We live in a world of constant overstimulation, distraction, and over-commitment. As I am writing this, I have two kids coming home from school wanting a snack and wanting to tell me about their day.
“If I read 20 minutes a night for the next month, I get two tickets to a baseball game!”
I have one kid playing with Play-Doh® wanting to show me everything he is creating and wanting me to play with him.
“I made a cookie for you, mom.”
“Eat the cookie!”
“Make me a cookie.”
I am also eating lunch, listening to Dr. Oz, and checking email and Facebook. I am thinking about what we are doing tonight and about a party I have coming up. My mind is swimming with tasks, big and small, which need to be completed. It is impossible to concentrate, and my stress level is beginning to rise!
“I don’t have anything in the house to cook. Let’s just go out to eat again.”
“I guess we can just throw in a frozen pizza.”
Does this sound familiar to anyone? It definitely does to me. There was a time not too long ago when a large portion of our monthly income was going to restaurants and take-out. We were unprepared for breakfasts and lunches every day, so the kids were eating sugary cereals and overly processed school lunches. We were spending too much money on food, and we were definitely not eating the healthiest. When my husband lost his job a few years ago, I knew something needed to change.
Ever since having kids, I’ve had moments of feeling like I’m drowning in an avalanche of stuff, buried under a mountain of stuffed animals unable to breathe. Let’s face it, whether it’s the mountains of gifts your kids get from well-meaning relatives and friends, the “necessary” items you purchase for them or the rock they found on your walk they just can’t seem to part with, having kids means having stuff. Read more
“You must spend all your time cleaning with four kids!”
“I could never do what you do!”
“Relax! Take a little time for yourself. You don’t have to clean all the time.”
From the outside, I must look a little OCD, but the truth is I just have a manageable routine which I stick to. I am NOT cleaning all the time, and I have plenty of time to enjoy life. Would you like to know how?
Thanksgiving is over, the tree is up and twinkling with lights, your stockings are hung, and you have visions of a peaceful, relaxing holiday with your family. Singing Christmas carols, baking cookies, curling up under a warm blanket and drinking a hot cup of cocoa, maybe going on a sleigh ride or attending a party or two. But, unfortunately, the holiday season often takes on a much more frantic and stressful tone.
It’s that time of year again…the kids are in school, the air is fresh and invigorating, the leaves on the trees are just beginning to change color, pumpkin spiced everything is invading the stores, and autumn is officially upon us. I love all things fall from fuzzy sweaters and hot bowls of chili to the sound of leaves crunching beneath my feet on a cool morning run. As I happily wave goodbye to the humidity and the mosquitoes, I look forward to the upcoming holiday season from Halloween to New Year’s Eve. Fall, for me, is a time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the new year, which means it is also time for me to order my new day planner.
It’s that time of year again. The summer is coming to a close, and the kids are heading back-to-school. Mine are headed back this week, and this year in particular is bittersweet for me. For the first time ever I will have all four kiddos in school. I am both ready to be on my own and wishing the summer would last forever. Since this was the first summer with my children that I have not had to work third shift and every other weekend, I felt truly able to enjoy it. I will definitely be missing the company of my little guy as I run my errands during the day, and I will probably shed a tear or two as the bus pulls away. But I am certain that I will be far more productive without them here, and I will finally be able to focus on building my business.
Beyond the sentimental side of back-to-school season and the melancholy of summer’s end lies the comfortable routine of the school year. I love the predictability, but it can also bring anxiety. Sorting through school supplies and class schedules promising ourselves that this year we will have things under control. We will be organized, and we will be involved. We will not fall behind and end up buried beneath a pile of field trip permission slips and reading lists mid-November.
The kitchen counters, your desk space, your kids’ backpacks, the car…do they all look as if they’ve been hit by a paper tornado? Even though so many aspects of our lives have been digitized, we still seem to end up with an abundance of paper. And once the paper starts to pile up, it becomes more and more difficult to dig your way out. I’ve assembled at list of simple, easy ways to manage and minimize the paper in your life.
“The pen is mightier than the sword.” – Edward Bulwer-Lytton
Dearest Writing Implement,
I can vividly remember the beginnings of our extensive relationship. The excitement of back-to-school shopping, knowing you would be there every time. I really had no desire to go back to school beyond the first couple days of catching up with the friends I hadn’t seen over the summer. My true enthusiasm stemmed from my love for you. The joy of choosing new colors, new types of inks and tips, and buying a blank canvas on which we could express ourselves together.
For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned. -Benjamin Franklin
I found value in organization from a very young age. If I was able to make a list, follow a schedule, or adhere to a routine, I could prioritize and get things done. I also discovered I could not truly relax unless my home was in order. For me, a cluttered home was the equivalent of a cluttered mind.
Prior to having a husband, a house, and four children, I was able to achieve order in my life with very little effort. It became much more difficult when my world expanded. It is certainly true that clutter seems never-ending with children. They are really walking, talking messes. Making messes, though, is often a necessary part of having fun and making memories. However, teaching your children to clean up after themselves is also an integral part in preparing them for the responsibilities of life.
I’m not perfect. I always seem to have a space in my home needing to be tackled. Thanks kids! However, I’m the master at creating prioritized lists and cleaning schedules which are easy to implement and follow. Having these tools helps to free up time to do other more enjoyable things. I want to pass these tips and tricks on to other busy moms so they may benefit.
The true gift of organization is clearing your physical and mental space so you can fully enjoy the moment. When your life is uncluttered, you are able to truly be present with yourself, your spouse, and your children.