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2009-05-19

Crisis Management: When You Just Need to Hang On for Dear Life

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So, last week was a tough go.

It happens to every family--times when things get rough and rocky and it's all you can do to just survive. Deep cleaning? Hah! These are the times when the children are lucky to be eating soda crackers and cheese for dinner, and your husband should be grateful if he's got even one pair of clean underwear left.

Can I get a witness?

These times of crisis can be caused by any number of things. A new baby, illness, a time of grief, moving--the list goes on. Crises can be positive or negative events.
Crisis: a dramatic emotional or circumstantial upheaval in a person's life.
I've got a crisis of my own coming up in the near future. I'm going to be having a baby in two months or so. This is my third little blessing, so I've got an idea of the kind of topsy-turviness that can follow the birth of a new baby. Sometimes, you can see the storm clouds on the horizon, and you can do a bit of planning ahead for the coming crisis. Sometimes, life catches you completely by surprise, and you're thrown into the crisis without the least bit of warning.

Here are some ideas to help you weather the storm whatever the case:

1. Figure out ahead of time what the basics in your home are.
The basics are the necessities. What would need to be done in your home every day just to make you feel like you've got your head above water? For me, I'd need my laundry done, dishes cleaned, and something to eat for dinner. We all need clean clothes, something to eat off of, and something to actually eat. If I had to pare it down to the absolute minimum, this is what I would focus on. What are your basics?

2. Figure out ahead of time what your sinks are.
Don't have any idea what I'm talking about? Here's the post that explains the concept of "sinks" more fully. In short, a "shiny sink" is a task that either motivates you as a homemaker when completed or debilitates you when left undone. If you are able to complete the basics and still have energy left, the next step would be these sinks. For me, this would include making the bed and clearing my counters. It is also connected to my basics, since having a pile of dirty dishes or 13 loads of laundry staring at me seriously debilitates me.

3. When crisis actually strikes, use your energy wisely.
Focus on the basics first. If this is all you can do, it's all you can do! Period. If you've got enough energy left over, maybe focus on some of your "sinks".

4. Call in reinforcements.
This is the time to be asking for help if you need it. And during a crisis, you probably do. Who are your reinforcements? First would be your family members. Your husband and children may need to take on more than they usually do. Hopefully, your children already have some responsibilities anyway--but this may be a time when more is expected of them. What if everyone is sick or your family is grieving? Then it might be time to call in extended family or members of your church family. This is not the time to be proud. Let people help you when you are in need of it. The Lord will give you the opportunity in the future to serve others in a similar way. Please don't be afraid to accept meals, or to let a friend wash your dishes, do a load of laundry, or even clean your toilet.

5. Give yourself large doses of grace.
Times like this happen to everyone. Everyone. It's just the way life is! It's not OK to bang your head on the wall and feel like a failure. Give yourself some grace! And remember this:
But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
II Corinthians12:9
Amen!

Do you have any tips of your own for dealing with homemaking during a season of crisis? I'd love to hear them!

Image by gamenerd

7 comments:

Robin said...

How wise. I escpcially love # 3. I've often times spent my days wandering aimlessly from task to task without ever finishing anything. Being intentional about what I spend my energy on is a wonderful suggestion.
Robin
All Things Heart and Home

Becky said...

These are great ideas. And I'm like you, although I prefer an empty sink, I can handle looking at one filled with dirty dishes, because I know it won't stay that way for long. However, messy beds and cluttered counters really bother me.

Since we don't always know when a crisis will arise, I try to keep my cupboards and freezer stocked - mainly with food, but also with laundry soap, a few new socks, and greeting cards.

Erin said...

Great tips! I've been employing all of these during my postpartum time. I'm just starting to be able to branch out and get back to even more activities. Perspective has really helped me keep from being overwhelmed and discouraged!

Jenn @ Beautiful Calling said...

I think that #5, Grace, is something that we need to remember whether or not we're in the midst of crisis! Often during the the day to day things, life would be smoother, we'd be calmer and our families would be happier if we remembered that! At least that is true of me and my family. It is a lesson that I have learned over, and over and over!

UKZoe said...

AMEN!
My post today is about leaving things not done and not guilt tripping myself when it doesn't get done!

Anna said...

This year my husband and I are both full time students. With 3 kids, I have had to accept that certain things will get done, and certain things won't. I think my "shiny sink" is having my bed made and having the kitchen cleaned up enough that I have space to cook.

"MissMelissa" said...

i love the Grace part, too. i know i have been bad about not giving myself enough grace to be imperfect... in the storms. that's when i find i'm the most hard on myself.

i say, declutter your life and that will also help weather the storms... if you have the necessities around, but not the "clutter", i find that it helps me to keep sane. then during the storm, if i clutter up a bit, it's not as bad. getting back to basics is great.

i also think that having extras of the basics on hand is essential to my sanity. if i don't want to have to go to the grocery for milk... well, it helps to have some in the freezer. :)

Peace.
melissa

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