I’m currently reading “Desperate Households” by Kathy Peel. In one of the chapters of this book, which focuses on restoring order and harmony to your home, Kathy explains the principles of good family management.
In every home, there should be someone devoted to the serious business of family management. This includes overseeing the maintenance and care of the home’s assets; meeting daily nutritional needs; fulfilling relational responsibilities with extended family, friends and neighbors; managing the budget, paying bills, saving and investing; planning special occasions and scheduling appointments; and even providing opportunities for spiritual nourishment.
Despite the fact that many families today have both adults working outside the home, these responsibilities have to get done one way or another.
In our home, I would probably be considered the family manager. Don’t get me wrong; the mister takes care of a lot of things around here. A lot! I just tend to be the one with my “finger on the pulse,” so to speak, when it comes to creating a vision for how our family should live so that we all remain content and nurtured.
When I took on this role more than 12 years ago, my instinctive desire to overachieve caused me to try and imitate all the wonderful women around me who were “getting it right.” (Names have been changed to protect the innocent. ) Mary was growing prizewinning tomatoes. Tiffany was the picture of fashion, grace and beauty. Sherry was crafting with her kids and taking them on field trips every week. Beth’s house was always sparkling clean and perfectly decorated.
So I tried to grow a garden (y’all know I have a black thumb), which was, literally, a flop. I bought the cutest high heels and tried to dress up every day. (Me feet were killing me!) I developed tremendous guilt because I couldn’t spend enough time crafting and field-tripping with our daughter. And my angry outbursts and anxiety increased as I attempted to keep the house clean daily and create show-stopping seasonal decorations.
I realized that, instead of being a first-rate version of myself, I was making myself into a second-rate version of somebody else. Sometimes, I think we waste a lot of time comparing ourselves to others and beating ourselves up for not measuring up, don’t we?
Instead, why don’t we figure out how to maximize our strengths and approach family management tasks according to our divine design?
Kathy says we all have a unique way of doing things that fits who we are, and we need to embrace that. To figure out how to make our giftedness work best, we should ask the following questions:
- What brings me energy? Knowing what tasks energize us will help us avoid activities that drain us so we can focus more time and effort on what we enjoy and are good at. Of course, some activities are unavoidable (dishes, anyone?), but others can be delegated. And we even have the power to say, “No,” to some.
- What patterns or particulars do I see repeated in the things I love to do? What is the best part? What do I love most about this? Think about the environment. What commonalities are there?
- How can I maximize my strengths? When we operate within the realm of our God-given abilities, we tend to excel and be satisfied with what we are doing. The work that’s done is completed better and faster and there is less griping and frustration.
The fact is that great family management requires skills that no one person possesses. One individual can’t do it all well. There will always be jobs we hate. The trick is learning to work within our strengths and work around the areas where we may not be gifted and through people who are.
“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” – Isaiah 42:16
Have you learned to work within your strengths to become a great family manager? What tips can you share?