I am so happy! I have been learning so many things, one on top of the other it seems, that has truly helped me to live life (not just when the babes are sleeping) and to be joyful. Motherhood will always have it’s challenges, but I love feeling like things are starting to come together to make it not such a cage fight.
I need like 8 posts for all this, so be patient with me as I find time to do so. But for today, I want to talk about home management.
I found Holly. And she wrote a book. And I could kiss Holly right on top of the head. Here’s a synopsis of the hope she’s given me:
She was a stay-at-home mom, homeschooling her kids. And she felt like her to-do list never ended, her house was always a mess, she never had time to sit down and help her kids really with their school work or to play with them like she would like, she never had any personal time, was always tired, and she was constantly begging her husband for a break.
Now I don’t know about you, but that’s about how I felt everyday. And no matter what time my husband could give me to just get out, it was never enough for me to feel like I was collected and ready to be back at motherhood again. Even with a break here and there, my motherhood mental load never left. The to-do list, the mess, the exhaustion, the desire to do more was constantly right in my face.
So, Holly then showed me how to organize my time and life in a way that REVOLUTIONIZED everything.
Here’s the link to her book. Go get it if you want it friends because it’s worth every penny. Not everything she said was new to me, but her ideas for how to apply what I did know was absolutely eye opening.
Here are some of my bullet point take aways:
1. Holly has you go through and analyze every aspect of your life: your needs, your spouse’s needs, your children’s needs, your house’s needs, etc. and has you make a realistic plan of how those are going to be met. Following her outline for how exactly to do this made this simple and not daunting. But her main point was along the same lines as finances: you need to assign every dollar a job, or you lose track of what your money should be doing and you lose efficiency (slash don’t control your money), right? It’s the same with your needs. Every need needs a time slot, otherwise, you lose track and lose efficiency.
2. She is big on routines. She has you write down what routines will help you meet all those needs. And she begins by introducing pre- and post-meal routines. During those times, you write down what needs to happen to not only get meals taken care of, but whatever else too.
For example, my pre-breakfast routine does include making breakfast, but it also includes folding the laundry in the dryer and doing a load of dishes and tidying up the kitchen. Pre-breakfast is simply cleaning up breakfast and taking the laundry upstairs.
3. She basically said: you live in a house of individuals. So quit trying to get everyone on the same schedule. Let everyone have schedules that work in harmony with one another. So each of my kids have their own schedule, but all interconnect. Like we all eat at the same time, each gets dressed at the same time, we all run errands together. And we all have pre- and post-meal routines. They are just individualized. So continuing with what we do in the mornings, Thea and Rose, while I’m doing my chores, are doing something independently, so I’m not having to manage them much (I’m still in the process of finding what will work to occupy them for 30 minutes besides TV. They are still just so little. But one day when I have a bigger house and a yard, I think my options will open up too. But playing with their toys only lasts so long…). But then, along with independent play, they are also responsible for tidying up the front room before we eat and Thea’s routine includes helping mom set the table.
4. She also stresses that routines have to be taught. We can’t just expect our kids to up and get with the program. Like when I first assigned the girls to clean up before meals, cleaning wasn’t a new concept, so I just felt like they should do as I asked. But I quickly learned that I needed to teach them that this was part of the expectation before we ate, which meant instead of me being able to do my own routinr while they did theirs at first, I had to do mine and then go help the girls pick up. But I also slimmed down the toys we had and made them more organized, so that each toy had a simple and specific place to go. This way the girls would know exactly how to clean up instead of just shoving everything under the TV. So after a couple weeks now of repetition, the girls are capable of cleaning up the front room with only supervision from the kitchen. Pretty good for 3yo and 1.5yo ha!
5. With all the needs having a place in your schedules, the constant weight of the to-do list and the pile up are gone! Seriously! I used to always be behind with laundry and needing to wash, dry, fold, and put away was always on my mind. But now, I do a load every day, but I only wash laundry before bed, dry and fold in the morning, take the basket upstairs sometime during the day, and put clothes away at night after the babes are in bed. Every part of that process has a place. So I don’t worry about when I’m going to this or this done. I already know and it doesn’t matter that it isn’t done yet because I have a plan for getting it done. AND! It doesn’t take 8 years nor does it feel like I’m doing laundry all day. It’s just small moments of the task here and there. Doable.
6. Diligence. Diligence diligence. The biggest reason stuff would pile up around the house was because I wasn’t consistent with getting it done. I’d do it when I couldn’t not do it any more because I was burnt out from the last time I had to muster the energy to conquer the pile. So I’ve had to train myself to sticking to the routine, whether or not I FEEL like it. And after weeks, I know realize that my life isn’t stressed out if I keep to my routines. I can’t afford to not get the dishes or laundry done in the morning because I know I dont have any time later in the day to get it done, so it has to wait until the next day, which backs me up. Obviously, a rare miss isn’t detrimental, but “rare” being the key word.
7. She also taught me that I don’t have to wait for the kids to sleep in order to do MY personal stuff. By organizing my kids time, I can schedule them to be doing something independently for 15 minutes or 30 minutes, so I can pray and read scriptures, or read a book, or write a quick blog post, or go brain dead on social media, etc! That way, I can feel like I’ve had personal time during the day, so when my kids don’t go to sleep on time (since the girls looove getting out of bed 38 times…), I’m not 100% ticked off because they are infringing on my only time for ME nor am I staying up til midnight and fighting exhaustion because I can’t get enough ME time.
8. I have a scheduled, reliable time when Andrew takes over the kids and house while step out for personal time. It starts at 5, and I come home when I’m ready. But a reliable say each week helps me dig in on hard days because I know I will have a break later. And Andrew has a scheduled reliable personal time too. And foe both of us, it’s during our personal time that we have to choose to sacrifice time to go to the temple. I like this because then it’s me making a sacrifice to get me to the temple instead of Andrew making the sacrifice. Because I wouls sort of get up in arms when Andrew would ask to go to the temple because that was just another evening when I would be by myself with the kids.
9. Quality time with the Lord is more important than quantity of time with Him. On my mission, I got used to 60 minutes a day of just God and me time. And so when I came home and even once I was married and with a baby, an hour a day wasn’t hard to get. But now, with, it’s a never-ending tug-a-war to get the time and when I do sit down to pray and study, my ability to focus is garbage. Needless to say, my prayers and study have been subpar and more of an annoying burden keeping me from a BREAK. Aka, I feel like I haven’t had any real time with the Lord for too long. So I’m learning how to get used to quieting my mind and focusing on Him for smaller amounts of time. And my planned time for Him is more structured so I don’t waste time trying to decide what I’m going to do. So it’s improving, thank heavens.
10. Make time to be a wife. I dedicate the time after the babes are in bed to Andrew. He doesn’t always need me, but I make a conscious effort to out down whatever I’m doing if he has something he wants to say to me or do or watch or make his lunch (one day I’ll get there) etc. And if he’s doing his own thing, I’m free to do whatever.
K after reading Holly’s book and making my plan, the first day was an ABSOLUTE DREAM! I saw light for the very first time and it was amazing. It worked! And every day since, it’s never worked quite like that first day and we’ve had to just work on implementing things a little at a time (like I focused on bed time routines for forever!). But now, I’m working getting meal prepping into our routines. K, I never meal prep and now I am and I’m changed forever.
All in all, I have time with my kids, I have time for me, I have time with the Lord, time with my spouse, time for my calling,and my house is clean without cleaning all day like a mad woman. I’m not to where I want to be consistently yet. We are still shifting and learning and rehashing, but my hope is as high as a kite and joy is a more permanent. It’s awesome.