My Chaos Threshold Needs to be Reserved For My Kids.
This is something I didn’t want to learn about myself, but I’ve come to realized that I can’t handle as much clutter as I thought. Kids bring a lot of chaos. A messy, cluttered house brings a lot of chaos. Which of those types of chaos is important for me to have the capacity for? My limited chaos threshold needs to be reserved for my kids. So, with the help of The Minimal Mom’s YouTube videos, I’ve been making a foray into, not minimalism, but drastically reducing our clutter. For about a month, every other day(ish) I’d go around with two containers: a trash bag and a donate bin. I’d fill them up as much as possible and take them to where they needed to go. It helped me get a handle on the things in our home and I feel relieved that there is less stuff for me to manage now. Andrew may have thought I was going overboard (and at one point I did want to give away a particular thing that was going completely overboard lol), but at the end of the day home management mostly falls on me so it’s mostly my decision.
I now mostly (I think that’s the last time I’ll use the word “mostly”) have a grasp on the things in our home. It went from I have no idea what is in this cabinet/closet to intentionally giving our stuff a somewhat organized space to live.
One of the hard parts of this change for me is that I associate clutter with fun. I feel very happy in cluttered homes and when I walk into one I immediately think, “this is a fun house full of love.” But I’ve realized if it’s my home and I’m the one responsible for the management of the clutter then I don’t want so much stuff. For a long time I thought that having a cluttered house and not valuing having a tidy house meant you weren’t idolizing the wrong things (because there are more important things than a clean house!), but now I view it differently, at least for myself, in that not having stuff everywhere just as easily makes that same point that stuff isn’t being worshiped. And yet, sometimes an emptier and tidied home leaves me unsettled. It can feel too sterile. For instance, I organized and tidied my closet recently and it was so organized that I told Andrew that now I feel like no one lives here…I hated it! It felt like a hotel in a bad way! So I’m still experimenting with finding that just right cozy, homey, yet within my clutter limits feeling and I think it will continue to take constant editing. But overall I believe my limited chaos threshold needs to be reserved for my kids and not for stuff that has minimal to no importance to me.
Shifting our schedule (again)
I want to be home more with my girls, so I’m once again shifting our schedule so they’ll be home with me 2 days a week. Mid 2020 I was having an extremely hard time and after sharing with a friend who then encouraged me to tell Andrew we decided to make a change to help me be okay and focus on healing and a much less demanding pace of life for me. Motherhood is a doozy, right? It is so hard sometimes. Most times. And so great. At that time we put the girls in full-time school. A lot has changed since then and I’ve been working towards and am now ready for them to be home with me more again. I’ve been reaching out to mom friends for encouragement because staying home with kids is the hardest choice imo, but I ultimately want to spend the next decade making sense of how to view staying home more with my kids, managing a home, and pouring my life into my kid’s life as worthwhile choices.
I don’t find there are that many good things in life, but kids are one of them. Over the past year, with the help of the most direct therapist I’ve ever had I’ve become very scheduled (I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum from an over-controlled person and have benefitted greatly from my life becoming predictable. That may not be your case if you are naturally a more orderly individual.). Like I said above, I’ve learned that I have a limit for the amount of chaos I can handle. Kids bring a lot of chaos. I want to use the chaos reserves I do have to support my kids. I can no longer have a chaotic schedule or chaotic (cluttered) home. I need less to manage. With everything being scheduled – there’s a place for work, there’s a place for movement, there’s a place for self care, there’s a place for time with kids, there’s a place for our family – my quality of life has improved. It has been immensely helpful for me. Spontaneity (i.e. “we don’t need to pack a diaper bag…let’s just wing it” is my steady state lol) and throwing the plan out the window still have a loud presence in my life and that is who I am…but the structures I have in place now have helped me a lot. I now have consistent home management times (laundry, dishwasher, clean floors, tidy) and am routine in more areas than ever. I’m not sure why I’ve been able to be consistent with the structures in place for nearly a year a this point, because in the past I’ve always said screw it, but I’m going with it because, as I said, it’s helped me so much. Who knows? But it’s good!
The body is made to be used…it is not made to be preserved or saved up.
I was in a yoga class recently and while in chair pose I glanced in the mirror and saw the squishy, stretched out, scarred skin (I guess it’s a bunch of micro stretch marks that looks like scaring?) of my lower belly and I had the thought of: I’m so glad I’ve had the chance to use this body. The body is made to be used. It’s not made to be saved or preserved. What a blessing to get to partner with God in bringing forth life. As @willowcrownsathome said recently on Instagram, “I focus on not condemning a constantly changing body that has given me everything I need and hoped for in this life.” Amen to that.
Marriage Lessons / Best Coping Mechanism at the Moment
My biggest lesson I’ve been learning lately on the marriage front is to communicate my upsets regularly. Not necessarily when I’m upset at Andrew, but any upset. This isn’t something I do naturally and it feels like a chore, but it seems better for the long run. Lately I’ve decided that communicating my upsets to Andrew is the most effective coping mechanism I have…it has been helpful for our marriage as well as in supporting my mental health.
We just went on a family vacation to Telluride, Colorado with Andrew’s side of the family and WOW! What a beautiful town. We’d love to go back. Highlight was the free gondola that we road multiple times a day…the girls loved it, despite Jo’s face in the below photo haha.
Andrew is building THE MOST EPIC bunk beds for the girls and I’m so excited about them! I sent him a pinterest photo and they’re exactly what I was hoping for. I hope the girls love them as much as I do lol! They’re a work in progress, but eventually will be a pale terracotta color.
Thanks for reading :)