homemaking in survival mode

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We all will have seasons of life where we go into survival mode. Most people are in survival mode to at least some extent right after a new baby is born. A surgery, a busy time at work, or a move can also throw us into a sense of being overwhelmed. (And sometimes, all three of those things happen around the same time…ahhhh!)

My goal is to think of homemaking as something that I do to bring glory to God. As an outworking of that, I really do try to stay on top of things, but sometimes life happens. I have routines, but they fly out the window during a crisis.

For example, April – July 2016 was a time of survival mode. Tigger had colic, I was struggling with health issues of my own, and we moved to another state. If I put the baby in the crib so I could use the restroom, he would scream and be inconsolable for about a half hour. As I’m sure you can imagine, my house did not look that great. We did not starve and we wore clean clothes, but that was about it for a while.

For my type A self, it was hard to accept that I didn’t have it together. “I only have one kid!” I thought. “Some people have seven or eight kids and they manage to cook dinner for real and clean their toilets!” I had to remind myself that this was a season, and that it would pass eventually. After my son outgrew colic, we were able to settle into a better routine.

Here’s how I managed when I was in survival mode:

  • Set priorities. For our family, this was avoiding having to eat out too often. To achieve that, every Saturday my husband would take care of the baby and I would prep freezer meals. Each meal would go in a gallon ziploc bag. Every morning during the week, I would dump a thawed freezer meal into the crockpot and let it cook. We survived off of crockpot dinners for months. I missed “cooking for real,” but it got the job done for that season. It was definitely healthier and cheaper than takeout.
  • Simplify. We used a lot of paper plates for the first month or so after the baby was born. Normally that feels wasteful to me. It’s okay. After a few weeks, we didn’t need them any more.
  • Delegate. I usually do the bulk of the housework in my household, but my husband did a good bit of laundry for a while there when we were in survival mode. I had to accept that I needed help and it was okay. If all else fails, my husband WILL make sure the laundry is done. He’s awesome like that. 😉
  • Let. It. Go. As women, sometimes we look at others and wonder how they do it all. Here’s the secret: they DON’T do it all. We all have to decide what is most important for our families right now.

How do you manage when life gets crazy?

13 comments on “Homemaking in Survival Mode”

  1. Bahaha “they manage to cook dinner for real and clean their toilets!” That cracked me up!
    I appreciate this post though. It’s not about how perfect things look so much as it is doing our very best for God’s glory.

  2. I love these tips for survival mode! Totally agree with the simple meals and paper products. It takes such a load off knowing that those things are taken care of!

  3. Great post! I myself was in survival mode after my now 2 1/2 year old was born. We moved when he was 3 months old, had RSV at that time and I started going through severe Postpaurtum depression. It was the worse year of my life, I was just going through the motions like a robot, I also had 3 other kids. They were 6,8,17. My 17 year old was also in placement for mental health issues (also when my last was born).
    Thank you for this article, glad to know I wasn’t alone❤

    • We moved when my son was 3 months old too. Fortunately I had several relatives who could come help me. There is no way I could have packed up my house without my sister in law. It’s a tough stage even without other extenuating circumstances, and it sounds like you had a lot of stuff happening. I hope you’re feeling better now! <3

  4. “As women, sometimes we look at others and wonder how they do it all. Here’s the secret: they DON’T do it all.” – This is what I have to convince myself of… And crockpot meals are a lifesaver!

  5. Though I don’t have a baby who cries a lot this time around, I’m in the newborn phase so I can totally relate. I have the added bonus of a 3, 6, and almost 9 year old to help out in the house though. They are the reason we have clean dishes lol. I always figure that staying sane is much more important than having a clean home. So I drop the expectations of myself and plan to mostly just sit for a month or so after birth. Much more peaceful when you change your mindset!

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