When I first moved to Hawaii, my son was 1 and my daughter was 2½. They had a lot of energy that was already difficult to keep up with, plus I was busy unpacking boxes and setting up our new house.
Unfortunately, I was woefully out of shape.
Truth be told, I had never really been in shape at any point in my life, but the physical demands of that season exposed it.
I knew logically (and because everybody who was in shape told me so) that regular exercise gives you more energy. When your body has cardio endurance and muscle, daily tasks, such as chasing a one year old, don’t drain you.
Even though I believed it was true, I put off exercising for a long time because I knew that getting started would not be fun.
Simply put, I was afraid.
When I finally worked up my courage to join a Stroller Strides group (amazing program by the way!), the first class almost killed me. The warm-up alone sapped my energy, and about halfway through the class I was ready to give up.
Enduring the Pain of the Beginning
Thankfully, the instructor and the other moms were extremely supportive. One mom even offered to push my double stroller at the same time as her own just to give me a break!
I miraculously made it through the workout, but that afternoon all I wanted to do was flop on the couch and close my eyes.
My body felt awful, my kids watched way too much TV that day, and my family had to make due with leftovers.
I certainly wasn’t excited to exercise again, but I went to another class two days later anyway.
Because I still believed the long-term result would be worth the effort.
After a few weeks of forcing myself to go to class, there came a day when the instructor said it was time to cool down, and I remember thinking, “Already?”
Surprisingly, I had been able to keep up with the others. That afternoon I felt good! I ran my errands, took the kids to the park, cooked dinner, and did a load of laundry, and I wasn’t exhausted. It was working!!!
Our Body is Like Our Home
I tell this story, because the exact same progression applies to getting our homes in shape.
When we have too much stuff, and when it is not organized in an intentional way, our house feels heavy and awkward.
When we don’t have routines for putting things away where they belong and taking care of household responsibilities, we trip over ourselves and everything takes more energy. At the end of the day we are left feeling exhausted and discouraged.
We know in our heads that decluttering, downsizing, reorganizing, and training our habits will make everything easier. We believe other women who say that the work is worth the effort. But we also know that getting started is going to be tough.
The first night you stay on your feet an extra 15 minutes after you put the kids to bed, to clear the kitchen counters and do the dishes, it’s not going to be fun. You will have to force yourself not to flop on the couch.
But the next morning, you experience the joy of waking up to a clean kitchen. You’ll have your coffee in hand before the kids come downstairs, which makes breakfast easier and faster, which makes it easier to get out the door on time, and you’ll say to yourself, “It’s working!”
Push Through the Pain
The first time you donate a bag filled with clothes that you paid money for and barely wore, it’s not going to feel great.
You will have to acknowledge shopping mistakes, and force yourself to delete things you wish you could keep.
But one day you will be putting your laundry away, and you’ll realize you can actually fit all of your clothes and shoes neatly in your closet at the same time! You will be glad you pushed through the pain.
The first time you sit with your children to sift through their toys, you will have to summon a whole lot of patience and persistence. But, oh my goodness, the relief when your kids are finally capable of cleaning up the play room!
Most of us have been putting off the decluttering, downsizing, and reorganizing process, because we dread the beginning. But the truth is, the energy it takes to live in a cluttered and dysfunctional house year after year is more taxing than the energy it would take to get the house in shape once and for all.
Looking back, I might not have been able to push through those first few workout sessions had it not been for the encouraging and supportive group of moms who walked with me.
So, when you are ready to finally get your house in shape, please don’t try to do it on your own.
1. Find a friend to work through the lesson series with you
2. Join the Home On Purpose Facebook group, set up a one on-one video chat consultation with me, and take advantage of all of the encouragement and support.
3. Force yourself to push through those first few uncomfortable steps, and one day, I promise, you will say to yourself, “It’s working!”