I'm sorry. I don't have all the answers. I mess up regularly. My kids are imperfect. I am imperfect. My house looks like it's full of imperfect people. Very full of very imperfect people.
Unfortunately, you will not find the answers to your problems here.
I can't tell you how to keep up with your laundry or keep a spotless house while homeschooling. Lately, my husband often resorts to folding clothes because he's out of socks and underwear. My entry area usually has more shoes on the floor than in the shoe cubby. It's a daily battle and some days I just don't feel like fighting it. My husband hates stepping over shoes (or tripping over them) so I need to focus on it more.
I don't have the answers to stop your kids from fighting. It seems like every day I am breaking up arguments, and wrestling matches turned violent ... non-stop. But, I can promise you that even if your kids argue and fight, they can also be good friends. My kids alternate between being the best of friends, and fighting like cats and dogs. At least they like each other, most of the time.
I don't know how to get your kids up, dressed, and moving toward schoolwork in a calm, peaceful, organized way each day. Yeah. No help here. It has only gotten worse as our family grew and the age span of kids grew. It was better when most of my students were girls. But now I've got school-age boys, and it's so much worse. The dawdling, the wrestling, the constant picking at siblings to irritate them. This is not how I imagined homeschooling would be. But, they are learning, and they enjoy spending time together. It just takes way longer each day to get things done than it should, or could.
I can't tell you how to fit in your devotions, exercise, reading time, and date nights with hubby. It seems like I should be able to do those things on a regular basis, and homeschool, and kind of keep house. But I don't. I know that devotions and exercise would help me personally, and that date nights with hubby would help our marriage. Knowing that and achieving them are two different things, though. I am just so tired when morning rolls around that I can't convince my body that it's best to get up early for devotions and exercise before the kids are up. And I haven't figured out how to take DH's mega-busy schedule, the family's mega-busy schedule, the mega-fighting kids, and the budget ... and get them all to line up for a date night. I guess I either need to trust the kids to manage with siblings babysitting them and no one bleeding, or I need to just bite the bullet and hire an actual babysitter ... preferably one who will keep the kids at her house or won't judge me for the state of my house.
I can't show you pinterest-worthy pictures and projects. I don't have much time for projects. I barely have time to blog (without kids screaming and the house falling apart). And when I do manage something, I can't get a decent picture of it. For example, last week I hung a string up high across our living room, and put the kids' fall watercolor paintings on it with paper clips. I tried to take a picture, but I couldn't show their art-line without also showing the cluttered DVD shelf and over-packed school bookshelf. They just aren't very attractive. But, I want you to know that I really like their art-line and it makes me smile. I'm glad I did it.
I can't tell you how to keep a sweet, calm smile and a quiet, gentle voice at all times. Even if I wanted to, it wouldn't work well in my home. I'd never be heard. I tried it once, because I heard that if you whispered the kids would quiet down and listen. They didn't. They just kept on playing, and arguing, and winding up more and more. If I didn't raise my voice at times, it would become total chaos ... several times a day. Or constantly. And yes, I lose my temper. Yes, I get sarcastic and rude sometimes. Yes, I have to apologize. Yes, I sometimes go to bed kicking myself and feeling like a failure.
Despite all that, I want you to know that you can still succeed. You can still raise healthy adults, who know they are loved, and are fairly well-educated. Granted, I have only got one daughter in college, but she's doing very well, loves God, and she knows she is loved. We have a good relationship. I have another daughter who is a senior this year. She hasn't yet launched into the world, but she's making plans, and I do believe she'll do well.
I admit I'm a little more nervous about some of the younger kids. But I'm hoping this is as crazy as life will get. As they all get older, and some of them launch into the world, it should get a bit more organized ... right? The reality is that I see their worst behavior here at home. Elsewhere, I always hear that they are great kids. I just have to remember that on the worst days.
But, my hope is that LOVE covers it all -- that loving my imperfect kids, admitting I don't have it all figured out, and starting fresh each day will get us through. I need God's GRACE for myself, and I need to give it to my children. Our house may not seem very PEACEFUL, but I continually seek after God's PEACE in my heart, and I try to instill it into my children's hearts. I want them to know our home is a safe place, a nest, full of LOVE, PEACE, GRACE, JOY, and COMFORT. It may not be the prettiest nest, it's rarely quiet, and there may be whole weeks when I hope no one shows up unexpectedly, but I pray GOD'S SPIRIT dwells here. I hope they see HIM in ME as I try to teach them to love each other, to work diligently, and to forgive. Lots of forgiving.
In other words, I can't tell you how to do everything just right, how to look just right, and how to get your kids to act just right.
I can tell you that every day is a new day, and that God can take your messed up efforts, and use them to His glory.
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galations 6: 9
"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21
"Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:58
Just keep trying, and trusting in Him!