About a year and a half ago, I was working with a woman 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.
Sarah’s house was not large enough to dedicate an area exclusively for toys (or an office), so family room functioned also functioned as a play room and an office.
Any mom can tell you that if you’re not careful, toys will spread like The Blob and take over your house until they are all you see. So, the fact that Sarah’s kids had a reasonable amount of toys, that all of the toys fit neatly into a few bins, and those bins fit neatly on the family room shelves, demonstrated how intentional she was being.
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. Adult time. Her one 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 to make sure that the family room was in “adult mode.” That meant the toys had to be put away.
ourUnfortunately, when it was time to clean up before nap, getting the kids to clean up their toys was like pulling teeth. They would resist, drag their feet, and complain, prompting mom to insist, urge, and nag.
Of course, Sarah could have done the clean-up herself much faster, but then her kids would never learn to take responsibility for their own belongings. But she hated the daily battle that clouded nap-time in negativity and left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.
Sarah felt stuck.
We have all experienced that feeling. Over and over, we fight the same battle, 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 funny meme on Facebook about what we’re struggling with. While it makes us giggle and feel some relief that we’re not alone, it also makes us shrug our shoulders and accept our fate. I guess this is what life is like being a mom.
And we forget.
We forget that we have choices. That we can change the way we do things. That this is my house, my kids, my kitchen, my wardrobe, and I have the power to change things and make it better!
That’s exactly what Sarah did. After sharing her struggle with me, I pointed out that the obstacles were the kids’ energy level and the size of the mess. Waiting until just before nap to clean the whole morning’s mess wasn’t working. So, I proposed a new routine:
Have the kids play after breakfast as usual, but require that they clean up once before morning snack.
The kids still have their morning energy, Mom isn’t available to help because she’s preparing the snack, the kids are naturally motivated to clean because they want the snack, and the mess is small because they’ve only been playing for a little while. I suggested she do the same just before lunch. The mess is small, and they’re motivated by hunger.
After lunch, I suggested she choose one activity to do together as a family. Just coloring books. Play a board game. Something simple, calm, and extremely easy to clean up before nap.
Sarah tried it, and it worked!
It took a while for the kids to get used to cleaning up more often, but once the new routine settled in, the aggravation was gone. No more battles, no more nagging, no more complaining, and when putting her kids down for nap finally became the pleasant experience she was hoping for, Mom-time became much sweeter.
I love telling this story because it illustrates so clearly the heart of Home On Purpose. Sarah didn’t declutter, downsize, or reorganize a single thing. 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 of the task, clean-up time went from an un-winnable 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, right?) They assume the amount of time and work required is more than they can give. (I can’t declutter my entire wardrobe!).
So, day after day they attempt to summon 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 lesson series, the impossibly enormous project is broken down into focused lessons with clear, manageable steps. As you begin to work through each task, you will be amazed at how easy it is to make small changes that yield big results.
You do not have to settle for the way things are. This is your house, and you have the power to make it whatever you want it to be!
If you are ready to get intentional and take control of your home again, click on the link below to sign up for a free introductory video!