Managers of Their Homes Review
Have you ever had a book that changed your life? A book that so altered your thinking or set you right to work on changing an aspect of life, or answered a nagging question or struggle you’d had for years? I have. I could probably tell you several books that have changed the course of my life from all different genres, but I want to tell you about two books that changed my life as a wife and mom.
Picture the scene. I was a mom of four children: a 6 ½ year old daughter, a 5-year-old son, a 2 ½ year old daughter, and a 3-month-old son. I had just finished my first year of sitting down and teaching my oldest child how to read. My second was ready to learn to read and my third was going through those terrific twos. My baby was sweet and starting to sleep better at night, but he was growing so fast- he was huge! It nagged me all spring: “How I was going to teach two kids, train a 2-year-old, and properly keep my baby fed, changed and happy?” Not only that, but parenting was supposed to be my second priority after loving and caring for my husband, as well as keeping up with my house, and being present, active, and serving the Lord in His house.
The Lord answered many prayers that spring. The first was that I would know what to teach my children, (and after 12 years of that decision, I still follow this model I praise God for clarity that spring!) Despite the answered prayer, I felt like I was slowly drowning in the sheer amount of work a day required. It was like the quote, “Trying to fit a size sixteen day into size ten pants.” I didn’t seem to have time to pay attention to each child as they needed. I didn’t seem to have energy for my husband at the end of the day. I didn’t seem to have time to keep up with the laundry, fingerprints on glass, pick up toys, keep my cell phone charged, extend hospitality or stay awake during a sermon. I was burning all the candles at once, and at both ends. On a God-ordained scrolling through an online forum, I ran across a post similar to this one. A post where one mom was drowning in housework, parenting, spirituality and in being a wife, too, and another mom typed in a recommendation to a website and posted the link. It was that moment that I found the book that saved my life.
Fast forward to the present. The book that saved my life (after Christ’s saving of my soul, of course) is “Managers of Their Homes” by Steven and Teri Maxwell from their website www.titus2.com. Managers of Their Homes (MOTH) is a workbook for very practical use. Steven and Teri write from their personal managing of a Christian family of ten through babies to adult children- homeschooling, housecleaning, marriage, and hobbies! It is possible for a young family to “fly by the seat of their pants” with one, two or maybe even three children. But like me, when number four comes along, chaos quickly can erupt when there is no structure, organization, or help with the work from the members of the family. These are the principles that grabbed my own attention upon perusal of the book on the website before it ever appeared in my mailbox.
So, you may be asking, “How can MOTH help me?” MOTH can help you with what I greatly love to encourage young moms with before they get to the stage I was at: proactive work BEFORE the chaos erupts. When would be a time when you have more time to dedicate to creating and managing a well-organized schedule and flow to your days: when you have one to three children, or when you have four to six children? Well, I can tell you that one is much easier than the other! Proactive preplanning is so much smoother than reactive clean-up work. Training yourself, and possibly a few young ones, to live a scheduled life is far easier than redirecting a whole crowd of kids who have been floating through their days for years.
Beyond that help (if your kids are still little) MOTH can help you with the 20+ examples of what other mothers have done with children of all ages and with all different levels of involvement with outside-the-house activities. It is super helpful to see ideas of what other families have had their three-year-old do all day, or the order in which their older kids accomplish their schoolwork. It is helpful to see how other families prepare for mealtimes, Daddy’s return home from work, as well as naptime and mealtimes.
Lastly, I want to encourage you that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Teri has put together chapters on the WHY, the HOW-TO, SAMPLES, and even and ONLINE graphic organizer for you to print out your chart for the whole family to reference. Throughout the book she holds your hand and guides you through the process. Most of all, she encourages you with the product of your labors of putting this schedule together and learning to live it out.
Managers of Their Homes revolutionized my days. I was able to organize each day in such a way that on most days, I could get my priorities done and sometimes, even have some free time. It is AMAZING how much time we can frivolously waste or spend wrongly in a day. When I planned my day, half-hour by half-hour for a while, eventually our family gained a rhythm that we carry with us to this day, without even a chart on the wall.
With much praise and thanksgiving to God, I worked on managing my home better that year, when we had four small children. In God’s amazing providence, we were expecting another child within a few months. That next summer, just before baby #5 arrived on the scene, I bought the book “Managers of Their Chores”, also by Steven and Teri Maxwell. That year we worked on dividing up the workload that I had been juggling and haphazardly cajoling kids into helping with here and there. MOTC helped me to mentally walk through every room and chore in my house, use examples from other families to assign the chores to appropriately aged children, set up training time in our schedule, and relieve myself of doing too many cleaning chores when there were so many souls that needed daily nurture.
Not only did having the kids wear “chorepacks” as they did their daily chores bless me with more time to take care of my priorities, but it also allowed the kids to learn responsibility, gain a work ethic, and prepare them for a life of blessing their family, others, and their future families. All of my children know how to do almost every chore within our home. According to Teri’s advice in MOTC, I only rotated chores once a year (most of the time) so that the kids would be experts before they rotated around or graduated up. I remind my kids frequently, “Work is not a result of the fall of man into sin, God created men and women to work from the time he put Adam in the garden. This is so good for you.” Teri Maxwell says in Chapter 1:
“Scripture lays a strong foundation directing us toward the importance of work and service. Proverbs suggests we look at ants and learn from them what it means to be responsible and work. ‘Go to the ant, you sluggard, consider her ways and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provides her meat in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest’ Proverbs 6:6-8...
We know from experience that serving involves work. Scripture doesn’t specifically mention chores, but parents are admonished to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). We believe one facet of that is to raise children who have willing hearts to serve others. Teaching our children with chores can greatly influence whether they have servants’ hearts and are able to set self aside...
We reap what we sow in virtually every area of life including what we sow into our children’s lives. Whether or not a child is required to do chores will affect his preparation for home management. It will also influence his work ethic as an adult. It moves into the spiritual realm of the reality of a walk with Christ. Through something as mundane, but profound as chores, one can learn to discern the promptings of the Spirit and then walk in obedience.
I pray this book review will help many of you get a handle on this crazy, but sometimes chaotic reality we call motherhood. God calls us to be diligent workers with a heart for our home, as seen in Proverbs 31. He calls us to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, teaching them His ways as we walk, sit, stand and work throughout our days (Eph. 6 and Deut. 6). God calls us to, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to attend to your own business and work with your hands,” (1 Thess. 4:11 NASB). It is typically the mama who sets the tone within the home. Is the tone of your home peaceful, ordered, available for serving others and calm for when Daddy comes home? Or is it chaotic, disorderly, too messy for guests and not a haven for Daddy when he arrives on the scene?
Pray that God will help you order your family in the most excellent way you can. Doing so starts foremost with a heart that loves and obeys the Word of God; second, under the purview of your husband and his blessing for your organizational and priority-seeking plans; and also for the peacefulness in your home that comes with everyone knowing what is going on, when they are expected to do and not do things, and who and what is going to be cleaned, organized or relaxed!
FINAL NOTE: I highly recommend, if you are interested in MOTH or MOTC, you should buy the books from www.titus2.com. When you order from them, instead of buying your book used, you are able to register it with them, and thus have access to their online tools. I know the books may seem a little pricey, but believe me, they are life-changing if you are living in mommy-chaos! You can reread them and be reminded year after year the hows and whys.
There is also an online tool for making and printing your schedule through them at www.schedulebreeze.com if you register a book. As well, they have an online chore card making program at www.ChorePacks.com. (The MOTC book also comes with 4 plastic chorepack clip sets, and believe me, what you buy at Staples is NOT the same quality!)