Mar 17, 2013

Stay-at-home moms cook & clean...?

Ladies, I'm wondering if any of you can relate... "MY HOUSE IS A COMPLETE MESS!!!" 

Now don't misunderstand me here, I don't mean it's a mess like when you visit family or a friend's gorgeously kept home and they happen to have a sweater hanging on the back of a chair and they gush 'oh my goodness I'm SO sorry my house is SUCH a mess! I had no idea anyone was coming over - honestly we've just been SO busy lately' ...ahem, no, that is NOT what I mean by MY house is a mess... 

I mean there are dirty dishes across my counter, the floors are not swept or mopped, there are crumbs to crunch through with your bare feet in my living room carpet, there are toys EVERYWHERE (and where did they all come from anyways?! are they leaking out of the wall??), the beds are not made, and both bedrooms are full of PILES of clothes... clean? dirty? who knows!!!

...but before you call the sanitation squad, just hear me out here. I understand that to some people this is the ultimate unforgivable sin of being a hospitable, godly woman/wife/mother... and it's quite likely that those type of gals would spontaneously combust after setting foot inside our front door, but that's besides the point : ) What I want to get across here is that, even though my home is not 100% perfectly sanitized and organized 100% of the time... I can still be fulfilled & happy!

On the flip-side of this, I want you to be aware that I wholeheartedly agree with the concept that 'if your surroundings are chaotic, your life can seem very chaotic!' 

Try this out quick: envision the messiest room in your house... How does it make you feel when you walk into it? Do you want to cry? Walk right back out of it? Start packing bags to dump off at good-will without your kids knowing??? ME 2!!! Now picture that same room clean & organized - how does that make you feel?? Pretty good? Relaxed? Free to smile and make memories in that room???

I was given a version of this exercise from a very organized & inspirational gal, Elizabeth Hagen (http://elizabethhagen.com/), when she spoke at a Destiny Youth Ranch Women's Retreat (http://www.destinyyouthranch.com/) where she taught us valuable tools to help us get our lives organized. She's a great gal and I'd recommend going to hear her speak if she's going to be in your area, but the things I'd like us to realize along with this exercise is:
  1. Yes, having the house organized will bring you some peace of mind
  2. No, it's not going to get done by you yelling or blaming everyone else
  3. Yes, it is possible to be happy without your home being perfect
  4. No, having a perfect home does not make you any 'better' than the next gal
  5. Yes, it IS possible to stay on top of things & keep it manageable so everyone stays sane   
Unfortunately, I am NOT an expert with this... and honestly do not plan to be anytime soon, but I AM excited to share ways I find along the way that help keep this little life-long monster under control : )

Download my new Weekly To-Do List by clicking here! You may then download it to your computer and print from there. It isn't a perfect 8x10, but it should work if your printer can 'fit to page' :)

*** One way to keep up with your home is to actually schedule what needs to be done into your day! I just completed my own 'Weekly To-Do List' recently and wanted to share it with you. The reason I am freely sharing is because I never would've gotten started with this helpful tool if it had not been freely shared by other women through their personal blogs & pinterest. It is tailored to what I needed to be reminded of and I chose to make it a weekly list so I didn't have to re-write and re-print on a daily basis! I've tried that already with author Ann Voskamp's wonderful, beautiful daily list but needed something a little different in the end. Really only YOU know what YOU need to be reminded of and held accountable for the most so if you have the energy, I'd encourage you to make your own if you can't find something that works for you.

(Instead of going through multiple copies of my weekly planner, consider printing it onto a colored piece of paper, taping it to a pretty piece of scrapbook paper, framing, and marking with a fine-point dry-erase marker??? Excited to make this beautiful and place it on my kitchen counter! You could also laminate it!)

I have each day of the week listed (and the weekend bulked together, for spacing reasons - lol) where you can list the TOP 3 MOST IMPORTANT THINGS YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST GET DONE THAT DAY!!! I don't know about you, but when I make a list... I can make a LIST and then feel like a loser when I don't even cross HALF the things off. I decided to just stick with the top 3 to keep it simple - plus it's more rewarding at the end of the day to see check marks, not 'unchecked' boxes... 

There are 5 glasses next to each day, which signifies my need to drink at least 5 glasses filled with 2 cups of water each. Honestly, I'm lucky if I get ONE cup of water per day and I was born with only 1 kidney, so this is important to me (if you go by the rule of 'drink half your body weight in ounces' I need about 80 ounces of water per day since I'm about 160lbs, hence 5 glasses full of 2 cups (16oz) of water per day for me specifically = the 80 ounces I need.

I also have space for 'Family Fun' time because I often can't think of anything fun or creative to do with my 2 1/2 year old daughter outside our normal routine... (especially when it's cold outside) so this way I can think about it over the weekend and have at least 1 fun back-up plan each day whether it's rolling play-doh on the kitchen floor with a cookie dough roller and cutting shapes into it with our sandwich & cookie cutters or filling up the sink with warm water, bubbles, & toys so she can splash to her heart's content... sometimes mommas just can't think under pressure!!!

Next I listed a 'Thankful 4' spot. The reason for this is that, after reading multiple books on the power of a grateful heart pulling you out of negative ruts... I wanted to make sure I was remembering to thank God for something specific everyday. (I also would have added a spot for 'Quiet-time w/ God' & 'daily exercise' if there had been more room - but I might add those in later).

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As a stay-at-home momma, I am SO incredibly grateful to my man for working so hard to support his family. I feel that the simplest way I can honor his hard work is by taking care of him & being a nurturing wife & mother... and the simplest way I feel I can show this is by allowing him to come home to a clean, peaceful home - a soft place to land after a long day... and have supper ready or on the way soon to nourish him after he has gone all afternoon without anything to eat! 

Now before all you independent women roll your eyes another round at me for this, just hear me out: Cooking and cleaning are NOT on my list of things I would LOVE to do... EVER! I did not grow up in a home where we had home-cooked meals or an immaculate house so this takes great effort on my part, but I DO know that I have a responsibility to be my husband's 'help-mate' as the bible calls me to and these are such simple, tangible ways (for me) to do that - which I know would bless his heart. 

Now, my husband would NEVER demand I get the house spotless or have his dinner ready before he got home - he is the most gracious, unselfish man I know... and I think BECAUSE he has shown  me SUCH sacrificial and unconditional love through the years, these tasks seem so minimal to make his life a little less hectic. I can imagine these things would be much harder to do if attempting to serve a domineering, ungrateful man... but we must do all things as unto the Lord, not unto man... meaning not for man's approval... this is a HARD calling, but with God's grace it IS possible gals : ) and don't deny the power of prayer in all of this - we need His help to remember what to do & be the best we can be everyday.

Overall, please remember that this is not a contest - there are no 'winners' or 'losers' with this! We just need to do the best we can - and when we screw up (not if, I said WHEN) we will dust ourselves off and learn from our mistakes instead of wallowing in self-pity. You don't have to be perfect! Just be perfectly you : ) even if that's you in a pony-tail and pajamas making macaroni & cheese for supper while the house is still a mess, like mine...


"She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks."
Proverbs 31:17

"Lord I ask that you would help us be a blessing to our families instead of a burden. That we would keep harsh comments & negativity to ourselves instead of 'venting' or complaining, bringing others down to our level. That we would keep 'judgments' of others for the one true Judge, which is You alone God - may our words & actions help, not hurt. Show us ways to bless others. Change our attitudes from 'I HAVE to do this' to 'I am so blessed that I GET to do this...' as it is so easy to lose sight of what really matters in life. Teach us what it means to be a 'wife' & 'mother' in Your eyes & what that looks like today. Thank you so much Lord for the fun time we had as a family at the Sioux Falls horse fair today, showing Sarah all the horses and the drill team with glittery horses and riders that just made her eyes shine - You are so good to us. In your name Lord, amen."

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