About a year and a half ago, I was working with a client named Sarah. She is a stay at-home mom of a toddler and a preschooler, and she runs a little side business out of her home. She definitely had a full schedule!
Sarah’s house was not large enough for either a dedicated play area or an office, so her family room served all of those functions. As you can imagine, trying to run her business with toys everywhere was not going to work. So she was incredibly intentional about keeping the amount of toys reasonable, ensuring that all the toys fit neatly into just a few bins, and that those bins fit neatly on the family room shelves.
There was only one glitch . . . clean-up!
Her original routine was to have the kids clean up just before nap. Nap time was mom time. Her time. Her one and only chance during the day to be alone and take care of herself. Whether she was working on her business, or just relaxing on the couch, she wanted the family room to be in cleared of all kid stuff. That meant the toys had to be put away.
Unfortunately, getting the kids to clean up their toys was like pulling teeth. They would resist, drag their feet, and complain, which prompted Mom to insist, urge, and nag.
Of course, Sarah could have done the clean-up herself. It would have been easier and much faster, but her kids needed to learn to take responsibility for their own belongings.
How could she resolve the clean-up dilemma?
We have all experienced that feeling.
We fight the same battle over and over, and even when we “win” we still feel like a failure because of the frustration and negativity involved. It leaves us feeling trapped in an endless cycle that we can’t see our way out of.
Cooking a healthy dinner is just not in the cards. We will never be ahead of the laundry cycle. We will never get control of our closet.
Then we see a sarcastic meme on Facebook about what we’re struggling with. While it makes us grin and feel some relief that we’re not alone, it also makes us shrug our shoulders and accept our fate. I guess this is just what life is like as a mom.
And we forget.
We forget that we have choices.
We forget that we have the freedom to change the way we do things.
This is my house, these are my kids, and I have the power to make it function better!
It’s time to take control and manage your home on purpose.
That’s exactly what Sarah did. After sharing her struggle with me, I pointed out that the two obstacles making clean-up difficult were: 1) the size of the mess, and 2) the fact that the kids were tired and needing a nap.
So, I proposed a new routine:
FIRST: Have the kids clean up one time just before morning snack. They still have their morning energy, they are naturally motivated because they want their snack, and the mess is small because they’ve only been playing for a little while.
SECOND: Have the kids clean up a second time just before lunch. Again, the mess is small and they are motivated by hunger.
THIRD: After lunch, I suggested they do one simple activity together as a family. Play a board game or color together. Something simple, calm, and extremely easy to clean-up before nap.
Sarah tried the new routine, and it worked!
It took a while for the kids to get used to cleaning up more often, but once they realized that it was easier to clean small messes, the aggravation was gone. No more battles, no more nagging, no more complaining!
The best side-effect was that putting her kids down for nap finally became the pleasant experience she was hoping for, and Mom-time became that much much sweeter.
I love telling this story because it clearly illustrates the heart of Home On Purpose.
We identified the source of the dysfunction, and only changed what needed to change. In Sarah’s case, she didn’t declutter, downsize, or even reorganize the toys. It was the same kids in the same house with the same toys in the same bins on the same shelves!
Simply by changing the timing, clean-up time went from an aggravating power struggle to a smooth routine.
I’ve talked to so many moms who feel stuck just like Sarah did. They assume their frustrations are unsolvable. (I guess this is just what life with a toddler is like.) They assume the amount of work required is more than they can give. (I can’t possibly sort through my entire wardrobe!).
So, day after day they summon just enough patience to cope, feeling tired when they succeed and guilty when they don’t. Hopelessness is both paralyzing and blinding. It frightens us into doing nothing and blocks our vision from seeing the other options. Sometimes all we need is an outside voice to remind us that we’re not stuck and show us the possibilities.
Home On Purpose does exactly that!
In each video Lesson Series and through the Personal Consultations, the seemingly impossible project is broken down into clear, manageable steps. As you begin to work through each lesson, you will be amazed at how small changes can yield such big results.
You do not have to settle for the way things are!
If you are ready to get intentional and take control of your home again, sign up for a Lesson Series or request a Personal Consultation today!
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Take your next step toward a functional home today!