Major on the Majors

Major on the Majors

Recently, my best friend and I were catching up after vacations and hosting houseguests.  Both of us felt like there were a hundred things to do in order to get our households back to normal routines, and I laughed as she described finding herself picking up toys when there still wasn’t any food in her fridge or clean laundry.  I had been doing the exact same thing over here!  We were caught up in the minor stuff and needed to refocus on the major household needs.

As moms, we’re always multitasking, right?  I’m usually unloading the dishwasher while the kids are eating breakfast.  I’m reading to the kids while nursing the baby.  I’m folding laundry or cleaning the bathroom or changing a diaper while talking on the phone to my mom.  I’m refereeing fights over train tracks while cutting up raw chicken for dinner.  We’re doing, doing, doing!  But sometimes we get so focused on “getting stuff done” that we end up doing the less important stuff first.

A very dear mentor once told me that she didn’t allow her feet to touch the floor in the morning before she’d spent time with God.  Of course, that looks a little different for me right now (I’m praying as I nurse, having been awakened by a hungry baby).  I do try to start the day with the Lord, because once I’m out of bed, the whirlwind begins!  First up are our basic physical needs.  We need to have food—three meals a day, plus snacks.  We need to have clean clothes (and clean diapers).  So grocery shopping, cooking, and laundry are the three tasks I absolutely have to do every week.  (Note that I don’t say gourmet cooking—this week, with my husband out of town, a potty training two year old, and a nursing baby, we’re having PBJ and box mac and cheese for dinner…)

After our basics are covered, I try to focus on cleaning up our living area at intervals throughout the day, and certainly before bed at night.  (My house looks like the above picture on a daily basis–come over, and you will step on a duplo at some point.)  If all those tasks are done, we can do other things like clearing off my kitchen counter, or washing the windows, or dusting.  Or getting crazy and cleaning the bathrooms!  (Don’t worry—I promise they’ll be cleaned before any of you come for a visit.)

And then there’s a lot of fun stuff that I really want to do, and the beautiful stuff that enriches our life.  I love to sew, and I have about 50 cute projects pinned for the kids.  I love trying out new recipes and cooking from scratch.  As a homeschooling mom, there are always more fun projects or field trips to plan.  As a displaced Midwesterner with few local friends, I freely admit that facebook is my lifeline to back home—checking in on my friends every day makes me feel a little less homesick.  And there’s this blog, for which I always have new post ideas swirling around in my head!  But all of those things are minors, and if I want my life to run smoothly, I need to major on the majors before I turn to the minors.

How do you prioritize your daily activities?

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3 Responses to Major on the Majors

  1. Rachel Parks says:

    Good post. Hard to do sometimes. I feel like I’m weighing my options right now. All three kids sick over a 10 day period. Just now is everyone well and I’m beginning to try to climb out from under the dishes and piles and piles of laundry (dirty and clean). Where do I start first. Since baby is napping I guess I’ll get off the computer and start with the stuff that is hardest to do with her and go from there. I confess though that I find the pace to keep my home to a maintenance level to be exhausting.

    • Emily says:

      Oh Rachel, I hear you! We had pink eye TWICE this summer, and with a new baby in the house, I totally wanted to sanitize everything to keep it from spreading, so there were loads upon loads of laundry. Sickness in the family exhausts me, even if I’m not the one who is sick. Anyway, I’m really preaching to myself this week. With my husband out of town and the two year old deciding she wants to potty train NOW, I’m relying on the big kids to clean up their toys, and I’m trying not to go to bed with any laundry left unfolded.
      I don’t know how old your kiddos are, but I’m finding that this year, with a 6 and 4 year old, the kids are really capable of taking on a lot of the housework–my oldest can clean toilets, sinks, tubs, and vacuum. The big girls can wash windows, sweep floors, unload the dishwasher, and entertain the baby while I do quick tasks. They don’t always do as thorough of a job as I would, but it’s better than it not getting done. This is a good reminder to have them help me clean the bathroom today before the little girls get up from naps…

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