Sweet Perspective for Moms
As I cleaned house for hours on end, this blog kept forming in my mind. I really wanted to just stop cleaning and run straight to my computer but that's how my house became so crazy in the first place!
In one week's time, three clients asked me the question "How do you do it all?". I'm a professional organizer and an interior decorator but I can promise you that my life gets just as ugly as the next because under my professional exterior, I'm still just a mom and a wife. But, for some reason, I just could not get the question out of my head. I wondered "Did my mom have the same frustrations that I have?". Surely she did but was the expectation the same?
Then it hit me. TheMedia. We have Facebook and Pinterest, Websites as vast as a search engine can take us, Commercials on tv, Magazines. I can keep going on and on because it's never ending! Why do we expect to have a perfect home, perfect dinner, perfect children, perfect spouse, perfect hair, perfect body, a perfect life? Is it because the media has told us that we have to be perfect and has also defined what "perfect" is? And in the search of being perfect, are we creating a house of cards that will certainly come crashing down as soon as one card becomes weak and can no long continue holding the vast weight? Of Course We Are!!!
Well, this is what I have learned. The reason why our home becomes messy and our dinner occasionally burns and our children make mistakes and we have a fight with our spouse and we sometimes have bad hair days and our pants sometimes will just not button is because we are not perfect. We are real! We have real feelings! Sometimes we cannot even see the floor because the laundry is piled too high! Sometimes we are too tired to cook dinner so we give our children cereal for dinner (I know that you've done it at least once....aren't you glad that you are not the only one?).
We have to snap out of this media-induced way of thinking and get back to reality! We have to run our home the way that works best for OUR family. If you have multiple children in multiple sports, then your dinners may come in the form of many Crockpot creations (some that will look better than other), if you have small children that go to bed early your dinner may happen early in the day when most people are still getting off of work. Maybe sometimes you have to grab (Gasp!) McDonald's for dinner. Guess what? IT'S OK!!!! We have to do what is best for our family. Period. We cannot compare our lives to others! The comparison trap will eat us alive every time! We are not robots!
Each and everyone of us will have a different way of running our homes. So how can we eliminate the chaos that this little thing called a schedule creates? One word.....PLANNING. If we plan ahead, we take away the pressure that society (and un-organization) creates. Here are a few simple little steps that will help you lasso control into your life:
1. First of all, get a calendar. Being able to look ahead and know what your week entails will help you to plan for the week. I personally like a day timer. You can use a large desk calendar in your command center or the calendar on your phone. What ever works for you is just fine! There is no right or wrong way to keep track of everyone! If you have multiple children, you can use a different colored highlighter to identify that child's activity.
2. Plan your meals. I have found that I spend less money on groceries when I plan out my meals. Pull out your old cookbooks or try out the million recipes that you have pinned on Pinterest. I like to make a menu based on my calendar. If we have a busy day, I throw something into the crock pot or we have left overs. If I have extra time I may wow my family with a special meal. Write down your menu, shop your cabinets and then buy what you need from the grocery store. (And it really does not take much time once you get the hang of it!)
3. Organize your home. I know....I'm a professional organizer.....of course I'm going to say that! But really! I see people every day struggle because their home is in chaos. If the space that you live in is in chaos, your mind will be as well. How long does it take you to find your keys, shoes, (fill in the blank)? Not being able to find what we are looking for makes us late and creates anxiety as well. Create a space for your kids to put their backpacks, a place for your keys, a special spot for your purse.....You will get out of the house faster and without a big fuss!
4. Assign tasks for your family. You simply cannot run your home alone. When children are very little, you can teach them to pick up their toys and put them away. As they get older, their responsibilities become larger. Approach this in a loving manner! You are not punishing them but teaching them to be respectful to the space around them and also how to be responsible for themselves. When they eat, they should clean their plate off. When they get up out of bed, they can make it. When they take their clothes off, they should put it into the dirty clothes basket. This is not rocket science and it will help you SO MUCH!!! My kids are not allowed to have technology until their room is picked up. This teaches them to be responsible AND it makes them realize that technology is an earned privilege and not an entitlement. (And they do not get an allowance for things that they are expected to do. If they choose to do extra tasks that are not required, then I DO give them compensation for it.)
5. Be a family. This seems to get lost in translation in our society. It doesn't have to be fancy! You do not have to spend a ton of money to have "family time". My kids love to play games, watch a movie together, have a picnic at the park. Sometimes I cook dinner and we take it to the park and eat. Why not? Where is there a rule that says that you can't go outside of the box? (And if there was, I've been known to break a few rules in my lifetime and I don't even know what this metaphorical "box" is that everyone keeps talking about! I clearly did not come in one!) Family time is the best time to talk with your spouse and children about their life. Find out what is making them happy or what is bugging them. Bonding not only helps you be a better parent, it creates respect amongst each other. If your family respects you, they will help you!
6. Be Yourself. I love the saying "Be yourself....everyone else is taken". It's true. Don't compare your life to anyone else. It's ok to ask how friends tackle certain situations, to get good ideas on Pinterest, to read articles that come across your news feed on FaceBook but DO NOT fall victim to feeling inferior to someone else. Guess what?! I will most likely never run a marathon! I have many girlfriends who can rock a cute pair of running shoes and I'm super proud of them but I will never be that girl. That's ok! They probably can't organize a pantry like I can! We all have our super powers! Use the ones God gave you and laugh at the one's that you lack. It's how you were created!!!
I know that there are a million other things that we can do to have a fantabulously fantastic life but that's not really my point. I really just wanted to make you smile and to tell you that it's ok if your house is a little bit messy. Brush that weight off of your shoulders, enjoy your life and take a little step each day to make it even better. Spend time with your family and do what is best for them and not what the crazy world around you tells you to do. Oh, and rather than the media defining what perfect is for you, define your own idea of "Perfect"!