Mom of Ten talks about Misdirected Energy


I wasn’t ready for this job. I knew it. Just look at me; disorganized, lazy, self-centered, a champion at one thing only: Procrastination. I didn’t know how to do the job and had no real skills to speak of. Not really management material! No matter, I was still put in charge of TEN children, who depended on me to mold them into a harmonious, productive team, and train them for their glorious futures. Was this wise? Clearly, I needed to “Buck Up”, if my ten kids were going to survive this “adventure”!

God certainly had a sense of humor, putting me in charge of so many little ones. Growing up, I didn’t even like kids. I was even a little afraid of them. I still call our oldest “My Experimental Child”. But thankfully, children are durable and resilient. They survive such things as having their Pampers put on backwards and eating Cream of Wheat every day for a year. The worst thing I subjected them to was my inability to organize and get things done. And one thing I know, organization is key to a happy home. What to do, what to do?

I didn’t want to pass on my frailties to my progeny, so I decided to get organized about being organized (Huh?). In other words, I watched with horror as I messed up time and again! What I learned was this: If things are organized “enough” or done “enough” to please the man in the house, that is good enough. This is because most of the dire consequences of my disorganization were dished out in the form of my husband’s disappointment.  That meant more to me than the doctor’s disappointment when we missed his appointment, or the lack of other moms’ approval of my children’s mismatched outfits or presence of ear wax. Yes, it’s
true, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”, but you can be assured that Mama will be happy if her husband is pleased with the state of his home and unhappy when he is not. He will make sure of that…

Now here comes advice from me about this.  Two basic problems that stand in the way are:  MISDIRECTED ENERGY and LACK OF ORGANIZATION. Sounds simple enough, right? Do what ya gotta do, and know what it is ya gotta do! But, HOW?

Misdirected Energy is usually made up of a Lack of Information and a Lack of Motivation.

Lack of Information = not being aware of your husband’s priorities.

Lack of Motivation = being too busy with low priority projects or being overwhelmed with tasks and not knowing where to begin. You can become overwhelmed when you are either not trained for the tasks, you are too perfecting, or you are not delegating.

When you misdirect your energy and priorities fall through, your husband feels like he has failed, like he is not a good manager, that he has let things get out of control. The remedy for this is to properly direct your energy, first by listening closely to your husband, so you can align your efforts with his priorities. Does he prioritize a neat home? Freshly ironed clothing?  Breakfast as a family? Really try to hear him, don’t just assume you know.

Then, tackle his biggest expectation first, being diligent about limiting your efforts to this priority until you master it. But don’t obsess. Find out how clean is clean enough and definitely have the kids help (if they are old enough).  Let kids contribute to the family’s happy home. And demonstrate diligence before them.

Lack of motivation is not simply laziness. More often, unmotivated women are very busy, expending enormous amounts of energy, but they do not accomplish their basic chores. I know about this. New sources of distraction are rampant now (Facebook, anyone?), but whatever we use to subconsciously escape the tasks at hand, the end result is still the same: “there is never enough time to get everything done!”. Without doubt, your home-making tasks are tedious and thankless. Nobody is keeping track of how many messes (of all types) you clean up during the day, or how many tragedies you have averted, but what you do NOT accomplish will be all too obvious when your man walks in the door—so unfair!

As you can see, operating an efficient, organized household requires a lot of brain power (the sum of my own and all my kids’). It is not for the faint of heart or soul, but it is the most rewarding job on earth! And the end result is: A home where Mama is happy!

Next time, we’ll look how to face your Organization challenges head on!


35 years ago, Patti Garden’s husband-to-be promised her that if she married him, her life would never be boring. Since then, they have had and raised ten children together, so that promise was definitely kept! Patti and her husband live in Scottsdale and still have 3 teenagers at home, so “boring” doesn’t appear anywhere in her near future.

Image Credit


Comments are closed.