Home Management and Intention

Intention In Your Day {QuietInTheChaos.com}

Photo Credit HERE

Lately the word “intention” has been weighing on my heart. I am an organized person, I schedule and routine my children and our days so we can make the most of our days. Despite my best efforts, some days I feel like things are so chaotic.

The word intention brings me back to reality; laundry can wait when Lexie wants me to sit and do puzzles with her. Cleaning up the dishes really can wait when Max is awake and only has 1.5 hours to play before his next nap.

Intention– does every minute (or at least most) of your day have intention? Do you follow God’s priorities for your day, and therefore essentially your life?

I struggle with this on a daily basis, but I told my mom a few weeks ago, my motto for this year is “Are my priorities for the day God’s priorities for today?”

It’s hard as a stay at home mom, or a mom in general, to split your time between keeping the house, raising the children, loving your spouse, and taking care of yourself.

My husband goes to work early and stays late, deals with so much, then comes home to us. I truly don’t want him to come home to chaos in the evenings. I don’t want him to come home to nasty floors from this mornings breakfast, or a pile of laundry to fold that is still on the couch from nap time, because someone decided to wake up before I could get it finished.

But some days, that is how it goes.

Being a stay at home/work from home/homeschooling parent doesn’t mean our home or lives are perfect; it also doesn’t mean I sit on the couch and watch soap operas while the kids eat Cheetos and drink juice all day. As of current, I’m soon to be looking into new house plans to enable me to have my own workspace as well as have more space for a new homeschooling environment, because currently the whole house gets used as a school and an office all within a day and it’s probably hindering focus and progression. Working from home does have its benefits, especially for me as a mum. It allows me to be there 24/7 for my children, even if I am working. You can learn more here about working from home.

I compare raising a home to teaching in a classroom, a lot. This is because in teaching we have what is called classroom management- basically it is how you run your classroom, keep the children on task, accomplish the day’s learning goals, and get your own work done. It encompasses all the daily routines, from calling roll, lining up for lunch, turning in papers, to ending the school day. As teachers, we (I say “we” although I do not currently teach in a classroom outside my home) spend most every minute of the day tending to our classroom. Cleaning up messes, paying attention to students, talking to parents and coworkers, preparing lessons; there is instructional time, independent work time, circle time, and lunch time.

As a stay at home/homeschooling wife and mom, my days aren’t much different than those of a school day. Because we implement a routine and schedule, my children know what to expect and when to expect it. Even Max, at 5 months old knows our routines; when he hears my nursing bra click, he knows its time for dinner. When he sees me get the wrap, he starts getting excited and kicking his legs because he knows mama is going to wear him; he knows when he wakes up his diaper gets changed and then … Oh boy! Time to eat! And after bottle, he expects to sit in his bumbo and get oatmeal. If mama gets side tracked and doesn’t put him in the bumbo right away, a fit does ensue.

Routines make up every day life and when you are managing a household with two+ small children all day, you live by routines. I depend on them, my babies depend on them, even J.Tom depends on them for helping with the kids; and we are a happier, well put together family because we have routines and schedules. My children are well adjusted, they know I’m not going to starve them because they know when its time to eat, they get fed. They also know when they are tired, mama is going to put them down for a restful sleep. This has led to us having a two year old that tells us when she is tired and ready for bed; she knows when she feels tired, because she has always had a decent bedtime, and has been put to bed when she was tired. Not 2-3 hours later when she is so over tired she is bouncing off the walls and cannot settle.

But despite my best efforts, some days the laundry gets folded, but left on the back of the couch until everyone is fed and has had their fill of Mama for however long that takes. Some days the dishes seem a mile high, bottles need to be washed, and dirty laundry is suddenly piled everywhere-the hallway, the bathroom, the kids’ rooms, and the laundry room. Oh my, Heaven forbid Lexie Raye’s gymnastics shirt not be clean on gymnastics day! But it happens.

Although things are just super crazy with the move (I won’t even begin to describe the state our home is in), I am trying to keep things as routine for everyone as I can. Lexie gets to face-time her daddy during breakfast and dinner every day, and that helps a lot with him being gone. We have our own way of getting things done during the weeks J.Tom is gone, and it works. But I am so looking forward to next week, when we will hopefully all be together under one roof, all the time. (this post was written during our move from AR to NE).

Every day I struggle with God’s priorities for me: I know they include Bible time for myself and for the kids, I know they include playing with my babies, keeping myself, JTom, and the littles healthy by preparing nutritious meals, and some days they include special trips to the library or the park. But knowing and doing are not the same thing.

I seriously stop myself during the day and ask, “what are my priorities here?” and I go from there.

Some days the decisions are harder than others, but mostly the answer is simple: what would God have me do to please Him?

Busy as a …. (Queen) Bee: Freecycle

It has been a few days, and what have I done with my time rather than FB?  Well, I’m not sure..

I do know that at night, rather than sit down to read updates and leave comments, click links and research other’s topics, which then leads me to playing on pintrest for hours, I have been knitting.  I am almost done with Lexie’s first scarf  =)  I like the colors, but they don’t match her winter coat, so I will have to make her another one.  I have the yarn already, and I am thinking I have enough for a scarf and a hat, and quite possibly a pair of mittens!  You know why people knit mittens v gloves?  Because gloves are hard.  Well, the mitten pattern did not look easy, but it definitely read easier than the glove pattern.

Today I: vacuumed (twice), ran to the village (30 minute drive) to drop off business cards at the real estate companies, went to party city and old navy, met J.Tom for lunch, came home and finished decorations for Lexie’s Very Hungry Caterpillar First Birthday party, did a bit of laundry, washed and folded diapers, and made Lexie some pears.  Oh, then I knitted for a bit tonight.

You’re probably thinking one of two things: wow, she did a lot today (and) OR why did she just tell us what she did today?  I got so much done because Lexie was at school.  It is Tuesday and she has school on Tuesdays and Thursdays; it’s easier to get things done when you don’t have a 12 month old following you everywhere  😉  Which  I actually miss on days she is not there; but appreciate the time.  I told you everything I did because I felt like I accomplished more today than in the last month.  But really, Monday I accomplished the most because I got almost all my cleaning done-WITH an 11 month & 3 week old daughter tagging along totting around.  Minus the bathrooms.  I did not get that far..

But the bummer part is I wish I’d had a cleaning job rather than my own chores today.  I need to fill my Tuesdays with regular customers.. I’m putting out the effort through networking and following up on leads from friends, putting out my cards and talking to people.  It’s just not happening yet.  Maybe soon.

Despite all I HAVE accomplished, there are some things I’ve not accomplished.  The bathrooms, for one thing!  haha  But the main one is running.  I have not ran in two weeks.  Grrr  I really need to get my butt in gear.. I think I may set my alarm for the morning but I never get up.  How do you get yourself out of bed at 5:00 in the morning when you don’t HAVE to?  I did it most days for quite some time when I was in school.  When I had 8:00 AM classes in Arkadelphia, I had to wake up, get ready, and maybe finish some work by 5:00 so I could leave the house by about 6:45 to get to class (and get a decent parking spot).  And most nights I was up WELL after 12:00-1:00.  And I ran with my group in the afternoons, and I didn’t feel too worn out.

What has happened?!  

Maybe it was because I ran and exercised that I was able to keep that schedule.  Actually, I am pretty certain that is why.  OK, so I am running in the morning…  😉  Really, I would have to get up before 5:00, because JTom has been leaving the house about 5:30, WALKING to work, then walking back about 7:00 so he can get Lexie up and play with us until he has to leave again about 7:45.  Oh, ehum.  Yes you heard read me correctly- walking.

My husband has started walking to work.  I am so proud of him!  For those of you who do not know-we have hills.  And mountains.  I didn’t really know those land forms existed as a kid; I thought they were just fairy take things teachers forced us to make from Playdoh so they had something to teach us in geography…  Well, guess what?  There really are mountains and BIG hills.  We have them in Hot Springs.  You cannot walk, run, drive, skip, or cart wheel for a mile in the Spa City without going up a pretty steep incline at some point.  I think that is why I like running here; I hate running on flat surfaces, it’s causes too much impact.  Hills are much easier on my body.  (I say “run” like I have really been running.. but you know what I mean.)  Anyways, so I am very proud of J.Tom for his efforts.

But this brings me to my most favorite part of this blog- FREECYCLE!  woo hoo

My brother loved freecycle.  Whenever I would ask him if he had extra computer speakers, CDs, an ink pen, a cigarette lighter, heck anything- he would reply “check freecycle.”  So finally I wised up, and I did!

Now you know my whole “trying to live more simply, save money, live on less because it CAN be done” lifestyle change I am working on?  Well, freecycle helps…. and it can hurt a weeeee little bit.  =)  See, you post on the group if you have something free to offer; this post shows up in all the group members email inboxes.  You can also post if you are in need of something.  If you’re lucky, someone may have what you are looking for and be willing to give it to you.  This helps the earth and our pocket books by keeping lots and lots things out of the landfills and while families  receive second hand goods vs buying.

So tomorrow, I am calling a lady tomorrow about picking up in response to her post for …. wait for it ….

A TREADMILL!  Yes ladies and gents you heard me correctly.  She posted her grandma’s rarely used treadmill on the group for FREE.  Who do you think the first person to respond was?  That would be M E!!! She was finally able to get back to me today; she asked that I call her in regards to picking it ALL up.  “All up?  But Meghan, you said you were just getting a treadmill?”  Yes, yes dear reader I did.  But I ALSO happen to be getting a 2 drawer metal filing cabinet, a diaper pail, and sippy cups!  This lady posted half of my wishlist on freecycle in a matter of minutes.  Now how stinkin-freakin awesome is that?

“But Meghan, nothing nice in life is free…”  Oh yes, that fine print. Hrm.  Well, see what had happened was…  *ehum* A side story: I posted Monday that I was looking for a small, nice printer in good working condition just to print coupons.  Nothing fancy.  People are all the time posting printers on the group.  So this old lady responds, everything sounds great, I head out to her house.  The printer is an AWESOME printer.  The problem?  It smells so badly of cat pee that I was afraid to put it in the back of my car.  I DID, but it wasn’t fun.. and then when I got home, I put it in the trash.  In between, I disinfected my hands about 10 times.  Not only did I throw away the printer, but I will be calling animal services after a few days (so she doesn’t know it was me). The stinch emanating from her trailer was so horrible I wanted to run in and save all the animals that I could hear crying.  What stopped me, you wonder?  A) Lexie was in my arms and B) I pictured all those episodes of Hoarders where the old people take in the stray dogs and cats and they multiply so quickly they don’t even know there are like 1000 dead ones buried under everything.  I imagine that is what her home looked like; it is certainly what it smelled like.  Granted, she was old and kind… but that’s not healthy for anyone.

So, is there a catch to freecycle?  There can be, yes.  Do I know what “good condition” means to someone else?   No… hence the free-ness.  But you can always say “no thank you, that’s not what I had imagined or what I am looking for.”  But I do know that people offer really great, like new items all the time.  So I am hoping that these items we pick up tomorrow will be in great condition.  I want the treadmill for obvious reasons and also for JTom to walk on so he can get exercise for his back.  The sippy cups I’d like because those suckers are anywhere from 5-10 dollars and now that Lexie likes hers we need a few more.  The filing cabinet has been on my wish list since my nesting days while pregnant with Lou.  We need a secure place for my family filing system.  And the diaper pail- “But Meg, you mostly cloth diaper.. why do you need a diaper pail?”  Because I can get a diaper pail liner like this one: http://planetwiseinc.com/Planet_Wise_Diaper_Pail_Liner_38_cat.html and have a place to put stinky diapers until it is time to wash.  I have a hanging wet bag, but when it is in the wash with the diapers, I have no smell-locking place to put the other dirty diapers.  I have friends that use plastic bags, which I could do.. but this is just as easy, maybe easier and the pail part is free!  Can’t beat that.  I can prob find the liner for nearly free on my diaperswappers.  Frugal doesn’t have to mean doing without.  =)  It just means doing with less using less.  

I will post pics on the items after I pick them up.  Let’s hope the treadmill is at least in good condition; those are hard to come by on the group and even harder to get first dibs on!  I almost got a stair stepper a while back but wasn’t fast enough.  Dog-nabbit.  

So you see how this amazing FreeCycle could make de-cluttering, simple living harder?  Like all things, it is to be used in moderation.  If you are going to buy something regardless, it’s a good place to get it for free if you can wait a while for it to be posted.  But it is NOT a good thing if you’re someone who can “always use one of those..”  haha  Fortunately, I’m not of that personality.  I don’t think.. well, not yet anyways.  =)

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