Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Life // A Season to Simplify

Happy Wednesday, friends! I have lots of photos from our trip that I'll be sharing (hopefully) soon, but before I get to that, I wanted to talk about something that's been on my mind the past few months...


I shared earlier this year how we made the decision that I would stay home with Henry and I have really been enjoying it so far. I just love getting to spend so much time with him and I genuinely like taking care of him all day! I feel really thankful to have this opportunity to be home full-time and it's definitely been the right choice for our family. I've been pretty active about getting out and doing things with him during the day, but we also do spend quite a bit of time at home each week as well. And although I did work from a home office before Henry was born, I feel like being a stay-at-home mom now has definitely changed my mindset when it comes to the state of our house.

Before, the house would get messy but Cameron would be at work and I'd be in our office on the computer pretty much from the time I woke up until the time he got home (and most nights I would have emails to send for work after he got home too) and so the mess wouldn't really bother us all that much. We'd both do things here and there to pick up the house, but since we were both working full-time during the week, any major cleaning was usually a joint effort that took place on the weekends.

Now that I'm home all day with Henry, I feel like the house being messy has started to bother me a lot more, especially over the past few months. It's not that our house is always messy, and  but I just feel like it's this losing battle where it will be clean for like half a day and then it just starts becoming a disaster again. And if it's like this when our kid can't even walk, how much worse is it going to get?



I think before Henry was born, I had this idea that if I stayed home full-time, our house would just be spotlessly clean all the time. But now that I've been doing this SAHM gig for a few months, that's definitely not the case and it's a little disheartening for two reasons - 1) Although my primary focus with staying home is (obviously) taking care of Henry, I also view keeping the house in order as a part of my "job." Which is not to say Cameron doesn't help out in this area, because he does. A lot. And I'm not saying that every single little thing that needs to get done around here should always fall on my shoulders because I'm not working outside the house, it's just from a practical and logistical standpoint, I'm the one who is actually home all day, so it would make sense that this is an area that would be more of my responsibility. That's why it's frustrating to constantly look around and feel like you're falling short. And 2) I'm the one that's actually in the house all day, and so when it's not clean, it's just not the most pleasant environment and it's annoying to feel like you're living in a disaster area.

Granted, I'm exaggerating a little bit, our house is not that bad. And I realize that when you have kids, your house isn't going to be spotless and I'm really not trying to hold myself to some unrealistic standard of perfection. It's just seemed like I was making this whole housekeeping issue much harder than it had to be and that's what's been bothering me. I just felt there has to be an easier way.

On top of my frustration with the house, I was also feeling somewhat frustrated with myself. It seemed like every day I would go to get dressed and literally have nothing to wear. I'd have baskets of clean laundry in my room waiting to be put away that I'd pick through to try and find something because most of the items in my overflowing closet either didn't fit or didn't work for nursing. I'd inevitably end up just wearing workout clothes most days, regardless of the day's activities. I didn't want to come to terms with the fact that my body isn't exactly where I thought it would be at this point in time, so I was avoiding the issue by settling for going out in public feeling really blah about myself.

The thing is though, I really do love being a stay at home mom. And so I started to realize that going through life being dissatisfied with the state of my house and my appearance is a really foolish thing to do, especially when I'm doing something I love so much. It was around this time that two different concepts crossed my radar - a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and capsule wardrobes. Both of these things have been pretty popular in the blogging world for awhile and although I had heard of both before, over the past few months they're things that have really been a huge focus for me. And although they aren't really related to one another, the core principle behind both things is really the same. It's all about simplifying your life when it comes to material possessions and it's an idea that's really been resonating with me lately. It's the concept that your house and your wardrobe should be these things that support the life you want, not things that should add stress.

There's a quote that I love that says "If things in your life aren't adding up, start subtracting"...or something along those lines :) I've just had such a strong desire this summer to just purge and declutter and get rid of things, thanks to those two concepts. Because what this all boils down to is that I really just want to fully embrace and enjoy this season of being at home with Henry and I've realized the way to do that is by simplifying and getting rid of the extra "stuff." It's not rocket science, I just want to be able to easily get dressed in the morning in something besides workout clothes and to have a house that I feel comfortable in. That way, I can focus my attention on what's really important, spending time with family and friends and being the best mother to this little guy that I possibly can.



That's not to say that this whole idea of simplifying is easy for me...quite the opposite. I'm a Midwestern girl that loves nothing more that going to Target or HomeGoods and blowing money on random stuff I don't need. And although I'm trying to move in the right direction, Rome wasn't built in a day and I'm definitely not there yet. But at least now I feel like I have some tools to actually help me put a more simplified life in place and that in and of itself is really exciting!

Since this post is already pretty long, I am planning on doing two separate posts to go into more detail about the concepts I mentioned, with one reviewing The Magic of Tidying book and how I've been trying to apply that this summer and then another about my take on a capsule wardrobe/mom uniform. I'm looking forward to sharing these more specific posts with you soon, but for now it felt nice to ramble and share what's been on my heart this summer!


This post was also the perfect opportunity to share a few photos my friend Ali took while we were out in wine country last month :) These were taken back in mid-June before we left for our trip and it's crazy to me how much different Henry already looks!


PS: I had this post prepared for today before I heard the news that one of my favorite Southern bloggers, Leslie from A Blonde Ambition, passed away earlier this week. I was incredibly heartbroken to hear this news because even though I obviously didn't know Leslie personally, I loved reading her blog because of her sweet personality that shined through all of her posts. I remember thinking she was the cutest pregnant girl ever when she was expecting and I loved following along as she became a mom to two beautiful girls. When she started posting about her health issues earlier this year, I specifically remember telling Cam about her because I was honestly so floored by the incredibly positive attitude she seemed to maintain despite going through such a hard time. She just seemed like the nicest person who was truly beautiful inside and out and I'm so saddened by her passing. I read on Kelly's blog (which I totally did not realize that's how Leslie and her husband met) that some bloggers would be sharing posts about her today and so I wanted to just share my thoughts. My prayers go out to Leslie's family at this difficult time and I encourage you to keep them in your prayers as well.

5 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your post script. I loved Leslie's blog and was thinking of her. Since I don't read Kelly's Korner, I didn't know the news. Praying for her and her family.

    Also, remember, your house is always messier to you than to any guest you may have.

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  2. It gets better and easier. Henry is still in need of a lot of attention and as he gets closer to 2, he'll not need as much of your attention. You'll still be playing and doing fun stuff with him, but he will be willing to entertain himself more and give you an opportunity to clean. I also use a planner and schedule out my cleaning for the week. That way, if I have it written down and segmented, I can typically get it done no matter what happens. I have to adapt all the time as Ellie gets older because it's always changing. Like, now, I can't fold the laundry bc Ellie will tear it up so I have to dump unfolded laundry on the bed and fold it while I clean the room. I also started getting "dressed" more and putting on make up after she started walking and after I stopped nursing so much. But for the first year, I didn't do anything bc I was adjusting and really wanted to focus on her vs worrying about my house being spotless!

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  3. I have a hard time simplifying too! We have so much junk that I can't seem to part ways with. Same with clothes!

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  4. Oh man... I'm with you on the house cleaning front. When I was staying at home full time I did feel like it was my job to keep the house (to an extent of course) and give my son my full attention because I was not bringing in income. It was a way for me to do my part for the household. As I started doing the work at home thing it got daunting because I was at home, but I was so busy working and taking care of the kiddo that I was a pure mess! Now my husband works at home full-time, I'm out of the house, and my son is in full time child care (my husband's job is mainly on the phone all day long so he couldn't really watch the kiddo during that time)... because I am out of the house for 12 hours a day and because he is home (even though he actually brings home more income than me) he has taken on most of the household responsibilities. It is crazy how some things work out!

    But, anyways, I've really been thinking about getting the book you mentioned because I hate the clutter that is going on at home right now, even with all my husbands hard work and no kiddo at home during the day, the place is just a mess. I look forward to your review!

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  5. I've heard a lot about The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up--but I'm not ready to read it myself first. The idea of purging in my house (which, don't get me wrong, really needs to be done) is just overwhelming.

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Your sweet words make my day! :)

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