I am often asked, "How do you do it all?" How do I manage homeschooling, homemaking, "me time," doctor's appointments, photography, and still maintain some semblance of sanity? How do I prioritize and make sure EVERYTHING gets done?!
We get caught up in wanting to make sure everything is Pinterest perfect, and when we fail in those endeavors, we get caught in a vicious cycle. At least I do. I want the house to be perfect. I want it to be "white glove ready." How many see photos their friends post and think, "WOW! Their house is so clean! Why can't I get my floors that shiny, my shelves that neat?" Etc...etc...etc. How many see photos their friends post and think, "Thank God I'm not the only one with a dirty bathroom mirror right now!" **RAISES HAND** I am so guilty of this! Just the other day a friend posted a photo and there was a basket of laundry in the background and I felt such a huge sense of relief. And it was that moment that got me thinking, WHY?! Why in the world do I need to validate myself, my home, and my abilities based off of a picture with a basket of dirty laundry in the background?
I was recently told that I was too stubborn, and it was going to kill me. Why? Because I try to do everything on my own. I am too proud I guess? to ask for help, or to admit that I need help. I've spent the last week+ trying to get my house in order, and Pinterest perfect, for an appraiser to come. I find such difficulty in managing the chaos of homeschooling and homemaking, and finding my rhythm and routine. Couple that with health issues, and housework is neglected because I just can't do it all on my own. So after this week of refinishing stairs, redoing trim, touch up painting, my mom comes by and says, "Your house is fine, and it was fine before. Why are you doing all of this? Just do a bit of surface cleaning and you're fine." I just sat there in shock. Complete, and total, shock. WHAT? The house is fine?! Then she started telling me how I can't do it all alone. I have Mr. B to teach and homeschool, I have his health issues to deal with, on top of multiple appointments weekly. I have my own health issues. It's no wonder I'm overly stressed. She said it was ok to ask for help. So I did. Now my house is appraiser ready, I feel a lot better, and we are on our way to a new routine.
The way I manage the chaos is by admitting I can't do it all alone. It's by developing a routine. And it's by letting go of the Pinterest Mentality that everything has to be showroom perfect, all of the time. That's the first, and most important step. You can't do it alone.
Next, I plan. Yes, I am a planner. I love using my Hey Mama! planner, and find it a straight up necessity! There is no way at all I could manage all of our appointments if I didn't have one place to keep them all down. I can easily keep down days, times, doctors, and even directions. It's really a great tool for me to have.
I also try to streamline my time by accomplishing multiple things. If we have to go to the children's hospital, especially if it requires an overnight stay, I try to get as much done in the area as possible. There are a few grocery stores I like in the area, there may be times I can schedule appointments so that they work together, and we usually do our science center or zoo trips at this time, too.
Socks. Ok, I know that's crazy, but socks create Chaos for me. I toss out nearly ALL of our socks, and I went to the store and I bought several packs of all matching socks. So I no longer have to sit there trying to find mates. I hate that. Ohhh how I hate that! Life is so much easier now. But that's the key, it doesn't matter if it is socks, or something else, that causes your chaos-identify it and find a way to streamline it. Maybe it's meals? If so, a meal plan like FreezEasy may be just the thing you need. Money issues hit us all, and it can be a headache trying to keep track of bills. That could be your chaos? I worked hard to get to where we pay all of the bills at one time each month. If you can't do that, try to set it up through your bank account to pay automatically so that you don't have that stress. I work out monthly budgets 3 months at a time, so that I know what money we have each month. I told ya, I'm a planner.
Now, on to the neglected part: Housework. I need help here. I let go of the notion that my house has to be museum and show room ready all of the time. And, I ask for help. I ask for help from Mr. B, I get help from M., and I get help from family as they offer, or as I need. Who cares that my master closet is overstuffed? Am I in there enough to really be bothered by it? Nope. I'm not. One day it won't be so stuffed.
I also have a schedule for cleaning. Mondays and Sundays are major purge days since trash night is Monday night. Tuesday is my deep cleaning/surface cleaning day since I have all of the junk out of the way. Then each day after that I dedicate to a particular zone or area, tackling something "project" like once a week or sometimes once a month, if it's a big one like refinishing stairs.
No one is perfect, and pictures are manipulated into making us feel less than what we are-even when it comes to our homes. It's ok to ask for help, and it's ok to not be "Pinterest Perfect."
What is your chaos, and how do you manage it? Leave me a comment and let me know!