So, have you guys started watching Marie Kondo’s new show on Netlix? Well, I have. I may or may not have already watched the entire thing…so, what?
Before we begin
First of all, if this is your first time konmari-ing, you may have thoughts during the process like:
How did I ever let my home get like this?
Why did I waste all of this money?
I can’t get rid of these things, because I spent good money on them.
But so-and-so got me this thing, they would be upset if I got rid of it.
Sound familiar? It’s okay. Take a deep breath and proceed anyway.
There is hope
Also, I want you to know my house is quite tidy. It gets messy all the time, but things have a home and it’s easy to reset. But I wasn’t born that way! Oh no, just ask my sister, whom I shared a room with for 18 years.
I have always been a hoarder and a creative-type who loved posters and drawings all over my wall growing up, and the top drawer of my dresser was full of who knows what and it barely closed. I never got rid of a single stuffed animal. But,I was always interested in organizing, I just didn’t know that you had to de-clutter first. I am learning and practicing on a regular basis, and you can too.
A few pictures of my previous konmari adventures.
Now for the kid stuff…
Here are some tips and tricks to help you navigate going through all the kid stuff! Also, one great thing about the konmari method is you will find you probably have all the space and storage products you need, because you will end up having so much less stuff. Let’s go!
Do it as a family on a weekend day you are all home.
Have someone to hold you accountable (I am weird with toys)
Remove the toys you know are their favorites.
Don’t ask your kids what they want to keep, because they will say everything , instead find two items that are similar and ask them to pick between them. Ask, “which one do you want more?” This truly worked so well with my kids, ages 2 &3. I thought there would be resistance on their part, but when I approached it this way, it all worked out.
Explain you are sharing your things with others who may need it.
Immediately put it in the car. Otherwise the clutter will re-enter circulation.
Do kids clothes on your own.
Store seasonal items elsewhere (contrary to konmari advice )
If you are saving the clothes your kids grew out of, in the hopes you will use them for future children, think about going giving some away to someone in need, who could be using them now.
Try to store toys in their closet, or some other closet in smaller containers, by type and only get a few out at a time. You will see you actually can walk across the room again safely, and it will make cleanup much simpler and playtime more fun.
So tell me, do you have any tips and tricks for de-cluttering your children’s items?
Ever since I read, “The Surrendered Wife“, I’ve been very in tune to what I see around me. And you know what I see? So many of us women resent our husbands, and ACCEPT that that’s the way things are (especially after children). And you know what? I get it! Because I am human too. But I also have hope that it isn’t the way things have to be.
Disclaimer: This post is intended for women in relationships that have the everyday kind of frustrations. It is NOT intended for women in relationships with someone who is abusive, struggling with an active addiction, mental illness, or some other severe problem. Obviously, learning some new relationship skills would not be enough to improve the relationship and outside help would be necessary.
But first, a story and a video
Picture this, my husband gets from work, I’m busy making dinner. We get dinner on the table and I see the kids need to wash their hands, so I take it upon myself to get them to do it even though I am DONE. But, I think of my husband and how tired he must be so I do it. And I keep going.
After dinner the kids need a bath, and they need to brush their teeth, and read a story…and meanwhile my husband is relaxing, looking at his phone and I feel angry towards him even though I am trying to be a “good wife”.
I think many of us women worry so much about what other people are feeling and thinking, when we should first and foremost be tuned in to our own feelings. It is not selfish, it is practical so we can keep on loving at our best. We can only run on empty for so long before we blow up. It’s wonderful if your husband just knows to take over with the kids automatically, but if he doesn’t don’t let that be your excuse to keep things the way they are. You can’t hold your husband accountable for your emotional state. You are the master of your own happiness. When you do everything, you send the message to your husband that you don’t need his help, and he listens.
Imagine this scenario, your husband gets home from work and you had a long hard day. You warmly greet him and tell him that you are going to take a break in the bedroom. You come out refreshed, you have dinner, and when your kids ask things at the dinner table you defer them to your husband, so you can just STOP TALKING. I know it’s hard, because it means you will have to trust your husband’s leadership. There is a time and place to disagree, but if it’s over how many bites of broccoli and chicken Timmy has to eat before he leaves the table, I think you can let your husband take this one and it won’t jeopardize all the “enlightened parenting” you have done.
After dinner, you go take a shower and wash your face. You come out to find the dishes are done. You decide you are not up to giving the kids a bath, so you say “I can’t”, and retreat to your bedroom. Your husband does the whole bedtime routine, without you nagging him, and only calls on you to come kiss them goodnight. You are delighted and you receive his help graciously. Your husband strengthens his bond with the children, feels respected, and gets to have the honor of pleasing you.
So, are you a resentful wife or a surrendered wife?
Have you ever found yourself:
Irritated towards your husband and you don’t know why
Less attracted to your husband
Annoyed about all the little things, like forgetting to put his socks in the hamper
Frustrated at his lack of ambition
Lonely because he’d rather watch T.V. or stare at his phone than be with you
Angry with his lack of support with the kids
Wishing he’d help out more around the house
Feeling like you have to keep going and going like the energizer bunny because your husband won’t do it.
You don’t extend any grace when he is sick or tired. It’s as if you think he “has no right”
Practical ways to transition from resentment to intimacy
Here are some practical ideas for you to regain intimacy with your husband. I turn to them again and again
Acceptance. Accept reality. Accept that your husband may never put his underwear in the hamper consistently, even though he knows it bothers you. We are all human, and have bad habits and we can all be careless at times. I know I can be!
When you flip out about something small your husband is doing that normally wouldn’t bother you, this is usually a red herring that you need some self care. Go take a nap, a shower, call a friend. If whatever it is is still bothering you after that, then address it when you are in the right state of mind.
I don’t know exactly who this quote is from, I think it is Saint Paul, but let “Seek to outdo one another in generosity” be your mantra. If you have this mindset you won’t be so worried about what your husband is or is not doing, anyway. Also, check this out.
Keep your eyes on your page. No peaking at his page! Reflect on your own shortcomings and try to improve. Reflect on your husbands strengths more than you ruminate on his weaknesses. Accentuate the positive.
Practice gratitude. Keep a gratitude journal. Thank your husband for all the little things he does.
Say “I can’t”when you are too tired or overwhelmed to do something. Practice vulnerability.
Practice personal responsibility – he’s not responsible for your happiness, you are.
For more ideas, I highly recommend reading either The Surrendered Wife, or the Empowered Wife. Both are written by the same author. I prefer the Surrendered Wife because it has more specific scenarios. The Empowered Wife is like the updated version.
Even though you may nag your husband at times, become resentful, or disrespectful, you CAN make progress toward being the kind of wife you want to be. Even though your husband may be more distant than he used to be, you CAN restore the intimacy you once shared. Thank God, there’s hope!
If you haven’t noticed, I haven’t posted in awhile. That’s because we have all had terrible colds and, Christmas. My husband was on Christmas vacation , which was such a blessing, but it also meant we weren’t on our usual routine. December was all about Christmas preparations and doctors visits. I think we went to the doctor 5 times and to the emergency room once (!). My poor son hurt his ear.
Aside from telling you where I have been, I just wanted to share some things I have been enjoying lately.
Guide to Catholic Home Education
My new homeschooling friend let me borrow this book. I’m loving it so far! It is answering all of the questions I have about homeschooling.
How To Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind
This book is brilliant. For anyone who struggles with home management but loves projects that have a clear start and finish (artists are usually this way), this book is for you. Even though I have made much progress in the area of home management, it helped me understand why my brain works the way it does and why cleaning and organizing have been such a struggle. Also, check out her blog!
Having a Laundry Day
I now have a laundry day instead of doing some laundry every day as I posted here. I got the idea from the book I just mentioned above, and I decided to try it out as an experiment. I must say I love the sense of completion that doing all the laundry in one day has, and I love not having to think about it the rest of the days. I feel as though I have more time and I don’t have piles of clothes that need to be put away.
I’ve really been enjoying this podcast – I found it from Kendra Tierney, the blogger of Catholic All Year. Her husband is one the “”podcasters”. I really like what her husband has to say about creating a family culture and avoiding the craziness in the teenage years by starting the way you want to finish. They start discipline with their children as early as when the baby can crawl – wow!
Ben Shapiro Interview with Bishop Baron
With these two brilliant guys together, you know it’s got to be good.
How To Blog For Profit Without Losing Your Soul
This book was recommended by a blogger I found online who didn’t want to pay the high price for “The Elite Blogging Academy”. Apparently it has all the same information! It’s on my wish list.
Sourdough Roast Beef Sandwich
Quick recipe for a great sandwich. Sourdough, horse radish spread, roast beef, smoked Gouda, spinach, tomato, red onion. You’re welcome.
Some other interesting finds:
Very compelling conversion story.
Saint Names Generator– Jennifer Fulwiler created this cool site that helps you find your saint of the year.
Taylor Marshall Goals- I loved this post and especially the podcast he did about goals. He makes a good point that you should set goals in areas you need to work on, while maintaining where you are doing well.
Our New Nativity Set
You can find it on amazon! Just click the image.
False Eye Lashes
I got some false eye lashes at Grocery Outlet of all places and I have been having fun with them. This isn’t the exact brand I got but I like these and they are a good price. I recommend trimming the inner corners for a more natural look.
What about you? What have you been enjoying lately? I’d love to know in the comments below!
I have already been thinking of doing the season of Advent differently, partly because of being inspired by Kendra Tierney and other Catholic bloggers. So, even though my husband and I already spent a few hours decorating for Christmas the day before Thanksgiving, we decided to take it all down and focus on Advent.
Yes, yes we did. And yes, maybe we are a little bit crazy. But that’s okay. Crazy and I go way back.
Fortunately, we don’t have a TON of Christmas decorations, so when we bring them back out on Christmas Eve it won’t be too difficult. But I’m telling you, I can’t wait to see the look of joy on my children’s faces.
For the home
I also plan to buy a kid-friendly nativity scene, like this one:
A friend gave me the idea of having Mary and Joseph travel around the house, on their way to Bethlehem, and then on Christmas Eve they will have made it to the manger and baby Jesus will be born. We made an Advent wreath using a Dollar Tree wreath frame and Dollar Tree greenery. One of my dearest friends bought me some Advent candles. We will be saying an Advent prayer at least once a week as we light the candles.
For the heart
My husband and I plan to go to confession during this time. We also are using this time to reflect on our vocations as spouses and parents and getting very honest with ourselves.
I’ve been wanting to live more liturgically in our home, and this one change we made with waiting to celebrate Christmas has had a trans-formative effect. This past week when I meal planned I check the calendar and I noticed two feast days – Saint Francis Xavier and Feast of the Immaculate Conception, so I decided to celebrate! I planned for us to have takeout for Saint Francis Xavier’s feast day and for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, we are going to have Fettuccine Alfredo since it is white, which represents purity.
On Christmas Eve we will go through our local Christmas tree lane and then put out all of the presents and Christmas decorations while our children are asleep. We will talk about the birth of Jesus and read some Christmas stories. We will attend mass either Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. We will keep our decorations up for the next 12 days (or more). We will turn up the Christmas music and sing Christmas carols. We will have a feast with family and friends. The twelve days of Christmas we will have special treats, and watch our favorite movies (Prancer, It’s A Wonderful Life). Maybe we will even have a little Twelth Night Party.
So basically, we are going to do the things we always do, cook, bake, and read stories but tailor it to whatever part of Advent we are celebrating. We won’t be declining invitations to Christmas parties during Advent or anything like that. We will just control what we do in our home.
I learned some new lessons in self-care last week and I was reminded of how much I need it. Last week was a whirlwind of my birthday, Halloween, everyone catching colds and a mouse in the house. The latter resulted in about 5 additional loads of laundry and sanitizing every imaginable surface. Needless to say, I am emotionally drained. (Reality check: I have limits and I need breaks.) So, Saturday night I told my husband that I was going out for the morning. My Sunday plans were:
Go to mass
Spend time in adoration
Send some thank you messages and call my Grandma
Work on my blog
Enjoy a cup of coffee while it’s still hot
Check out Starbucks’ Holiday setup (really? That’s it guys? )
All of these things are 10,000 times harder to do when I have kids and a dog in tow. Because:
You should practice self-care because it is essential to serve long term and maintain healthy relationships. As a wife and mom of two young children and a puppy, I am one busy lady. If I am not intentional with my time, I will go days and weeks without a single moment to myself. And it’s not healthy. I become very ornery and overwhelmed when I don’t take time for a breather. And this message isn’t just for moms. It’s for caregivers of any sort. I think all Christians need to get really good at self-care because if you are a truly committed Christian, you’re never really going to be done serving. (Even if your children have grown up and moved out.)
My Definition of Self-Care
Things you do, uninterrupted, that nurture your mind, body, and soul. Sometimes they are spiritual like spending time in prayer or adoration, sometimes they take discipline like exercise, sometimes they are social like visiting a close friend, and other times they are pure pleasure like taking a nice hot bath, getting a pedicure, smelling flowers or savoring dark chocolate. It’s doing things that remind you, you are are a diverse human being who is more than just a mom, caregiver, grandparent, etc. You may also be a sister, daughter, artist, seamstress, avid reader, etc. All parts of you need nurturing and attention.
Times When Self-Care May Not Be Possible
You just had a newborn. Someone is sick. You are going through a very difficult season where someone needs care around the clock. This is okay and normal. But please, constantly evaluate whether or not it is time to thrive again and if there is help available. Assess and reassess your life to try to find pockets of time for rest.
Signs You Need to Practice Self-Care
The simplest way to know if you need self-care is ask yourself, do you feel happy? If not, it’s time. Here are some other signs:
Exhaustion has taken over.
You feel lonely.
You are snapping at those in your care constantly.
You just can’t deal, even with small things like putting your kids shoes on.
Little things your husband (or other people living with you) does like breathe and exist are irritating you
Another mess or bang makes you want to scream
Why You Can Do It And Still Be a Good Christian
I think as Christians we think if we are strong we will serve at all times no matter what and never take a break – because we are called to a life of service and sacrifice, right? But we must not forget we are human. And we have human needs. Here are some examples to give you permission to practice self-care as a Christian:
Jesus drank wine, took a nap in a storm, and went off by himself to pray.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta spent 4+ hours in prayer and solitude.
Monks and nuns around the world spend time in recreation daily and have time to socialize and relax daily.
Importance of a Self-Care Sabbath
I got the idea of a “self-care sabbath” from the book, a Mother’s Rule of Life. The idea is to take time away from care-giving and refresh your soul through prayer, and solitude and even some activities you enjoy. It can be for the whole day or just 4 hours. It’s completely up to you and your unique life circumstances.
It’s important to know, though, you don’t need to wait until the weekend to practice self-care! You can find ways to make it work in your daily routine.
Take a nap.
Wake up early and spend time in the quiet or do something creative
Slip away after dinner and take a bath
Pack everyone up and take a walk so you can get some exercise.
A Special Message to Wives
I can already hear the wives reading this saying, “but my husband won’t let me do that”. Ladies, you don’t ask, you tell. Your husband is not your boss or your father. He is your partner. If he has a serious need, you need to trust he will let you know. All you have to do is communicate what you are going to do, and do it.
But he doesn’t know how to take care of our kids
The kids will be fine. They might eat cookies for breakfast but they won’t go hungry. They might have mismatched clothes, but oh well. Let him father them in his own way. They will probably all be so glad you are taking time away so you aren’t snapping at them left and right. You want what’s best for them, that’s what keeps you from leaving, but sometimes what’s best for them is to be away from you believe it or not! Because they need time with their Dad. And your name doesn’t start with a “G”. Yep, that’s right. You aren’t God and you can’t control everything. So do everyone a favor and take a break.
My husband still won’t step up
What if you try to follow my advice and it still doesn’t work? It sounds like your husband may have some more serious issues and that’s not good and I hope you will seek counseling. But I have a feeling most of the ladies out there haven’t tried this because they fear they are not being a good wife. I think all of us Christians can agree our number one job is to help our husbands and children get to heaven, Amen? Well let me ask you something: what is most likely to help them get to heaven? Doing everything for them and running yourself ragged or teaching them that everyone has needs, including you, and thereby teach them to step up to the plate, to support you and sacrifice and grow spiritually? I’d say it’s the latter, folks.
Some great videos:
There’s a part in the video below perfectly exemplifies how I can get with my kids when I need self-care. (When she talks about telling her kids to go play with their toys.) Besides that, it’s just hilarious!
The video below is Jennifer Fulwiler speaking about balancing service to family and personal passions.
So, now you have been given permission to take a break
Even though it feels impossible to practice self-care when you have so many responsibilities, it is so necessary to make time for it so you can keep going. No one can do that for you. It is a choice you have to make.
In this post, I am going to tell you all about how to make your schedule as a mom. It will be completely tailored to your life- something for moms who work outside and inside the home. (Mine is from the perspective of a work-from-home mom) . You’ll also learn how to approach your schedule when life happens – you know the drill – your kids get sick, the dog throws up on every blanket you own, you have unexpected company, etc. You will take stock of all of your responsibilities but also take into account time for prayer and time to do things you enjoy.
Take a look at your life
What does your daily life look like right now? Do you dread waking up in the morning because the demands of the day just seem insurmountable? Find yourself yelling at your kids most of the time and snapping at your husband? Feel like you are working SO hard but you never get anywhere? Well, my friends, it doesn’t have to stay that way!
What you need is to make your schedule as a mom. This will help you keep track of all of your responsibilities and get the important things done and at the same time keep your sanity.
A fabulous book
My life changed dramatically when I read this book , “A Mother’s Rule of Life“. It’s about a stay-at-home , homeschooling mom, who is tired of feeling overwhelmed and stressed out all of the time. She went searching for peace. She was inspired by the simple schedule of religious orders, like the Missionaries of Charity, and how they led productive lives but spent great amounts of time in prayer. When the bell rang for the next block on the schedule, they didn’t hurry trying to finish everything up , they practiced obedience – “okay God, I guess that’s all you wanted me to do today.” (Man, could I use some of that kind of acceptance in my life!) Their goal wasn’t efficiency, it was to serve and to do it peacefully. Because, the old saying, you can’t give what you don’t have, right?
Let’s get started, make your schedule as a mom
Buy a Mother’s Rule of Life. Seriously. You won’t regret it.
Decide on a wake up time and bed time.
Count how many hours you have in a day.
Decide how much time to spend in prayer.
Write down how much time you need for grooming and bathing.
Include time needed for activities you enjoy like reading, drawing, writing.
Include a few break times, 15 minutes each.
Don’t forget time with your husband or social time with those you care about.
Include time with your kids.
Include time for chores
Input meal times (cooking and cleanup) and bed time routines. Overestimate how much time you think you need. This allows margin.
Include time for working. This may be before your kids wake up or you may go to work inside the home.
What I’m trying to say is, the TV is a tool in a mom’s toolkit guys. As long as it’s not being used to excess, the content is appropriate, and isn’t there as a substitute of other important activities, I think it’s okay. With that said, my kids watch quite a bit of TV, probably more than the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says they should – but AAP doesn’t know me. They don’t know about what my needs are and our family’s unique circumstances. They don’t know that my kids also help me around the house, play with toys, play with me, bake with me, play with the dog, make messes, play in the dirt, go to the park, go on play dates, read books, roughhouse with my husband, visit family, etc. Sometimes I need to have things a little quieter for my sanity.
Only you know the needs of your family, and you shouldn’t feel guilty when your kids watch more TV than you like if you have a serious reason to do so.
When you are off track
You are going to get off track. And trust me, it’s going to be most of the time. (It is for me.) So, when it happens, just get back on track as soon as the next block starts. Sometimes this may mean there are dishes left in the sink. Remember, the goal is peace not efficiency. But if this keeps happening over and over again, for months on end, it’s time to adjust and re-evaluate your rule.
Plan to evaluate your schedule once every three months or as needed. Three months seems like a good plan to me, though, because by then with my two little ones, my life tends to look quite a bit different.
If your life is spiraling out of control, take heart! No matter what season you are in, you can take control and get the important things done. So go make your schedule as a mom! If you already have one, please let me know in the comments below!
In Jennifer Fulwiler’s new book “One Beautiful Dream” she talks about having a blue flame. (Also this book may be the best book I’ve ever read. Just sayin’. Get.It..Now )
What is a blue flame? It’s something that you have such burning passion for that if it were a flame it would turn blue because it’s at such a high heat. For Jennifer , it’s writing. It is a gift or talent that energizes you but that also can bless others.
But what if you don’t know what your blue flame is? What if you feel like you have no talents? Or you can’t pinpoint a main talent among your many talents and interests? I have been confused in this way , but I’m discovering their may be clues to help you discover it:
What causes you to straighten up in your chair because you are so excited to talk about it?
What are you always researching/ reading about?
What do people tend to notice about you?
What do people ask you for advice about?
What do you feel drawn to do whenever you have some uninterrupted time?
For me it boils down to self-discipline – especially time-management / routines which includes organization because being organized affects your mental state which will help you save time and implement your routines. I could talk for hours about routines. I could name 10+ books I’ve read on the subject. When I have free time I watch YouTube videos about it. People have noticed when they visit me my house looks well managed even though I have two highly active toddlers and that I am well dressed and have makeup on. I’m always analyzing how I could make things run smoother in my life to better serve others, take care of myself and my household. Self-discipline truly is essential for a life well-lived . A life lived with intention.
So what do you think your blue flame is? Do you have more than one? Let me know in the comments below!
Seriously. It really is that simple. If you read books you will never lack for something interesting to say. But since I usually write more than that, here goes:
I know what you’re thinking. I don’t have time. I don’t like to read. Well, I have a story to tell you.
When it all began…
My love of reading started when I was a little girl. My beautiful momma would take all of us 3 girls to the library (NOT AN EASY ENDEAVOR lol) and check out books full of wonderful stories and beautiful illustrations. Here’s one of them!
As I got older, I had a great teacher in 8th grade who nurtured my love of reading by having all of her students write in a journal about the story we were reading and she would make suggestions based on whether or not we liked our current book. She recommended this one to me:
I was skeptical at first but then I. was. hooked.
Then college happened. I was so busy reading horribly boring and expensive text books that I stopped reading for pleasure. But I never forgot reading. I always missed it in the back of my mind. I always had a desire to read more books.
Then, while watching YouTube, I discovered this book:
This was the first book that kicked off my reading again, and I went to my local library and devoured several more self-help books including,
which made me realize I DID have time to read, even if it was only 10 minutes a day!
Then I went back to school and amidst the text books I still managed to read more than 20 books in one year! And I haven’t stopped. As you avid readers know, one book leads to another…isn’t that wonderful?