“Red Lining” Household Chores

When there is a mountain of dishes in the sink, a pile of dirty laundry, the trash is overflowing, you haven’t brushed your teeth, the baby is crying and it’s only 10a, “overwhelmed” is an understatement.

I give you permission to close your eyes for two minutes, and just breath. Ready? Go.

Now, what if I told you, there is a better strategy for getting everything done during the day? Because there is, and its a total •G A M E C H A N G E R• At least, it was for me (well, mostly my sanity).

If you’ve ever taken a Dave Ramsey course, you might be familiar with the term “Red Line,” but if not, allow me to briefly explain.

In Dave’s money management course, he talks about a time when he and his wife were so broke, that they could NOT make ends meet. Literally. There was no money for all of the bills that they had. So they paid their bills with the “Red line.” Everything above the red line got paid, every thing below, did not. Pretty simple.

Dave tells listeners how the things listed first (above the red line) were the things that mattered the most. 1. Tithe, 2. Savings, 3. Groceries, 4. Basic necessities (i.e. heat, gas, water), 5. debts. Once the money ran out, their needs were at least met. Their family would make it to the next day.

So how can this strategy work for your everyday life as a mom? Well, let’s look at the priorities Dave has already laid out for us:

1) God first

Dave says tithe is number one, when it comes to budgeting. For you, Momma, it’s time with your heavenly Father. I know that some days, you barely get a moment to brush your teeth. The good Lord knows, I’ve been working on a 7-day Bible study for the last 3 weeks.. I get it. But one thing that you can always do, no matter if you’re changing a poopy diaper, washing dirty  dishes, or changing over laundry, is P R A Y.

In fact, we are told to pray continually, without ceasing.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 

2) Self Care

Dave’s second priority is paying yourself. You’ve heard the saying that you “can’t pour from an empty cup,” and we mommas know that children are THIRSTY little creatures. It’s easy for your energy to get all used up, especially if you’re in the habit of not taking care of yourself.

It’s important to do something for yourself every. single. day. Want the easy fix here? This is going to knock your fuzzy socks off.

Get up. And Get dressed.

Seriously!! You will be amazed at how much more you get done, by just getting dressed in the morning. I can tell you, it’s dehumanizing to look down on Wednesday and realize that you have been in the same pajamas since Sunday afternoon, when you got home from Church.

Get up. Get dressed. You deserve to feel human.

3) Food

The most basic of human needs, next to oxygen. Make sure everyone eats.

Everyone. Including yourself.

How many times have you been so busy throughout the day, that you look at the clock and realize it is 3:30 in the afternoon, and you have only had a few tic-tacs, a cold cup of coffee, and maybe (if you’re lucky) a piece of toast at breakfast? It happens to us all, but if this is happening to you on a daily basis, then you’ve gotta reprioritize!

You need to eat just as much as your babies do.

4) The Necessities

Do you see how house work doesn’t even make it to the top three? In fact, you shouldn’t even be worry about the dishes in the sink until you’ve said good morning to the Lord,  gotten up & gotten dressed, and eaten an egg. Those dishes don’t look quite so daunting now, do they?

When it comes to housework, you do the necessities first. Are you all out of jeans or does your son’s soccer socks need washed before practice tonight? Throw in a load of laundry. Did the baby spill cheerios at breakfast, and you stepped on them? Vacuum. Did the dog roll in the mud? Get him into the bath (or stick him back outside until your husband gets home, no judgement here).

Focus on your priorities first. The things that have to get done in order to survive. Everything else can wait.

5) The Extra

Okay – so you’re caught up on laundry, dishes are done, sheets are changed. Now’s the time you can do the extra things, if you’ve got time and energy. Sweep the kitchen, dust, redecorate the living room, clean out your closet, etc.

These are the things that can wait. Don’t stress over them!

So where is the Red Line? 

For Dave, the Red Line is when the money runs out. Everything below the Red Line cannot be paid. For you, the Red Line is this: You set a time in the evenings, and when you reach that time, you’re done.

Still have dishes in the sink? Make them priority chores tomorrow.

If it doesn’t involve the survival of you, your husband, or your kids (which, hypothetical using this method, these should already be done, but we all know life happens), it can wait until the next day.

Now, I am NOT a night owl, and quite frankly, my kids take a lot of energy out of me during the day, so my daily Red Line is 8:30p. I know that probably seems really early to some of you guys, but mornings are my most productive times of the day. Mornings, and, obviously, nap time.

The Red Line has helped me keep my sanity in my day-to-day life. I hope it helps you as well, but I do recognize and acknowledge that every family is different. What works for my family, may not work for yours. 

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