Enjoying the Simplicity of Staying Home

A reader asked: How much time during the week do you allow for time away from home and/or open your home for things like playdates/hospitality towards other moms. Our church is strong on community and “living life together” and living missionally (which I am totally on board and excited about). However, lately, it feels like we are away from home more mornings than we are home. Those times usually end up with kids in one room playing and moms in another chatting/venting/hopefully encouraging one another. I want my kids to learn the importance of community, but I fear this is encouraging peer-orientation and taking away from my discipleship of my kids. I know I am to be “busy at home” and it just feels like playdates are a good excuse to ignore these duties. Any thoughts/guidelines you use?

If there is one lesson I have learned since the arrival of my third child is that the easiest way to avoid stress and outbursts of anger at my children is to simply stay home. When you consider the work necessary to get four people (including myself) fed, clothed, diapers changed, potty visited, shoes tied, and coats buttoned, I am rather worn out.

Could our time be better invested by simply staying home?

There is true joy to be found in simply being at home. We do experience a lot pressure in our culture to get out and do things in order to supposedly stay sane. It could be a pull to many good things, like much needed fellowship with other woman. Don’t get me wrong. I believe it is very important to be in fellowship with other believers (Hebrews 13:3). But you don’t have to go to the latest play group or gym class for your child to develop socially. You don’t have to go to every storytime or sing-along for your child to love books and be exposed to the wonders of music. You don’t have to go to every moms group to stay connected in community with others. “Ballet classes for 3 year olds are glorified playgrounds,” as one friend so aptly put it. You can do it right from your own living room. There is a balance that we must come through by prayer and seeking the counsel of our husbands.

When it comes to our family, we follow one basic weekly guideline we shoot for – one morning/afternoon outing per week. There may be an occasional reason requiring us to go out again, but this is the most common plan. This might be a playdate with another family, a field trip to our local children’s museum, or storytime at the local library. We believe strongly in the importance of community, so we host a small group within our home on a weekly basis where we share and live life together and challenge on another in missional living. The girls in our small group get together on a monthly basis over coffee or have a night in the hot tub for focused fellowship. We also participate in a monthly Bible study together digging into a book of the Bible. We love it! These things are manageable.

As far as hospitality goes, we usually open our home 1-2 times per month for general hospitality to families in our church or neighboring community. We have the freedom also to call one another as needed. I try to restrict phone calls to nap times so as not to detract me from my kiddos. But this can be an easy way to connect with others, to share needs, encourage one another, and pray without even leaving my home.

I’ve found that if I try to pack up multiple times per week and go somewhere with my kids, my homemaking certainly does suffer. My children ultimately suffer too. They love routine, regular nap periods, reading time together, and such. When we are constantly on the go, they are far more inclined to get grumpy and very needy. They lack Mommy’s focused attention. It’s nearly impossible to work on heart training when you are out and about as well. For the peace and growth of our family we need to be at home together.

There have been multiple times where I sat nursing my baby, untying a knotted shoe, and searching for directions to our destination all at the same time, while reminding one child (for the third time, I dare say) to find his coat, and the other to go to the bathroom. Getting three little kids that are rather helpless out the door is a lengthy and stressful process. I am helplessly impatient with my children as the moments tick by.

Mommy is certainly less stressed, children are more happy, and our household is better maintained when this Mommy slows down and finds delight in creatively using her time at home. If I am feeling lonely or experiencing self-pity about staying home, it is a reminder to stop and check my heart. Where am I seeking to find my fulfillment? Am I looking for my help in others first before my sweet Lord? Why not befriend a book, or the Book of all Books. I want to make sure my heart is still first and foremost towards my first mission – honoring the Lord in our family and home. Beautifying this place. Cultivating domestic serenity here and now.

We are learning valuable life skills and teamwork from our own home today as we work together cutting apples for the dehydrator, unloading the dishwasher, reading stories, memorizing poetry and verses, shaping letters, running around playing hide and seek, and taking a daily pause to rest. This is beautiful when you learn to see the art before your eyes. Time is too precious to waste too much of it running here and there.

I pray you would be blessed to be able to slow down and see the treasure of staying home and delighting in that.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

100 Responses to Enjoying the Simplicity of Staying Home

  1. Becky December 8, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    I just loved this post, thank you for sharing. I’ve been struggling with being content with keeping us home most days and then feel outside pressure to “get out & socialize”. This was just the encouragement I needed. With 3 little ones 5 and under and one more coming in 4 months it is just too much stress to leave the house and I loose my patience and take it out on my blessings. And in those situations I tend to forget the blessing that they are. :)
    We’ve just started homeschooling and I want to get us out and be “normal” but then I need to remember that by staying home and homeschooling I’m accomplishing the Godly at home training that would be absent if we were in school all day, which is one of the main reasons why we wanted to homeschool in the first place.
    Thanks for your thoughts and perspective. :)

  2. Ashley-Nicole December 8, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    I cannot thank you enough for this post! With the cold weather, I have not had the motivation to bundle up and leave our home often, but the desire is still there. I find myself growing lonely and bored by the end of the day, and my son grows restless as well. Your encouragement to purposefully plan outings is so helpful, especially with the birth of our second only weeks away. Thank you for the encouragement to find rest and contentment at home rather than giving in to feeling “stir crazy” and discouraged.

  3. jess December 8, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    beautifully put! i resonate greatly with what you’ve shared in this post. thanks!

  4. April Brown December 8, 2011 at 8:09 am #

    Well spoken. With extra major family things going on the last few months including a death of one of our parents, I have had to spend extra time – a lot- faxing, digging through paperwork, and I could go on and on. For various reasons I have had to be out a lot more and I have hated it. Last week I was home only one full day. I am weeks away from our beautiful third baby being delivered, my three year old’s pre-school, which is so important for her, has suffered, as has her behavior with all of the busyness of yours truly, and I feel my one year old is lacking a lot of one on one time and play time with mom. I am also trying to make a lot of extra meals for the months after we have a newborn as my husband will be virtually non-existent as he starts college the day we are due, in addition to his full time job, and it usually takes me until the new baby is about three months old to start gaining some semblance of order with housework, etc. I was at peace until a few days ago and now that the clock is ticking down I am incredibly overwhelmed.

    My husband is working two jobs right now and doing a lot of extra things that are usually my responsibility, but he will be a lot busier when we actually have a newborn. My house is a mess and I have grown tired overnight- which is odd for me- and have had to spend my entire afternoons napping while the kids do. After a busy couple months, I don’t like the idea of going ANYwhere-almost- and am praying I can find some way to get some help for a little bit. However, even if I stay home for most of the rest of December I don’t know if that would be enough to have clean carpets, a cleaned out guest room and something worked out in our room to fit a cradle. I have no nursery area set up yet as our middle girl is not old enough as I hoped to share a room with her sister unsupervised. Not to mention the rest of the household stuff… And of course relationships.

    All this to say, I have agreed with the concept of this blog for sometime and my lack of being able to adhere to similar practices these last couple of months have taken their toll on me. I LONG to get back to this! Trying to this week. Staying home more works. Even without unusual circumstances relationships and housework suffers when I am out too much. So here is to doing all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens us, even as it changes and looks different through all the seasons of life.

  5. Serena December 8, 2011 at 7:44 am #

    Lindsay, thank you for a thought-provoking post. I was just wondering, if you only have the kids with you on one scheduled outing a week, when does the grocery shopping get done? Do you have an evening when you run out to the store? Just curious : ). Thanks again for your post, I have a lot to think about!

    • Lindsay December 8, 2011 at 10:49 am #

      I do quick errands or grocery shopping once a week when my hubby’s home with the kiddos. This is usually early Sat morning or Tuesday evening each week. If I go myself it only takes an hour.

  6. BeccaM December 8, 2011 at 6:04 am #

    I totally agree! As we can see in Proverbs 31 and elsewhere in the Scriptures, God has planned for the women’s work and ministry to focus in the home (not excluding the Spirit led work elsewhere, but that should be the primary focus!). To those who were wondering about further reaching ministry—I believe the Lord will lead if we are earnestly in prayer and submission to Him and those He has given to direct us. Raising our little children is a VERY important season! Training them to obey and love us so that they may grow into adults that obey and love Christ…. isn’t that the most important thing we can do? And if we are distracted, scattered here and there, stretched emotionally and physically beyond our capabilities, can we really do that training correctly and in love? When I am stressed, I am more irritable and more tired. I am less capable of being completely “there” for my little 1 year old son. And when I portray that image of a tired out, stressed out mother who doesn’t have patience or time for her son, on a regular basis, he is going to grow up insecure.

    Of course, we aren’t all perfect, and I wasn’t trying to preach here, just write out some of my thoughts on this subject. Good post!

  7. Ashley December 8, 2011 at 5:50 am #

    This is an answer to prayer for me. I was praying specifically for direction in this area. God is GOOD! :-) Thank you for being faithful and encouraging others to be faithful as well.

  8. amy in peru December 8, 2011 at 5:34 am #

    “I’ve found that if I try to pack up multiple times per week and go somewhere with my kids, my homemaking certainly does suffer. My children ultimately suffer too. They love routine, regular nap periods, reading time together, and such. When we are constantly on the go, they are far more inclined to get grumpy and very needy. They lack Mommy’s focused attention. It’s nearly impossible to work on heart training when you are out and about as well. For the peace and growth of our family we need to be at home together.”

    This was the single most important lesson I learned and applied when my kids were very little… I am SO thankful. It has made all of our lives not only more simple, but more delightful. There’s a lot of delight to be found in knowing each other, and in enjoying together the simple pleasures at home.

    :)

    amy in peru

    • caitlin December 8, 2011 at 8:40 am #

      This is just what I needed to hear! I always felt it was better for all of us not to try to do everything, but I felt guilty about it. This helps me feel good about my choices. Thank you!

    • Joy December 12, 2011 at 9:01 pm #

      I am in complete agreement with Amy’s comment above as well as this entire post. Thanks for this awesome post Lindsay!! Laced with grace but speaking truth! Love it!

  9. Marta December 8, 2011 at 5:05 am #

    So wise! Especially during this busy time of the year I needed this. Thank you!

  10. Christie DeSilva December 8, 2011 at 1:37 am #

    This was SO our family after we had our third child, though it took us a while to figure it out. I think the hardest part about deciding that just plain staying home was better, more enjoyable, and more productive for our family was everyone else that thought we were just “checking out.” Potlucks at church, movie nights, etc, people would “encourage” us to come, and we knew it was a recipe for disaster. It took us a while to become confident and bold and just say that no, it’s not for us, not in this season. We really enjoyed our time at home, and when we decided to start “trying” again to go our fairly regularly, we had a few follies, pulled back again, and waiting. Eventually, it got much easier as our kids got older and the Lord gave us a break between children. We had four kids five and under. For a while there, it was tricky. Now, with our youngest being 3 1/2, we’re even considering a LONG road trip! :) Heck, I even take all four kids to church by myself. :)

  11. Sandy December 8, 2011 at 12:08 am #

    Thank you for the thought-provoking post. It’s so nice to hear another mom’s perspective on this! Much for me to think about…

  12. Jen Harris December 7, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this! Home is my favorite place to be. This post is just so full of truth and peace. I love how you finished your post, “see the treasure of staying home and delighting in that.”
    There is such a peace and joyful contentment when we guard our priorities and boundaries. I learned early on in my twenties to develop healthy boundaries around my time and commitments, especially as a single women serving the Church in various capacities. Now as a mom to two toddlers and another on the way and in my thirties, I’m so thankful I learned those lessons early on in my adult years as its been a good foundation and stability for raising a family. Saying “no” to more outings is sometimes the most healthiest and wisest decision of one’s day. Sometimes staying home means going outside to ride bikes around the yard, chasing our chickens, tending the garden, drawing, painting, reading, cooking, baking, cleaning, singing. Home is also a place of ministry. Mentoring younger single women or learning from older, wiser women now takes place in my home instead of at a coffee shop as it did when I didn’t have children. We host a Bible study group in our home, we reach out to our neighbors. Home is a place of ministry to our family first and to others. Home is a treasure indeed!

  13. Megan December 7, 2011 at 9:42 pm #

    Thank you for this post! I’ve returned to your posts many times in the past 20 months as I’ve begun my motherhood journey & as I adjust to life with two sweet wee ones, this post was very timely for me!

  14. Amber-Lee December 7, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

    This will be a challenge for my husband and I. I’m quite introverted and he is extroverted. We don’t have a child yet (we want only one) but he’s quite emphatic about making sure we are visiting friends on a daily basis, and expects that we’ll do this with our child as well. He feels that if we aren’t out on a daily basis, we’re wasting our time.

    • Sandy December 8, 2011 at 12:11 am #

      That sounds exhausting to me, as a fellow-introvert mother. Praying that God will direct your heart and give you peace when the time comes.

    • Sarah M December 8, 2011 at 6:52 am #

      Amber-Lee I definitely agree with Sandy. Coming from an introverted wife of a very extroverted husband, this is something we have to discuss (and compromise on) every 6 months or so. I will say that for an introvert–going out every day is just draining thinking about–with children it will stretch you even more until you are not the best version of yourself, as a wife, mother, or simply an individual. Definitely speaking from experience!
      I once read that for every hour spent with people for an introvert, there needs to be 3 hours ‘detoxing’…I find that true of myself, haha!
      Pray and compromise!
      Sarah M

  15. April December 7, 2011 at 8:07 pm #

    THANK YOU! This post could not come at a better time! I am also realizing that everyone is better if we limit our outtings weekly! Thanks so much!

  16. Holly December 7, 2011 at 8:04 pm #

    I appreciated this post. Sometimes it feels harder because little ones tend to bicker more at home but like you mentioned that is where the ‘heart’ work really happens…at home, where you can take the time to talk about the situation and discipline as needed. I also appreciated your encouragement to see the Lord before consulting a friend…it’s easy even staying at home to turn to another friend via computer, phone etc. Thanks for this encouraging post. Blessings to you.

  17. Amber K December 7, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    While I know we all have different schedules, this definitely hit home for me in many ways. I work part time & my kiddo is in a special program for preschoolers with autism, so being home after being out for part of the day is so nice for us. I can relate to feeling the pressure to be “out & about” and having to participate in the latest and greatest activities, etc. And it can be a matter of the heart for sure. Do I have to do those things? Am I doing those things to please others or put on a certain image? Great post & thank you for the encouragement.

  18. 4 little lovies December 7, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

    I have never commented before but am a regular reader and absolutely love this blog. Thank you for this post…..it was so encouraging…..and so right on. A common thread that I take away from this blog is inspiration and encouragement….thank you and all of the other writers who take the time to share their hearts.

  19. Bethany December 7, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

    I think it depends on how many children you have. The Lord has only given us 1 child and it helps us to get out every day and see friends or run to the store or park. I also find my house stays cleaner when we aren’t there because there is no one there to mess it up! But if we ever do have more children, I can see staying home more to be ideal. Then siblings can play with each other.

    • Cori December 7, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

      I am in the same boat right now. We have an almost 3 year old and I simply cannot stay home all day with just her and I. She gets too bored and I go crazy. We are having another baby in May, and I look forward to staying home more and the days when my kids can play together. Having just 1 kiddo at home puts us in a totally different category :)

  20. Jen December 7, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

    Yes! I had my 3rd baby this year and really felt the need to keep life simple. I have felt guilty if I was not volunteering for stuff at church and such but my mom reminded me that in a different season in life I can do more things like that.

    Some things I’ve found I can do now are encourage people over the phone or through notes, pray, have people over for dinner and reach out to the people on my street. (For example, when my children and I bake we take some of the batch to bring to a neighbor.) I actually find there are LOTS of opportunties to share the gospel this way even as a homemaker trying to stay home. And since we are home, people tend to come by often (especially children and adults from the neighborhood) so we have many of oppportunties for hospitality. We have also been able to help in emergency situations because we have very few scheduled activities. (That is what my husband is doing right now actually!) Ask the Lord to show you all the possibilities in your situation!

  21. Britney December 7, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

    I hope I phrase this question correctly – and please know that I am not disagreeing with what you wrote – but trying to work through this issue myself (the whole issue of using my time well, that is). And before the question, one more thing is that I certainly realize everyone’s personal situation is different and God may be calling each one to use his/her time in unique ways…so I know there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Okay, so the question: How do we live out the great commission and Christ’s call to serve one another & the poor as mothers of young children? I too feel stressed by trying to get my 2.5 yr old and 14 month old out the door to go places, so I completely get the benefits of staying home. But sometimes I feel selfish for just staying home and doing all these fun things with my kids, and even selfish spending time working on things to make our home ‘nicer’ or preparing good food when there are so many who don’t even have a roof over their head or food on the table? (again, not questioning you, I’m asking myself this..but looking for input) Of course I can donate money, or volunteer somewhere once a month….but that seems so small compared to all the time I (and my husband) spend on “us.” I know that the family that God has given each of us is of utmost importance and requires that we sacrifice for one another – but where is the line between spending so much time within our own homes working on ‘our’ stuff and also taking Christ to those who need him (by giving of ourselves to them)? Again, this is just what I’ve been trying to work through for the past few months – and I’m just curious what you think about it.

    • Melinda J. December 7, 2011 at 8:11 pm #

      I felt compelled to write in response to your question. There is a season to everything. The season of mothering young ones looks different than the season I am currently in with a 3, 6, and 9yr old. I homeschool the 6 and 9 year old, so I have actually scaled way back from activities outside the home in order to provide stability and routine to our day. So, when my kids were younger, I viewed my “mission field” or “ministry” as them. I can finally say that I feel it is easier to volunteer because they are not so needy. Basically, your time will come to be more outside the home mission oriented when the wee ones are bigger, promise! But because their view of faith and family is formed at such a young age, it is important to focus on them. I wish I had slowed down earlier than this because I feel like I have missed the boat on some things. So, patience is key, and unless you are drying to get out and be with some girlfriends, stay home! You are modeling to your children that you have boundaries and priorities. You are also teaching them what it looks like to keep a home and family. For example, if you eat out all the time, how does that teach them how to cook? My humble opinion is that home is best, especially with young ones. So, I’ll step down off my soapbox, but thanks for the question because I’m sure we all have felt guilty at one time or another for just saying, “no,” and staying home. Thanks for reading my thoughts!

    • Jocelyn December 7, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

      Our family and children are our primary mission field and I have learned repeatedly (cuz I somehow keep forgetting) that I need to stay home as much as possible with my little ones but I’ve also found that because I’m home more, I have time to get to know my neighbors. Rather than spending all of my time with my friends on play-dates, I am now reaching out to my neighbors. This could become another distraction from time spent well at home but for us so far, it has just been a great opportunity to be Christ to our neighbors with only just short bursts of walking out our front door. Consider all of the missional opportunities in our front yards!

  22. Andi December 7, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    Your blog has been such a blessing to me. I find it speaking to me so often right where I am, and encouraging me on things that I meditate, wonder, or question. I am truly grateful. Thank you.

  23. Ashley Ditto December 7, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    I really enjoyed this post. It is really good to stay at home and take care of things and our family. Well said!!!

  24. Sarah M December 7, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

    This is really so timely. When my children were very small (think toddler and infant and on a very regular schedule) we would “go out” almost every day…to a park, to get groceries, whatever, and it seemed to make the day go extremely fast. Now, the opposite is true!
    Although I am very committed (I admit, TOO committed) to outside things (even many church things!) I find myself leaving the house less and less. Homeschooling, even though my children are still small, only takes an hour, but they enjoy it and are so into their play that going out is actually a disruption. They still need plenty of outdoor play time, and we try to fit that in most days, but it’s just been in our back-yard more than not. I was even talking to a friend about this a couple of months ago–the tug to be much more ‘home’ focused than the opposite. I’m emailing her this right away!
    Sarah M

  25. Karyn December 7, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    I’ve tried to be home more days each week and would really love to have a simpler life with my 2.5 year old daughter (especially with baby #2 due in May). My challenge is that on days that we stay home, she has potty accidents (as opposed to no potty accidents on days when we go out, even if it’s just a short errand) and is more disobedient, yells often & won’t nap on days we stay home. I want to do what’s best for my daughter & make sure my home is well cared for as well. Anyone else have a similar experience or ideas to share?
    Thanks

    • kelly cogswell December 8, 2011 at 6:08 am #

      I think you know whats best for your family, and you need to seek to do what works well for you and your children. There is truth to both situations and different seasons require different things. We are in a season right now that requires us to run alot . I love to be at home and so I find it hard to run the roads but we are making it work. My kids are all happier with this pace so I have to learn to be ok with it. When the kids were smaller we were home alot more, and when we werent it was very difficult. When I read a post I like this it is very easy to compare myself, but I have to remember that my family is at a different stage right now.

  26. Stacy Makes Cents December 7, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    This is an excellent post and really hits home with me. Sometimes I’m made to feel guilty for staying at home with my baby girl….people tell me I really need to “socialize her.” NO. I don’t want to socialize her. That’s what’s wrong with most kids today, in my humble opinion.
    And you are 100% right. If you don’t’ stay at home, the housekeeping DOES suffer.

    • Jill @ The Prairie Homestead December 8, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

      Me too Stacy! People have made me feel horribly guilty as well when I tell them how much I am at home. But I really, truly love it! And my baby girl is plenty “social” being with her mama all day. ;)

  27. Erin December 7, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    Well put Lindsay! I totally agree. (And staying at home more should be true of childless women, as well. Speaking from personal experience…)

  28. kristin December 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    Think you for this post! The Lord gave you the words I needed to hear today! :-)

  29. Angela Palmer December 7, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    Hi Maria,

    I guess you would have to:

    a) firmly say no to each commitment you can’t/choose not to do or;
    b) talk to your minister/pastor and explain how overwhelmed you are and have them intercede for you or;
    c) leave that church and find another that is not so pushy and demanding

    I think your own family is more important than the ‘business’ of the church, there is a never ending need that will end up sucking you dry if you let it. It is always the faithful few that get lumped with most of the responsibilities, because they know you won’t say no – when in reality, the work should be shared around fairly.

    ‘Boundaries’ is a good book you might like to read, written by Christian authors and addressing this very issue as well as others.

    • Maria December 9, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

      Funny–my husband is reading “Boundaries” right now! The things he’s shared from it are very helpful. I’ll use it for my Sunday reading this week.

      Thanks for the helpful comments. Sometimes I need to hear that It’s Okay to be a little different from what is expected.

  30. Amy @ Homestead Revival December 7, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Oh… that first sentence should have read “An older woman once told me that her CHILDREN…” not “friends”. Sorry!

  31. Amy @ Homestead Revival December 7, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    An older woman once told me that her friends didn’t need tons of playmates outside the home because her children needed to learn to be a best friend to the siblings that God had placed in the life and family. While I certainly agree that children and adults need friends outside the home, hearing this bit of wisdom helped me to keep a better balance in the years that followed. Thanks for sharing a much needed perspective!

  32. Wendy December 7, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    Amen! This post addresses what has been on my heart recently. We also share 1 car and my husband takes it to work most days. Even though I only have one child, I find both of us are exhausted by too many excursions. Most days we enjoy walks outside and I like giving my daughter all the unstructured playtime she needs. A lot of people ask me “Don’t you go crazy staying at home?” but for me, I wonder how other people stay sane going out all the time. Thank you!

  33. Maria December 7, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    My home, my marriage and my peace definitely suffer when I’m away from home too much or have too many scheduled activities.

    We attend a church which has way too much going, with plenty of pressure to support all these good things. Furthermore, we get drafted into some positions, and saying “no” is not really an option. Since my husband and I are young and have no children, well, of course, we just have tons of extra time and energy to do lots of committee work. Except that we don’t actually. We don’t have our own children; we just spend lots of time teaching, babysitting, and mentoring other people’s children.

    How do you cut back in a situation like this? I’ve managed to squirm out of some of the church positions, but we still have too much left, with more that we “ought” to be involved in. How do you deal with people who think that the church trumps everything, including family time and time to just sit and be quiet?

    • Heather December 7, 2011 at 11:30 pm #

      Wow. I am compelled to encourage you to get the Oswald Chambers devotional called “My utmost for His highest”. It drills home relationship with Christ above all even if it looks wasteful to others. The (difficult) question is: Who are we serving? Church or the Lord? This post is great, and I am taking in all the thoughtful comments. May our hearts be aright to Him.

      • Maria December 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

        “My Utmost” was very formative for me in my early Christian life. Great stuff in that little book.

        I think my call is not to be as much a Martha, serving in visible ways, but to be a Mary, quietly building my relationship with the Master and pouring my life out on Him even when other people do not approve of the “wasteful extravagance.”

  34. Lacey Wilcox December 7, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

    I couldn’t agree with this article more. I also appreciated that you did talk about getting out and about some, for sanity’s sake.
    I think this is something women have to be careful in, in order to make sure they don’t go too far one way. I tend to be a big-time “stay at home” kind of girl, so much so that I will unintentionally end up withdrawing myself from community. A family is a definite built in community that the Lord has graced upon us, but community outside our four walls is just as important.
    When I don’t make myself get out of the house at least once a week, I notice that I tend to be very impatient with my daughter, and I lose sight of things that are most important: I tend to want to try and get things done way more than spend time with my daughter. A balance is best for us both!

    • Allyson @ A Heart for Home December 7, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

      I agree completely. At times the trouble of getting everyone out for a time of fellowship has caused me to stay home. If I do this too often I end up disconnected from the relationships that help to support me in my roles as follower of Christ, wife and mom. We meet every other week with a small Bible study group as a family and I have the opportunity to fellowship with other women every other week. This balance seems like a good fit for our family right now.

  35. Mel December 7, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

    I love how each family can find a good balance for themselves regarding staying at home vs. being away, and that balance can change throughout the years. At one point In the past, it worked well for us to have 2 outings/Monday-Friday, and at another point, we were on a schedule that worked great for us to be gone 4 times/M-F. It has always worked best for us to be at home in the afternoon (except for my oldest daughter who is now in public school kindergarten in the afternoons). Our outings could be going to a park, grocery shopping, playgroup with friends, storytime at the library or a parent co-op music group. We do enjoy being home, but our outings are so fun for us!! The library and our music group have helped us to learn so much, as well as meet and enjoy many friends. Those times are so happy for my kids!

  36. Hope December 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

    I agree on the value in staying centered around home for the majority of the time. The problem of loneliness among SAHMs has increased in the last couple generations because it is so rare that multiple generations are under the same roof or even right near by. In earlier times, a homestead would have more than one nuclear family, so mothers and children would have sisters, sister-in-laws, grandmas, and other little cousins readily accessible all the time. Women would share big household tasks (like canning) together. Now we live more isolated lives and it IS a big effort to get kids ready to go out, especially if it involves loading them inthe car.

    I think this is one reason why it’s so valuable, if possible for your circumstances, to intentionally live very close to friends/family/church family or to befriend the neighbors you do have. I’ve found that it’s so much easier to stop in for an encouraging visit, help out a new mom, share lunch, etc. if it only involves going to the apartment upstairs (no shoes or coats required!), or walking across the street. You can also return home quickly if kids need it.

    It can be tempting to distract yourself by socializing *too* much and ignore your home duties, but ideally it’d be possible to stay at home most of the time and still prevent some of the isolation that can occur by doing so. Days full of solitude (with kids) are easier for some women to handle than others.

    • Katie T. December 8, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

      Hope, this is SUCH a great point. In previous generations a majority of women were home with their children during the day and families lived much closer to one another. As I’m hanging laundry to dry in the backyard, I often imagine how generations before, there would be numerous women doing these types of chores throughout the day and were likely able to connect while still keeping their home and mothering their children. Probably a bit romanticized, however, it is something to think about when we chose where we live or being intentional about befriending our neighbors.

  37. Beth December 7, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    My children are 16, 12, 11, 7, and 20 months and I have JUST learned this! This homeschool year with a toddler in the house has taught me all about being home. I love to be home. In fact I cringe most days when I have to be somewhere at a specific time. We aim to get all things done outside the home 1 day a week. My sanity, my home, my patience, my love for my childen is even greater now that I have given up that need to be out. It is wonderful that you have learned this lesson so young in your mothering. Bless you.

  38. Beth December 7, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    My husband works 11-12 hour days, so it’s just me and the kids, for the most part. I actually think it goes a long way for all our sanity if we get out at least once a day. Sometimes we just visit family or run to the store. But if we haven’t gone anywhere, by about 5:30, we are all stir crazy! And I’ve still got 2.5 hours until my husband gets home.

    • Amber December 8, 2011 at 3:41 am #

      I agree Beth! I have 2 kids so far and my husband works until well after they are asleep. My 4 year is so social, she really gets crabby (and makes me crabby) if we stay home all day. I agree we LIMIT time outside the home, but for us going out for a short “adventure” (library, playground, grocery store) each day keeps us all happier.

  39. Jessica December 7, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    I don’t even have children (except for a cat whom I DO consider to be my child :) ), but my hubby and I feel this same way. Thank you so much for this post! I shared it on my Facebook wall for all my friends and family to read. Many people wonder why Jason and I do hustle here and there, especially since we don’t have children and they think we should do whatever THEY want! Our relationship and our homemaking suffers greatly when we are not home most of the time. We limit our out-of-the-home time as well (we both work primarily from home), and our marriage is strong and lively. Our hobbies are well invested in terms of time, and our God time has increased more than we ever thought it would be! Thank you for writing from your heart!

  40. nicole December 7, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    I completely agree… you are doing the good choice!

  41. Emily December 7, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    I would love to know how you answer people when they want to spend time with you. I often feel rude and that I don’t have an excuse. -Would you like to hang out? reply- no I’m busy staying home…. Just being honest and would love to know how you politely respond to invites to play dates or other activities that you feel aren’t best for your family without the added guilt that comes with saying no. Thanks so much! Loved the post, just trying to figure out how to make it reality.

    • Megan December 8, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

      I don’t do this well, but I have a friend who is excellent at this. She plans no more than 1 visitor at her home a day. So she has it scheduled and she can let people know when she is available. So she says something like, I’m really busy this week. Would you want to come over next Thursday? It has gone really well for her. That way you kinda put it in their court. You’re not saying no, and saying that you want to spend time with them without overloading your family.

  42. Shelby December 7, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    Ah…..this is exactly where I am at. I have 3 little ones from 4 to 11 months and just last week I was telling my husband……”One outing a week is enough for me and the kids.” The mornings I just let myself find rest in my home, care for my kids, love on them, play with them and care for my home, my heart is so content! Those once a week outings seem to have so much more impact than the mindset of “filling my week”. Good stuff! Thanks for sharing your heart!

    • Amy December 7, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

      great response. Thank you for confirming how I feel.

  43. Beth @ Turn 2 the Simple December 7, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    Amen! I love be at home with my children! We have a few scheduled activities out of the house each week — Sunday morning church, Tuesday evening “date night”, Wednesday evening Awana, Thursday morning Bible Study Fellowship — but we make afternoon nap time at home a priority! When the weather is nice I make it a priority to get outside for a little while each day — even just out into the yard or to the neighborhood park…but this is easy and low stress because we are not trying to stick to a “time”, just when we get there. And here in Minnesota some of our activities (Awana and BSF) take a break from May-September, just in time for us to be spending more time outside! My kids NEED their time at home, and I do to!

  44. Angela Palmer December 7, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    Lindsay, that was fantastic! I’ve been out every day this week for various appointments and dragged the kids along, but it is now thursday and I feel tired already, though it’s only 6:30am!

    I certainly need to go back to having time at home, but wasn’t sure how to deal with being lonely often.

    Thanks.

  45. Mandy December 7, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    Thanks for this beautiful post about life with small children! With four kiddos under the age of four, I find that staying home is best for our family as well. I try to do a library combo shopping trip once a week too. Since I have a newborn, a two year old, as well as two three year olds, I find group playdates difficult because I cannot really focus on the Mommy conversation & often end up being the “babysitter” unintentionally. We invite our friends over, but often they are so scheduled that it’s difficult to make it work. I pray that this season of life passes & we move into one with more fellowship soon!

  46. Yvonne December 7, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    Thanks for this post! I found it really encouraging. I often struggle with thinking, “I’m not socializing my children enough” or “they must be bored at home.” Thanks for the reminder that time at home can be social, educational, creative, and fruitful. Totally relate to feeling exhausted after getting them ready to go somewhere… and I only have 2! :)

  47. Camille December 7, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    We only have one car and it goes to work with Daddy every day so we stay home by default. It was a hard adjustment for me, but now, when I do get the chance to go out during the day, I feel like I’ve lost so much valuable time! I have to say no to a lot of activities, but I’ve reached contentment (most of the time!) in this stage of life.

  48. Steph December 7, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    Thanks so much for this! We’re fairly isolated (and also lonely) where we are right now, but are considering a move closer to friends and family. While weighing the decision, social life has been often in my thoughts, both the blessings of finally having true fellowship again, as well as the temptations to be too much gone. Thanks for the very timely reminder to keep first things first…and on earth, my first things after the Lord are the people He gave me to as wife and mom!

  49. Ashley @5ohwifey.com December 7, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    Wow, you are speaking DIRECTLY to my heart today. I have been feeling off and couldn’t put my finger on it. You have out it into perspective. I am over commuting myself to other things and missing out on my home ministry. Thank you or this lovely reminder.

  50. Rachel O'Neill December 7, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    Love this! It is perfectly fitting for the season of life I am in now. Although I only have one child, she was born three months early, and to keep her in good health for the winter we are on lockdown: no one can come into our house, and she cannot go out except to doctor’s appointments. It would be easy to get lonely or discouraged, but by the grace of God I am really enjoying a season of quiet with my little girl, getting to know her, and focusing my main energies on husband and home. I don’t feel stir crazy (yet), and I am so thankful. It is actually nice to have a legitimate reason to not go running around everywhere!!! Thank you for this post.