I’ve kind of peaced out of a lot of things lately and just taken a step back. We got back from our two month stay in Tennessee at the beginning of February. I spent most of February just trying to get a routine back. Things have been a little bumpy for us as I’ve just been majorly busy, trying to train for a half marathon, battling sleep woes with both girls, & some illness.
It always seems like when I’m all “let’s do this!” Life is just like “haha, nice try.” But we really have maintained some consistency, and the biggest key to that has been DOING LESS.
I’ve been majorly inspired by Emily Ley as of late. I just finished Grace Not Perfection and am going to start The Simplified Life shortly. While you have to take everything someone says with a grain of salt sometimes, I’ve appreciated much of what she talks about, especially since she is the mom of little kids and runs a business.
Overall, life has felt a lot like tons of pressure to do and be things for other people that then in turn make my life crazy. And I am just so sick of the crazy and too old to be doing anything except exactly what I want. And right now, that’s focusing on family, motherhood, and leaving margin (as Emily loves to put it) for, you know, things I actually want to do, instead of every second of every day being filled and frantic and chaos.
Yes, life with littles is chaos at times, but what chaos can be tamed, I will.
I love the idea of do and don’t do. I thought of making this it’s own post entirely, but I can squeeze it in here since it fits perfectly.
What do I do?
- preschool and sensory activities at home with Claire (which I truly never thought I’d ever get around to, but I’ve made time for it)
- stay home more often than not. It gives me time for our rhythms, I get most chores done here and there throughout the day, and it gives the girls a consistent time to nap or rest
- make simple daily to do lists of what I hope to accomplish that week or day and do them. They can be as simple as “sweep, dust, and mop” or more complex. It doesn’t really matter, as long as I am accomplishing something each day and see that progress.
- Stick to our routine. Like glue if I can. Maybe I should make this a separate post if anyone is interested. I won’t list our routine here, but I have certain activities certain days of the week that we always go to. I try to be out from 8:30-9 am to 11:30-12:30 pm so we can have lunch at home and then naps or quiet time for Claire. The more our days are consistent, the more consistent our weeks are, the more I know what to expect. It’s hard for me to have spontaneity lately but that’s okay because I would rather have happy, well-adjusted kids and not reap the consequences of pushing our limits later.
- do things that bring me joy instead of suck life out of me. I love cleaning our home and organizing. I spend a lot of time when I’m able to on that. I love to run an prioritize a running group near me a few times a week. I love to just take pictures of the girls or stuff in my home and spend time editing them.
- do all the things. Clean our home. Grocery shop. Make meals. Clean everything again. Laundry. Etc. All the typical chores and stuff.
What don’t I do?
- take on every photo session opportunity that comes my way. I actually let a lot of inquires go recently because people just weren’t responding. I could chase these people down, but I truly don’t have time for a huge amount of work in my life right now and that’s okay for this season.
- say yes to every play date, get together or leadership opportunity. I used to be a yes person. Now I feel more like a no person and even though that sounds negative, it’s been the most positive change in my life recently.
- watch TV. Still going on 7 YEARS without TV. We don’t have Netflix on our computers or anything. Watching shows is just not a thing for me. I don’t say it to brag, but it is just one thing that takes up zero of my time so there’s that!
- spend a lot of time cooking. At least lately. This will probably change when my husband is home, but right now I spend very little time on meals. I eat very simply, eat a lot of leftovers from one dish I make, or just make easy to heat up things. I do wish I was eating a touch healthier than I do right now, but cooking during witching hour with two kids by myself just isn’t gonna happen.
- care about fashion, like whatsoever. Oops. I enjoy shopping and like clothes, but I am not the get-up-and-put-on-make-up-and-super-cute-clothes lady, like ever. I wear the same things over and over again. Even when I am “trying” a little harder, I am most likely still wearing leggings. Whatever.
- outsource anything. I do not have a maid, use grocery delivery, and use baby sitters rarely.
I listed all that because I think it’s important to understand for myself what I do and don’t do, but I think it’s also helpful for others to see that no one is doing it all. It is so easy to scroll through social media and think everyone is doing it all well and all the time.
Jodie is cooking amazing meals, so and so has a great home based business, Malorie homeschools her kids, Sarah is so well dressed all the time, and Casey has an immaculate house!
But you know what all those ladies don’t have in common? ALL those things at the same time. No one does.
I feel like I am just old enough to realize that time is so limited, but I still have a lot of time (I would hope!) in life to get “all the things” done. Right now, I’ve shifted my focus to my girls, which just feels natural and right.
I never formally announced it here, but I opened an Etsy shop, somewhat on a whim, at the beginning of the year for typewritten prints. I had great intentions and still fully plan to go with this idea. But I have done notta with it since coming back home. Nope. And I haven’t made one sale either. How sad! I’m not marketing it or making new products though. It doesn’t surprise me in the least. But you know what? I’m 100% okay with it.
Eventually I want to stop saying “someday” to getting in gear with the shop, but now is just not the right time. I feel like the old me, year ago or prior me, would be having a heart attach now because OMG what if all the people somewhere whoever they are are JUDGING me for the fact that I’m making zero progress with this shop?!?! And it’s not an instant overnight success?!?!
I find that the more I think like that, the more it robs me of joy. And also, people aren’t paying that much attention anyway 😉 I always find that when someone quits social media (if it’s not a legit close friend anyway), when they come back, I’m never like “oh wow, I have been sitting here waiting for you to post.” Nope. I am too focused on my own life to have even noticed. So I’m sure the same is true for me.
Like I said above, I am also taking a step back with photography some. I was super busy in the holiday season before I left. I did zero paid sessions and just did a bunch of personal work while I was in TN and that was great and much needed for me to still do photography but without any pressure of delivering anything. I still have work going on, four sessions this month. That is about my max anyway. But I am not marketing myself anymore. I was wanting to do Easter mini sessions and that never came about. And I’m just okay with less right now. I still love both my businesses, but I am happier prioritizing the simple life and my children than all my “big” dreams at this time.
I’m happy to look back on my New Year’s post about my words of the year and see that I am in fact making progress with what I intended to do. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like I am making progress with things because I am doing a lot less. But instead I have time to do less things better instead of do more things poorly, as I’ve often done.
I feel like I’ve tackled starting preschool, maintaining a good schedule for us, & just being a bit more content with being a stay-at-home-mom that you know, actually stays home sometimes! Imagine that… I used to be so go-go-go. I could definitely use work in a more consistent fitness routine other than running alone, eating a bit healthier, and eventually getting some more work done in my businesses. I feel like I’ve taken a bite off what I can actually chew instead of more and that feels good. I hope I can keep it up and keep the crazy at bay!
Questions for You:
- Is the concept of a simplified life realistic or unreasonable to you? (This seems to be a love or hate thing from what I see on social media!)
- If you set New Year’s resolutions or goals this year, how are you doing with them now?