Recently I heard a leadership guru’s podcast on how to increase productivity in your work. He said that one of the keys to productivity is to know when to stop working. He said that if you’re working more than 55 hours per week, then you’re probably losing effectiveness. After working past maximum effectiveness, your work will start to unravel. The demands of a long workweek can even devolve into chaos.
But being a stay-at-home mom is far more than a long workweek — it’s life. We can’t just clock out after 55 hours.
Every husband should know that stay-at-home moms (SAHM) wage epic battles against chaos.
Epic battles against chaos can come in the form of sibling squabbles, maintenance emergencies, drama at school, competing budget items, scheduling hiccups, relational tension, and more. But these things are easily dealt with.
SAHMs are resourceful, creative problem-solvers. We have the capacity to dominate over even the most harrowing multitasking nightmare. When a SAHM’s hope is in the God who raises the dead, then she smiles at the future. She knows her Redeemer lives, and she is working joyfully for his glory even in the midst of outer chaos.
But there is another other kind of chaos — inner chaos. No SAHM should dare to deal with inner chaos on her own. She needs to be surrounded by other godly women whose hope is in the Lord. And she needs her husband’s help, too.
The harrowing, inner chaos in the soul of a SAHM can drive a woman to do things she never wanted to do. A woman driven by inner chaos will do things like give her children the silent treatment, manipulate her friends, get an ulcer over the budget, or belittle her husband’s hard work.
The manageable outer chaos is aggravated by the inner chaos in our soul. Outer chaos all of a sudden becomes unmanageable. Competent, confident homemakers lose their nerves of steel. Even though it’s “just” a hiccup in the schedule — or a setback with a child’s discipline, or a burned piece of garlic bread — it becomes so much bigger in our hearts.
Then the elusive “peace like a river” is more like a category-five hurricane of anxiety, bitterness, discouragement, or discontent.
Husbands, when you can, please step into the outer chaos and help your wife put out a few fires. Then, when the smoke has cleared, or even as it is still lingering, let the Spirit lead you to step into her inner chaos as well.
Husbands, encourage your wife!
Ask your wife good questions to gain understanding. Identify with her. Try to empathize.
With Spirit-led timing, speak the truth in love. Remind her that there is an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for her. Point out how in Christ God is reconciling the world to himself. In Christ he will not count her sins against her. If God doesn’t count her sins against her, she can begin boasting in her weaknesses for Christ’s sake.
The most durable hope you can give your wife is glorying in the one Mediator between God and man. Your wife needs your help to remember the future grace that is guaranteed her by the precious blood of Jesus.
Glory in the love that covers a multitude of sins and redeems all of our inner chaos.
Marveling together at how Jesus died to make you holy will lift her soul higher than your praise for the meal she made (but don’t forget to compliment the garlic bread).
Gospel, garlic bread, then more gospel.