Ever feel like life is just too full?
Everything in life is moving in hyper-drive, vying for my attention, emotions, energy. I try my hardest to keep up with the housework, schoolwork, child-rearing, and wife duties, but, more often than not, something has to give. Generally speaking, that “something” is, 9-times-out-of-10, housework.
I wouldn’t consider myself a slob in any way, shape or form. But, I’m busy. So it isn’t unusual to see dishes on the counter or a pile of clean laundry waiting (ever so patiently) to be folded.
While I absolutely hate that my house is rarely Pinterest perfect, I have also come to realize that this is just the stage of life we are in and it won’t always be this way.
We had a guest speaker at my MOPS group this past week. I absolutely love listening to other moms share their heart, their drive, their passion because, more often than not, I can totally relate to some aspect. This speaker was no different. The topic? Home organization.
The speaker was very real and her topic so extremely relevant. She is a mom to 6 kids (all born within eight years, which is so similar to my six in seven) who has found a way to avoid the stress and chaos that comes from having so many children (who in turn have so much “stuff”).
I have been on a mission lately to trim down our possessions and try to live a more “minimalist” lifestyle. When you have eight people living in a 1400 square foot house, less is always better! So I could really relate to what the speaker was saying. And something she said really resonated with me: when our homes are so cluttered and unorganized, our minds will not be 100% present with our kids, even though we are physically present.
Wow! The more I think about this, the more I realize how right she is. When my house is a disaster-zone, my mind goes 100 miles per hour, racing through to-do lists of things that need to be cleaned, items that need to be put away, chores that need to be accomplished. It is so hard to be totally focused on my sweet kiddos when there is so much chaos around us.
And then there is the ripple effect: I become short with my kids and blow up over the smallest things that happen. The kids ask me to play/read/cuddle with them, but I’m so pre-occupied that I say “no” more often than I’d like. Someone spills something accidentally while I’m attending to something else, and my emotional thermometer erupts and overflows ugliness all over an innocent situation.
Those mind-consuming things can actually rob us of our emotions and energy.
On the flip side, when my home is orderly, peace follows. I don’t feel the constant nagging, reminding me of everything that I have to do. Instead, I can relax and truly enjoy my family.
Now, how can I ever get to the point where my house feels more peaceful and less… not?
Talking things over with my husband (who tends to be the idea-shaper in our relationship) we decided that we have too. much. stuff. Sure, I had made strides in clearing out some of the clutter, but if I were to be honest with myself, there are many other things I could part with. Having less “stuff” will mean less cleaning, tidying, organizing of said “stuff”. I need to get to the point where we are living more simply so life doesn’t seem so overwhelming. So I can focus more on what truly matters (my family) and spend less time and energy putting out the “fires” of life (the daily demands).
Live life simply so you can love more extravagantly.
That is my new mantra in life. I want to be more present with my kids and, in order to do that, I’m going to cut out any unnecessary distractions life may throw my way. And that includes extra “stuff”.
When you have six kids, you multiply that by six birthdays, and six sets of gifts at every holiday. It gets to be a LOT! Our toy room and the kids’ closet is out. of. control!
I’m kind of ashamed to say this, but here goes: I am waaaaaay behind on folding and putting away laundry. (Again.) I’m not even exaggerating when I say I have ten loads of clean laundry sitting on my bedroom floor, waiting to be folded and put away. There are also approximately four loads of dirty laundry waiting to be washed. PLUS our closets are all completely filled with clothing. Something is wrong with this picture. We obviously have WAY more clothing than any eight people would need. And I’m stressing out because, every day, I go into my room and see the clothes that need to be folded and put away, plus the clothes waiting to be laundered. It is ridiculous!
And then the toys. OHHHHHH, the toys. We have one small room dedicated as the “toy room” (although a more accurate description would be “toy dumping ground”). Two toy boxes, plus a dress up box, plus a large play barn. Then in the boys’ room are the Legos, K’Nex and other building toys. In the girls’ room are all of the baby toys, pretend toys, and stuffed animals. And lastly is the kids’ closet. Toys covering every available inch of shelving (Duplos, Lincoln logs, Weebles, Barbies, etc.). Trying to keep the toys organized and in their place takes an act of God most days because my kids are quite the professional mess-makers. It is EXTREMELY stressful because there are so many sets and totes and pieces and oh. my. word. Just thinking about it makes my head spin.
I’m done. This is insanity! My stress level is up and my patience level is low. So I’m making it my goal to eliminate 50% of our stuff. I want to live more simply so we can love more extravagantly!
The less time I spend cleaning and fixing and organizing means the more time I can love on my kiddos. This isn’t going to be easy but I’m committing to this not only for my sanity but to bring peace to my home. (Before and after pictures to come!!)
What about you? Are there any areas of your life you can pare down so you can focus more on what truly matters?