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5 Life Changes and 1 Goal {“Be Intentional” Follow-Up}

2015 May 18

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I can’t be ready for these life posts, they have to just be written as they flow out of my brain.

When I write about me and what I’m feeling I have to pretend you are not there or I will feel self-conscious and just stop! I’m banking on the fact that most of you feel the same way as me. That’s at least what I’m telling myself so I keep typing.

Our houses are not perfect. Laundry and dishes list a LONG way down the “To Do’s” of daily life – somewhere way below Sew, Craft and  Quilt!

“Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.” ~ Victor Kiam

I have been thinking about this post for 2 months now. March was 6-months since the “Be Intentional” post I wrote last September when both of my kids started back to school full-time. Jody commented that I should re-visit the post and do an update. I thought that was a great idea and I put it in my calendar. Problem was, when March came around I wasn’t ready to write it yet.

“What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it is supposed to be.” ~ Unknown

Truth is, I’m not sure if I want to write it. Part of me wants to hold back and pretend to be amazing. Have you believe that the carefully set-up photo-shoots are my real life. That sounds nice and safe… but I’m sure (or I hope so anyhow!) you know that reality is NOT the case.

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” ~ J.K. Rowling

I’ve realized lately that being “safe” is not my goal, I want to share my mistakes more often. (Though I will not likely show many messy photos. They’re just not pretty!) I’m not sure I’ve come very far since my “Be Intentional” pep talk. Though, it’s possible I’ve come farther than I think.

Here are a few things that have changed and my goal to work on for the next 6 months.

Change #1: I spent a month deep-tidying almost every corner and closet in our house.Result: It’s easier to find things, and put them away. Helps us to be cleaner, faster, and helps me stay sane.

We got rid of so many things (literally our SUV full + lots more to the curb) and I find it is freeing to know where something goes when I need to put it away. I can tidy our main floor in 15 minutes – without a random box of things going “out to the garage” or “hiding in the laundry room” before company arrives like it did before! #reallife Amazingly, we have tons of storage space – I just needed to get rid of about half of our stored things to find it!

Change #2: I try to remember to “Be Us” when  planning something. ~ Result: A reality-based beginning to a plan gives us a fighting chance when we try to carry them out!

Instead of (unfairly) comparing us to my impression of everything good I think we should be, I try to remember to plan our life around how we really are. Here is a list of some practical things we have done to help.  (As I read through the list I realize we sound super lazy and petty – but, honestly, these things have really made a difference.)

  • We are really not morning people – so we have put all of the kid dishes and breakfast things in a lower cupboard and taught them to get ready by themselves. Once they are both ready, they watch TV while they eat. Usually only about 15-20 minutes before school. Now they are ready before we wake up! #incentives are everything.
  • We hate doing the dishes, so we have “paper plate night” once a week. I know it’s not environmentally sound, but it helps us to deal with doing them the other 6 days. (We do try to buy the biodegradable plates.)
  • We don’t like opening doors around our house to put things away, so large piles sit by said doors for weeks. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true! Now that we’ve removed the “offending”basement and laundry room doors, things get tidied up a lot faster. I’m working on making the front hall closet tidy so I can do it next.
  • We didn’t put our food away in the cold cellar because there were 3 doors in the way. (Again, being honest!) So I moved all of our food storage into another cupboard – newly found space from Change #1! It’s still in the basement, but there aren’t any doors in the way.
  • The kitchen cupboards were really messy and things were constantly lost and unorganized. I took everything out and re-worked all of the cupboards. In the process I realized that we had 2 large boxes of things in there that we didn’t need. And to save more space we now store more of our pantry items in our new “not through a door” super easy-access basement cupboard area.

Change #3: I’ve taken extra time to intentionally teach my kids to clean up. ~ Result: Less work for me and my husband, and less arguing plus a nicer space for them!

It’s been a work in progress, but 3 months later I’m excited that they are getting pretty good at it. And “good” is definitly not perfect, but I do get comments like “Ok, fine – lets get it over with” instead of 15 minutes of arguing and complaining. I also found out that they like it when their space is clean. And that they are learning how to clean, instead of standing in the middle of a messy space looking frustrated. Now we “put similar things together in piles”, then put each pile away where it goes.

Change #4: When my kids come home from school I stop working. ~ Result: Happier kids and a less frustrated me.

This was (and still is) not always the case. But I’m getting better! I really want to be intentional about spending time with them. Once I decided that was the goal and the plan for each weeknight it became much easier to actually make it happen each day. Of course there are many, many days when I invite them up to our (very full, tiny) office to draw or craft something while I finish a project. And there is at least one night a week we call “Screen Night” where the kids are allowed to have whatever screen they’d like (tv, computer, tablet) until dinner. Thankfully they don’t watch too much on other nights, so I don’t feel so bad about it!

Change #5: I’m trying to get more sleep. ~ Hopeful Result: Happier, more realistic, less stressed home.

This change is really in progress. I LOVE staying up late, and I’m having a very had time quitting when I know I should sleep.  I still find myself running up to deadlines with very late nights, but those days are becoming less. Now when I stay up late I am generally not working, instead I’m taking time to play – read a book or watch TV with my husband.

“Do something today that your future self will thank you for.” ~ Unknown  

The GOAL! Being realistic, and implementing my “Be Us” policy – I’ve only given myself one goal for the next 6 (to 9) months before the next update. It sounds crazy-difficult to me and I’m going to have to work super hard to find ways to work on it.

Goal #1: Be less frustrated and demote stressful things. I have realized that a lot of my frustration is due to my not knowing a good way to deal with stress. I put whatever is stressing me way up on my priority list – it needs to be demoted (perhaps fired?), if I can continue the analogy. Too many times I get unfairly angry at a family member because I’m frustrated with myself. And I want to loosen the hold on my need to be in control of everything. I think some of the changes are helping, but I’ve got a long way to go.

Mad Hatter: “Have I gone mad?” Alice: “I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.” ~ Tim Burton, Alice in Wonderland

Love that quote! Reminds me that I’m not sure how to conclude this post since there is no ending to this journey – we just continue this craziness and try to get better as we go along. I’ll see you at the next update!

I’d love to know are you doing? I’d love to know what you think – and any helpful things you’ve done to keep your home happier and less stressful!

P.S. Just in case you didn’t know, I’ve dyed my hair purple – feeling a bit crazy walking around like this helped me to finally write this post! Check it out on Instagram.

Photos are random from last year’s summer vacation so you can take mini breaks from all the text!

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9 Responses leave one →
  1. Andrea M. permalink
    May 18, 2015

    I can relate to so many of these points! I have been trying to implement similar things into my life to reduce stress, but it’s not easy! Needing more sleep is always something I need to work on (I like to be up late too!). I enjoyed reading this, and it has helped me to feel less stressed about being the “only momma” who feels these things! Keep up the good work!

    P.S. My mineral themed Divided Tote is holding up wonderfully as a purse!! :) :)
    P.P.S. There’s nothing wrong with purple!!

    • May 19, 2015

      I’m so glad you can relate Andrea! And glad it helped a bit! I’m so happy your tote is working well, it looks amazing. Thank you! :)

  2. Erin permalink
    May 18, 2015

    I totally relate to the random box you have to hide from company!!

    Best thing I ever did for clean up time at our house is the fabric “cube” bins and shelf. I labelled them with logos (from before my daughter could read) so she could put things away herself. What I didn’t expect was that she became a bit protective of the bins! Nothing on Earth can save you if you are caught putting a My Little Pony in the Strawberry Shortcake bin!! Also wonderful is that she can move the bins easily for clean up (like carrying it to the living room from her bedroom and back) and the size limits how many toys she can have.

    • May 19, 2015

      I love that your daughter protects her bins! That’s amazing! I have some for the kids, but we haven’t labeled them, which is silly because it’s hard to know what’s inside. Argh! And – oh my gosh – I’m so glad you have a random box to hide from company too. So awesome! :)

  3. Janette permalink
    May 19, 2015

    Whew! I am glad other people have normal, non “Pinterest Perfect” lives! Since we don’t have kids I might not have as much of an excuse for having a messy house :) , but one thing we are trying to get better at is to put things away right after we’re done using them. The main reason we end up with piles of stuff everywhere is because we haven’t put things away, and those things end up piling up and up until it’s a massive job to put them away later. And yes – finding an actual place where things are supposed to go is so helpful! If there isn’t really somewhere for things to be, it’s hard to put them away, or you end up with the massive basket of random-stuff-that-doesn’t-belong-anywhere living in your kitchen, like I have! :)

    • May 19, 2015

      Ha! You should have seen our house before kids – so not clean! It’s hard either way. I love that you have a massive random box. We totally still do that! :)

  4. Ann (no e ) permalink
    May 19, 2015

    Hi Sherri,
    I really enjoyed this post ;) You are, in my mind, employing the KISS method of living. In our home, it meant ‘Keep It Simple Sweetie’. Then we had kids . . . I felt I needed to be in control of everything. Love that you are giving up control to your beautiful girls so that they get their breakfast on their own. They are learning life long skills, sharing, watching the clock, mindful of needing to be ready for school.
    Carry on, you are on the right track in my mind. ;)

  5. Jody permalink
    May 27, 2015

    I love the first quote about falling on your face. Good for you for putting yourself out there and being real. It is hard not to compare ourselves to the perfection that is posted on media but to remember the photo is really only a small snap shot. There’s lots of real life just outside the frame of that perfect photo.

    • May 28, 2015

      Thanks so much Jodi. You are so right. If we aim for the best we can do and stop comparing that’s best I think.

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