when life gets crazy.

  17. Heh, heh. Yes, most mothers have been there. I’ve struggled with the exact issue for years. Two things have helped me corral it: http://www.flylady.net and more recently, my husband and I agreed that each evening after dinner, we would break the family into three teams. One cleans the dinner mess up completely, one tidies up the common areas of the upstairs (bathrooms, living room, sunporch) and one team tidies up the basement (family/play room). At least once a day everything is put away and we’re back to clean. For a few minutes. And somehow, it’s easier to keep it picked up a little better during the day knowing that it’s recently been clean and was clean just last night. It’s pretty peaceful and pretty manageable. We only learned that trick after years of frustration, and finally, praying together about it. Why do I wait so long to pray about things? LOL! And I’d give my left arm to relive a couple days just five years ago even. It is bittersweet to watch them grow. (Oh, and take care of yourself. Get up a few minutes early and sit somewhere with a cup of your favorite tea or coffee or whatever you like, and just pamper yourself! Then smile broadly before you face your babies! It helps get the day off to a good start!)

  18. Love it! I’m only beginning to see what this life is like, as my son is only 14 months old, and I’m already overwhelmed. I suppose it’s comforting and reassuring to know that it’s NORMAL and that it, too, is just a phase.

    Keep praying!

  19. Angie,

    You asked: What do you do when you feel like you can’t “catch up?”

    Sweet Sister, you answered your own question! . . . “when I just want to breathe and sit still for just one second?”

    Do it!!

    Breathe. . . inhale. . . Go to a quiet place. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply. Inhale and just rest. . . and feel. . . and listen. Wait for His presence to envelope you like a fragrance diffuses into the air. Let Him awash you in the healing aroma of His presence.

    We only have the moment. . . to squander in frustration, or to melt into momentary peace that passes understanding. . . . and no, you won’t get it all finished. . . because then there would be no reason to live!!!

    So live. . . breathe. . . enjoy this day, too!!!

    Shari Popejoy

  20. I can so relate! And this has been something I’ve been trying to figure out too…especially being 8 month pregnant {a.k.a. exhausted) and wondering how in the world I can do it all with one more little bundle of love {who I can’t wait to meet} in the mix. But seriously the last few days I’ve realized that when I am the most frustrated it’s toward the end of the day, I’m tired…everything is everywhere, everyone needs something, the dinner dishes are taking over my kitchen, the laundry is still on the couch, {my word, if anyone just happened to “drop by” I would be completely mortified} plus, my energy is totally, completely gone. It seems like hours and hours of work that I could never do. The reality is, that if I am in the right frame of mind, without kids, I can usually get it done in about an hour. So the last few mornings, I’ve been trying to get up an hour before the rest of the family, put on some worship music, put on the coffee and see how much I can get done. This has helped me feel like at least something is done at the start of the day…so even if nothing else gets done for the whole rest of the day I feel like it’s ok. I know this doesn’t work for every schedule or every season, but it has been helpful to me right now. 🙂

    • Thank you for sharing this! I am also expecting another with the same emotions of excitement and wondering how in the world I will do it and we just moved across the country. I’ve been so worn out and overwhelmed with just regular keeping up with the kids and meals, etc. while still trying to unpack everything. By the end of the day everything is such a mess and I have no energy left! I am going to take your advice and try to get up a little earlier in the mornings. I always feel like I need to wake up to the house being ready for the day before new craziness occurs but if I can even get a little done from the day before that morning then it will be an improvement. Even just those few quiet moments might be what I need! I’m grateful to have a home and for it to be full of “joyful mess” from my blessings but Angie’s article and everyone’s comments have been an encouragement tonight that I am not alone in the overwhelmed side of it all!

  21. As a grandmother, I remember back to those days of kids and a dog. There were days when I couldn’t wait to talk to someone who was taller than four feet and spoke in complete sentences. Truly treasuring those days comes when they are gone, which is to be expected. And they are definitely worth it! A few years ago, still in the midst of some chaos and clutter, I discovered FLY LADY. FLY stands for Finally Loving Yourself. She has a website flylady.net. There I learned about decluttering, shining my sink, anyone can do anything for 15 minutes, etc. I can’t tell you the difference it has made in my life of organizing my home and time. If only she had been around back then!

  22. Oh my. I think you just read my mind. I went all Disney Princess in my husband this morning lamenting about hot it was all just too much. I flanged my head down on the table dramatically while he quietlynput away the dishes and asked if it grandma was about to fall off the roof (which is code for “Are you about to start your period?”)

    We’re trying to sell our house so I feel like I’m cleaning all the time. School is ending, the kids are struggling, I’m contemplating homeschooling next year and thinkning I’m crazy for even considering it, I’m writing a book, I’m working on freelance assignments, I’mslowly but surely losing my mind…

    So really, I need to ask you- how are YOU doing it? 🙂

  23. Great post! I now have two in college and one still at home and I keep a little boy 3-4 days a week. This week, it started getting the best of me…maybe because college girlmis vomi g home this week or because our weekends have been too busy….I don’t know. Regardless there are a couple mod tricks I use. 1) I use a laundry basket and go through the house. If things do not belong in the room I am in, they go in the basket. Next room, put anything in the basket that belongs in that room away and repeat process of taking things that don’t belong in that room and put them in the basket. Let’s be honest, someday things only go in the basket, they come out another time. This keeps me from getting side tracked as I go to put up that one thing in another room. 2). I use a calendar to keep us orderly. I fnd that if I look at a whole week at a time I can see where we are over scheduled. When I don’t (like last week) we get too much going on and there is little time for down time or family time. This also makes me commit to thenthings I love and not say yes to the things I feel guilted into doing. 3). Beds made. Amazing how that keeps a room looking clean. 4). Some days are okay to be mom and not get then stuff done. Eat the leftovers. Go to bed early and start over again the next day with a different perspective. 5). Cry to your girlfriends!!!! They get it! They do not judge you. They will stand beside you.

  24. I have to agree with the suggestions that have been posted too- Flylady is good, but she also doesn’t address the sheer exhaustion of the stage we call ‘Toddler Maintenance’. Her system assumes that no one’s trailing along after you, trashing the place you’ve just cleaned. What’s helped the most here is Tish’s 3 MIT’s- so that I *know* that the Most Important Things got done. Today, it’s grocery shopping, the bank, and getting clothes and stuff ready for the band concert tonight.

    And then the other piece of advice, from which I can’t remember the book right now, but the plan is to do the Minimum Maintenance. Figure out what *has* to be done, for your house not to be condemned, and be satisfied with that. For us, it’s the kitchen and bathrooms clean, laundry done, (but not folded or put away, necessarily) and dinner on the table. There are spare pets growing along the baseboards right now, and my children wear mismatched socks, because they choose not to pair socks (I have teens), but we’re clean and fed, and the kitchen and bathrooms aren’t disgusting. And the schooling gets done. And that’s OK right now. I have given myself permission that it’s OK. And that’s the secret. Lower your standards for this season, and tighten up when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. If your friends love you, they’ll come anyway, and not judge. If they’re really good friends, they’ll pitch in!

  25. I hear ya! I vented much of the same frazzled mom frustration in my last blog post. I have not magic solution for you…although God sometimes meets us out on that front porch and reminds us to keep running the race.

  26. You are speaking to my heart. I heard myself think that I don’t want to be the parent to my son anymore yesterday, a thought that has stuck with me all day, to my shame. I don’t know how much longer I can keep up with his needs and temper and everything else; my reservoir is almost dry. I need help, a new mind, more patience, a better heart. I know God is supposed to be sufficient, but I can’t feel or hear Him in the middle of this noise!

    Send a little prayer for me, that I can know the path I need to be on, and that God helps me hold on each and every day with wisdom and love. I love my children so much, they deserve more than I seem to be able to give them!

    • Hang in there Barbara! You need to have some time away from your precious children. Is there a friend or family member that could help you out? A couple of days get away would be even better, but do not feel badly that you have these emotions. They are a natural part of continual giving and you just need some time to be filled up again. Do not be ashamed, but realize that you are only feeling the same thing that every mother ever alive has felt. I am praying that you will be enveloped by His love and strengthened through the hands of others. It is very evident that you love your children & I would venture to say that you are probably a wonderful momma. Take some time for yourself, sweet sister, even if it is just a drive around in the car to get a break.

    • Barbara, I have had the same thoughts! I know how you feel. I am a temporarily single mom ( Husband in jail for the next 3 years at least) of 3 boys, one of which is ADHD ( therefore temper is a huge problem too).I am also disabled due to Lupus, so really exausted alot of the time and struggling with how to remain consistent in discipline and training of my children. Remember that God will never give you more than you can handle ( though that never means you are intended to handle it ALONE – it goes along with doing all things through Christ) and He does have “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope.”

  27. My advice is to realize that you will never “catch up.” We are growing, learning, and motherhood is a process about much more than getting something “done.” I try to make peace with the messed and to-dos and realize why I truly do these things, remembering that my house is a place of function not show. I try to do something I just like to do each day. I have found that I am often overwhelmed and stressed when I forget what these shallow desires are reflecting: my deepest desire for HIM.

  28. Angie, you are precious! Everything you said in your post is true. My children are older now ~ 10, 14 & 15~ and there are days (many) that I still say the same thing to myself. The obstacles have changed, but the feelings of being overwhelmed have not. When I am overwhelmed there are two things I have found that help. One is to make a list of everything that I can possibly think of that is floating around in my head that is causing me to be anxious. This will range from taking time to call my mom to ironing, to getting my three cats to the vet for their shots. I don’t know why, but it just helps me to get it all down on paper. Maybe because it gets it out of my head. The second thing that I do is I go through each one and pray over them using Phil. 4:6 & 7

    “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

    God will usually help me to gain perspective on my “to do” list. If you have to strap the kiddos in your car and drive around so you can actually pray ~ it is ok. I don’t know the age of your kiddos, but one thing I used to do is go through the drive- thru of a McDonald’s that had a playland and order our food. Then I would park and we would all go inside. This way the kiddos don’t have to wait in line for the food, I have all my straws and napkins and we could just walk into the playland ready to eat. You will make it through this time! Praying that your day is filled with His peace & joy!

  29. Funny that you mention the front porch…because that is exactly where I find myself when I just need a bit of escape! I think it’s a great way to cope, regroup and take a deep breath in order to re-enter the hard work of motherhood.

    I spent so many years trying to “hold it all together” and actually be that ‘perfect’ person I thought I was supposed to attain. When I finally let go and let it all fall apart, such freedom and rest from the self-imposed pressure has been a gift, even in the midst of loss and pain. None of us has arrived. In different seasons, we may attain a moment of balance and bliss…but that too will pass. Accepting that what I can do is enough and that God will have to fill in the gaps makes it possible for me to rest in Him.

    You’re not alone. Your neighbors probably think you’re so on top of it you get to relax on your porch! I wish I could join you there –

    http://farfromflawlesslife.blogspot.com/2011/01/enough.html

    • Missy, I just read your blog from above – we are so close to the same situation! I am thankful to see that I am not alone, and that God is providing answers for you! Thank you for the encouragement that ” God will fill in the gaps”.

  30. I am in the middle of raising twins age 15 who recently decided they need this or that. Can we go there? The whole thought of them driving nearly sent me into a panic attack. But I have come to realize and believe me it has taken a very very long time to get here, that this season will pass and there are moments when we say I need to be with them where they are. Forget the lists, the cleaning, (hard for me being in ahouse of men), the cooking and just breathe. My boys and hubby have come to see that I want to be involved with them if only for a minute before the rest of our lives reminds us it is waiting. The housework will still be there! Don’t be so hard on yourself. Follow your heart. I loved the whole swivel thing…that just made me laugh.

    Blessings

  31. Every time I get to the point where I wonder why I should go back inside to the mess {stress} and try to get it all done, something happens. It’s a smile, a hug, an amazing moment with one of the kids. And when that moment happens, I am reminded that yes, all this chaos and feeling like I’ll never be caught up on housework, it’s all worth it. Those moments are what keep me going.

  32. this was me yesterday. (and other days too). i actually had a small meltdown in the afternoon over it as well since the following events compounded the everyday events. my 6yr old boy LOVES to play with other kids and so as much as i was thinking of playmates for him, none were available. his 32mo old brother still naps in the afternoon so we couldn’t go to the mom’s group i enjoy so much where there are lots of kids his age to play with. anyway, my youngest boy decided to have a solid b/m after a day with none and 2 prior days of diareha. so 10 minutes is all it took in the brand new diaper to go, then after having successfully gettin rid of that mess, 5 min later another bigger and more foul diaper had to be changed. this is when i realised i only had one mre diaper left until my husband got home after 6. i started telling myself all kinds of lies and became overwhelmed.

    thank-you for sharing as it truely made me know that i am not alone.

    my prayer is that the entire community of moms out in the world will take comfort in god in some manner. whether it be listening to praise and worship, digging into the word, listening to a message, calling a friend for encouragement or praying a simple prayer asking for help. one of the most common lies we as women and mothers often tell ourselves is that we are the only ones and noone else will appreciate or understand our situation. i heard something about a week ago that makes so much sense now. “if someone rejects you, they are rejecting jesus, and if they are rejecting jesus, they are rejecting the one who sent him” (this is in scripture i just don’t remember where)

    p.s. i know all too well about finding a place that doesn’t smell of urine too ;o)
    as well, i stopped watching infomercials long ago when i found myself wanting way too much ‘stuff’. i started to see the sneaky ways they make it look so easy and worth having. this is my one must-have that is not an infomercial because it requires so little money to buy and maintain: http://www.rawnutrition.ca/html/pump-n-seal.html?gclid=CNnE6vzW4qgCFYEUKgodJ1wkHg

  33. Not sure what kind of advice I have…I was questioning whether this was something I’d written myself – HA! I face this kind of thing almost everyday. I’ll walk into rooms and just want to cry at the mess my kids have made because it exhausts me just to think about cleaning it up – or to painstakingly instruct & supervise *them* to clean it up piece. by. piece. It’s especially bad when we’ve been in our home for 4 years and I still have a couple of rooms to redecorate. It was my grandparent’s home, and I’ve still struggled with feeling like I’m living in *my grandparent’s home*, and haven’t been able to completely make it my own (for various reasons, namely money & having another baby). That, on top of clutter and mess and not getting the ever-running list(s) crossed off, I often find myself feeling out -of-control and helpless. But then I’m reminded that I *should* be….because I need to let go and let God take control. To realize that yes – we’re human and fragile and emotional and while it’s okay & normal to feel that momentarily- don’t stay there. You can’t get caught up in it. Feel it…let it go…get on with the day. *That’s all*. HA. We all know it’s not always that easy, but it IS that simple, ya know?! HIS yoke is easy, and HIS burden is light! Now I need to go take that advice as I have a garage sale to get ready for that starts tomorrow that I’m not at all ready for. And a church women’s event to volunteer for tonight. And a grocery list to make. And 2 weeks worth of ‘homework’ for our Bible study to get done for Sunday. Find time to *go to* the grocery store. Clean up the 3yo’s current mess. Etc, etc, etc. (And PS – I *LOVE* the Swivel Sweeper! Lifesaver for the kitchen crumbies and quickie clean-ups!)

  34. I was awake most of the night overwhelmed with life last night too. I prayed asking God why do I get so caught up in this and not shut off? What do I do to overcome this “Type-A” super-mom thing I have going on? He said, “Ask for help.” So I did. I sent an e-mail today asking several friends to help me get our new house ready to move into. I asked for someone to watch my daughter so I wasn’t worrying about where she is or what she’s doing. And He’s answering through them.

  35. oh ya, about the verse. (i lost my train of thought there). i thought it made sense from a place where if i am even rejecting myself, then i am also rejecting jesus, etc. which was definately not truth at all! so now i will be in good practice of telling that lie where to go. i also heard last night something vey true and comforting about how if we wouldn’t direct the lies we tell ourselves to other women, that is how we can know for sure it’s a lie. (there, i think hat was it.)

  36. OH my the memories. I can so relate. We are Grandparents now and after the hustle and bustle of kids, grandkids and 5 dogs for a weekend my husband and I say – whew, what just blew in and out of here.

    But where there is love, there is a way. Where grace flows, forgiveness blooms and life is lived – Christ is in the centre. Praying for you today and the years ahead; may you stand with Him, feel His presence, be grateful at all times, and live each day – an emptier/fuller life (from Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts).

    Many blessings to you and all the moms who have commented and read your post,
    Jan

  37. Oh Angie! Girl…I’ve been there. At this point in life, I am mother to 3 teens. (1 girl, 2 boys) It’s a different stage for sure, but still can be overwhelming.
    I’ll tell you one thing, I am so glad that I can read from the ladies at (in)courage! It really does help me not to feel alone. I was reading through the comments, after reading your post, and thought, “it feels so good to know other ladies have some of the same issues.”
    I spend time on my front porch too! Or some evenings I go for a walk. There is something about being out in nature that calms me.
    Thank you for being real:)

  38. I loved your post Angie and your honesty! And though my kids are grown, somehow now my house smells like dog urine and hubby’s smelly uniforms! And I have seriously thought that, if I could justify spending it, I would SO buy me a Roomba. Imagine, setting it to clean the floors while you are in bed, or running errands. I just wonder what it would do with all the too-big-to-suck-up stuff?
    Hugs to you!
    Bernice
    Are you stuck in a rut?

  39. i’m so here today… can’t get caught up on dishes, laundry, cleaning… almost 37 weeks pregnant with number 3, don’t have the air on in the house to save $- its about 82 degrees in the house and i just can’t function. i want to completely empty the house…. no more stuff!! overwhelmed to the max :O( getting off the computer would probably help, but walking to the other room is exhausting!

    • Elise, I understand what that is like. When I really need to work I will bump the A/C down 2-3 degrees and when I am done working I put it back where we usually keep it.

  40. Enjoyed the post. I’m just to exhausted with my life to formulate a succinct, constructive response or suggestion.

  41. I thought I was reading my own thoughts there for a minute…There are a few things that I do when this starts to happen…
    I put on worship music in all different rooms so no matter where I am in the house, I can get into God’s presence easily.
    When my dishes become overwhelming (and I don’t own a dishwasher) I do one of 2 things; Everytime I go into the kitchen do 5 dishes. I tell myself only 5 dishes. Sometimes I feel I can do more. Its amazing how much I can do when I pace myself.

    If the whole kitchen is in need of emergency care and my dishes are piled up high everywhere, I take a big platic tote, put all the dishes in, put it in the tub and soak them with soapy hot water. I know I will have to do them before the hubs gets home that evening, and by soaking they will be so much easier to clean. Then with those out of the way, I can face the kitchen again and work at things much easier.
    I also love the laundry basket idea posted by Jennifer…that works well too!

  42. I can’t read the responses right now, but I am anxious to come back and do so!!! I know what you are talking about, Angie and am hoping to find some encouragement and help in the comments. 🙂

  43. I really wish I could offer you some advice! I love to be an encourager and share with others little pieces of advice that I’ve learned through my own experiences.

    When it comes to this though, I can’t be helpful. I’m a type A personality. I also, unfortunately, am a perfectionist and a little obsessive compulsive. I love lists yet hate them at the same time! I can’t help but make them (To Do lists, Grocery shopping lists, Short term goal lists, Long term goal lists, People to e-mail or call back lists, prayer request lists, etc.) and yet they drive me crazy because they’re never ending!

    I feel the same way and you worded it perfectly today. I never feel caught up! There’s always laundry, dishes, errands, and cleaning to do. Then there’s the other stuff I’d like to be doing like a bible study, reading a book, volunteering at church, cooking a big dinner and having friends over, shopping, taking a bath, exercising, spending time with my husband. There’s just not enough time in the day. I don’t even have children yet so I admire you!! Right now, I just have an 8 hour work day, an hour commute to and from work, and a husband.

    I’m still searching for that method or product or book that will fix all these problems and make me feel like i’m not losing my mind. For the past few days, I’ve probably said, “It’s just too much, God!” a dozen times. Hopefully, I can discover contentment in God and my circumstances soon since there is no right method, program, product, or book that’ll bring my genuine, lasting peace. I hope I grasp it more at least before we have children!

  44. My best remedy when feeling overwhelmed by the long daily “to do” list is to just ignore it and get outside and enjoy Gods gifts. Its amazing how things come into perspective when you go to the park or for a walk and enjoy nature. Once refreshed it is easier to tackle all of the chores, especially if you enlist your children to help out.

  45. Hi Angie,
    I love how you talk/write to us. It makes me smile 🙂

    I have found that at least 5 long, slow, deep breaths are what will help me and then I think, “Just do the next thing……” one thing at a time………

    karen

  46. Just wanna say that the “Genie Bra” is NOT God’s gift to women. 🙂

    Been there…done that 🙂 Loving these comments because I have been feeling exactly like that for the past two weeks. Thanks Angie!

  47. I’m just sitting here shaking my head, yes. I totally feel this way sometimes. Thank you. thank you for reminding me that I’m not the only one who is going thru this. I work full time, have 4 kids (13, 7, almost 3 and a 3 year old step daughter) and my husband travels with his job. So I totally understand the house not being clean when I want it to be clean. I totally understand the going to sit on your porch just to “get away” for just a minute. But sometimes I need to be reminded that I’m not the only one, and that it is ok to feel overwhelmed sometimes, and not to get upset with myself for feeling that way.

    And not sure about the swivel mop, I would love to have my meal cook while I sleep, or am at work at what have you.

    thanks again Angie, you are the best

  48. i’m just throwing this out there, because it seems like no one ever talks about this side of the issue. people are always saying how we women have to give ourselves grace and let certain things slide because the babies are only babies for a little while… we can’t be supermom and we shouldn’t try and it’s okay to not have a perfectly kept house… on and on, right? the thing is, i completely agree with all of that!

    but what if your husband doesn’t agree. what if he wants everything to be cleaned and laundered and cooked and perfect when he walks in the door? he’s very sweet about it, but honestly, if everything isn’t immaculate when he gets home, i can tell that something’s wrong and i know it’s that. and he likes to communicate it to me so that he’s not bottling it all up for a later date (like i said, he is respectful and kind with his words, but does not pass up the opportunity to tell me). i’d like to let things slide so that i can concentrate on the important stuff, and i’m fully able to extend myself grace when it doesn’t all get done… until he walks in the door and i’m defeated by his disappointment. he feels like i’m not respecting or loving him when i don’t have it all together. what do you say to that?

    anyone else? am i literally the only one? would love some insight here.

    • I have a husband like that. We’ve talked about it. I’ve learned what bothers him the most is the living room which he first walks into at the end of the day and he doesn’t want to see toys, etc. all over the floor and he would like a place on the furniture to sit down. So I try to make sure the living area is picked up and he can come home to at least a slightly welcoming atmosphere. He’s learned that there is no way the kids rooms will be perfect, but we have them pick up their toys 1-3x per day and it helps him greatly knowing that it won’t take forever to get them clean again. If he mentions something about a room or area of the house I try to make it a priority the next day. I know that he gets in a “everything needs to be cleaned mood”, sometimes and I don’t handle that real well. So now we both try to work together when he gets like that and just pick one or two things to tackle that he wants to do. Then every once in a while when I know something is really needing attention and I haven’t been getting to it, I ask him to help if he has a few minutes to do ___________. Leaving it up to him if he is willing to do it and in his own time frame.

      • thank you so much for replying 🙂 it does help to know i’m not alone, and i like your advice to concentrate on the particular area that bothered him the day before. great idea! my hubby likes the initial entry way clean too, and is more relaxed about the bedrooms as well. i guess that’s something to be thankful for 🙂 thanks again for your tips, Suanna.

    • This is exactly the way my husband is! You described him to a ‘T’…I would say the same as Suanna, I know that the living room is the first place he walks into, and so I make that my priority to be picked up and decluttered. I also make sure his desk is cleared off, so he can have his own space be decluttered and neat. I can’t be perfect, but I know what places he likes to relax in, so if I make sure those places are tidy, its a good common ground.

    • I am in a similar boat! 🙂 I don’t have much to add. I also try to make sure he can walk in to a clean entry way and I make sure the couch is inviting and some dinner is ready for him. That helps. I am trying ot be more consistent about completing little things he asks me to do right away to respect him and show I recognize and hear how he is feeling.

    • My husband used to be the same way too. The other ladies have given great advise, keeping his main areas neat is a help. Praying for him and talking it out with him at a time that is is not so emotional is a good way to work together to come up with a compromise and try to let him know your side of it too, and what you need help with, and the best WAYS he can help.

  49. I remind myself that when I stand before God’s throne, He’s not going to ask me why I didn’t scrape the Cheerios off the floor in a timely manner. He’s going to ask me how I loved those around me and how I fulfilled His calling on my life.

    It’s hard to remember this. I was a SAH & Homeschooling mom for years, but now my kids are in school and I work outside the home. I never, ever, never catch up. And you know what? It’s ok. Neither does anyone else. Everyone else I know has a messy house with Cheerios on the floor. And even if they didn’t, they wouldn’t criticize mine.

    My focus is on doing what the Lord would have me do, which is spend time with Him, take care of my hubby and kids, minister in my church and do the best I can in all things to His glory. It is good enough.

  50. Angie,

    So many of us have “been there” (or we’re there). I’ve heard the whole treasure it while you’ve got it thing, and I also am there *most* of the time. But there are times when I’m not, and I don’t. And here’s what I keep circling back around to…”It’s all a necessary part of the process {of life}” (to be overwhelmed and to not be all wrapped up in the joy at the moment). Letting ourselves feel the confusion or the frustration is a necessary part, and admitting it and being honest with ourselves and our FAther, and others…it’s all so important. Because the honest-living is when others can be reached and when we can be drawn closer to Him.

    There are times when we simply can’t get caught up. And nothing will make our load any lighter. Except Christ alone. He allows the chaos and whirl and twirl of life to bring us to our knees. Every time. And the crazy circle of the merry-go-round continues when we forget about Him and try to live our own self-righteous ways.

    I struggle to trim my nails on a regular basis. I mean, I don’t clip or trim them for like three or four weeks! ANd then it’s a big production to do it. And so last night I carved out time to do my finger nails, and my toe nails, and my eye brows. I went outside on my front porch when my Boy-Man was asleep, and I showed my neighbors that I was invested in me (though I doubt anyone was noticing, and I didn’t intend it to be that way anyway…I was only trying to keep my Man-Boy from having to sniff in the nail polish remover ). Why do I let so many weeks go by without trimming my nails? I mean, really?

    And I also struggle with not feeling like I can take a few hours (without a set time limit) and get out of the house by myself for a few hours, even once a month. Yet, I feel like I *should* “let” my husband golf – every weekend – for 6 hours!!!, plus encourage him to get out and play volleyball for two hours on an evening once a week! I resent that he doesn’t feel guilty! Yet, I want to make him feel guilty when he gets home and I realize just how long he was gone, and I couldn’t even do it myself! The only time I feel like I’ve got is from 5-8 a.m.!

    And so…it’s not *me* that is wrong, and it’s not anything else that I need…this is all an important part of the process and I need my Father. Period.

    Same with you. And all of us.

    Rich blessings…

  51. This is such a great post.
    Currently, there are dirty dishes on my counter, SEVERAL laundry baskets of clean folded clothes that seem to never spend much time in the drawers in my kid’s rooms, dog hair tumble weeds from two golden retrievers slowly making their way across the wood floor under the kitchen table that is covered with school books which are piled everywhere and stacks of ungraded papers (homeschool). I have no idea what I am going to do in the line of making dinner… and since that is all such a mess I feel guilty if I sit down to write a blog post so my blog has been neglected for several weeks now.
    And yet I have taken the time to be refreshed by reading your words here and have found encouragement. 🙂

  52. Angie,

    I just wanted to take a moment to thank you. Thank you for writing the story of my life. If you could, please let me know how it is all going to work out – the getting things done and not winning the disagreement (even though i am right. i am.) part. Thanks.

    Becky

    PS – I will tell you that the Shark Steam Mop did not make my life near as simple as I thought it would. I kind of hurts my back. Let me know if you see something better.

  53. I know exactly how you feel. Usually for me it hits at the end of a busy day, when I realize I didn’t do _________________ for supper and the kitchen is a disaster and there is “nothing” in the fridge or pantry for me to make for dinner. Then I sit down and be quiet and have the kids be quiet, too. Then of course I plan to leave as soon as my wonderful husband walks in the door, but then I realize I have nowhere that I would go. So instead I either call him and ask him to bring something home for supper or I decide what I can make quick (maybe the kids get cereal, while we get something else). I remember that this has happened before, so I try to start on the dishes or clear the table as usually that is the source of my frustration and then I am amazed at how quickly I can get things looking better. I do use a menu, but sometimes forget to thaw the meat or make my crockpot start working early in the day. Tomorrow is usually better.

  54. Amen! I think as moms we are our hardest critics…. just yesterday as I was thinking these exact sane things I was waiting for my friend to drop off her 3 and 1 yr olds to add to my 2 yr and 8 mth olds mess! I was organizing and shutting doors wanting to pretend that all was right in my world! Faker! Poser! Call me what you want – but deep down inside I wanted to portray to her that I had it together so she wouldn’t feel guilty dropping them off so she could go into work. Even after all that worrying I opened THE room and showed her what a wreck it was… maybe the extra kids were my excuse yesterday or today that the sun was shining Nd friends were going to the pool?!! Tomorrow might be the yard sales I saw advertised or another hot sunny day… I gave up- I am a hot mess!! And I love it! I love my kids too much to worry about the mess I just deal with the filth and run back to the playroom- aka my dining room, livingroom, patio – wherever my son is playing at that moment and jump into the fun! The next time I’m at my friends’ houses I yell them the same thing and ask – whoever told us that they were totally put together with young kids was full of B.S.!!!! Oh and p.s.my new bestie is my crockpot!!!!

  55. I understand! My post in March titled I’m forgiven almost mirrors your sentiment on to never-ending list and the overwhelmed feelings. Know you are not alone. Thanks for your true feelings.

  56. Well, it looks like we all feel that way sometimes, or a lot of the time. Several things that help me (when I remember them …) are:
    1) Do the next thing. Just do it. One little thing. Then repeat.
    2) Laugh with the kids – my favorite is the tickle war.
    3) Pray. God is big enough, strong enough and loving enough to take whatever you have to throw his way.

    I have NOT perfected these things, nor do I even remember them regularly, but when I do it’s amazing to see what I get done and how much I enjoy my minutes and family!

  57. When I find myself feeling overwhelmed, I implement the rule of 10. That means I will deal with 10 of the individual items that are making me feel that way. If it\’s a mountain of laundry, I fold 10 peices, if it\’s the mountain on my desk, I deal with 10 pieces of paper, if it\’s the garden I pull 10 weeds. Invariably, doing those first 10 makes me feel so good that I want to do another 10, and so it goes until I\’m caught up again. The important part is that I am only obligated to that first 10, then I\’m free to move on. Another way I use this rule is to do 10 minutes worth of whatever it is, sweeping, washing dishes, filing, etc. The rule of 10 works beautifully for me, but recently, I\’ve been focusing on not getting to where I need it. The FLY LADY has been a tremendous help in that, particulary rebooting the laundry each morning. So is the 6 O\’Clock Scramble, which plans my weekday meals and prepares my shopping list for me. And finally, I must ask, how much are your kids helping you? Even the tiny ones can help around the house with age appropriate tasks. Helping out around the house builds character in so many wonderful ways!

  58. The best advice I ever heard came from a university lecturer actually, who quoted Scarlett O’Hara:

    “Tomorrow’s another day!”

  59. I’m sorry, but uhm…were we separated at birth? 😉 With 4 year-old twin boys and a 20 month-old who just wants to do everything his brothers do, being on the homeschooling learning curve, trying not to kill the garden I just planted, etc., I pretty much NEVER feel caught up. Over the past couple of days I’ve been repeating Ann Voskamp’s words to myself: “Life is not an emergency.”

    I have my housework spread out throughout the week (kitchen on Tuesdays, dusting on Thursdays, bathrooms on Fridays, etc.), so that helps it be less overwhelming. The boys do a clean-up of toys mid-morning and mid-afternoon before my husband comes home, and again at bedtime. After meals I try to take 5 min. and straighten up one little area of MY clutter. I’m really trying to take one thing at a time, because if I wake up in the morning and think about EVERYTHING that needs to get done and all of the crumbs on the floor that are attracting that trail of ants, then I start to panic.

    Mostly, I’m trying to find the balance between being diligent to “just do it,” and being able to roll with things. I have a tendency to be uptight and driven, and I’m pretty sure God wants me to be led by the Holy Spirit – even about the mundane, day-to-day stuff. Just sayin’. 😉

    Thanks for sharing your heart.

  60. I love when other bloggers are real. It’s such an encouragement to know we’re not alone. We’ve been in the same house for around 20 years. There is a tendency to accumulate “things” when you’ve lived somewhere for that long. Then add homeschooling records that I’ve kept (My daughter is now graduated from college. Why, oh, why am I holding onto her homeschool records????), the current homeschooling books for my youngest and you’ve got a real mess. We homeschoolers always look forward to the summer so we can clean and declutter like none other. Right. I always start out with such good intentions and end up trying to put all the stuff away when August arrives. Thankfully my husband isn’t a stickler for a “straight” house. Otherwise I’d be in real trouble. I want Tsh’s book. I need Tsh’s book. So why don’t I have Tsh’s book?

    • HA…..so get what you are saying here!!! sounds like my house,,,but if anything is going to clutter me i want it to be books!!!

  61. Wow Angie..look at all these posts…
    I am a Mom to 3 girls and homeschool..I too feel EXACTLY how you feel. I simply can’t find the answer to getting it all done..well unless I hired a Nanny, Cook, and Maid..but one income living won’t afford that:)…So I just keep praying every day for God to make it clear what to do each day..some days that is soo hard b/cc his agenda does not always have me crossing off MY to do list. …someone gets sick,, a neighbor or two stops by to chat, a friend is hurting and needs a visit, and on and on…just praying that I can see the gifts of the day inspite of my anxiety to get all MY stuff done…

  62. you are totally speaking from MY heart today! Lately I have been learning to just go ahead and do what parts I can and not fret about not getting the full job done. This is the only way I have been able to keep things from getting so piled up. Praying that you and all us moms out there will have a joy filled peaceful day today.

  63. One thing I like to do is just take about 15 minutes before bed to walk through the house and straighten up, put things away etc., you really can do a lot in 15 minutes and its nice not to have “the mess” staring at you first thing in the morning

    This story from Elisabeth Elliott has also really helped me: http://www.backtothebible.org/index.php/Gateway-to-Joy/Do-the-Next-Thing.html

    It’s never going to all get done, there will always be more to do and even though we
    can’t do everything, we can just do the NEXT thing

  64. Angie,

    I love this post and have felt exactly what you described many, many times. My children are now 21 and 14, so things aren’t as busy at my house. If I could give you one tip, it would be to “Live in the moment.” Enjoy every single moment even in the midst of the messes. You will never regret this. I used to be a perfectionist before becoming a mom. My children taught me to relax, to let things be undone, and to enjoy relationships more than anything. By the way, I think you’re a GREAT mom!

    Love and peace,
    Amy

  65. Angie…. so interesting to read this blog post at this point in time. You probably don’t remember when I emailed you several years ago, asking how you get it all done. It always seemed you had a new project or idea and I thought… how is she keeping up with that when she has three kids (prior to Charlotte)? Quite honestly, I was feeling like a failure in comparison 🙂 In reading your blog, I am amazed at what you all DO, but also overwhelmed by all that it seems you are involved in. My sense is that you are naturally a Type A, energetic, high achiever person, which are great qualities, but it can quickly lead to feeling out of control/burnout unless simplification occurs. In my mind, simplification can often mean giving up things that you may like/want to do , but that because of your current circumstances you might need to let go of because you need to keep your sanity and priorities. That doesn’t mean that some of these opportunities couldn’t come back into your life at a point when it fits into your life/schedule in a more balanced way. I honestly don’t know how you keep up with four children, speaking engagements, writing a book, and keeping up with a blog…..(not to mention homeschooling, and other daily duties) That is great if you can do it and not feel overwhelmed, but if not, eliminating ACTIVITIES is the best way to simplify. Each person’s capacity is different in how much they can handle, but a lot of what we keep busy with (in the name of “Christian work”) God may actually call us to eliminate or adjust in order to keep ourselves from spinning in a hamster wheel. It can be a difficult decision to make and it is different for each person. Regarding infomercials…. they are a scam 🙂 LOL! They will create more complication in your life….. “Less is more” 🙂

  66. Yeah, when I feel there’s is no way I can catch up I read blogs…makes it all better, until I come back to reality, cheerios on the floor, crayons on the table, under the table, being used to color walls, windows, one another, dishes in the sink, laundry in the washer, dryer, on the table and in at least one bedroom. Maybe I’ll read one more…

  67. I’m almost an empty nester and one thing that helped me through the days I just couldn’t get things done was to tell myself . . . “look at what you DID today, not what you DIDN’T”. I would see the time spent in the car with my kids, the conversations, the phone call to a friend, etc. I ended my day saying, this is all I can do today, but usually with a smile b/c of the special relationships I saw in my life and the importance of just taking care of my family by being there for them. Guilt was heavy on my mind when I focused on the dishes in the sink, the clothes still in the dryer (or washer!! just sitting there for hours!), the papers piling on the counter . . . okay, STOP! Right? Look at what you DID do, I bet you will feel better and thank the Lord for the day He has brought you through. That frame of mind or focus has helped me.

  68. This is how I often feel and just recently my husband and I sat down for a plan of attack. We have made up daily cards for all the chores to get done that day. For example: I get up and throw a load of laundry in first thing. I unload the dishwasher while my girls eat breakfast and I can still chat with them. I get the oldest off to school, come home and have my breakfast and get ready for the day. I have one main chore for the day (like cleaning the bathroom) that I try to do right after breakfast. To help with the clutter, if I notice toys out that were being played with earlier but have since been abandoned, I have them pick it up right away. I think this instills a sense of responsibility and teaches them good habits of picking up after themselves. When I start making supper, that is the time my daughters (7 and 4) clean their room and any other toy mess they have made. After supper I make sure the dishwasher is loaded and started so it’s ready to be unloaded right away in the morning. I have really started to see my house as my ministry base. I want it to be an open door and very inviting. Just by having people in our home (neighbors, friends, etc) I can have a great ministry, BUT I have realized if I don’t keep my house up to a decent level, that entire area of ministry is gone because I think, “I don’t have time to clean the whole house before so and so comes over.” so I don’t invite them. Good luck! I struggle with this area daily!

  69. You’re wonderful Angie. I’ve been reading your blogs and praying and crying for you. Thanks for being human and sharing your humanness. If you haven’t already tried it, visit flylady.com or get a copy of flylady’s book, Sink Reflections or visit flylady on facebook. Her system really does help. I discovered flylady a few years back and it really has helped me get control of the chaos in the house. Also, if the budget will allow, there is nothing wrong with a mom of 4 getting some help. A cleaning lady to come once a week or every two weeks or maybe a mother’s helper.