Running on fumes

Not to long ago I was with a friend that is a genuine lover of her family. She works tirelessly to serve, love and take care of all their needs. She gets up early, home schools, makes her husband a great lunch for work, starts laundry, cleans the kitchen, vacuums, the list goes on and on.

She is such a lover of her family that she is in fact loving them at the expense of her own health and mental well being.

I know a little of what she is facing. I have six kids and one teenage brother that need my constant attention... or so that is what I tell myself.

As parents we have bought into the lie that we 'need' to take care of our kids. We 'need' to make sure everything is taken care of.

We find ourself constantly running on fumes by the end of the day.

Slapping an 'Out of order' sign on our foreheads may

not be an effective way to deal....but it is how we feel.

Our chore list is longer than there are hours in the day, but our kids have yet to wash a sink full of dishes.            

Between running them to their practices, youth group, life group, friends house, mall, homework..... we justify their inability to do chores or contribute to the family.

Somehow we have blown it as parents and we are benefiting paying a high price for it.

Our marriages are dying, our mental health is suffering, our bodies are warn down and we are weary.

Why? Because we have lost the drive to say 'NO!"

"It is easier to do all of the laundry at one time."
"It is easier to just 'do it myself."

I have friends that still do their teenagers laundry, pour their 13 year old a bowl of cereal in the morning, make their senior in high schools lunch. Dinner is always prepared for the kids, not 'with the kids.'

Beds are being made by mom and dad, rooms picked up while the kids are off at school.

After you have spent the last hour cooking dinner, you are quickly setting the dinner table. You cut your seven year olds food up into little pieces, serve everyones plates and just when you are about to put that bite of food into your mouth... the seven year old wants seconds and the baby needs a bottle.

STOP the chaos!!!

This is when you just want everyone to go to bed and your day to end.

Your teenager picks up their phone that you pay for and is pissed at you, so they verbally bash you on facebook for the entire world to see and storm off to their room leaving you to clean up the entire kitchen by yourself.

Do you see yourself riding on this never ending train?

We are facing burnout because we have been unwilling to face parenting.

Now what....

You must reclaim your life. You must begin to see your value separate from your children.

I am going to be bold here..... Get ready!

If your kids are over the age of 10 they need to start doing their own laundry. Yes, they will not do it perfectly but they need to learn.

Your seven year old needs to be told to wait. Do not give them seconds until you have eaten or let them serve themselves.

Your baby that is screaming at the table needs to be taken to their bed while you sit and enjoy some family time.

Your kids MUST contribute to the family. They were not created to be served and you were not created to be their servant.

Make a commitment to not unload the dishwasher for the next two weeks. They must 'learn' where things go in the kitchen.  This job is done by my 5 and 7 year old. Yes they even put away the glass plates. They stack all of the dishes on the counter under the cabinet it goes in. After the entire dishwasher is spread out across the counters they pull a chair up and begin to put the dishes from the counter into the cabinets.

Do not set the table tonight. If you cook the dinner... they can set the table.

Be prepared....

You may even be called "mean!" (((Sigh, gasp, gulp))) Get over it!

Your responsibility is not to raise pampered children. You're responsible to train them to be productive adults.

If your teenager uses the phone you pay for to break the rules, view inappropriate media, say inappropriate things on social medial outlets... be brave and parent your child. You do not need to provide extras if they are unwilling to submit to authority.

At some point in life they will have to obey someone. They will always be under someone else's authority. Don't you want them to learn in a healthy way what that looks like?

Of course a home full of chores and void of anything else is not helpful either.

Give chores and tasks for your kids to complete...
                     But praise them as they go. They will not do it right all of the time.

Tell them you are proud of them.

Say 'thank you' when they complete their chores.

Don't let them go one day without hearing three words, "I Love You!"

Your effort today will allow you to begin to reclaim your identity separate from your children.


Let me know your thoughts below. What are some things that have worked well for your family?


  1. Girl I think you are RIGHT on the money! While I wish someone had told me these things many years ago - I did manage to accomplish a few of them.

    My girls have been doing their own laundry since they were 9 (they got colored clothes baskets for their 9th bday)

    Parents do need to remember they are in the parenting seat! -

    Good JOB!!

    1. Parenting is so much more than just being a friend, it is about making unpopular decisions when they need to be made. Laundry is such a huge chore and to take a little of the pressure off makes a huge difference. I love the laundry basket for the 9th birthday.

  2. Thank you Nicole! This is something I have been praying about because I am struggling with this. Quite an answer to prayer!

    1. Yessie- You are a capable and loving momma! You have all the tools you need. Share the responsibility with EVERYONE in the house. You will appreciate them more and your relationships will be healthier. It is a tough transition in the beginning, especially if they are used to you doing everything. But don't give up on making everyone be equal partners in your home.
      Lord, right now I pray for my sister. Encourage her heart and speak tenderly to her doubt. Help her to teach her kids the truth of your love in a way that directs them to your heart. Give her courage when she is fearfully and give her boldness when she wants to back away. Thank you for Yessie! --Amen