Q: How do I keep busy at home? I find myself so terribly bored and restless at times. Being a stay at home mom is so boring! What am I supposed to do with my down time? Once chores and homeschooling are done for the day, I literally have no idea how to fill the couple of hours before I need to start supper. Lately I’ve been finding myself so tempted to get a part-time job, simply because I am so incredibly bored with my life. My husband is so sick of hearing about it that he thinks I should get a job too. And yet, I don’t feel like it’s what God would want of me right now, with my kids still so young (10, 9 and 6).
So what is the secret to being content at home and keeping busy at home, like the Bible instructs us to do? I am not a typical stay-at-home mom in that I despise sewing, canning, gardening, hobby farming… I am truly not cut out for any of that stuff and yet they seem like the only ‘noble’ things to be doing when you read what other at-home moms are doing with their lives. I feel like I could just scream with the frustration of it all.
A: Well, I had to laugh a little… you said “once chores and homeschooling are done for the day” and I thought… is that stuff ever done around here? LOL. Homeschooling, yes, but chores seems like a never-ending merry-go-round here. 🙂
I don’t think I would ever say I’m bored.
But there are a few things I see that make our lives very different–
- I still have little people running around and making messes and needing to be disciplined and needing naps and diaper changes, etc.
- My husband is in ministry, so we constantly have items on our calendar to prepare for and attend.
- I do have other outlets where I spend time when it comes my way– writing, occasional projects (like crocheting– I do about one project/year), and backyard chickens.
Where I’d like to probe a bit– for you– is in regard to #3. I can totally see how if those things you list aren’t your cup of tea, then you might feel stifled, if that’s all there is to do.
But that’s not all there is to do.
WHAT GIFTS AND INTERESTS HAS GOD PUT INTO YOU?
What do you LIKE to do? What ARE your passions? Have you ever thought about starting a small business? Here are some thoughts- although obviously these would be according to your interest/passion, not simply “to do them”–
- start a catering business where you could work weekend events and use your extra hours through the week to plan and prepare for those big events?
- do freelance work in an area of your expertise?
- could you do part-time social media management for companies/websites?
- are you good at doing taxes/accounting work? Could you start a business that runs every January-April and helps people file taxes?
- are you adept at home and office organization and could start a part-time business doing that?
- or elder care? or animal sitting for pay? or house cleaning?
- could you learn graphic design and start taking clients for logos, book covers, and web design work in your free hours?
- do you have some kind of skill that would lend itself to an etsy-type business? (i.e., some friends of mine find props for baby photography and sell them at large profits)
- is there something you enjoy making (cakes? building dog houses? etc?) where you can take items/ingredients you get on the cheap and turn them into larger profits?
Aside from all that, I don’t know what your passions are, but there are a tremendous amount of online opportunities if you’re at all entrepreneurial. People like Michael Hyatt, John Lee Dumas, Pat Flynn, and others, offer a wealth of information online (and in their podcasts) about how to build an authoritative online site…
So I would do some brainstorming, if I were you… on what you’re “great” at.
Some things to consider:
- What do your friends ask your advice about?
- What is it that you have developed systems for or approaches to that make your life easier that would solve real problems for other people?
- Is there knowledge in your head that other people would find valuable and pay for?
- (Sometimes this can be in unexpected places too…. sometimes in our sorrows and difficulties there are things we’ve experienced that, if we write about them and help other people, become opportunities for encouraging others as well as earning extra income.)
POUR INTO YOUR LOCAL CHURCH BODY!
Beyond that, I do think biblically that we are to be heavily invested in our local church Body.
So what needs exist in your local church? I’m willing to bet that if you went and asked the Sunday School director, the Pastor, or the ladies’ ministry leader, that there are practical ways you can start serving almost immediately. Substituting for sick teachers, or setting up tables for the next ladies’ conference, or making a run to Costco to purchase all the food for the next church breakfast.
Another way to serve your local church from home is to take meals to those who are sick, recovering from surgery, or newly postpartum.
Beyond practical need-meeting in your local church, what are your spiritual gifts? Are you a teacher? Counselor? Administrator? I’d encourage you to find the place where your extra hours can go to blessing the people in your local Body. That is the picture given to us in Scripture… a woman who blesses her family, loving and serving them (Titus 2), a woman who is industrious and makes the most of her skills to financially bless her home (Proverbs 31), and a woman who serves diligently in her local community of believers, investing her “extra” into the Body of Christ around her.
- Does your ladies’ ministry need extra teachers?
- Or someone willing to help with scheduling and planning?
- Does your church need someone to volunteer in the front office from time to time or those sorts of things?
- Do they need someone to head up VBS this year, or restock their books & resources between each Sunday?
- Is there a need for someone to manage social media engagement for the church?
Look for ways to bless and increase the fruitfulness of your local church.
POUR INTO YOUNGER CHRISTIAN WOMEN & DISCIPLE THEM!
Another definite way to spend your time is to invest in younger women. You may not see yourself as “old” (and I don’t think you are!) but you have gained biblical wisdom and insight into parenting and marriage issues that younger women around you NEED.
So perhaps once a week, you could meet with a younger woman from 2-4pm? If she’s a mom of a little one, maybe your oldest child could watch her toddler while the two of you visit? Or if she’s a new believer, you could read through the book of John together and spend time praying for the things she’s concerned about.
REMINDER FOR OTHER WOMEN: IT IS NOT ALWAYS AS HARD AS IT IS IN THE BEGINNING!
The final thing I want to say may be touchy… and it is not a personal critique to the woman who asked this question, but I feel compelled to say it for the benefit of other women:
Many women, when they are in the thick of having little children, are convinced that it will always feel *THIS* hard… that it will always be *THIS* tiring… that there is *NO WAY* you can have energy for anything more than these 2, or these 3 children.
I just want to take this opportunity to point out that the season of little children is not eternal… and that you should not make decisions like how many children to have, or whether or not you’ll homeschool, solely based on the tiredness of the moments when you’re in the thick of having young children close together.
The moments of your most extreme exhaustion don’t fully and accurately reflect what your upcoming years will look like. It is ENTIRELY possible that you could get a stretch down the road and find that you have energy to spare and no one else to spend it on.
IN THE COMMENTS: HOW WOULD YOU ENCOURAGE THIS WOMAN?