Parenting: Don’t Try To Do the Most Important Job Alone

Parenting: Don’t Try To Do the Most Important Job Alone

 

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:12

When it comes to moms and clutter, I feel like there are two kinds of women:

  1. Those who used to have beautiful, presentable, comfortable homes before kids.
  2. Those who have always struggled with clutter, but abandoned all hope of being clutter free once kids came along.

I see a couple parallels between learning to be clutter free and raising kids.

1. Both becoming clutter free and raising kids look simple for other people, and feel impossible for us.

Before working the Clutter Free system, I couldn’t figure out how everyone else kept their house so perfect. I now know that a lot of those people, because they are a part of Clutter Free Academy, had closet clutter. While their houses looked perfect, you wouldn’t dare open a closet door.  I had bought all the books and tried to enact a plan, but none of those resources seemed to cover my issues.

It was the same with raising small kids; it seemed like everyone else had the secret manual on how to grow little ones. They had a plan, and apparently I was out of school the day that plan was handed out. Even though I’d read all the books and taken all the classes, it felt like every situation that came up with my kids hadn’t been covered in the books.

2. Both becoming clutter free and raising kids can feel isolating and lonely.

One of the main reasons we created the Clutter Free Academy online community is because clutter can be incredibly isolating. The fear, guilt and shame that go with clutter can keep us secretive and alone.

It is the same with being a parent. When we feel that everyone “gets it” except us, it can lead to feelings of loneliness and “otherness.” I’m so grateful there were groups like MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers International) when my kids were little. I needed to sit with other moms who were honest about their struggles — not every day with their kids looked like tidy finger painting and super-fun playdates where lattes and laughter were served.

I think one of the best things we can do in every tough journey—including decluttering and mothering— is normalizing those feelings of just not measuring up. When we read the books, gather with others, and are open and honest about our own experiences, it’s amazing how we can lessen the feelings of fear, guilt and shame that so often accompany hard things.

One of the resources I will be giving the moms in my life is Grit and Grace: Devotions for Warrior Moms. I love that the two authors, Suzanne and Gretta, are as real about the challenges and self-doubt around mothering as they are about the fact that they feel like they may never recover from bringing children into their homes.

Don’t do any of this alone. The mothering, the decluttering or anything else you feel like you just have to “grit” through. Because while you may need to grit those teeth, you don’t have to do it alone.

Hang in There, Mama!

For those moments when you think you’ll never live up to the Supermoms around you—when you’re elbow deep in the grind of diapers and laundry and peanut butter sandwiches—you need a good dose of Grit and Grace.

This refreshing collection of 90 daily devotions comes from two moms who’ve found themselves face-to-the-floor in need of encouragement—and now they’re offering it to you. Through humor and vulnerability, these short messages of truth remove the filters of perfection clouding your vision and bring clarity to your purpose as a mom. As you read the Scripture and prayer that accompany each day’s message, you’ll discover more fully who you are in Christ and how to raise your children to reflect His love to the world.

In receiving grace from the One who is present in your life right now and in every moment, you will find you have ever more grace to give your kids.

CONNECT

Stop by www.suzannegosselin.com to get to know Suzanne, author and stay-at-home mom.

WIN

Enter to WIN! We are giving away a Grand Prize one lucky winner PLUS, Harvest House gave us 5 additional copies of Grit and Grace to give away to five more lucky winners! Our Grand Prize winner will get:
• A copy of Grit and Grace, of course!
• A $50 Starbucks card to take you and your mom friends out for coffee on us!!!

Enter to win by leaving a comment about your biggest kid related clutter issue below in the comments section. (We’ll randomly select 6 winners and notify them in the comments section by February 27th.)

REFLECT AND RESPOND

Today, look at the woman in your mirror and tell her, “God knew what He was doing when He picked you to be your kids’ mom.” Pray for God to guide you to reach out to a mom who needs to hear this same message: give her a call, drop her an email, or send her a quick text.

Kathi Lipp and Clutter Free thank Harvest House for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

Spring Fling Day #7: Create a Clutter-Free Living Room

Spring Fling Day #7: Create a Clutter-Free Living Room

The living is easy …

Okay, depending on what you use your living room for, maybe the living isn’t all that easy. And whatever you call it (living room, family room, den), it can be a clutter trap. In many houses, the living room sees the worst of every family member’s clutter habits. It can become the dumping ground for All. The. Things.

And if you are the Clutter Monitor, it’s often a full-time job keeping the living room clean.

It Gets Better in the Living Room

I know you want a room you’re not embarrassed to host unexpected guests. And a place where you can relax at the end of the day without feeling all jittery from clutter surrounding you.

living room

We now have that kind of living room. When it came to finding my 20 things, I was frustrated because it was so hard. But then it dawned on me: my years of decluttering are paying off. I can be thrilled with the progress I’ve made.

So for all of you who have had a hard time finding your “things”? Celebrate – it’s working!

Instructions:

– Set up your three boxes/totes and two bags.
– Pick one area to work on. Maybe the TV console or the coffee table. Just pick one area, and if you run out of things to fling there, you can move on.
– Set a timer and go for it. 10 minutes usually can do it, but if you need to put another 10 minutes on the timer, by all means!

Bonus:

Maybe there are other rooms that fall under the “living” category. Your dining room, a den, your family room? Get 20 things out of that room if you have a little extra time and a little extra motivation.

Share Your Fling

After you fling, either tell us about it or share a picture in the comments. Remember, each day (at the end of the Fling) there will be one winner, randomly drawn from the comments, who will receive a copy of The Cure for the Perfect Life from Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory. So share below and tell us about your fling.

Spring Fling Day #6: Organize the Laundry Room

Spring Fling Day #6: Organize the Laundry Room

organize the laundry room

Day six of the Spring Fling and it’s time to come clean … and organize the laundry room.

It is my pit of shame. Oh friends. I can’t even believe I am showing you the before picture…

laundry room

It Gets Better in the Laundry Room

Yes, my laundry area gets CRAZY, but the good news is that I know it will not be an all day project to get it back to functional. This is a picture of what my laundry area looks like after 30 minutes.

laundry room

When you know it will only take 30 minutes to get back to functioning, it’s easier to not put it off for months on end.

Instructions:

  • Set up your three boxes/totes and two bags.
  • Clear off one surface at a time – first the washer, then the dryer so you have a clear space to work off.
  • Condense boxes. Have a place for single socks (we all have them).

Don’t let outgrown/old/nobody wants them clothes linger in the laundry area. This is valuable real estate friend. Make it as functional as possible.

Bonus:

Once you clear the space, put something inspirational up there. I’m going to print off a sign with this quote by Fred Rogers:

I believe that appreciation is a holy thing – that when we look for what’s best in a person we happen to be with at the moment, we’re doing what God does all the time. So in loving and appreciating our neighbor, we’re participating in something sacred.”

I mean, won’t that make cleaning socks for those we love a holy act of service?

laundry room

Share Your Fling

After you fling, either tell us about it or share a picture in the comments. Remember, each day (at the end of the Fling) there will be one winner, randomly drawn from the comments, who will receive a copy of The Cure for the Perfect Life from Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory. So share below and tell us about your fling.

Spring Fling Day #3: Clear Out the Bathroom

Spring Fling Day #3: Clear Out the Bathroom

clear out the bathroom

Day three of the Spring Fling, and it’s time to get serious … Let’s clear out the bathroom!

I’m not so worried about your sentimental attachments in the bathroom. (“But I can’t throw away that bottle of Axe Body Wash! I have to keep it — it was the last time my son smelled good.”)

But if you are anything like me, your bathroom can easily get filled with “just in case” items.

I am a worst-case-scenario kinda girl.

“What if we run out of money and I can never buy shampoo again. I don’t want to regret throwing out that six-year-old bottle of Head and Shoulders my cousin left here.”

What if I lose my job and I can’t buy lipstick again. Even though this color makes me look like an extra on the Walking Dead, it’s better than nothing, right? I should hold on to it.”

I get it. I’m a sick, sick woman.

clear out the bathroom

Those things in the picture? Those were all from my kids’ bathroom.

No kid has lived here in over a year. But I kept it all — just in case.

Did I mention that I’m a sick, sick woman?

I bet you may have had some of these thoughts as well. Otherwise, why would you have six containers of foundation and only use one?

It Gets Better

One of the best things you can do to reduce clutter in your bathroom is become brand loyal. If you are a product junkie, always trying out new lipsticks, hairsprays, etc., it’s easy to keep six different kinds of mascara around because you’re never quite sure which one is the best. Find a product that works for you, and when you start to run out, buy another one. But stop buying products you already have.

Instructions:

– Set up your three boxes/totes and two bags.
– Start with one drawer or one shelf.
– Do NOT pull everything in your bathroom to sort it out. Take it one drawer, shelf, or basket at a time.

Bonus:

Want to stay Clutter Free in your bathroom? Commit to using up what you have. Only buy a new bottle of shampoo once you’ve used up the rest of the shampoo you have on hand.

You say, “But I would never use that old bottle of Head and Shoulders!”

clear out the bathroom

Then throw it out. Only keep what you will actually use. This goes for makeup as well. When you run out, you can buy a new bottle, tube, or jar guilt free. Not only will this save you space, it will also save you money.

Share Your Fling

After you fling, either tell us about it or share a picture in the comments. Remember, each day (at the end of the Fling) there will be one winner, randomly drawn from the comments, who will receive a copy of The Cure for the Perfect Life from Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory. So share below and tell us about your fling.

Spring Fling Day #7: Create a Clutter-Free Living Room

Spring Fling Day #7: Create a Clutter-Free Living Room

The living is easy …

Okay, depending on what you use your living room for, maybe the living isn’t all that easy. And whatever you call it (living room, family room, den), it can be a clutter trap. In many houses, the living room sees the worst of every family member’s clutter habits. It can become the dumping ground for All. The. Things.

And if you are the Clutter Monitor, it’s often a full-time job keeping the living room clean.

It Gets Better in the Living Room

I know you want a room you’re not embarrassed to host unexpected guests. And a place where you can relax at the end of the day without feeling all jittery from clutter surrounding you.

living room

We now have that kind of living room. When it came to finding my 20 things, I was frustrated because it was so hard. But then it dawned on me: my years of decluttering are paying off. I can be thrilled with the progress I’ve made.

So for all of you who have had a hard time finding your “things”? Celebrate – it’s working!

Instructions:

– Set up your three boxes/totes and two bags.
– Pick one area to work on. Maybe the TV console or the coffee table. Just pick one area, and if you run out of things to fling there, you can move on.
– Set a timer and go for it. 10 minutes usually can do it, but if you need to put another 10 minutes on the timer, by all means!

Bonus:

Maybe there are other rooms that fall under the “living” category. Your dining room, a den, your family room? Get 20 things out of that room if you have a little extra time and a little extra motivation.

Share Your Fling

After you fling, either tell us about it or share a picture in the comments. Remember, each day (at the end of the Fling) there will be one winner, randomly drawn from the comments, who will receive a copy of The Cure for the Perfect Life from Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory. So share below and tell us about your fling.