Did you know that even in third world countries mothers have help around the house and with their children and schooling? Heck, even the Proverbs 31 woman had maidens!
The phrase, "it takes a village" is a reality in villages and homes all around the world.
Moms come together to help carry the load of mothering, cooking, cleaning, taking care of the sick, and that's just naming a few.
Families usually live closer together so it makes for built-in help, but when family is not around the friends usually step in, and when that doesn't cover it, families will hire out help. It helps the economy and keeps families running smoothly.
So why is it that we, as moms, feel like failures if we can't keep up with everything?
We have the laundry.
Then the cooking.
Running kids all around to activities is a never ending job.
Then you add in the dishes, mopping, sweeping...
And then there is the working mom, and the yard work and the side buisiness...
Add it all together and you have one stressed out mama (and family)!
But I have learned that in order to thrive as a mom and wife I need to simplify, and even ask for help when I need it. If you are on a low budget and can't pay for outside help, like us, then girl, you need to simplify.
Here are some simple things we have implemented in our home to simplify.
(Note that they are in list form because lists make me happy and seem to simplify even the most overwhelming of tasks. And LIFE can most certainly be an overwhelming task!)
1 - To Do List(s) - Every day I make a short list of things that absolutely HAVE to get done that day. Note that these are not things I'd LIKE to get done, but that need to get done. I make a separate list of the things I'd like to accomplish that day and then an ongoing list of things that I would love to get done sometime in the near future. This helps to prioritize my to-do's.
2 - Laundry - I no longer sort my laundry before washing. I know, I know, it is better for the colors and duration of the material if we sort them, but this mama is NOT going to sweat over it. I do not have the luxury of being a full-time laundry person, therefore my main job is to get the clothes cleaned and able to be worn again.
Here is another one. I don't fold the laundry. I pull it out of the dryer, sort it into boys, girls, Jude and mommy/daddy piles while turning it all right-side-out. The kids are responsible for putting their own clothes away, so I place their clean clothes in a pile in their room and they put them away after school. The girls take great pride in organizing and folding their clothes. The boys, not so much, ha! But the way they tear through their drawers looking for the perfect outfits in the mornings, I highly doubt they would stay folded anyway. So, as long as they are put away I could care less.
3 - Cooking - I choose simple, healthy and relatively quick meals. I choose 5 meals a week that I can place in on our weekly calendar depending on the evenings activities. I try to plan my meals and make my grocery list on Sundays. And sometimes plans change and then I have a meal (or two) to roll over for the next week!
4 - Activities - We don't have a set rule about our family and activities, but we are learning how much our family can handle and getting pretty confident in saying the word "no". We simply are not a family who can thrive with an activity every night or birthday parties every Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
5 - Cleaning - Every week seems to be different around here so I have always had a hard time picking a cleaning schedule. I can't do it all in one day. It is simply impossible. And I can't choose certain things to do each day of the week because my OCD flips out when I miss a day to run errands or pick up a sick kid from school. So I try to keep up with the day to day this way:
- I begin the day by straightening up each room after the kids go off to school. I don't even necessarily make the beds (except mine), but just make some semblance of them, like making sure each kids covers aren't dragging on the ground and their animals are in the appropriate beds. I open up curtains and blinds and make piles of the things the kids need to put away when they get home from school. Every once in a while I get in super manic mode and deep clean their rooms, but for the most part I let them keep up with it. They like me to get it all in a pile so they can see it whittle down to nothing as they pick it all up:)
- making sure the kitchen sink is empty and the counters and table are wiped down by the end of every day. For some reason, I feel as if I can conquer anything if I've got a clean kitchen!
- If I know I have a pretty light day I add specific cleaning things to my NEED list, like toilets or mopping under the dining room table.
6 - Ask for Help - I am not so good at asking for help, but we have so many people who love my kids and our family who eagerly step in EVERY time we need help. Also, don't be afraid to enlist the help of your kids. I promise they will love that you are being authentic enough to admit that you can't do it all and will step up to the task.
These are just a few things I do on a weekly basis that help keep our life moving smoothly.
I simply ask myself, what is my job in this area that will allow this object to serve its purpose.
If the 3 different sets of Legos are stressing you out because they keep getting all mixed up, then simplify it by making a big bin for ALL the Legos, or simply get rid of the sets that you don't use as much.
If you have way too much laundry that you simply can't keep up with it, go through the kids drawers and get rid of all the clothes that they rarely or never wear and give them away!
Clean up dishes as you cook.
Put clothes away as you are taking them off.
Put objects away right away instead of laying them
on my desk on the counter or chair that holds all the random things in the home that haven't found their home yet.
I hope this has helped you feel like you can release some of those things you feel like you HAVE to do in order to be the perfect mom!
What are some things you do around your home to help simplify your life to make a happy mama?