In our family, when our home feels chaotic, messy and out of control, we feel that way too. Imagine if your desk at work was covered in toys, laundry, food crumbs, and piles of paperwork. Could you do your best work in that environment? (If so, please tell me your secrets!) Now, my definition of clean has taken several HUGE steps down the continuum towards imperfection rather than perfection, but it still needs to be cleaned every once in awhile. Boys, anyone? Soap scum? Fingerprints everywhere? When I have a clean house, I feel more relaxed, focused, and patient. Everyone in my family benefits! Sometimes, however, life throws you some curve balls or gets really, really full and the beautiful peaceful home that you love, becomes a nightmare of to do lists and you just can’t get it all done. You need some help! But, when is it okay to hire help?
Do you ever struggle with feeling guilty about needing some extra help around the house? Why is it so hard to ask for help? Why do we think we have to do it all ourselves? Why can we relax our standards for other people but at the same time raise them on ourselves?
I do not always have the answers to these questions and struggle with them just like you probably do. I have my different reasons from day to day (pride, failure to plan, fear of inconveniencing someone, desire for control), but I have challenged myself to ask for help more often by giving myself permission to NOT do it all. More than anything, I have lowered my standards for the betterment of my sanity (and everyone else’s in my household, for that matter.)
When I was pregnant with my second child, I was basically put on bed rest. Up until this point, I had been responsible for the cleaning of my home exclusively. At one point in a previous life (aka, before kids) I was working full time and had a short stint of having a house keeper during a very busy season. But, ever since, I have been the dish washer, dust bunny catcher, bathroom scrubber, floor shiner, and kitchen degunker extraordinaire. And I felt like because I “stayed at home” that it was in my job description to clean the whole house by myself every week. Once this bed rest period was upon us, my husband was taking on the extra care for me and our daughter, and I was forced to ask friends or pay a babysitter a little extra to mop the floors. I was still clinging to the idea that I could not hire a house cleaner because part of my “job” was to clean the house. If I could not clean it, then I must be failing at my role! Can anyone relate? Continue Reading>>
Do you have a hard time making it out to vote? Last year, our school system decided to give the students a holiday on election day. Now, there’s nothing wrong with giving the students a random Tuesday off from school. I’m sure there was some good reason about using schools for polling sites or…well, I can’t think of another good reason. I doubt they purposefully were seeking to add one more challenge to working parents’ schedules. But, alas, I’m not in charge and that’s a good thing.
I noticed an unfortunate consequence of that school holiday as well as other influences, though. A lot of women, and probably men too, found it too challenging to vote that day. Between additional childcare needed because of school being out, the daunting idea of standing in the voting line with four kids, or simply not planning in advance, voting ended up being the task that was erased from the list. I don’t blame them. There are so many things demanding our time and attention, and sometimes that one simple task can become so complicated that we just give up.
I have had these same experiences, too. Last year, we decided to make it a family affair and we did not eat dinner until it was past our girls’ bedtime. I’ve stood in the voting line with a screaming two year old. I’ve gone to the wrong polling site and waited in line for an hour because our new address was in a city that had only ONE neighborhood (ours!) in the OTHER county that we should have been voting in. Actually making it out to vote can be flat out HARD.
Today’s off-year election will only be held in certain counties in certain states so many of you will not be voting today. However, this next year, we vote for our next President and other leadership in our country, and there may be crucial referendums in your city, county or state as well. Hopefully, most of you will vote in these elections because they are the big, super-important, federal level elections. However, and I by no means mean this as an accusation, do you make it a priority to vote for the smaller elections, too? Please understand that I am FOR you, not against you. I understand how hard it can be. Can we have a little chat about something I am passionate about, though? Continue Reading >>
Over the last decade or so, I have learned the importance of protecting my time and keeping an edge or border around my most precious resource. Finding margin, fighting for margin, and protecting margin are some of my biggest responsibilities for my family. By creating margin in our lives, we are able to rest, recover, and then flourish in the areas that we focus on. In order to set us up for success, we must evaluate our time to create and sustain margin.
6 Steps To Create and Sustain Margin In Your Life:
I loved my high school English teacher, Ms. Webb. She was smart, creative, kind, and yet her class was HARD. She somehow managed to get most of us to love her, despite her high expectations. The negative emotion was usually related to the use of the MLA Style (Modern Language Association) of writing, and the very precise expectations for how the paper should be formatted and cited. In case you forgot, 1″ margins were the standard, and as much as we all tried to sneak 1.25″ margins so our papers would meet the 5 page length required, we were always caught.
A friend pointed out recently that I use the word ‘margin’ frequently when I make references to my time, and that many people may not relate to that word in that way. I actually had to stop and think about the normal context for the word. Thus, my trip down memory lane to high school English class. Continue Reading >>
I don’t know about you, but this can be an absolutely insane time of year for me. The change of seasons, beginning of school, kick-off of almost every activity, fall festivals galore, and sports mania, almost send me over the edge every year. I thrive on routine and my #1 strength from StrengthsFinder 2.0 is discipline. (Pray for my husband.) Until I figure out how to manage all of the ‘new’ in our lives, chaos threatens my internal world. On top of that, my husband travels for work mostly in the Fall and Spring. So, add on some solo parenting in the midst of all of the aforementioned chaos, and I need an intervention.
After feeling particularly frazzled last week, I have taken a more proactive approach this week and am already reaping the rewards. One simple change can be the edge you and I need to ‘right the ship’ in the waves of commotion. Before you read this, please remember that HOW=Hope of Winning. If this doesn’t work for you, use it as inspiration to find something that does. Your HOW can be different from my HOW. If you are a new mom, fighting an illness, or purposefully catching up on rest, just file this away in the back of your mind for a future time.
So what’s my simple change to help me feel less frazzled? Getting up two hours earlier. Yes, 2! I know, I know. You’ve heard this before and it’s just not your thing.
Before you dismiss it, here are 4 reasons that getting up earlier is actually worth it: Continue Reading >>
I spent most of my first three decades of life allowing my feelings to rule almost every decision, every perspective, and every relationship. How I felt was how I felt, and to be true to myself, I had to abide by those feelings. I was raised with a good moral compass and was more tomboy than drama queen, so most of my feelings were pretty justified, right?
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One of my dearest friends has three kids under the age of five. She is the epitome of a Southern Martha Stewart, and also has a very successful career in financial planning. I have often envied her ability to work at an office all day, cook a gourmet dinner for her family, and create a perfect Pinterest craft after the kids go to bed. I have also watched her struggle to figure out how to balance and integrate work and home. She makes lots of hard decisions and is constantly reevaluating. I admire her tenacity to stand firm in what she believes in, while still pursuing a career and raising a family. Continue reading >>
I have hated the question “what do you do?” for years. How am I supposed to answer that? When ordinary days are filled with very ordinary tasks without a good name for them, it can quickly feel like an accusation. It literally makes me want to hide. When I was at home in my twenties without a career or kids, it was especially devastating. I could not even use the term “Stay at Home Mom!”
Now that a good majority of my friends have kids in school, I have noticed a whole new level of vehemence for that question. It is usually phrased “what are you going to do now?” (when their baby goes off to kindergarten.) Cue the anxiety. When kids transition to school, it seems like women frantically run around trying to figure out who they are and what they do so no one catches them off guard with that question. We all know the question is coming eventually, and if we do not have a career to default to, it can cause us to wrestle with discontentment in being at home. Continue reading >>
Do you struggle with your identity as a human-doing instead of a human-being? Do you measure your success by what you have accomplished versus who or Whose you are? Do you live in a constant state of defeat?
I have had so many days where my mental to-do list looks exactly the same as it did the day before. Because yesterday fell apart. Like exploded in my face. It probably would have been better if I had just not gotten out of bed. What’s worse, is that I carry an emotional hang-over the next day and feel rather miserable about myself because I didn’t get anything done. In those moments, I find myself spiraling downward and questioning everything about myself. “What am I even doing? I am so worthless! How come everyone else can do this and I can’t?! What is wrong with me?” Left unchecked, this negative self-talk can paralyze me for days. Can you relate? Continue reading >>