Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mommy Manuevers

Oh wow, exactly one month ago, I wrote about how I'm working towards getting my mommy act together.

I saw oh wow, because (well I'm surprised its one month to the day -- how fun, but also) because its been a really rough road and I'm kinda surprised that its taken a month to get this far (which isn't very far at all.)

I thought: I would research, and implement, and that the hard part would be the upkeep of implementing.

Well, turns out, I have what feel like huge hurdles in front of me to even get to the point of actual implementing.

In case you are wondering some of the things I'm working towards are:

  • Getting dressed every day (all of us) -- this might sound crazy to some, or totally relatable to others. (I don't know.) But for me, as a stay at home mom, I totally struggle with getting dressed (in clothes, not pajamas) regularly. (I had an easier time of this with one, but now with two -- Pajamas, pajamas, pajamas.) And since it often takes me so long to get to that point, I often abandon hope in the afternoon because I figure its almost time to put them back on again tonight.
  • To get our clothes under control -- to help me not feel overwhelmed in the getting-dressed process. 
  • To get more routine into our day with some more "formal" activities so we can get away from PBS more than we do.
  • To understand the toddler mind, so I don't feel so lost as a mom of a two year old. (Read books on the subject.)

The hurdles?
Well, for one, I did not nest while pregnant. My nesting energy went towards my emotional need to learn everything I could about healthy pregnancy so I could walk towards the hope of my VBAC without disintegrating. As well as walking 4 miles a day, to make sure I didn't have any "I didn't walk the baby out" guilt later on (if I never went into labor.)
So all those little projects I would have done before (while I was less busy, with only one child) are getting done now (while I have two little ones asking for my attention at all times.) 
Just getting the house to a state of "acceptable" is basically impossible for me still -- and yet I am trying to do more than that. SO, what you have is a horrible mess of a home, with tiny niches cleaned to the core.
Meh. It's just what has to happen. But I don't like it -- I'm starting to get claustrophobic in the mess. 

Then we go and add more projects: like....we are making Jasmine a big girl bed. (Yeah, making, not just buying! I keep thinking "What are we nuts? Blake and I are both SO busy, why did we think this was the way to go?" But it is a cool bed -- and exactly what we wanted instead of just what is out there. Pictures when complete. (Might be a while.))
Also I found a free light on craigslist and "needed" to give it a makeover and hang it in our bedroom. (All while my bedroom lays in a pile of crazy mess! But now it has a pretty light!)
Then I got on a craigslist shopping role -- good stuff for cheap, but time consuming.
A couple other rental-home-(appearance)-improvements "needed" to be done.
Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention -- for the big girl bed, I'm sewing the bedding and some fun extras. Because, if I'm gonna be ridiculously busy, I'm gonna be ridiculously busy!

I feel like I'm going in circles.
I go to bed at midnight most nights, just in time to nurse a baby a couple times before I start again.
(And I wonder why, on all these days where I don't bother with make up (part of "getting dressed"), my eyes are so dark underneath.)

So one day, when I was just starting this process, I was sweeping the kitchen floor, and I was feeling overwhelmed and I was questioning myself. I was wondering if I was striving too hard, and not doing the right thing. I was wondering if I was making perfection an idol. I was just starting to chastise myself, when I heard a still small voice whisper, "Its hard because its what you are supposed to do."
I had been thinking of when people say not to strive because His yoke is easy and his burden is light. But I wasn't thinking about "in this world you will have trouble."
And how with everything there is a learning curve.
And how, if maybe because of my getting my mommy act together, I might be able to help accomplish some of God's purposes, that would mean that the enemy might want to derail my efforts.

(*To be clear, I'm not saying all mommas need to do this list of things I'm doing. Not at all. These are just things I struggle with and need to work out kinks on. And that's why I think God has asked me to do them -- because for me to work on them, will improve our family.)

So now on the days where I just don't feel like its coming together, I remember that moment of His voice because it was really soothing.
I so often feel in the wrong, since becoming a mom. (Do all moms feel that way --- wondering if they are doing it right, to the point of emotional exhaustion?) It was so reassuring to have His voice leading on this.

But so, yeah, for this post, I just have enough time to share with you one thing I've actually had success in during this quest:

Paring down the girl's clothing to a manageable amount.

We get lots of clothes from family, both sweet gifts and generous hand-me-downs -- which is awesome for our budget, but can be overwhelming to our closets and laundry baskets.
I've never been one to drool over baby clothes, so having lots of options actually makes me use less of what we have since its so much work to find and pick out outfits from the masses.
I knew I needed less in there, to get more out of it.

I had no idea though of how much I "should" have. I didn't want to get rid of everything.
I found this great list, off of "Life Your Way - Intentional and Creative Living" of: A Children's Wardrobe Checklist. (Click link to the free download.)

It's broken down by season, so I went for the winter set. (Despite it still being Fall -- Not up for doing this twice right now.)
I took out all the girls clothes (bins from the garage and all) and spread them out around the living room, and started to pick out the recommended items.

The VERY large Pumpkin was from Granana who was here for Halloween, 
well ultimately it was from GreatPapa and Great Grandma!! (Thank you!)
(Mr. Pumpkin still lives outside our front door for Thanksgiving Cheer!)

When seeing the list as clothes in the drawer, not just words on a page, it was both more clothes than I thought, and less than I thought -- which is my confusing way of saying, it really was a perfect amount (at least for what I was going for.)

I didn't stick to it to the letter, I did more of certain things, less of others, and occasionally just could not leave out one extra shirt than they recommended. But overall I really did cut down on what we had, and stuck pretty closely to the overall numbers.
(*Oh, but I should say, we didn't cut the Pjs down to the 2 sets on the list-- we have a lot out still (don't even know the number, just a lot) -- while in the diaper stage, I think its best to have more available.)

I seriously loved accomplishing this.

With hand me downs and gifts, I always run into a situation like: there is a really cute pair of pants with no tops to match -- but I forget that so I spend all this time trying to make an outfit with the pants and never finding anything to go with it. (Once I even bought a top to match them, but by that point the pants had been outgrown! Sad times.)
by doing this, I was able to pick out only items that could be paired well with each other (for the most part -- not EVERYTHING goes with everything.)

After that the rest went back into bins.
(If I was more amazing I would have figured out what to do with them -- like donate or return to original owner -- but I'm not there yet -- out of the drawer was good enough for me that day.)

I was also able to see that for Jasmine, I really needed to buy her a couple more pants. (One pair of black leggings, and one pair of jeggings would make it so we could really have a lot of use out of our tops.) Having all the clothes out and assessed, clearly showed me what pieces were missing. So instead of needing to buy tons of new clothes for Jasmine to look nice this winter, I just needed to spend a few bucks to make her a lot of outfits!

For Ruby, I didn't need to buy a thing! (Makes sense, for a second daughter.)

Since I did this -- Wow! Is it ever easier to get the girls dressed!!
I know exactly what is in their drawers and I've imagined outfits for them in my mind (while going through everything.) I don't even really need to think when I get them dressed.

Plus there is less laundry to wash and fold. (Always, always a plus!)

And I've gotten rid of {just} one of the things that lingers in the back of my mind -- that one saying "The girls' stuff is just a huge disaster, their clothes are everywhere, their drawers are a mess, you really should do something!"

So there -- done!-- and a tiny bit more peace in my head.

Less is more! (Proof once again for me!)


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