Making the Most of Your
Chapter 5 "How You Get Started!"
“In the beginning God created . . . "
Whenever I speak to a younger woman, who is obviously overwhelmed with the task of homemaking, I quickly find certain distinct areas of neglect. The very first area of neglect very often is in creating a daily routine for her and her children, which we spoke about briefly in the previous chapter.
With that said, let me clarify my statement. I didn’t say to set a routine for yourself, your husband, and your children—no, no. Do not think, suggest, or imply that your husband needs to be set into your, nor your children’s, routine!! On the contrary, you and your children are to fit into your husband’s routine.
“The heart of her husband trusts in her [his wife], and he will have no lack of gain” (Prov. 31:11). Can your husband trust that he will have no lack of gain?
“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him’” (Gen. 2:18). If being a helper to your husband is a new concept to you, or if you are still struggling with this frame of mind, please read (or re-read) Lesson 9, “Helper Suitable,” in A Wise Woman which is available through our ministry’s online store. Go to RestoreMinistries.net for more information.
Now you might want to tell me that your husband’s life has no rhyme or reason to it, but that is where you are wrong. All human beings are creatures of habit. If you think that your husband doesn’t have a morning routine, I will tell you that you haven’t been watching! Remember, “An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels” (Prov. 31:10). It was very difficult to find a virtuous woman back when Proverbs was written—now, it is nearly impossible!
So what caused a virtuous woman to be harder to find in today’s world? The new feminist ideas have warped our minds, and now our thinking has become distorted. This verse of Scripture should set us straight. “For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake” (1 Cor. 11:8–9). This principle forms the very foundation of our homes. Without a godly foundation, our houses will fall as we unknowingly tear them down with our very own hands! “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands” (Prov. 14:1).
Once again, the very first step you must make is to set yourself and your children a ROUTINE that is adapted to your husband’s schedule. You may think the terms “schedule” and “routine” are interchangeable, but they are not. A schedule denotes “time,” whereas a routine is a pattern of carrying out certain activities. Now, certainly time will be a factor in your routine; however, I have found that when I use time to set my routine, I soon become stressed, anxious, and eventually frantic!
Once again, a routine is simply a way of carrying out your activities in a particular order, every day. Your present routine may be to get up, get coffee, yell at your children to “stop . . .!,” then to sit down in front of the television to watch a morning show until lunch.
Or your routine may be to get up late, run to your children’s room, yell “get up we’re late!,” throw cereal in a bowl, pitch something into their lunch box, and spend ten minutes in panic as you desperately search for homework, a shoe, or something else you can’t find. Everyone has a routine. What I propose is that you establish your routine. Don’t let it establish you.
When you set out with an idea for your routine, don’t make it lofty and unattainable. How many times have you decided to take control of your day, and then you give up before lunch? You are not a failure if this has happened to you. You simply did not have the right mind-set when you began.
The first thing you’ll do in the morning is to wake up, so let’s begin there. Do you set an alarm, or do you rise when you hear your children fighting? Or, do you open one eye when your husband kisses you good-bye? Does he slip out hoping he won’t have to confront your weary face, mangled hair, and offensive breath?
How would you like to begin your day? Be careful and don’t get lofty here, girls. Set a time that you can easily (or at least might be able to) achieve. It may be nice to consider getting up ahead of, or at least when your husband gets up. Wouldn’t you agree? Let me suggest that you go in and splash some warm or cool water on your face, maybe even brush your teeth. Do you like coffee, hot tea, or maybe juice in the morning? Even a nice, cool glass of water will help to get you going. Why not find out what your husband likes to drink, and bring it to him with a good morning kiss?
If it’s also time for your children to get up, awaken them with a kiss, or a back rub if they are grown-up boys. My youngest daughter loves coffee (terrible, but true). When I sit down on her bed holding my cup of coffee, I offer her a sip, which brings a smile, a long stretch, and then she sits up.
If your children don’t “have to” get up yet, let them sleep just a bit so that you can fulfill this wonderful proverbial suggestion: “She rises also while it is still night, and gives food to her household, and portions to her maidens” (Prov. 31:15). When I first read this, I thought, “Well, once I get some maidens (just one maid would be great), then I’ll get up when it’s still dark!” Years ago, the way I rationalized this verse was to tell myself that even though it wasn’t dark outside, I felt like it was!
I know many women who do this sort of thing (get up when it’s still dark). I just recently got a book from a woman who scheduled her entire day (every minute of every day) and individually scheduled her eight children’s every minute too. When she sat down to write everything she needed to do every day, she found that she couldn’t do it all in 24 hours! (I can relate!) So, she concluded that she could make it on less sleep! As soon as I read that, without even considering it for a moment, I said, “No way!”
Now, I will admit, I don’t always get a nice eight hours of sleep, because things happen. Company may linger, too often we are out late on date night, we may (and usually do) stay up visiting with our older children, or there are times when a child is sick—but for heaven’s sake, I am not going to plan to get less sleep on purpose!
I prefer to claim this Scripture to guide me in this all-important decision: “It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep” (Ps. 127:2). Did you notice the verse said that we shouldn’t “retire late”? I pad my designated bedtime by half an hour so I can get to bed at a decent hour every night whenever possible.
However, since I am getting older and after having lived on a farm, it has become more difficult to sleep in. I am often up at four or five in the morning. It makes me laugh to read the above paragraphs, with a little bit of longing for how things used to be! However, I never knew that I was missing the most beautiful sunrises, or the precious solitude of the morning hours spent with the Lord, until we moved to our farm. And even though we no longer live on a farm, God faithfully wakes me before dawn to spend time and coffee with Him!
Can’t Get Up
If you have trouble (or you have trouble with your children) getting up, I have the solution. The problem is that most people do this backwards. They keep trying to go to bed earlier so they can get up in the morning. This will never work. Instead, get up (or get your children up) just one morning when you said you would—no matter when you went to bed. Then, don’t take a nap (keep your children’s regular nap short or miss it if they still take one) and then everyone will be begging to go to bed on time. Whenever you begin to go to bed late, which makes you get up too late, use this method to roll your sleep pattern back.
Are you a person who battles guilt because you feel that you should get up earlier? Are you the type of person who thinks that they should have at least an hour with the Lord—even if it means your “quiet time” would begin at 3:30 a.m.? Let me give you the verse that the Lord gave me when I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown (well, maybe my breakdown was in full swing when He gave it to me): “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and YOU SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light” (Matt. 11:28–30).
For almost six years, I barely slept. It began when my husband was gone, and I was seeking the Lord for marriage restoration. I just couldn’t sleep because he wasn’t beside me in bed. On many nights, I thought I heard him on the balcony of our townhouse. (I have always been a positive thinker!) I was sure that at any moment he was going to come to his senses and come bounding up the fence, onto the balcony, and tap gently on my sliding glass door. And, of course, I certainly didn’t want to miss his coming home! (Read Song of Solomon 5:6 if you missed the picture.)
After he came home (which, by the way, was through a phone call, NOT through climbing up my townhouse balcony), I became almost obsessed with making sure I was the perfect wife. I had one baby after another. These three sweet babies would inevitably wake up to nurse, and I wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep. I would go to my computer, and write until dawn. This went on for four years. The entire Wise Woman was written between the hours of three and seven in the morning and with one hand, as I nursed a baby at my breast!
Did you know that there is such a thing as “sleep deprivation”? Well, I had it. You get loony! Actually, it begins with becoming “wired.” You can’t sleep; you can’t rest. Then you become loony tunes, and you’re headed for a breakdown. It’s taken me a long time to recover; or have I recovered?
I am now convinced that we women have been duped to believe that we have to be super-human. We have believed the song “I am woman, I am strong . . .” But, that is a lie (I can attest to that!). The Bible says (and His Word is truth), “You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman . . .” (1 Pet. 3:7).
Being weaker is nothing to be ashamed of; it’s the way we were made. It was no mistake; it’s not a flaw. God made us this way for a purpose—His purpose. And believe me when I tell you, whenever you try and change His purpose for your life, there’s trouble.
So relax, get to bed early if you can, and get up at a reasonable hour. Now, we’ve spent over three pages on getting up. Let’s see if we can get down to business.
Now You’re Up!
Create your routine based on what you want to do, or what you need to do next. You will fall into one of two categories: the “need to do” or the “want to do” category. If your husband has not left for work, it is a “need to do.” You need to do certain things as a wife.
If your children have a time by which they must leave for school, it’s also a “need to do” decision. You need to do certain things as a mother.
I fall into the “want to do” category (praise the Lord). Neither my husband nor I go to work, and our children don’t go to school.
(If you are interested in being set FREE from sending your children to school, you can find out about the BEST decision that my husband and I have ever made in the last lesson of A Wise Woman, and more specific information in Enter by the Narrow Gate: Homeschooling with Conviction!)
There is such freedom in living in the “want to do” category. If you are in this category because you still have only small children, and you are blessed to be at home—you have freedom! So hold onto it by keeping your children home and teaching them yourself.
Now, freedom is being free to do “not just what you want” but “what you ought.” “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please” (Gal. 5:17).
“Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you may excel still more” (1 Thess. 4:1).
Freedom that is ungoverned or not controlled is really bondage. Your flesh will begin to rule your life. You may even sit around in a lethargic stupor, as described in Scripture.
“How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?” (Prov. 6:9)
“As the door turns on its hinges, so does the sluggard on his bed” (Prov. 26:14).
“The desire of the sluggard puts him to death, for his [or her] hands refuse to work . . .” (Prov. 21:25).
Or, you are busy getting nowhere:
“She is boisterous and rebellious; her feet do not remain at home; she is now in the streets, now in the squares, and lurks by every corner” (Prov. 7:11–12).
“She does not ponder the path of life; her ways are unstable, she does not know it” (Prov. 5:6).
Do you run around from place to place, from project to project, from house to house, from store to store, and get nothing done in your home?
The second set of verses describe the adulterous woman. Have you been unfaithful to your husband, because you have neglected your responsibility as a homemaker, wife, and mother? This is why many men leave their wives, and why many young men are choosing not to marry. Why should they? Even the church is filled with harlots to sleep with. If he were to marry, would she be at home caring for their home and their children?
Would she be out working, while his children are raised in daycare? Would she see her responsibilities at home and with their children as her career, and work at it accordingly? Or would she simply stay at home, neglecting her duties?
Our older sons are now reaching the age to marry, and finding a “virtuous” wife almost seems impossible. A young woman who is not interested in a career is like finding a needle in a haystack! Even those who claim to want to be homemakers are going to college and seeking a degree to have something to “fall back on.” Unfortunately, when you prepare for a “Plan B,” it usually happens. (For more information on training young women versus young men, and more information on the dangers of being a working woman, read A Wise Woman.)
How long would your husband keep his job if he sat in the coffee room reading a magazine? How long would he keep his job if he went to run an errand for his boss and stayed out until dusk? How long would he keep his job if he didn’t do his job?
Girls, don’t come crying to me pretending that you didn’t know. This is why men leave their wives. What man wants to come home to a woman with an attitude, who neglects her duties, yet has the nerve to tell him off?
Not too many years ago, men used to be frantic to find a wife and get married. A woman was a hot commodity, when her desire was to have children for her husband, train well-behaved children, keep a nice home, fix delicious meals, and be his lover at night. If this repulses you, then your mind is fixed on the evils of this world and you are ignorant of God’s Word. If I’m wrong, then how did Proverbs 31 and Titus 2 get into the Bible?
Again I ask, have you been an unfaithful wife to your husband? If you have, repent before the Lord and ask Him to change you. Now that you’re motivated, let’s get back to the business at hand.
After you’re up, the next step would be to get dressed, have breakfast, or make the beds. To make this decision, ask yourself, “What should I do?” if you’re in the “need to do” category. If you are a “want to do,” ask yourself, “What would make me feel motivated? What will keep me moving in order to conquer the next task? What will get me over the next hurdle?”
Some women feel a hundred times better if they can just get out of their bathrobe. Other women just need to get something in their stomachs, or to get their children fed. Some must make their beds before they leave their room to feel better. If you are tempted to climb back into bed, I’d suggest you make up your bed first! And some women like to walk or exercise.
If you are an exercise fanatic, let me first ask you a question. Once you exercise, are you so tired out that you can get nothing done? Or do you become invigorated and ready to tackle the world? We all know ourselves. Take a little time to ponder this question. Selah. (When you see this in your Bible, it means to ponder the thought in your mind for a while.)
Exercise is great if it helps you to stay calm, and puts you in a good mood without wearing you out. However, a good workout can also be accomplished by deep cleaning your house! Deep bending while picking up things off the floor, vigorous vacuuming to get your heart pumping, strengthening your arms by scrubbing toilets or bathtubs, or even making some good homemade bread with lots of kneading are all excellent forms of exercise. Women today neglect their homes and go to a gym or jog around the neighborhood. It’s fine to keep in good shape, as long as your home does not reflect neglect.
To help you get a routine together, it might be helpful for me to tell you what I do when I get up, and maybe, a couple of other periods of time when I did it a different way. This may help you to decide how to set a routine for yourself.
When my children were small and not yet of school-age this was my routine. I would usually get up about the same time, seven in the morning, when I heard my husband in the shower. I would get up, make our bed, and tidy up the room. I would lay out my husband’s clothes on his valet (that stand that holds men’s clothing). At that time, I would iron everything as it came out of the wash and before I put it in the closet. But when our closets got smaller and cramped, I couldn’t afford that much time to set aside for ironing. Instead, I began picking out his clothes and ironing them before, or during, his shower.
Let me assure you, my sons can all iron for themselves, and my daughters iron for themselves (the younger ones are too small yet, but they will learn). My daughters know that someday they will iron their husbands’ clothing; therefore, often they bless their brothers by ironing their clothing.
After I laid out his clothes, I would go downstairs to make the coffee, sometimes reading my Bible, and waiting until I’d hear the little ones stirring upstairs. (When children have a set routine of eating and sleeping, they will get up at about the same time every morning.) Then, I would come up, kiss them good-morning, and help them to get dressed. By the time we would leave their bedroom, the beds would be made and the room would be tidy. And unless I had to clean the bathrooms that day, no one would go upstairs until nap-time.
Then, we would all meet downstairs for breakfast with daddy and walk him out to the car, waving as he drove away. Once inside, we would go to the “locked” toy closet and pick up the designated toys for the day. (More information of how to organize children’s toys is set out in Chapter 9 “Toys”) Then, I would begin a load of laundry and check my chore cards (more about chore cards in an exciting upcoming chapter!) to see what I needed to do for the rest of the day.
One Final Routine Example
When I had four children, and my oldest had begun to attend kindergarten (I didn’t begin home schooling until my oldest was just starting second grade), my routine looked like this.
My alarm would be set for 6:30 a.m.. I would get up and wake Dallas (Eeeeek, the infamous school bus!). I would go in and fix him breakfast, and he would join me in the kitchen after he had dressed for school. I would give him his lunch-box and backpack. When Dallas would come home from school, I would clean out his lunch-box, make his lunch for the next day, and put it in the refrigerator. He was taught to do his homework immediately when he got home, then I would check it; he would pack his backpack, and leave it by the front door.
Everyone else would be still sleeping, so I would walk Dallas to the bus-stop and wait for him to board the bus. Then, I would walk home, usually to find someone awake. I would then fix breakfast for the rest of the family, nurse the baby, and walk my husband to the door or to the car with the children in tow.
Once inside, I would again take out the day’s toys for the children to play with. After they start to play with the toys, I would go into each of the bedrooms to make the beds, gather dirty clothes, dump trashcans, vacuum, and dust. Then, I would go to the next room and do the same thing. Ladies, it feels so good to have a clean house.
Another wonderful tip: I have never allowed my children to play in their rooms. Bedrooms are for sleeping, dressing, and reading. Sometimes, I have had play areas; usually it has been in the living room. And before they are ever able to go outside to play, stop for lunch, or lie down for a nap, the toys are all picked up. It’s not difficult if there is only one toy bucket out at a time. (Again, we will get into more specifics about toys in an upcoming chapter.)
I really need to once again share my heart about home schooling. If you have EVER thought about home schooling your children, let me tell you that my husband and I believe it was the BEST decision we ever made, and this has brought about the good fruit in our children’s lives that so many comment on.
I put together a video series and an audio series entitled, Home Schooling for Him!! (Home schooling for the Lord that is and not how to get your husband to home school your children), that will motivate you and give you the confidence to do it. I have simplified home schooling, put God at the center, and have shared this method with many women I know, or whom I’ve met, and also at home school conferences. They tell me that they now they find home schooling their children very easy and rewarding. Take a moment to go to our website store for more details—you’ll find us at RestoreMinistries.net.
I hope that you can form a routine for your family from those that I have shared with you. When you make up a routine, then you need to routinely do it every weekday morning.
This is the place to start to get your life and home back in order. Variety is said to be the “spice of life.” But too much variety (or spice) makes things wild and too hot to handle! If you don’t have a routine, and you have to decide every day what to do next (not to mention getting your children to do something new every day), you will never want to get out of bed!
God is a God of order and routine. Every morning, the sun comes up in the east at the same time. Our seasons are set. Gestation of a baby, the labor and birth: all happen with specific timing and a set routine. This is God’s way, a way of order and predictability. Become more godly by following His example and bring a workable routine into your family’s life. It will bring the “peace that surpasses all understanding”!
If you are ready to make a commitment to GOD to finish the course, by CLICKING HERE you've agreed, and are ready to document this next step along your Restoration Journey in your "My Daily Journal" form. Take your time, sit down, grab your coffee or tea, and pour your heart into your Journal.
As an “Older women likewise…teaching what is good, that they may ENCOURAGE the young women…” (Titus 2:3) you will have the opportunity to speak to the younger women who are still single as part of your ministry.