When you are a mom of young children, finding time to do all the things that are important to you can be quite a challenge. To all you moms who have baby books of your littles that are filled with fun facts and dates, their milestones and photographs, I applaud you! I want to be you when I grow up. But the fact is, right now, for me...I'm lucky if I get milestone pictures taken on time let alone get them printed. With each new child we have added to our family, I have become more realistic with my goals. I simplify whenever and wherever I can. This has saved me so much frustration....just lower those expectations ;) haha, no but really. Pinterest is an amazing resource that I love but we just don't have to do it all! And there are things we can do that will make our lives a little more simple. So here are a few things I do or don't do to simplify things for our family and for my own sanity.
1. I Do Not Scrapbook
I used to. I used to enjoy scrap-booking before I had babies. But anymore, the mess it makes frustrates me, the time it takes frustrates me and the amount of stuff I have to store frustrates me. When the project brings more frustration then satisfaction, it could be time to take a hiatus. Maybe not forever but maybe for this season of life. Now, I do not worry that I haven't scrap-booked my babies 1st year...or her 5th. When I have time and when they have a buy one get two free sale ;) I use Snapfish or something similar to create a photo book online and have it printed. This is fabulous for me because then I can get 3 of the same book printed and I have grandparent gifts ready when needed. Or I order extras to save for the kids to have when they are grown.
2. I'm Selective WITH DIY
I am a creative at heart so some DIY is inevitable but it goes back to the frustration vs. satisfaction equation for me. My time is pretty limited so I don't take on too many DIY projects right now. Sometimes, it is just less stressful to purchase an item if I have the finances for it and save my DIY energy for another project. Birthday cakes for example, I have some cake decorating experience but this year, we've had so many things going on that it was just easier to purchase the kid's cakes. They didn't mind a bit and mommy didn't have to stress.
3. I De clutter Often
This is one that I have started in the last couple of years and I LOVE IT. I kinda just want to GET RID OF ALL THE STUFF. The more stuff you have, the more stuff you have to take care of. I don't like taking care of stuff. It sucks time from your day and time is so valuable! My babies will only be young once and for a little while (I know this even when our days go on forever and all the coffee is needed). I don't want ALL my time being spent trying to find a home for this or that and cleaning up. Life is too short. So now, If it doesn't have a place, if I don't LOVE it, if I wouldn't re-buy it...it might be time to donate/sell/trash it. This mentality has also motivated me to buy less stuff! This de-cluttering thing is seriously awesome. I am saving time, saving money...getting to LIVE MORE and enjoy where I live more.
4. I Don't Buy High Maintenance Clothing
Laundry is one of my least favorite jobs. I feel like an Olympic champion when all the hampers are empty and there aren't the usual piles of clothes haunting my to-do list. But I blink my eyes and the hampers are full. So by golly, if the tag says "handwash" um no...unless I ADORE it, its getting thrown in the wash. Maybe I'll flip the dial to "gentle". Because I already struggle in this area, one of the ways I try to simplify is to only purchase easy-care clothing items when possible. I think it is time once again to make number 3 on my list happen in my children's closet to give myself a fighting chance.
Let's talk ironing. I bought a pink iron so I could "create an environment for success". You know, maybe if I loved my cute iron, I'd enjoy the job a little more. It didn't have the same effect I had anticipated. When my daughter started attending a charter school last year for kindergarten and uniforms were required, I bought everything she needed without any attention paid to the quality of the fabric. I found some good sales at Children's Place and she was set. That purchase committed me for the rest of the year to my ironing board. I had to iron every polo, every dress, jumper, skort and pair of shorts every time I washed them. It didn't matter if I pulled them straight from a hot dryer or not. So, some days, I had her quickly change clothes when she got home from school so we could get another day's wear out of them, don't judge ;) she was only at school for three hours in kindergarten. Now that she is in first grade, the reuse system doesn't work as she goes full day. So this year, I bought nicer uniforms. I found them at Kohls. They cost a little more but were worth every penny! I can pull the jumpers straight from the warm dryer and they are completely wrinkle free. Even on a sit-in-the dryer-for-an-eternity day, her polos are WAY easier to iron then last year's. This has saved me hours ironing. I'll never buy cheap uniforms again if i can help it.
5. I Buy All Sippy Cups in the Same Brand
I know how tempting all those adorable cups are. But don't fall prey to the trap! ;) At one point a couple years ago, I had all kinds of sippy cups. Soft spout, hard spout, straws, cups with like 50 pieces, cups with 3 pieces. I'd go to grab a cup only to fumble through the pile of straws that didn't fit the cup I had grabbed. And hand-wash only??? GAHH! I finally got so fed up after a recent move as I was trying to find a good place for all the pieces in my new tiny kitchen that I did the thing I'd been dreaming of....I threw all the cups and straws and random pieces that had no mate away. All of them. I kept only one kind of cup. My inner frugal mom was crying at first. But I told her it was for the best. It was for our sanity and she survived to thank me later. Seriously. I can now mix and match ALL cup pieces because I buy all the same brand/style. They have a lid, a cup and one small white piece that keeps the cup from leaking, all interchangeable. It was life changing. This is applicable to big kid cups and water bottles too. Make things easier when you can.
These are a few of the things that I do to help simplify life. As a mom, we have so many things to juggle already. If you have things that regularly frustrate you or throw you off your rhythm, a few small changes towards simplicity may help to streamline your day. Have you found things that have saved you time or sanity? I'd LOVE to glean from your wisdom!