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immaEATthat

Jun 08

Motherhood Update

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.

Family Vacation

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.

Bunk Beds

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 :)

20 comments on “Motherhood Update”

  1. Ditto on the marriage lesson. I’m realizing that just texting my husband from work about an upset makes me feel better, whether he responds or not.

    And Telluride is beautiful! Once the girls are older, there is a beautiful waterfall and home towards the end of town that make for a fun hike. We like to make it when we visit.

    Thanks for sharing. Your posts resonate with me so much!

  2. I followed an MFT on Instagram for years and went to see him speak. He talked about how we’ve all bought into this myth that we need to pick and choose our battles in our relationships but this ends up breeding resentment and miscommunication. We’re almost conditioned to believe that it’s nagging to express our opinions and feelings. It’s hard for me, too, but I’m working on it with my fiancée. I think it’s also healthy for kids to see! 

  3. I love the flexibility and acceptance of changing your schedule (back) to being at home more often with your kids. No decision has to be final, you listened to your needs at the time and made the right choice for you, your mothering and your family then; and stayed open and conscious to that shifting again recently. With no judgement! (At least you make it sound that way.) I love it!

    • I’ve literally tried every single childcare option possible at this point lol (nanny, full time preschool/childcare, part time preschool, rely on family for childcare). I’ve found that nothing is going to be the magic answer or be all good and I’m trying not to constantly change my circumstance going forward when things don’t feel “just right.” So, where that’s got me to is I should go with the choice that is most in line with my values, which is being home with my kids more often than not, and expect I won’t always feel good.

  4. I love your posts! I have a toddler as well, so I enjoy following you on your motherhood journey. I’d love to see more room details for the girls soon! The bunk bed looks amazing, and I’d love to see what other design inspiration you are eyeing!

    • This post really resonated with me, as the chaos of kids and the chaotic schedule has been really stressful lately. I’d love to hear how you have managed to become more scheduled so that you are able to fit in all the things that need a place in life (exercise, self care feel so challenging to make happen.)

      • Stephanie-
        Honestly, it’s been hard and unpleasant and has taken a lot of discussion with Andrew that 6 times outta 10 leads to an argument as both of our capacities for parenting expands and both of us work to take our own self care seriously, but I do feel like we are getting somewhere somedays! Something I realized for me is that if I don’t know what I need/want then there is no way Andrew can know how to support me in going for those things – me wanting to be home more with the girls during the day and, for us, this being best for them, is going to require more of him. Sometimes he will sigh or push back against a change I need, but that’s an opportunity for his parenting capacity to expand. Current change I’m needing is me getting to go for a brief walk once he gets home from work so I can recharge (aka be alone) before the bedtime routine kicks off. If I’ve been with the kids all day, there’s no way I’m making it through bedtime without screaming at someone if I don’t get a small stretch of time to myself. And I don’t want to be a mom who screams often.

        It is all so unique for each couple as they wade through this.

    • Hilary –
      I’m not interior design-y, but thinking the bunk beds will be Farrow & Ball Folly Pink (going to color match at Sherwin Williams so it’s cheaper). The bunk bed stairs will be Farrow & Ball “Setting Plaster” OR if I can convince Andrew we may carpet them with a fun rug…but that may get expensive fast lol. Andddd that’s really all I got for inspo so far!

  5. Schedules are hard for me but I feel like not having one is worse. It is encouraging to me that you are figuring this out. I have a 10 month old and I used to come home from work and just dissociate for hours and that’s no longer an option- it’s hard for me to be present enough to do everything i need to do for myself and for her. I think a schedule might help reduce my ruminating worry about this stuff, it would free up part of my brain.

  6. Cozy minimalist is a great book! I love the thought that creating routines to allow more flexibility work toy children is great!

  7. My children are a similar age to yours and I can totally relate to your view of chaos. I have never valued a super clean and tidy house as much as other things but as I have more kids I find myself having to clean more just to keep up with it. Every time we do a new project (currently a playhouse) or go away everything seems to fall apart. There is only so much time in the day. I find myself having to create systems and that has helped me. I am interested in what your actual cleaning schedule is.
    I wish I could stay home more with my kids. I work full time and am thinking of eventually asking for 4 days/week but it is so hard to take the hit on the paycheck. I am on a 12 month maternity leave and am really dreading return to work not because I don’t want to work but I am going to miss these slow days with my kids so much. It is priceless to have the time but at what cost… Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    • Omgsh. Yes about everything falling apart if you go away. This week has been harder to manage with just getting back from a trip!! My cleaning schedule is:

      Wednesday and Sunday – Laundry (wash and fold)
      Friday – Floors (vacuum, and maybe steam mop if I’m feeling ambitious/have the time) and organization project (organize one area I’ve been thinking about)
      Dishes – Everyday. Start dishwasher at night and unload in the morning.

      And that alone keeps the house looking pretty great (this is subjective, but it’s plenty tidy for me!). Toilets/bathrooms get cleaned before company or when they need to bc a child peed all over the floor.

  8. I’ve always kept from having a schedule and firm-ish routines because I’m more spontaneous and could handle clutter, staying up late, etc. or at least I thought I did. But I really noticed me being irritable, tired during the day and really not feeling like I ever got my groove in any aspect of home making and being a mother. With lots of conversations with my husband, lots of intentional prayer about God leading us in our home rhythms and taking an honest look at my patterns, I’ve become much more structured. I went back to monthly meal planning, much earlier bed times for me and the kids and I got Jordan Page’s productivity planner and that’s a wonderful resource that’s not strict like a lot of planners. Thanks for sharing what’s working for you! Colorado is one of the best states by far- every place I visited there is gorgeous and somewhat kid friendly. God bless!

  9. As always I am just obsessed with your posts. I always learn so much! Thank you!

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