Multi-tasking Motherhood: At Home Shaping People

It’s no mistake that God gave women the amazing ability to multi-task. Moms are on the front lines bringing up their children.

And if I were reminded every day how my understanding of the purpose of children drastically changes the way I raise them, it wouldn’t be enough.

See, we live in layers, with all the layers, ideally, blending together.

I have to pick up stuff all day, wash dishes, prepare meals, sweep and mop, wipe off countertops, get children dressed, vacuum….and a bunch more. That’s the physical layer and it takes up a lot of time.

But another layer of responsibility is raising whole children, with purpose, for the glory of God. It includes a relational layer, a spiritual layer, an emotional layer, all intertwined with the physical.

Thus the grave importance of multi-tasking….being always aware, prepared and engaged in the full-orbed duty of motherhood.

This kind of multi-tasking comes with a great price. It can only be tackled with the stamina of believing our children are not OURS, but have been given to us by the Lord, and that we will give an account of our stewardship over them.

It means being there to steer, direct, remind and shape their attitudes, responses and behavior to become more like Christ’s. It means becoming more like Him ourselves, perhaps the greatest price.

And it’s important to know that this shaping of lives only happens in the context of the physical layer. People become who they are, not at a yearly conference or at designated moments of spiritual focus, but in the common days, conforming to the influence most surrounding them. It is what happens in the ebb and flow of daily living that matters.

Mothers, when you are going about your physical work, you are also shaping people. Don’t forget it. Are you tuned enough to stop what you’re doing and explain the “how’s” and “why’s” of dealing with conflict?

Do you know that just as important as getting dinner on the table is taking time to encourage a child who is struggling, to show him his worth by looking to see what His Creator says about him?

Do you remember that your tantrum-throwing 3-year-old doesn’t need you to teach her that she is driving you crazy, but that her life will be riddled with trouble unless she learns to govern her spirit?

Multi-task like a warrior-Mom, raising soldiers for the Kingdom.

27 Responses to “Multi-tasking Motherhood: At Home Shaping People”

  1. Charity says:

    Kelly, It is amazing to me how God uses your writings in my life, at just the right time, to show me or reiterate to me something He has been showing/teaching me. And lately that showing/teaching has been that I am shaping my children whether I realize it or not, whether I am trying to or not…it is the in and out of the everyday. To me that is nearly terrifying, and is bringing me to my knees, repeatedly these days.

    • Word Warrior says:

      Terrifying is an accurate response when we’re faced with the gravity of our job….so thankful we have an all-powerful Father, ready to dispense HIS strength in our weakness!

  2. Jennifer says:

    Sounds almost more like we’re the macro-managers. A lot to do.

  3. natasha says:

    hey 🙂 I was just catching up on your posts when I came across this one where you told your daughter “Kyla, you know you aren’t just sweeping. You are making beauty out of chaos. You’re turning disorder into order. That’s because you have the nature of God.”

    I can’t come up with this stuff. I’m just too sleep deprived, frantic, and completely stressed out. You should write a post or book about little sayings/stories for these situations. I’m going to write them on index cards and tape them around my house so I’m reminded to encourage them and always bring God into a situation, so I have some tools instead of loosing my temper and acting like a crazy person.

    • 6 arrows says:


      Kelly’s book When Motherhood Feels Too Hard is just the thing you’re looking for 😉 I ordered her book recently (it’s a 31-day devotional) and am just about done reading it and heartily recommend it!

      Click on warrior-Mom in her post and you’ll find it. 🙂

      • Word Warrior says:

        I’m so glad you like the Motherhood book. I have just ordered a preview copy for the hardback which I will be making available soon. I’m am encouraged beyond words, at the feedback, that God is using it to strengthen mothers for their task.

    • Word Warrior says:


      This made me laugh! It might help you to know that I do not always respond with “the right word”. More often than not, I act like a crazy person.

  4. laura says:

    Hello Kelly! Good thoughts, good thoughts. I’d like to ask you a question, if I may…as a mom of many, have you ever felt stretched by having such a span of ages in your children? I guess I mean that each child in their point of development needs something different than every other child. Mine are ages 2, 4, 6, 8. THe oldest has different needs than the baby, which are different from the middle ones…I guess as I have kept on having children (and we aren’t done, God willing), I have struggled to figure out a way to cope with the infant years(diapers, nursing, sleep deprivation), yet be enough of a person to interact with my older kids(and not a slag-eyed blob!) and be able to teach them thoughtfully…I feel like if I keep my mindset in “baby”, I have a hard time challenging the older kids and keep them interested and not bored with our routine…if i dive into older child activities, I feel like I am annoyed with the baby, for taking up so much time…and interupting all the time(but it can’t help it, and needs my attention!). I see myself as having more kids and having the older keep on growing and needing more intellectual stimulus/challenges(especially boys), and yet needing to keep a finger in the diaper pot so to speak, and not resent each new baby who adds that much more work on the household plate…And Kelly, as much as I am a homeschool advocate, people HAVE sent their kids to school for a long time,(and we read in farmer boy that they had bullies even then–the teacher was just better armed!) and mothers of big families in the last century often had a housemaid/cook, depending on the income of the household…we have none of that…it often does seem TOO much to do well…and it can be hard to be motivated to keep on doing a million things(and Idon’t include church/other things), and do them half way, cause you don’t have the time to do them all well…to never excel at anything…and have the sense of accomplishment, just a frantic push to have it sorta caught up, sometimes….eek…sometimes I wonder if the quiverful, homeschool mindset doesn’t set up its own type of expectations of godliness, and that if you can’t cope with it all, you must not be godly people…I’ll get off my rant now…

    • Word Warrior says:


      I feel for you. The truth is, I’m not sure I have answers, except to say, you are in the TRENCHES! With so many little ones, there is one thing to be sure of: things will get easier as they get older. I get reminded from my older friends with older children, “oh, don’t worry so much about the dishes and the trashed floor…it’s will all be over so soon!” and I try to remember that on those crazy days.

      I don’t know….I think we put more pressure on ourselves (as do many around us) because we feel like we’re trying to prove the worth of this “experiment” (homeschooling, large families, etc.) when it’s NO experiment at all…at least not over the course of history. It’s new to us, and to the people we know, but we must remember something…having babies is not some odd thing we’ve DONE…it is our natural state. We have been given people to raise for the Kingdom. Some days that’s just hard stuff. And you know what? I think it’s OK to acknowledge that, we just can’t let that become all-consuming and utterly defeat us. We have to keep reminding ourselves through these hard days until one day we realize, “Hey, I survived and God’s grace was sufficient!”

      And you mentioned women in past times having cooks/maids…there are two sides to that. First, they also didn’t have many of our time-saving conveniences and I think that should be considered. But, people don’t regard large families very favorably and so often the help I think mothers used to receive isn’t as readily available for mothers in our day. I would suggest that you find an older young lady either to hire or volunteer to help out a day a week. My daughter has done this for other mothers and the load lifted in just one day can be enormous. It’s also a blessing for our children to be able to serve the body of Christ. Is that a possibility?

      At the end of the day, I’m just reminded that yes, this is HARD because it’s GOOD. You must watch this, along those lines, from Todd Wilson. SO good, and so funny.

      • Deborah says:

        Laura, I think you and I are missing the same gene – the one for multi-tasking 🙂 Honestly, I can’t do it.

        I have felt exactly the same way you feel and spoke with another mother of five in our shoes too. We are doing potty-training to career training and everything in between. My friend has a different personality. However, from just this blurb, you sound like me and I can’t do it all at the same time.

        Here has what helped me:

        1. I don’t try to recreate the childhoods of my older children for my younger ones. I believe my younger children’s place in the sibling order is a shaping tool designed by God. Their lives will be different. So long as I am not relaxing God’s standards (which I repent of often) so be it. I relax standards that are just mine daily.

        2. Look at your strengths. Are you creative? visionary? encouraging? organized? smart? Now admit you may only be able to do one or two wonderful things at a time. You are not broken. God made you on purpose : ) that way. Now work your life around these facts. This keeps us from all looking the same.

        3. Set times to talk and time for quiet. “this is a quiet time” is my favorite line. Tape an index card to your forehead that reads “We will talk one at a time”. Tape another to the back of your head that says “mark your question we will go over at rest time”, “tell me at lunch time” or “lets take a walk and talk at play time”. People are always talking to the back of my head: )

        4. Try to set up a family endeavor that will include you all. We are looking at building a house – I know you think who has the money? – not us. It will be a 16 by 20 “cabin” initially. This is tailored to us. My boys can build anything and I used to work contract work with my Dad and hubby has built several houses. If I had a creative crew I might open an art gallery and sleep there. I don’t know.

        5. Look at the purpose of the household. It is a prospering, ordering of the Earth, ministering endeavor built around you and hubby that takes the kids along. Remember: “Talk to them while you walk along . . .”. The Harris Dad wrote that the companion of fools is foolish. Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child. Don’t move into a kids world or you will all end up as fools. Cry out to God for vision and take your kids along with you.

        As Kelly said we are in the trenches, yet still God’s burden is light.
        God Bless my sister!

        • Word Warrior says:

          Deborah–this is some of the wisest, most practical advice I’ve ever read! You hit the nail on the head of something SO important…we *can’t* do it all, nor were we created to. “Build your life around your gifts”. Such great wisdom. I like to think of what you said in terms of being more “organic”. It’s not a “hands-off” approach to raising children, but sometimes we get this picture of how it should be or how other people are doing it and that becomes our measure.

          We are a unique family. Letting things flow out of that (with obvious places for order and boundaries) can relax a family so much. I think homeschooling is one area that largely overwhelms moms. It’s not organic enough. We try recreate something that was never intended for home life and it becomes impossible.

          Anyway, good words, my friend.

        • Word Warrior says:

          P.S. I *sooooo* want to build a tiny cabin!

    • Laura E. says:

      Hi sister,

      How I resonate with what you wrote…I have said everything you did many times in many different ways as I’ve frequently wrested with the “HOW DO YOU DO IT ALL!!!???” questions. I, too, am a homeschooling “mama of many” with my seventh baby due this winter and my oldest having just turned ten.

      Over the years, the Lord has freed with the truth that I DON’T have to do it all; just the things He leads me to do which often means letting go of standards that I and others have set that are NOT from Him. How freeing this has been, yet I still find myself in tears at times and how my heart goes out to those who struggle in similar ways!

      There is so much I would like to write to encourage you with, but will just share with you a link to a blog that I wrote specifically for young moms. Hopefully, you will find some encouragement there:

      Much love to you in Jesus from a fellow mama “in the trenches”,
      Laura E.

  5. Keri says:

    This was a good post Kelly and I’m sure it has encouraged many moms as many of your posts have.

    I have seen that maybe it’s possible that the comment section from the politics post is maybe full so if you don’t mind I’d like to finish a comment here.

    I honestly wasn’t trying to bash the Reformed Pres-denomination when I made that comment.I was simply trying to point out that it was “Men”from this denomination that wrote these articles and while we can learn a lot from reading articles sometimes we just have to have a discerning spirit about them.And quite honestly..yes..I did find your comments “snarky” but I’m okay with that.

    I am a Baptist and I can honestly say that we also hold a strong view of the sovereignty of God. I honestly don’t know if Jesus is coming back tomorrow but I do believe he’s coming back.

    When you say you tend to think more “generationally minded” I will take that as you are concerned about our future generations(children-grandchildren)and I would say that I feel the same on this.I don’t know what you meant about the being obsessed with intant results.I really don’t think that’s what is going to happen.

    You also said that you have a strong sense of your responsibility before God and recognize him as King over all. I would agree with you on that.

    I suppose my question for you(and I really hope you will post this)..

    You do a great job in sharing as a Christian Mom and encouraging in so many ways..But why would you go on here and praise a man like Mark Driscoll..who I personally see as deceiving so many people from the pulpit with his man made philosophy and his disgusting book who is not a Preacher of the true gospel of Jesus Christ but turn around and bash Romney?

    I have less respect for Men who claim to preach the gospel(not my gospel)..Driscoll’s book and messages are just disgusting..than for a man who I know is a Mormon but has a straight forward message..just wondering.

    • Word Warrior says:

      My short answer: Mark is not a false teacher with a man-made philosophy or a deceiver. Crass? Yes. Edgy? Yes. Do I always agree with his approach to certain topics? No. But he is a Christian.

      Mormonism is a cult, regardless of how kind, wonderful and good-intentioned they are (I think sometimes that fact gets missed.) In fact, see Mark’s article on “what constitutes a cult” for more understanding…it’s simply a theology definition and Mormonism doesn’t pass. ( But keep in mind, that’s only one of my apprehensions with Romney.

      Also, this article well-describes my rationale behind the problem I have backing Romney…someone will have to convince me on these points, before I could consider it. Should I Vote for Romney

      • 6 arrows says:

        Kelly, thanks for the Generations with Vision link. I’ve been engaged in conversations on this topic with some people I know, and I see much pertinent information at that link that is worthy of further discussion with the people to whom I’m referring.

        (My apologies for taking this thread further off-track from its intended purpose to comment on a topic on which you had closed the discussion previously. I’ll say no more. But thank you.)

  6. Keri says:

    I haven’t missed the fact that Romney is a Mormon. I don’t feel the need to read Mr.Driscoll’s article on what a cult is.I already know.

    Mr.Driscoll may truly be a Christian.I don’t agree with the majority of what he says or writes.

    Thanks for answering my question.

  7. Keri says:

    Crass? Edgy? I would say these are probably kinder definitions of Arrogant and Obnoxious! In which a pastor should not really be!

    • Jennifer says:

      Very true, Keri. But Mark isn’t dangerous, I’m pretty sure; what you see is what you get. I hope Romney’s the same. In any case, I may vote for him, but I’m not voting for his healthcare plan as it stood the last time I read its description.

  8. Laura E. says:

    Now I get it (this time I’ll blame it on “pregnancy brain” ;)..I DID reply to the right post after all!
    Kelly, could you please delete all of my posts except one of the first ones!
    Thanks and sorry for cluttering up the comments section!

    • Word Warrior says:

      LOL! I already did, and I copied and pasted your comment and email into the right reply 😉 We’ll go with pregnancy. Or if you were me, it could just be normal scatter brain 😛

      • Deborah says:

        I am so glad you added more. My husband thought your last post was me with an alias, but I am not an artist.

        I just wonder, are you sure God put gifts in you just so you can kill them off?

        Your husband most likely could use help with what you wish your sewing could do – furnish a necessity. Art and sewing for profit can work here. You may need less house to care for and less stuff and a less demanding manner of schooling.

        If that makes you feel selfish, consider: Adam needed a helpmeet before children and house. Our help as wives can’t be limited only to these two areas. The only woman in the Bible with a broom in her hand was looking for a lost coin. Managing and keeping a home must be more than maintaining it, then.

        I am not saying take over provision and dump the kids. I am just saying that helping in a satisfying, profitable, gift utilizing way with the kids along is God’s plan.

        Sew with kids around: set up a play area with non-baby littles in view ie. in the next room with a baby gate between you. Keep the baby with you (buy a workshop magnet for pins). Have the older ones play outside where you can see but not hear (via a window to the back of the yard). Plan B: Keep baby with you. Have mediums in a fenced in safe area and move your sewing table so you have a great view. Have olders read or do independent school or safe work in another room or on the front step. Make easy, I mean really easy meals – beans a la crock pot for lunch and hard boiled eggs with fresh fruit you don’t have to cut up for breakfast!

        Stuff: In our house, most of the time when things are floating around it is because they are used often and all the storage is full of things not used.

        God Bless
        I hope I am not “talking” too much :~ ?

  9. laura says:

    I know the usual standards that are said to , “not worry about” like having a constantly sparkling bathroom or kitchen floor, or clutterfree counters…or toy free floors…I do pretty well with that…we do have times of pick up every day to keep it from totally overwhelming the house,and I do delegate chores for clean up, but there is often a bit of clutter around, because there are always those items that you aren’t sure where to put them, and so they shift around. I guess I’m talking about things like sewing…for example. One of the few creative things I can do that is productive for the household and doesn’t make me gain weight!(like baking does!). But to find the time to sit down and sew? I cannot concentrate on sewing when i have kids around me…I make mistakes and have to rip seams out…And I have actually thought about packing away my machine for good for a while (after I finally finish the curtains/couch covers!), because it would almost be easier to know that I CAN’t sew than to WANT to and not be ABLE To…see what I mean?? As a studio painter, I’ve thought the same about my box of paints and brushes…like if I am to die to self, then just kill it off, rather than hold on to shreds of something that can never come to fruition…just wondered if it would be easier in that it is a distinct decision than a frustrated waiting…problem is I always seem to find things that would be cheaper to make…like I have a niece whose baby is having a birthday soon, and I having tons of fabric, I COULD make her something without it costing much more than a pack of buttons…or a spool of thread. but it would take me 3-5 hours total of concentrated focus…see what I mean?? Back 100 years ago, sewing would have been a necessity for the family…today it’s not so much…it’s optional…sigh…

  10. Sara says:

    I am so glad to read your posts. They ate always just so well written and helpful. Love the picture language of the layers!! I’ll remember that! Thanks!! Sara

  11. […] Post navigation ← Previous When they Drive you Crazy… Quiet talks Posted on November 2, 2012 by Babychaser “Do you remember that your tantrum-throwing 3-year-old doesn’t need you to teach her that she is driving you crazy, but that her life will be riddled with trouble unless she learns to govern her spirit.” ~ Generation Cedar […]

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