Burned Out Homemakers

Burned Out Homemakers | RaisingArrows.netA couple of weeks ago I mentioned I had some theories about that little thing called “Burn Out” that so many homemakers experience.  I can’t say that I have it all figured out, but I’ve been a homemaker long enough to have experienced my fair share of burn outs and observed a few of these in other women.  While this post is apt to step on a few toes, it is my prayer it ultimately gives you perspective and hope when you start to feel burned out.

Ma Ingalls

Homemakers of the Past

As a homemaker, I often return to Ma Ingalls as inspiration.  While most of what we know about her comes from the white-washed words of a loving daughter, we know a lot about what Ma did every day.  We know she managed her home well.  She was a devoted wife and mother and a solid Christian.  She adapted to every situation and circumstance with seeming grace and ease.  So, was Ma Ingalls ever “burned out”?

My answer:  Yes & No

I think Ma did miss her life back east.  I think she probably had moments where she wished she could just go “home”.  And I’m sure there were some chores she really did not like.  But a real homemaker from yesteryear would have been deemed incompetent had she fallen apart over such things.  To be blunt, Ma Ingalls would have “sucked it up and moved on.”

She had a job to do.  She was going to do it and do it well.  It wasn’t just about being a homemaker or wife or mother, it was about being a woman…a strong, capable WOMAN.

Wimpy Homemakers

For some reason our culture has decided strong women only exist in the workplace, climbing the corporate ladder.  Homemakers are no longer encouraged to be strong.  In fact, we sort of coddle each other with words of empathy laced with excuses.  We are actually relieved and thrilled when we hear someone else isn’t doing their job as a homemaker.  It becomes our justification.

But why do we want to be ok with not doing our jobs?  Notice I said we “want to be ok” because really, we’re not ok with it.  We don’t read blogs and scour Pinterest for homemaking inspiration, organizational tools, and the latest planner/schedule/printable for the fun of it.  We know we are falling down on the job and we don’t like how that feels.

But, I’m Burned Out!

I get emails nearly every day from women who are just not getting the job done.  And to be completely honest with you, I am not getting the job done.  I’m not up here preaching from the lofty heights of perfection.  I’m living it, folks.

Again, I don’t have this burn out thing all figured out, but I do know from personal experience that when I feel burned out it is because I am trying to be someone I am not.

Bible

A godly Woman is Strong in the Lord

God called me to this motherhood thing.  He called me to this homemaking thing.  He even called me to this blogging thing, but He never called me to do it on my own, under my own strength.  I get burned out when I get in the way.

We overthink homemaking.  We need to suck it up and get going, be strong in the Lord and do our jobs!  Ma Ingalls wasn’t searching for the perfect cleaning method, she was too busy CLEANING!  We have to stop thinking we are doing it all wrong and realize God is WAY bigger than our methods.

Yes, I blog about our methods.  Yes, I tell moms to relax and give themselves a break.  But,  shame on me if I ever suggest my methods are perfect, and shame on me if I ever give moms an excuse to be burned out wimpy women.

Those verses in the Bible about running races, being strong, and doing battle are for all believers, homemakers included.  Burn out isn’t an option.  We will have moments when life feels overwhelming.  We will have days where the chores seem endless and the children seem impossible, but our job on those days is to keep going, no matter how slow that going is.

So, this post isn’t 16 Ways to Avoid Burn Out or even 10 Things to Do When You Feel Overwhelmed, but rather a call to stop over-analyzing everything, be strong in the Lord, and be a homemaker who works heartily as unto the Lord himself!

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Homeschool Moms get burned out too…
here’s my post on The Truth Behind Homeschool Burnout.

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134 thoughts on “Burned Out Homemakers

  1. I agree wholeheartedly to everything you have said here – as brutal as some of it sounds. When people ask me how I manage my eight kids and life in general and seem relaxed with a smile on my face (and it’s not a facade), I always say “When the going gets tough, just keep putting one foot in front of the other.” Things do ease up and you don’t feel so overwhelmed. You just HAVE TO keep moving forward (sometimes slowly). We all have to realise that life isn’t about getting it all sorted and then cruising, it is full of ups and downs – enjoy the ups, get through the downs. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Ma Ingalls is my “mentor” too!

  2. I am a homeschooler of 2 children, one of whom is disabled. We have 1 income, 1 car and live in a trailer. The “stresses” are many. I find that the times when I start to feel overwhelmed are when I am not spending time with the Lord. His grace is sufficient.

    • It sounds like you are living my life Fran, and I totally agree with you. When I’m not focusing on the Lord is when I feel the most overwhelmed. Thank you for this post Amy, it’s greatly appreciated.

  3. Thank you for this! I think it is so easy to excuse the burnout in an effort to provide sympathy, but in the end that doesn’t really help the mom. I also think that in “burnout” I am more likely to exhibit sinful behavior (yelling at the kids, grumbling, complaining, being lazy, having a meltdown.) and that sinful behavior is wrong. The problem often is trying to do it on our own rather than through God’s strength.

  4. Great thoughts, Amy.

    I love the photo of you with your son!

    I think it is common with social media and pinterest for moms these days to be escaping from the burdens of every day life by being online looking for new ideas on how to do this task or that task rather than just doing the jobs at hand. When I find myself printing new recipes that I never make God prompts me to get up and make something healthy for our family to eat and I feel so much better about actually doing something rather than planning it and never doing it.

    I just read Proverbs 31:27 this morning and am planning on writing a blog post about it soon. “She watches over the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” We can’t just watch over the ways of our household from our seat in front of the computer while skipping the laundry and dishes all the time. However there are blog posts from like-minded Christian women that can be a great source of encouragement and inspiration like Scripture says in Titus 2. Balance is key! Especially in this media saturated world we live in.

  5. I like your posts for the fact that you tell the truth, thanks. I stepped up and folded 4 1/2 loads of laundry last night and I am glad I did. My 2 and 3 year olds stopped their play to help for a short time, too. I could have waited for someone else to get it done during chore time or told all the kids to work on it, but as my responsibility I needed to make sure it got done. I now need to tackle the kitchen counters, but the older kids can put their own folded laundry away and we are one step closer to being ready for the rest of the day.

    • I scrubbed up the kitchen last night. ;) I didn’t really want to and several of the things I did were “someone else’s” chores, but how many times do I tell them not to be grumpy about doing “someone else’s” chores?? ;)

  6. Don’t worry about stepping on toes. Sometimes we need a little tough love and less coddling. And I totally agree with you about Ma Ingalls. Us moms have become “soft.” I think about the women of old, or even just my grandmother and quickly realize I don’t have all that bad.

  7. Thank you, Amy, for this gently strong kick in the skirt. This is a lesson the LORD has been pressing on me, recently…and your post is one more reminder and confirmation of what His Spirit has been prompting in me.

  8. Once again you have blessed my soul and convicted me. Thank you! I can relate to Ma Ingalls very well, I grew up devouring the Little House books and now I’m reading them out loud to my children. We finally got the courtship stage, and my oldest is a little amused, but enjoying it. :)

    I loved this part: Ma Ingalls wasn’t searching for the perfect cleaning method, she was too busy CLEANING!

    YES! Amen! :) Thank you for another great post.

  9. I agree! Run the race… be strong… do not lose heart… for it is ‘Christ in me’ that is the hope of glory! Keep waving that banner, girl! Enjoying your posts
    :-)

  10. This post was exactly what i needed to hear this morning! Thank you for being tough. I was just thinking last night how I wish I had a friend who would get tough and hold me accountable for my housekeeping. Everyone just says”you’re not so bad”, “its hard to get it all done”, etc,. when I know I am ‘falling down on the job’. I believe God has beter things in mind for me than a falling apart house and put-together pinterest boards.

    • Isn’t it funny how we really do WANT people to tell us the truth, but no one does? We have to be stronger than that and do the things that have to be done.

      • I completely agree…we have become a society that tells people what we “think they want to hear”, but not what they need to hear. We are afraid to offend people, but most people will be offended at first, then think about what was said and realize the person was actually right. We should be willing to care enough about one another to speak the truth and to hear the truth….no matter how hard it may be!

  11. Light bulb moment- this seems so simple but true. I stopped looking through blogs and Pinterest months ago for meal plans/recipes because of burn out of just planning. Then looking for homeschool curriculum got me burned out. Hello McFly! (I’m so glad it doesn’t take a baseball bat over the head for me to get it.)

    Really great post and great timing. Have a blessed day Amy!

  12. Oh that’s harsh…and while I’m sitting here on my laptop, thinking about my so-not-together home. Wishing I could do it, have the time…and that I didn’t “have” to. Probably time to put this down and do all those things I know I should. We don’t want to hear this, and I think the message that goes along with it is “it does matter and it is real work” to keep a home. Going to do that….

    • It may be harsh, but so many of us NEED to hear this! I can’t tell you how many “I’m not perfect” and “My house is a mess–and that’s ok” posts I see in the mommy blogging world every week! Sure, we all have our days, but I think we praise each other TOO MUCH for being “real” because we shared photos of our messy kitchens. I love Amy’s take on it– we shouldn’t tell each other that we have it all figured out, but we also need to step back and realize that as a whole, we are devaluing the work we do by all the posts on how it’s ok to “not have it all together.”

  13. Thank you for that post. Just what I needed to read this morning. I do feel overwhelmed, burnt out and even a little depressed, especially during the winter and if I allow those thoughts to continue, things do not get better. So thanks, I needed a little wake-up call. This is my purpose and ministry so, I will be strong in the Lord and do my job!

  14. Ummm..WOW!
    Impactful! I’m without excuse! I assessed my skills/abilities and those of my children. I have 5 living at home now and there is no reason that everything shouldn’t be in order!
    Thank you for kicking me in the butt! <3

  15. Thank you! I needed to hear this today! I want to be the best mommy, wife, teacher, homemaker I can be! I get tired of the websites that say it’s ok to slack off, don’t worry about the piles of laundry and the over flowing sink… but I do worry about those things, no only if we have company but what my daughters think of me and I don’t want them to think it’s ok to leave things a mess! Thank you again for the reminder… I often think of the women in Ma Ingalls day and how hard they worked and how much easier we have it now! Thank you for stepping on my toes a little bit, you got my attention!!!! God bless!

    • We do have it so much easier, but we also have more distractions to contend with. Our world is different from Ma’s, but still has it’s fair share of “problems.” We just have to get out there and work through them!

  16. Thank you for this post. I needed this this morning. House is in disarray and won’t get better with me sitting around. I too as another woman put am wishing someone would help me by keeping me accountable but I need to remember that God is there to see how I manage my time and home. I need to get moving today and get a lot done. I want my home a lace where everyone is welcome and a dirty one isn’t that. We are always being told its good enough, you have kids, or whatever excuse, I feel like it shouldn’t though. So off I go to do like Ma Ingalls, just clean and it will get done.

    Thank you for this today.

  17. Great post! I find myself on Pintrest thinking all the same things, but nothing cleans a dish better then soap and water :) It was a good kick in the pants!! I really enjoy your blog!

  18. AMEN! I love this post, very well spoken and a good kick in the BUTT for me! I’ve been really noticing all the time I spend searching for a better way to do things is time I could’ve used to get this stuff done! It’s enlightening :) And plus, my husband is 8th generation from Ma Ingalls, if she was that tough AND had no running water, indoor plumbing, washing machines, dishwasher, vacuums, electricity, and a furnace…..by golly I can certainly use some elbow grease and determination to get this house/kids/ranch/livestock/and oil business running smoothly and joyfully!
    Bless you today Amy!

  19. Oh Amy i know this. And thank you for puting it so plainly. Right now i am in the first trimester of my fifth baby and my nausea, although i know how to eat to slow it waaay down, is taking its toll. My oldest is 5 and i have been pregnant or breastfeeding for most of my motherhood career.
    Pregnancy is the biggest excuse for shoddy homemaking. But pregnancy doesnt make the average woman an invalid, but thats how i have been treating myself, and how others have been encouraging me to be.
    Im determined this pregnancy will be different. Pioneer women lived without birth control, dishwashers, central heating, and so can i! Thanks for being willing to publicly say what i think but am not brave enough to broadcast yet. :) and its so nice to know there are more women realizing this downward spiral of encouraging eachother in remaining weak needs to change. We need a steadfast homemakers club where we can get this encouragement daily. :)

    • I’ll be the first one to say pregnancy is hard…especially those early morning sickness days, but I often wonder what the homemakers of old did. I’d like to be a fly on the wall and see for myself what that looked like. (by the way, congratulations!)

  20. Perfect! It may not have been meant as a word of inspiration, but it is one! WE may not be perfect, but we are perfect in HIM! I wouldn’t be a homemaker at all with out a wonderful, loving, forgiving husband; or one without a Savior who keeps urging us to keep getting back up when life knocks us down to continue “running this race.” :-)

  21. This was a GREAT post! I was just feeling overwhelmed because my girls were giving me attitude about their chores this morning. You are so right about not whining or feeling burnt out, we have jobs to do and they are not going to do it themselves. This was a nice kick for me to get off my pity party and get to work. It’s a shame that as wonderful as social media is, it definitely had created a crutch. Thank you for this bold post. You didn’t step on my toes, you just got me up and moving!

  22. Thank you so much for this! It is timely for me in a way that only the Holy Spirit could orchestrate! After a VERY difficult day yesterday, God reminded me this morning (in the shower of all places) that I am trying to do all of this in my own strength. The old song “His Strength is Perfect” came to mind, and I knew that God was calling me to rest on His strength and power. Thank you for your words of encouragement. And, to be honest, Ma Ingalls comes to my mind a lot too! I remind myself that I only have to cook the chicken, not catch it, kill it, pluck it….oh my! Our lives are more than blessed, aren’t they? Blessings to you. :)

  23. Thank you for this post! It was just the kick in the pants I needed to get off the couch, stop feeling sorry for myself, and get some work done!

  24. Great reminder, Amy! Anything that God calls us to do, we can get burn out. But homemaking and mothering seems to be more common…we can never leave this job/ministry!
    I needed this today, to be reminded that I need to put my “big-girl-pants” on and keep going. :) One day my house will be empty, laundry caught up, only 2 dishes to wash (hubby’s & mine), no toys to be picked up…and I will miss these days! Do what God has called you to do as unto Him–this mindset helps me put things into perspective. Thanks!

  25. Thanks for this! I love it! Satan can be so efficient in making me feel like a “victim” of my house being cluttered, or my littles being mischievous, but this is a wonderful encouragement to buck up and keep on keeping on – perseverance!!! Wonderful post Amy!!!!!

  26. I think you are wise in giving the advice to not over-analyze, not try to live up to Pinterest standards and to just put one foot in front of the other on some days when it’s hard. But I also think that burn-out can be a sign of a mom that needs help. Our job is hard. I don’t mean that in a woe-is-me sort of way. It just IS. And more so if we are homeschooling, too. So some days I think it is perfectly fine to let things go…take a break…refocus, recharge. I have done this once in awhile, and have been soooo much more productive the next day! It always feels counter-intuitive to me to slow down when I’m being overrun by my to do list, but it often pays off. Other things burn out moms can do is ask for help- get a sitter for an afternoon, ask for help with organizational ideas that might make life flow a little better. I don’t think the answer to real, sincere burnt out is to just suck it up (i.e. push those feelings down and don’t come up with any solutions to what is causing them). That suck it up attitude might be come in handy if we are talking about a simple lull in energy that needs to be pushed through- but not for real deal burnt out. That’s a warning sign that a mom needs help. The literal last thing she needs to be told to be suck it up. :(

    • I thinkwhen we feel so overburdened we need to look at our priorities, it may me that we are not focusing on what we should, and need to re evaluate our priorities. I know that I’ve felt like that mom before. I find this more encouragment and makes a good point. I know I’m not in a season of a perfect house, breastfeeding a colicky 3 year old, homeschooling my 6 year old, and caring for the 4 and 6 year old. My husband pointed out to me that at this stage no one expects perfection, but I can still put forth the effort in my house, feed my children, be a good wife to my husband and keep the house mostly clean. I think Ma Ingles is a great person to look up to, and even she had a day off, as she didn’t do any work on Sundays.

  27. Amy, I completely agree! I believe we have gone against legalism so far as to go the other way and glorify our mess. Yes, there is grace when we fail. But it seems as if it’s the “cool” thing these days to be a hot mess and, like you say, a wimpy homemaker. We as a society need to toughen up a bit when it comes to self-discipline. I believe that trait is sorely lacking. We’re all about entertainment, what feels good, and if you don’t love it, don’t do it. But real life, and especially the Christian life, requires us to put our selves aside, toughen up, and be disciplined to do what needs to be done. Period. We give ourselves too many options, too many outs, and too many excuses.

  28. This is such an excellent post. Our culture looks for excuses everywhere, and as homemakers we are not immune to the disease of “playing the victim.” Honestly, this past year has been very difficult for a number of reasons, and I have made excuses for myself. But when push comes to shove, I have to look at what I am handing down to my kids. Are they getting a stressed out mom, who in the name of God is making their lives miserable? Or, am I teaching them to be self indulgent when life gets rough? Unfortunately, I have done some of both.

    But there is grace! Christ lived perfectly for me. By His Spirit in me I can get back up, repent, and move on, doing the best I can, even while knowing I will fail again. It is not about being perfect, but it is about not making excuses. We can only find forgiveness and healing when we are willing to admit to our sin and acknowledge our failure. There is always hope for the new day!

  29. Over-analyzing is the perfect term for describing it! I often have to remind myself that God is the author of peace, not confusion. So, if I feel confused then maybe I’m over-thinking or worrying about surface things that don’t really matter. So often, it’s less about those outward things – what we do and even how we do it – than it is about our hearts. Bottom line question: Am I abiding in Him and doing my best to obey His leading? If the answer is yes, then I don’t need to stress over the details. Of course, that’s easy to say and often hard to live out! :)

  30. Awesome post. I often find that when things seem to be spiraling out of control, it’s all rooted in my NOT working towards the end God desires. It is SO easy to fall into the traps our modern culture sets and quite counter-cultural to live a life that is not praised in society. Bottom line that I have to remind myself of on a regular basis is that our ultimate goal is to be with God in heaven. As a mother, I need to be living my vocation in such as way that it pleases God and helps to lead my family to Him as well.

  31. Thank you for sharing your heart! The LORD knew I needed to read this. Here I am scouring the internet instead of scouring my floor. Shame on ME! My name is Steph, and I am a wimpy homemaker. It is time to quit being slothful, and start doing my job. Thank you again!

  32. “Homemakers are no longer encouraged to be strong. In fact, we sort of coddle each other with words of empathy laced with excuses. We are actually relieved and thrilled when we hear someone else isn’t doing their job as a homemaker. It becomes our justification.”
    Yes, yes, yes!!! I am NOT ok being content in my mess. Are we messy people? Absolutely, but I don’t want to use that as an excuse to stay there and sooo many teachings tell us that it’s OK to do that. It’s not! As a result of buying into these lies, I am now trying to climb out of the “it’s OK that you can’t do it” mentality because it feeds the laziness, it doesn’t empower. (at least for me). Thank you for this beautiful post.

    I’m pinning it to my Biblical Motherhood board on Pinterest (which I also just invited you to join, if you’re interested in pinning there). Blessings my friend!

  33. What about strikes?! Seriously mamas need to delegate some and they can make their children responsible for things. We are meant to raise functioning members of society. My young children are responsive for several things. Remember items for events, cleaning sinks, pet brushing, putting away clothes, getting dressed, brushing teeth, making beds. While I oversee at this young age. I do not plan to be responsible for every detail I think several of us feel like it all lays relies on us. And that is a lot for one person’s shoulders. Now if I could just figure out how to delegate to my husband(without feeling like a nag) I’d get out of my current burn out easier. Sometimes there just isn’t enough of one person. And we must remember that. I’m currently making large changes in my life in order to reposession some of my priorities. Because I’ve realized I’m not wonder woman after all. A wise woman knows when to not over obligate herself. I’m finally getting wise.

  34. Thanks Amy! Since my sixth child was born twelve weeks ago I have become lazy. He sleeps great at night and gives me some breaks during the day but often I am just not motivated. Sometimes we mothers don’t just need to hear the kind words but instead the truth! No more excuses!

  35. YES! and AMEN! Thank you for (finally) writing this. I know there will be more to follow….and I can’t wait to keep reading this. You are right – burnout is not an option. We have to be strong in the Lord and we can’t do that if we are not IN HIS word.

  36. This was good for me to read, but I also wonder about a few things…

    First many of us have different giftings that may or may not help us in the homemaking role. I am not an aesthetically minded person (read: not very organized, not having a place for everything, not very well decorated house, messy cook, etc.), but I realized a few months ago that my aesthetic is actually in my mind. I LOVE TO READ and there are stacks of books everywhere to prove it! I also naturally and regularly engage with new ideas, discuss and mull over creative thoughts, jot down notes for new stories/writings, and share all of this fun stuff with others. My mind is fairly well-organized, brimming with hospitality and beautifully decorated! =)

    And what about natural inclinations? I am drawn to screens where I learn so many new things and witness interesting stories. I also spend more time reading and creating then cleaning and organizing.

    And to make matters (of homemaking) worse, each of my kids has at least one of these similarities and even less will power/ self control to curb the downsides. Any guesses what my house looks like on any given Friday? =/

    So I feel that God has made me this way and yet I have to try to curb the moments when my giftings and inclinations turn to nemeses and vices. I also wasn’t taught a very strong work ethic or given many chores during my childhood, so I find this all very difficult to do.

    I know God’s grace is sufficient and I’ve sensed him push me over the hurdle here and there, but it’s a daily fight and I’m tired. Just wanted to keep it real…

    • I can totally relate to this. I blog because I love to read and write, but I cannot let those natural (and most definitely God-given) inclinations become excuses for not keeping a home. The two have to work together. So where some women will have trinkets decorating their flat spaces, you and I will have books. :)

  37. Well said, I would only add that sometimes ‘burn out’ can get to the point of being a serious mental health issues (ie depression) and then some outside help may be needed. Please visit a doctor, counselor or talk to a trusted friend if you may be in a place where you are unable to care for yourself and your kids, it’s ok to ask for help. The sooner you start getting better, the better for everyone in your family.

  38. I agree with this article – we do need to remember to just push through, but I also remember that Ma lived in a time and a home that was far simpler. She didn’t have pinterest and FB and the internet and all the clutter and busy work that we fill our lives with. From what I’ve read, the typical claim shanty was something like 10 x 25 feet. There were not dozens of toys, loads and loads of laundry per person, and massive amounts of dishes to get through – no microwave to clean, no tv or tons of furniture to wipe down and dust or declutter, and Her children helped with the housework and chores, instead of playing. She did a deep clean twice a year. And homeschooling was far more simple than what we have today – There weren’t entire sections of their home devoted to a class room, (or tv watching, or playing or crafting.) What she had was hard, but it was manageable.

    Basically, while we have some things that she would have envied – washing machines, vacuums etc, we have a lot of nonsense cluttering up our lives that she would have likely thought ‘Are you crazy? about and it is no wonder we feel burned out. We are trying to accomplish more than we can maybe handle.

    • YES! I totally agree with this assessment! And I like how you said we have a lot of “nonsense cluttering up our lives” – we have to learn in this day and age to wade through it all. That’s half the battle!

    • Yes, it was “simpler” but it definitely wasn’t easier. Every single homemaking chore was much more difficult in that time. What we have to remember about the nonsense, clutter, and distractions is that they are completely within our control. They aren’t forced upon us. We can choose not to have them.

  39. Amen and amen!!! I’ve been increasingly uncomfortable with the memes on Facebook that make it okay to be “less than” as a mother and a woman. I hadn’t quite been able to put words to my frustration but you have stated it beautifully. Please expect something of me as a woman and mother. Thank you for your boldness.

  40. I was just thinking that I felt burned out when I made myself a cup of tea and sat down to your latest post. Well, kick me in the pants and call me a sinner! I love it! Thank you thank you thank you! Time to finish my tea and gear up. A smile is on my face. Just the motivation I needed.

  41. Thank you!!! Thank you!!!! Thank you!!!! I needed to read this today, yesterday, and tomorrow. I struggle with this exact thing…daily. Thank you for having the courage to write this.

  42. Agreed. I notice that when I start to feel “burned out” I am A) not spending enough time with the Lord and/or B) not being spirit-led throughout my day and in my planning for homeschool, homemaking, etc. (which is a direct result of A!). Ma Ingalls is often in the back of my mind, whispering to me to “just do it!” ;-)

    • Loved this! I don’t have it altogether, either. BUT, I have no family around to help, a small home, seven kids and my OLDEST daughter (13 yrs) has a cognitive disability, a seizure disorder, a rare genetic disorder and has been in constant pain for over a year with some gut issues. My laundry is in the basement and I cannot easily leave her (or at all) to take laundry downstairs. My 11 and 9 year old help put laundry in. My kids have chores. But, my only way of survival IS to put one foot in front of the other! Our home is simple and so is our homeschooling. But, my kids are learning well :-) The Lord is teaching me so much through our weaknesses.

  43. The burn out, for me, doesn’t happen because of homemaking. It doesn’t even really happen because I homeschool on top of the full time 24/7 job of homemaking. It happens because I do pretty much everything here except earn a paycheck. I take care of the lawn, the garbage, the wood, the furnace, the plumbing, the air conditioners. I’m the one who takes the vehicles to the garage to get fixed. I’m the one doing the banking, and the grocery shopping and the bill paying. I’m the one noticing the roof needs repair, or the windows need caulking and many times I’m the one doing said repairs! I can’t be Mom, Teacher, AND Dad! There aren’t enough hours in the day! I’m exhausted!

  44. Ma Ingalls daughters went on to start the Eastern Star…which is masonry for women…that was not a great accomplishment…something very unchristian happened…their daddy Pa Ingalls was a mason. :(

  45. Absolutely great post! It made me think of something Elizabeth Elliot said, “Just do the next thing.” Or maybe even the wisdom of Dory from Finding Nemo would be appropriate, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” Michael Pearl commented also that women who find themselves depressed and unfulfilled are often not doing what they ought to be doing. He asked them if they were doing the dishes, ironing for their husbands, etc., and many responded they were not even consistently doing the basics.

  46. Amy, this is my favorite part of your post:

    But a real homemaker from yesteryear would have been deemed incompetent had she fallen apart over such things. To be blunt, Ma Ingalls would have “sucked it up and moved on.”

    I think we live in a culture where people love to WHINE…. we aren’t promised an easy life, but we are promised that God will always be with us.

    Yes, I think you probably did step on some toes with this post. Good for you!

  47. Matt 11:28

    I recently went through a desperate burn out. God had allowed many things to happen at once in my life and while I was able to finish the ministry work and the home schooling year that he had called us to and that we had committed to, when the summer arrived I had NOTHING left. I was literally in a stupor for 2 months. In a twelve month period of time my father in law had passed away, my grandfather had passed away, two very long term and meaningful friendships had ended, I faced two bouts of pneumonia, and the areas of ministry that God had called us to had been full of challenges and needed much more of us than we could have anticipated. There was more, but you get the idea… It was a lot to go through physically, spiritually, emotionally, and practically.

    When summer finally arrived I just shut down (relatively speaking). I was spent. Fully spent. Willingly spent for the Lord, but spent none the less. And yet, the days kept going: Children need meals, laundry needs to be done… Burnt out, but still going… but not beautifully, not impressively, not like a fictionalized version of Ma Ingalls that is for sure!

    God desires to give us rest from our weariness and does not despise our weakness or our imperfection. I knew I had his blessing to just let it be and rest.

    He is much more concerned about our heart than the cleanliness of the floors. & There is no condemnation in Christ, only invitation to draw near again and again and again. He knew what I needed and that I wasn’t going to be refreshed with an hour or two at the spa… or even at his feet. This one was going to take some time.

    We are to run our races to win – the spiritual race – but our race is not our daily task list. It is our run toward Jesus.

    When you are burnt out to the core there is a heavenly father to fall on who knows what ails you and how to nurse you back to Him. A racer who does not take care of an injury injures himself further and may disqualify himself for the race altogether. Above all things, we must guard our hearts so that they will not grow hard trying to stay the course, but soft and tendered toward him as we run on with His glory in full view within the eyes of hearts.

    Burn out has a purpose. He doesn’t allow you to go there without a purpose – maybe it is to force more moment to moment reliance on Him than you have known before (always room for growth), maybe it is to force you to be more purposeful about your priorities (pruning is painful, but the fruit is so worth it!), maybe it is to allow the devil to sift you a bit, maybe it is for reasons beyond our current understanding… But it happens because we are spiritually needy, physically vulnerable humans who live in a fallen world. No shame in admitting what is true and asking God to help us in our neediness.

    I don’t spend much time thinking about Ma Ingalls, but with what I do know about her, I bet she did that every day.

  48. I was just thinking this morning about the Ingles, and kids chore charts and systems. And how they were expected to take care of there responsabilities without any of that, and how much time I’ve waisted trying to set up a new plan for the kids to clean, and myself as well instead of just doing it. This post was very encouraging. I have been in a difficult place. We just had baby #4, and hes a colicky little boy. It’s been difficult to keep up with the house, the kids, and homeschooling, but I’ve been feeling convicted that I find myself wasting more time then I should.

  49. Though I agree completely with home making unto The Lord. It is walking in grace as well. We cannot compare ourselves with each other. We must surrender to the calling of Christ not an attitude of pride or perfectionism. This homemaking is merely a by product of loving our family well and practicing Christ over and over again. Sometimes in practice we fail. Grace demonstrated is the love that remains. I say this to myself and to the other moms that beat themselves up today. You may have felt like you pulled yourselves up by your bootstraps and still felt like you fell short. Kiss your kids and your husband ask for grace and give it. Though a righteous (wo)man falls down seven times yet she gets up again.

  50. Hi :) How true!! The Lord gave me 12 precious children in 12 years. Ten years ago, He called us to leave our family/friends/church/home and move to Mexico to share the gospel with those here. He called me to home school our children…all 12 still at home currently in grades 12-K4. He calls me to love my husband, love my children, and care for my home. Some days I feel grumpy. Some days I feel overwhelmed. Some days I feel lazy. Some days my husband feels grumpy. There is usually at least one child that feels grumpy at some time during the day and often times more than one. There are days we have no power or propane. There are days when we have visitors from morning till night. There are days we are sick.
    But none of that changes my calling or responsibilities. And while at times my head is spinning, I just think of what needs to be done next, and I do it. Little by little. Step by step. Some days we get to leap or fly. And others we are down to a slow crawl. And there is that deep joy and fulfillment when I finally lay my head on my pillow at night knowing that by God’s grace, I did what he asked me to do that day.
    I’m so far from perfect. And I make mistakes every day. And I feel so undeserving of this high calling and privilege to be a wife and mother. But I am so very thankful that I am. And that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

  51. When I start feeling overwhelmed (which is at least once a day- when I look around at the mess that has been newly created) I say to myself, “It will all get done.” For some reason that phrase, helps me to immediately calm down and not worry and just, as you say, put one foot in front of the other and just get to doing it bit by bit. It will all get done. It’s really nothing to worry about. Thank you for this post. I have a theory that the current mentality is “Women Can Do Anything! (Except for the things women have always done.)” Go ahead and get a PHD! You can DO IT! But cooking from scratch is too hard… why even try ladies? What are you trying to be BETTER than everyone?
    It really is an interesting set of messages.

  52. I was actually writing a blog about this and couldn’t put my finger on really what it is. Your right it is burn out. I believe that a lot of the burn out is caused by all the other stuff we do like spending time on the computer, watching t.v.and many other things. I struggle with this and am trying to figure out a way to over come it and guess what? God is how to over come this and we need to stop being so whimpy. I hear myself complain some days about all the stuff I have to do and how many times I have to wake up in the night with a baby. But man I just need to suck it up and clean on and do it all with the strength of Christ.

    Thank you <3

  53. This was so on point. While I love many aspects of our very connected life, it does have a tendency to make us feel inadequate, and then to provide us with excuses to chalking it up to “burn out” or the lack of “me time.” I am definitely the most productive and the least burned out when I am relying on God more than my own strength and when I am spending regular time in prayer and in his word. It is absolutely amazing how that can bring things into better perspective and provide rest from the burn out. Thank you for this!

  54. I completely agree that I need to do less complaining and whining about my to-do list and just tackle it. And the idea we should take great pleasure in our daily housekeeping tasks, and those should have as much value as other more “prestigious” tasks rings true. But I am also grateful we now live in a time that we can openly express our dissatisfaction.

    And I guess, it’s different for me because I don’t identify myself as a homemaker. I am a mom and wife. And today being a mom and wife entails so much more than it did in the past. For good or not, those differences take up our time which takes away time from housekeeping tasks. I don’t think it is glorifying a messy or dirty house but giving grace to the mother for not living up to a standard of perfection.

  55. You are so right! One thing “Ma” didn’t have (and we do) is STUFF!!! Good stuff and bad stuff… it doesn’t matter, it still takes too much of my time! We should be spending our time “working” rather than “cleaning” ALL THE TIME! Too often, we don’t even have time to homeschool because we are always cleaning up the mess.

    We have actually been reading about Almonzo’s family, and I have been struck by the things he says about his mother. “Mother never sits down, she is always in a hurry.” Wow! I was so convicted about my laziness when I read that! Then I also think about how healthy they must have been to eat everything that was grown right there on their farm. No chemicals, no additives to bog them down.

    Thank you for your admonition and inspiration!!

  56. I agree that so many moms feel the need to hide behind their complaints, seeking affirmation for avoiding their calling and work. I am so tired of excuses! I have seasons when chores go undone, schooling is sporadic, sickness overwhelms, but i will not let it drag me down! (And no one ever knows either…I plug on through it!) I love that you call them wimpy. I get so frustrated with wimps – whether they are SAHMs, WAHMS, homeschool moms, working moms, single moms, or whatever. I’ve been in each of those roles. There is just such a spirit of complaining and grumbling about one’s situation. Suck it up indeed.

  57. Amen!! Everything you said is spot on, down to earth, honest, heartfelt, 100% truth!! As the Mother of 5 boys 17, 14, 3, 2 & 17 months with another baby on the way I get a lot of……are you crazy, how do our do it, how do you possibly have time for yourself. I tell people flat out…..I am slightly crazy, I sneak in moments for myself and as the daughter of a truck driver I do it by remembering my Dad’s words of wisdom, “Don’t get nervous this is all temporary and when it is necessary remember Grandpa B’s words Keep on truckin’ on the storm will end.” It is true, nothing lasts forever here on earth and once through it we often wonder why we were so scared or what the big deal was. I needed to read this as lately I have been cranky and tired as I am 66 days until baby comes and have forgotten it is temporary and to ” keep on truckin’ on “. Thank You!!!

  58. This hit me squarely on the head. I have been dealing with a burn-out of sorts, but I have nailed down the root of the problem: staying up too late at night. It’s gotten to the point where I’m overtired, rather extreme exhaustion, according to my doctor, so just one bad night (with a baby crying or a wet bed) can push me over the edge and I’ve got all the self control of a toddler who missed his nap and is late for bedtime. But that doesn’t mean I should just go curl up in a corner and whine about it. I need to remember my priorities, and one of them is sleep!

    • Sleep is so hard to force yourself in to as a homemaker! I feel like I should stay up and keep going with things, but really if I had sufficient sleep I would be much more on top of my game the next day.

  59. “Ma Ingalls wasn’t searching for the perfect cleaning method, she was too busy CLEANING! ”
    I do need to remember this somedays…. I get overwhelmed by reading blogs and pinterest on how to be a perfect amazing homemaker, that looking at my real home I am lost at what to do!

    Sometimes, you just need to do SOMETHING!

  60. Love this! I too often think of Laura Ingalls, her family, and pioneer women. I k ow I have a lot easier life, so I try not to complain. I am truly blessed.

    I think where I lack compared to the pioneer women, is I am on my own. I had no elders teaching me. I’m figuring this out on my own. Simple cooking and cleaning I’ve taught myself. I often wonder how easier it would be if I was insed with a schedule and routine cooking and cleaning. My mom and grandma were in the picture. Just never passed that knowledge down and I never saw them do it.

    • My mom didn’t pass down these skills either. She said I was too busy with school and sports for her to find the time. I’ve muddled through and finally at 36 I feel as if I really do know what I’m doing…well, most of the time. ;)

  61. I think we all fall into the trap of wanting to do things the way our mothers did them. And comparing ourselves to others. I have realized that I don’t have the same daily life or routine as my mom, so I have to do what works for me. I was a victim of over analyzing my responsibilities as a homemaker, I would have panic attacks and lash out at my family because things weren’t the way I thought they should be. The thought, “what would my mother do” was always in the back of my mind. As far as avoiding burnout, I try to mix things up a bit. I’m not a homeschooling mom, all four of my children are in school, so I do have plenty of time to get things done and have down time before the crew gets home. But let me tell ya, weekends are another story, I get used to getting my cleaning done in the mornings, and I’m then able to enjoy a clean home for a few hours, but when the weekend arrives, nothing stays clean, it is very overwhelming.

    • I used to take Monday morning to get the house back in order. It isn’t as bad as it once was because I have older children who can help more over the weekend, but when they were all little, the house exploded over the weekend and I needed to get things back under control before I could back to the homeschooling. Perhaps you could work Sunday night with your children to get the house “Weekday-Ready”?

      • We actually did that this past Sunday. I did not want to start my week out with a messy house. It has made the week flow so much better.

  62. Thank you for writing this post! I have recently felt the need to stop reading blogs regularly for pleasure because I was starting to see a trend. There’s a lot of ‘our job is hard and let’s talk about how hard it is’ in the blogging world, at least from my perspective. I think there is certainly a place for that but I started to feel okay with complaining about my work as a homemaker instead of challenged to push through or expected to be strong. Thank you for these challenging words!

  63. Awwww thank you for saying this. I am guilty as charged. As I was reading your blog I realized I was doing something wrong because I looked up to see my kids watching Star Wars IV (albeit one of my favorite movies ever) at 7:30 in the morning for no good reason. I am going to stop being a wimpy homemaker and homeschooling mom and start being strong (in The Lord too).
    I don’t even do Facebook or Pinterest mind you but I still can’t get my act together.
    Thank you for your encouraging words!
    Lisa :)

  64. Thank you so much for this wonderful post, Amy! Praise God, He looks on our hearts and our desires to do and be all we can for Him….not on how perfectly we do it all. I would be in a heap of trouble, if He did. :) None of us are perfect, and that’s okay. That is what grace is all about! Our call to be Mamas and homeschool teachers and keepers at home is the loftiest, highest call a woman could ever receive. Thank you for reminding us of that. You are a blessing! Love, Cheryl

  65. In my ladies care group we just studied Sabbath. I was personally very convicted about how I an handling Sabbath and the example I am showing others around me. One of the many thoughts I had was one of the things that sets Christians apart from others is God’s gift of a day of resting every week. This Sunday as a response to what I have been thinking about I set a side as much as I could and took the time to do something creative. I don’t have much time for fun like that in my week so it was a real treat to make cards. I found it very refreshing. This week I will strive to have meals ready before hand so I won’t have to cook on Sunday.
    It is my strong belief that if we trust God enough to rest on Sunday that burnout will be left behind as a product of our sinful choice to rely on our own strength.

    • I couldn’t agree more! Our nation used to shut down on Sundays, but no more. We just keep going and going and going. We need to rest! It is God-ordained!

      • Yes, it’s sad. Nothing is sacred in our society anymore. I was so saddened last year when the “black friday” sales started ON Thanksgiving day. So sad that people would rather shop and get a good deal than spend the day with their families…

  66. Hi! As a mom who is going through this this month off and on I have to agree. I came on here this morning for encouragement to start the day NOT angry or stressed, but I did the work yesterday to have this moment this morning! I have found when stressed you can usually clean the house in 30 min to an hour. So I have my kids pick up their part (toys clothes, tiny pieces of paper) while I do my chores and then….. I take a 15 minute nap. This helps me because I have done my work and sleep was usually what I needed. Again this is me, I get tired and I have found I can take a nice nap if I quickly get everything done, rest, then get up and finish things like floors or other tedious chores :) So great to hear someone say it though, Just get it done!