Ten years ago and pre-babies, I was the most organized person you had ever met. My house was clean, my car was clean, my calendar and my closet were organized and color-coded according to the colors of the rainbow.
Did you just roll your eyes? It’s ok. I just rolled my eyes at myself. Life was definitely easier to manage and a LOT cleaner. Today our life is super fast-paced, cluttered and messier, however, it is a whole lot fuller and super blessed. I would rather have the mess any day to be able to be a mom to these four little ones and have the life that we get to live.
That being said, it was very hard for me to let go of the perfectionism that used to dominate my life. I still long for it, yet I simply just do not have the time. It was overwhelming me and quite honestly making me feel like a failure as a wife, mother, and keeper of the home. I went through a time period of not really knowing how to find the balance between perfectionism and pure chaos. One of my mentors gave me the following advice and it has literally brought order to our chaos – even if it isn’t always perfect. She told me to find the four or five things that make your family life run more smoothly and be diligent to make those happen every day. If you do, then the basics will always be completed, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment, and you’ll have a better chance to handle the variables that inevitably will come.
BONUS TIP – Find a mentor! I have several wonderful ladies that pour into me, pray for me, and advise me on a regular basis. I want to post more about this soon, but for now: Find a mentor.
So Ladies and Gentlemen…I give you…
MY TOP FOUR
MAKE THE BED. This is a personal thing I think, but I make the bed the second that I crawl out of it. It makes our room look straight, even when it’s not. It’s not as tempting to crawl back in when it’s already made, and it’s so relaxing to lay down in nice, crisp sheets at bedtime. Now there are several days that the 746 decorative pillows do not make it back on, but the sheets and comforter are always spread up. It’s a small thing that makes a big impact all day long.
EMPTY THE KITCHEN SINK. Even if there aren’t enough dishes to run the dishwasher, I empty the sink of all dirty dishes. I haven’t always done this, but it makes me feel so much better in the mornings to have a clean sink. It’s a fresh and clean start. Plus let’s be honest…who wants to scrub last night’s food dishes??? I learned this from my mother-in-law who always says, “If there are dishes in my sink at night, come check on me because I am not well.”
WASH A LOAD OF LAUNDRY. We have a lot of people in our household. Four of them are tiny humans that create huge messes and wear multiple outfits a day. At a minimum they each wear three sets of clothes per day (school uniform/outfit, change after school, pjs). Combined, that’s 12 outfits a day! This does not include sports uniforms, spilled beverages, mud puddles, the neighbor’s dog, marker mishaps, or spaghetti…and that’s just the children. Add our adult clothes, towels, and bed linens and – I don’t math – but that’s a ton of laundry. I don’t have the luxury of “laundry day” so I have to do at least one load a day, but usually it’s more like 2 or 3. They don’t always get folded properly or put away but at least things that are needed are usually clean and can be jerked out of the clean pile if needed.
PREP FOR THE MORNING. This is my most helpful habit. Nothing is worse than a rushed, unprepared morning. We determined what we needed to make our mornings happen. Notice I said happen, not run smoothly. I can’t control smooth. Someone is going to wake up grouchy or one child’s going to decide they hate the cereal they have cried for the last three mornings. It happens. Those things are variables you can’t control, but there are things I can control that have to happen. For us, backpacks have to be packed, clothes have to be laid out including socks/belts/bows, etc. My lemon water and coffee have to be ready to go and each child needs a cup made for the car. If all of this is done the night before, I should have time and brain power to deal with the cereal debacle because I’m not frantically searching for socks. I am serious business about my morning prep, but at this point I have it down pat and it usually takes me about 15-20 minutes at night. Totally worth it for a better morning!!
These four things are very attainable goals for my day. They are practical and functional and help me feel a sense of accomplishment. We aren’t perfect, and some days I might miss one habit – but more days than not you’ll find these four things completed and a happy calm mom with some order to her chaos. I still miss my clothes hung by the colors of the rainbow, but maybe one day I can have that again.
What four things make your day work, we would love to know!