Where I’ve been, mom guilt and juggling.

As you may have noticed, it’s been a couple months since I last posted a blog entry and I just wanted to say where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to!

I recently started doing hair again. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to start that back up again or maybe wait out a position opening at the non-profit organization I volunteer for.  This was a source of great uncertainty for me. I know I’m skilled enough to make it doing hair, I’ve done it before and excelled. The non-profit, though, is a cause that really speaks to my soul, so choosing one or the other really made me look at what I thought about my capabilities and the logistics of each situation. Ultimately I decided to throw myself back into the working world and do some hair, while still volunteering once a week.

I have some guilt about it, if I’m being honest. I lived a certain lifestyle for the past three years (homemaking, momming, etc) that I got very accustomed to. Maybe it was the familiarity and monotony that urged me to look outside the home for stimulation. What would I be missing by being at work? Who am I, really, outside of my child? Both equally scary questions.

I felt as though I had mastered the sahm-thing and that I needed a new challenge to keep my wheels turning. The challenges of working motherhood have been greater than imagined, but that’s the fun of it, right? Not knowing what you’re doing, flying blind, recognizing patterns, and coming to a new understanding of what it means to live, and to love.

I’ve been just chugging along, I have a fairly regular schedule. I’ve been balancing my time away from the home with utilizing my time while I am in the home to keep things going. My husband watches our daughter while I’m at work, and this is a change for him as well. He is really a saint, that man. I really am grateful for how he has stepped up during this shift in division of household duties. I try not to make his honey-do list too long, and he has his own home improvement projects he is enjoying working on.

Our schedules are the same every 2-week period, so I am able to keep a cleaning/grocery schedule. It gets dicey sometimes and we have to make substitutions often, but I think once we get into the swing of things, we can recognize the patterns that will be helpful in deciding how things will get done.

You can’t quantify everything, life happens and schedules get thrown out the window. Flexibility is a must, I’m realizing, for a household to function. Love, really is the most important thing.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions for managing a healthy work-life balance, I would love to hear it or hear any stories you have to tell.

Thanks for reading! x

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Why is a morning routine so important?

Nothing is ever set in stone. I’ve sometimes been scared of the unknown. Will I be ready for what is coming? Should I just hide and avoid it all? Can I face everything?

Spoiler alert, I can handle it, I am very capable. So are you!

I’ve thought holding myself accountable was setting myself up to fail. This isn’t true. Sometimes my routines are the only structure I have. I set my own goals, my own time tables. I run this house (with help, but mostly it’s my gig) and this is exactly what I want. I want the freedom of making my life into exactly what I want.

But setting your own goals and not being held to anyone else’s standards is also intimidating. Where do you go? What direction do you want to go in? What do you value?

It’s a complicated concept that I am unraveling little by little every day. I am a visual person, I like data, I like charts and patterns. It’s helpful to me to look back on my journals and plans of the past to get a sense of what I plan versus what actually happens. More often than not, I get everything done. My goals are always accomplished, but still I can feel things are out of reach…

I catch this thought, and resolve it by planning. Writing out what needs doing, and how it can be done. Seeing it all laid down is one step closer to action. Proving it’s possible, and holding myself to the goals I set.

But what does it take to set a goal? What if it’s the wrong goal?

There is no right or wrong, I think. I can’t remember where I heard it, but I think of this quote when I start to worry if I’m going down the wrong path.

everyone needs a beautiful island to row to”

It doesn’t matter if you reach the island, or if you see a better island on your journey and choose it instead. The point is that you keep rowing. If only for a moment, you have a direction and you choose it.

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My most important routine is in the morning, and is my most strict. Getting my goals accomplished as soon as possible in the day is essential to my growth. I do these things every single morning no matter what. Not because I’m anal retentive, but because if I don’t, the order and comfort level of my home goes right out the window. I spend 85% of my time within these walls, and it hurts my soul and frankly makes no sense to have everything out of whack. There’s usually more to my routine in the morning, but if I get absolutely NOTHING else done in a day, these four things are non-negotiable.

-Make the bed

I full-on fluff the pillows to make it comfy and inviting as that’s where we relax and communicate the most after tiny human is in bed for the night.

-Dishwasher run or emptied

depending on if I filled it the night before, I put dishes in or take them out.

-Coffee maker cleaned

No moldy coffee grounds! 

-Load of laundry in

It doesn’t matter what it is, but if hubby needs work clothes cleaned then that’s top priority, a close second is towels. I do a load every day and put it away as soon as possible. I started Konmari folding my laundry and it is definitely more work, but also causes greater satisfaction once finished, which is good for me.

I choose to nourish my home and my family. To honor the land on which my home sits, and make it a comforting and safe place for the people I love most. It’s basically a never-ending journey and a complicated task. There is a lot that goes into keeping my house a well oiled machine and I take pride in the value of my home space.

Waking up every day and choosing to hold myself to certain standards isn’t always a natural action. Sometimes I get up and go through the motions of my routines, not seeing the value of it in the moment. But I have those routines for just such moments. The routines aren’t just so that the laundry stays in check and there’s never any dishes in the sink. They exist so my family can thrive. Thriving and rowing to whatever island they choose. To nourish the mind of my child. The comfort of my husband, so he can focus on being the incredible father and man that he is.

Most importantly, it fulfills me. I feel whole when I feel valued and when I do valuable work. When I can sit back and ACTUALLY relax. Being present with my loved ones and KNOW that my rowing and planning and doing is in line with my values.

I am working on a full post about my cleaning and self care routines, so keep your eyes peeled! If there’s anything else you’d like to know more about, I can expand on that, so let me know in the comments and have yourself a great morning!

 

Time Management Resolutions

 

I don’t necessarily have new year’s resolutions. I typically make “resolutions” every time there’s a new moon. One of my recurring resolutions is to better manage my time. I sometimes catch myself scrolling on my phone wishing I had more time. I’m working on it.

I’ve been feeling the highs and the lows of the holiday season roller coaster. First the prep and presents, then the execution, finally the cleanup and getting life back to reality. As much as I would love to live in an antique Santa and christmas lights wonderland forever, I have to reclaim my life and home or I will go off the deep end.

This year I really nailed it though, had all the supplies way ahead of time, wrapped early and got some great responses from the handmade gifts I made this year. My family had a good time, I got to spend real quality time with my side of the family, and had a great Christmas day with my husbands family.

Good food, too.

We made a ham with brown sugar and maple syrup with pineapple juice in the crockpot. My husband poked little cloves all over it and it was so cute and tasted amazing. It was really sweet and had a lot of depth to the flavors. I made my mac and cheese, obviously delicious.

We ate off that ham and mac all the way till payday! Total win, I’d say.
I owe this success, and the happy proud feelings I have about it, to really focusing on where my time was being spent. I think I have a sunshine deficiency lately with this bummer weather, so sometimes my schedule is one of the things that really helps me get off the couch.

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Time management will look differently for everyone. For me, it starts with breaking it down into what I actually value. What drives me? What are the most important things to my overall success. Checking in with yourself is a great way to really look at why you work so hard, and getting your priorities clearly defined.

This gives you the ability to cut yourself some slack. Or at least to tell yourself “if I get absolutely nothing else done, I am still meeting my goals” What is the bare minimum required to still be moving forward with whatever growth process you are going through? Whether that’s weight loss, spending time being present with your children, or anything, really.

Keeping those “bare minimum” requirements in mind, and doing them as early in the day as you can. I like to make deadlines for myself such as ‘this must be done before nap time’ or ‘at least before husband gets home’ This approach gives me the grace that my brain needs to not feel pressured. If I feel pressured, I run for the hills (gemini sun mercury and venus, smh) so the trick that I have a broader deadline is helpful. Some pressure is necessary though, I still must hold myself accountable.

That’s the whole point!

Finding your “why” and putting your pen to paper is an important step into truly understanding time management and how it works for you.

If you’re interested in hearing more about my specific routines and processes, let me know and I can make separate posts diving a little deeper about it. Thanks for reading, hope you all are well!

Accomplishing the Gallery Wall

Before I get into HOW I hung this gallery wall and the process behind it, let me explain a few things first.

We live in my husband’s childhood home, owned by his mother. His mother is a wonderful woman who lives with HER mother, caring for her since she had a stroke several years ago.

They’re both sweet, beautiful women with some serious artistic ability. The grandmother liked to paint, so many of our paintings in our home were done by her. Beautiful landscape pieces that I love.

They weren’t hung all at the same time, so the end result was kind of a mish-mash of fitting the finished paintings wherever they fit on the wall. I moved in three years ago and I struggled to make the home mine without trampling all over the family history in this home.

My solution: An accent wall!

I wanted to show off the paintings in a way that was my own, but that respected the art and the artist. Why does this make me emotional to write about? I just love my home and the land it’s on. My husbands parents built this home basically with their bare hands and I am so grateful to care for this property.

Maybe that’s what homemaking is to me? Maybe that’s why this is all so important.

Alright, my eyes are just watering, just allergies, nothing to see here, back to the point of the post…

The living room had only been painted once, back when they built it in the early nineties, and you could tell. Handprint smudges, nicotine staining, and for some reason, the top of the walls shaded dark by the boards behind the walls. It needed some TLC for sure.

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I didn’t want to change the neutral home-y vibe of the house, so I knew the accent color had to be some kind of grey/brown/beige color. After half an hour at Lowe’s we settled on our colors and matched the original white of the other walls and bright white for the ceiling.

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We priced everything out and decided to just paint the room ourselves instead of hiring people to do it, and after a few hours, I almost regretted that decision.

Make sure if you ever paint a room, that you actually like the person you paint with, because I swear if I didn’t love my husband so much I would have smothered him with the drop cloths… Not really, but I hate to sweat and get grumpy when physical activity is involved.

With the walls finally painted and dry, the next day it was time to figure out how we were going to arrange the paintings back on the wall. Here’s where it gets tricky!

We measured the area on the wall where we wanted to keep the paintings, and then used that measurement to figure out how to arrange the art. Keeping within that area, we laid the paintings down on the floor and shuffled them around until it felt right. Keeping things spaced as evenly as we could, and that the subject of the paintings flowed.

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It’s a common design rule that if you’re going to have a “heavy” side of a gallery wall or the like, it’s best to keep the weight to the left. We have a book case taking up the weight of the wall on the left, so we opted to have the biggest painting above the bookcase and the smaller paintings toward the bottom right.

The test run on the actual wall, we taped up wrapping paper and moved things around a little so everything was perfect. I measured each painting and cut out wrapping paper to the size of each painting and wrote the subject of the painting on the paper so I could keep track. It’s important to remember that this wall was freshly painted so we had to find a tape that wouldn’t rip the paint off. Painters tape wouldn’t do, so I tested some washi tape on an inconspicuous spot and it came off without any problems. I found my least favorite washi tape and hung up the wrapping paper

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Most of the paintings are hung by wires, so we had to measure to account for that, and marked the place we wanted to put the nails. BAM BAM! Then hubby hung them up, and it was so perfect.

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I’m so happy with this wall, it really was the perfect way to turn something that had history into my own.

And was the perfect excuse for new (energy efficient) curtains!

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This will hold me over as far as home improvement projects for a little while, I think. It was a lot of work!

How have you guys been? I have been busy with the holidays and stuff, I’m ready for life to return to normal!

This little planner of mine

With this beast I meal plan, life plan, toddler activity plan, budget, doodle, journal, love and cherish till death do us part.

This one book holds my entire life along with my sanity.
But it wasn’t always this way…

I, like most people, started out by trying to keep all that junk in my head. All my to-dos, work schedule, gift ideas, important dates, etc just floating around my brain waiting for the chance to lay dormant and be forgotten until the day before an event when someone reminds me that I’ve let my life slip out of my mind.

Then, in comes the internet, a glorious place where everyone seems to know everything and rubs it in your face that you’re not accomplishing as much as them.

While partially true at the time, I fell into that spiralling trap of self doubt. Everyone with their fancy planners and stickers and streamlined laundry lists of why they were better than me.
I didn’t even know if I was going to be able to get out of bed next Saturday, let alone meal planning breakfast lunch dinner and planning to scrub the baseboards.

Say “plan” one. more. time!

It just seemed so unattainable. Where do you even start?
Well, I started by thinking I needed every planner system, sticker pack and washi tape 5-pack that the local craft store would sell me. I packed it all into cute little bags with unicorns on them and it felt like I was getting somewhere.. just not quite there. It became more stressful to need all this STUFF that, to be truthful, didn’t work for me like I needed it to.
But what this taught me was not that your life must be out of control if you don’t washi tape time blocks into your planner every evening at 7:15. It taught me that I just needed something that worked for ME and my life.

I learn pretty well from mistakes and if I can share something with you that helps you learn those lessons without the crushing disappointment of failure, well then mission accomplished.
My next post will be a breakdown of how I use my planner, where I got my inspirations, the different sections (if you can call them that) and attributes that keep my life organized. Stay tuned! 📺