This post is about how I got myself together, how I organized my home to run smoothly. How I organized the chaos. As a Catholic mother with little ones, this can be challenging for many of us.
How I found a system that saved my sanity, gives me time to focus on the things that matter most – my family and how we focus on God as the center of our entire life. But first, a little background…
I used to think that I had my life together. That I was an organized person. I am a Type-A and I thrive on lists and schedules, on organization and structure.
Then I got married and became a mother.
I found myself falling deep into this hole of clutter and chaos. I didn’t know how to pull myself out, and it was becoming very frustrating. I wanted to have the life of structure or at least feel like I was in control, somewhat.
I don’t believe that just because I have children, I should have a messy home. Or that I should feel miserable in my vocation as a wife and mother.
I recently saw a couple of memes floating around on social media, maybe you’ve seen them, too. The first, “Good moms have sticky floors, messy kitchens, laundry piles, dirty ovens and happy kids.”
The other had a pyramid and read, one in each corner: “Pick two. Your sanity, happy kids or a clean home.”
Why couldn’t I have all three?
I’m here to tell you, friends that you can have all three!
Why is it commonly depicted that in order to have happy children, our homes need to be in disarray? Yes, children make messes, but it doesn’t mean that we allow them to destroy the home for them to be happy.
Or that we allow them to leave all of their toys out when they are done playing with them. This doesn’t have to fall only on mom to clean up. If they spill something on the floor, they need to learn how to clean it up.
If we train our children properly (and this isn’t an easy feat) they will understand what is expected of them. They need structure.
I am a stay at home mom of three small children, all under three years old.
My toddlers are learning what it means to have structure. We are very busy and work hard. For my children, routines are really important and consistency is key. They also learn from example.
Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as saying, “Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.” What message am I trying to send to them?
I knew that I needed to get myself organized and out of this hole that I was in, and I have been able to do just that – and more. I feel as though I am finally on the right path with living out my vocation.
So, what has changed?
First, I did a major declutter.
I cleared up all of the stuff that we have been collecting in our home. I really don’t know how it’s accumulated, but it was everywhere. If we have a cluttered home, it is harder to clean.
Did my children really need a huge toy box full of toys? Nope. They just dumped them all over the living room multiple times a day. I would pick them up and then five minutes later, they were dumped out again. This was a vicious cycle and they weren’t actually playing with them. Just dumping them on the floor.
So, I got rid of them. They have a few quality toys that they actually play with. The rest of what I kept for them to use are learning activities. We stop clutter from entering our home by suggesting non toy gifts for the children whenever someone asks.
And my children are learning how to complete chores.
You can read about my post on decluttering here. The post also includes a link to a free printable. This printable is a super detailed declutter checklist.
Second, I got rid of all time sucking apps off of my smart phone.
No more time wasted on Snap Chat or Facebook conversations. I now prioritize and schedule my social media time. I have a chunk of time blocked out for all of my administrative tasks, too – mostly during nap time! Even as I type up this post, it’s within my schedule.
Third, I do laundry every single day.
I pared down what we own, organized and finish one complete cycle every day. Between our clothes, my husband’s yucky work clothes and towels, it can pile up fast if I don’t get it done daily.
So, I don’t let it pile up. Some days, although rare, they won’t get folded and put away until nine at night, but it still gets done! If we let it pile up, chaos soon ensues.
Break the habit and just get it done. You’ll thank yourself later. I know I do. Read about how I refreshed my laundry routine here. It’s a quick short read.
Lastly, I read this book…
I totally recommend this book to every single Catholic mom. Especially those who are struggling with living out their vocations as God intended.
This book saved my life. Truthfully.
The author does an excellent job of explaining how to get our lives back on track by following a Rule. Just as religious orders follow, but tailored to our lives as wives and mothers. It isn’t another one of those get organized or cleaning routines, but rather a rule to follow.
The neat thing is, we create it ourselves. What works for me, won’t work for you. And vice versa. You’ll find what works for you and build from there.
The tagline for the book reads, “How to bring order to your home and peace to your soul.”
I couldn’t explain it any better. Those are just a few of the joys which I’ve experienced since finding organization and structure within my life and vocation.
“Since the will alone is held captive by God, the other faculties are free to attend to things relating to God’s service; and this they do with far greater energy. Then, when the soul is engaged in exterior works, it continues to love God ardently; this is the union of action and contemplation, of the service of Martha and the love of Mary.”
Quoted in “A Mother’s Rule of Life”, 182
Once we begin the practice of following a rule and focusing on priorities, God centered around our entire day, we will find more time for Him.
More time to devote to prayer and recollection.
This is something that I struggled with for quite a while. I was trying to fit God into my life but He was getting my leftover time. I wasn’t putting Him first.
I was overwhelmed and trying to find a balance. I failed miserably. The moment my rule started coming together and I devoted my time to God first, everything else naturally fell into place.
I had structure within my day. I felt like for the first time in a long time – since discovering my vocation, I finally had my act together!
“As Dom Chautard says in The Soul of the Apostolate: ‘Let the following conviction become deeply impressed upon your mind: namely, that a soul cannot lead an interior life without a schedule… and without a firm resolution to keep it all the time.’ For this reason, a Mother’s Rule seems to be very much a necessary prerequisite to contemplation in our daily lives. And contemplation, remember, is the experience of God himself.”
Quoted in “A Mother’s Rule, 187
Truth be told, since discovering this life-changing book, I truly feel at peace. I feel as though my life has true meaning. Before then, I had just been going through the motions. Trying my best to survive amidst chaos.
Tell me what you think. Have you read the book? Share your thoughts.
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