Homemaking When You’re Chronically Ill
I looked around at the kitchen counter that was covered in dirty dishes…again.
“Oh, how I hate waking up to this mess, but I just couldn't keep going last night,” I thought.
My heart rate rose as I glanced into the laundry room and saw the pile of dirty clothes that was growing impossibly large. Chances are that someone would need something in that pile today and I would feel even more frustrated and stressed that I can't even provide a clean pair of socks for my child.
When I am feeling well I work hard to keep the house as clean as I can. I know how stressed a messy house makes me feel, and I know that the stress will only make my health issues worse. But then when I am too weak to get out of bed and the kids are making their own food, they don't do such a great job at cleaning it up. (Okay, that is putting it lightly. It is a horrible mess that no one would ever want to see.)
I have help that comes once a week and that has made a big difference. Even if she doesn't have time to get to the bigger things, she can sweep through and clean up the dishes and laundry so that everyone can breathe again. The deeper cleaning is actually easier for my kids to do on their own anyway. I just give them a wet e-cloth and let them go to town scrubbing floors, walls, doors, and the older ones know how to clean the bathroom as well.
If you live with chronic illness, you know that one of the most frustrating things is not knowing what you'll be able to accomplish on any given day. You never know when you'll be up to housework and when you'll need to be in bed most of the day.
When my blogging buddy Rachel mentioned something about a course she was developing, I was intrigued by the idea because I had not heard of any other resource like it. It's called “Energy Budget: Time Management for the Chronically Ill”. (Insider tip: if you purchase the Conquer Your Clutter bundle, you'll get the energy budget course along with TONS of other time management resources, all for nearly half the price of buying the energy budget course alone!)
You see, Rachel knows all about living with chronic illness too, and the frustrations that come with feeling unproductive and chaotic due to lack of a predictable schedule. I thought her idea for a course about how to design a homemaking plan that works for variable levels of physical strength was genius!
If you're walking through a chronic illness and struggling with the feelings of failure that come from not maintaining your home the way you'd like, Rachel's course will be an encouragement.
Now, I'll be the first to admit that taking a course will not make everything all better. You'll still be sick. You'll still wish you could do so much more than you're able to.
But if hiring a full-time maid is not an option (I doubt it is for most of us!), you'll at least have a strategy for using the strength you do have in the ways that will make the biggest impact in your home.
But no matter what:
- Don't be afraid to let others help.
- Don't beat yourself up for what you can't do.
- Don't ignore the blessings of the life you do have by wishing for a different situation.
Do all that you can in the strength of the Lord, asking for his wisdom day by day.
And then rejoice in the Lord, count your blessings, and stop focusing on the things that you wish were different.