Ive been in my own little “growth spurt”. My husband left on a business trip for several weeks and I, as a mom of a newborn infant of 10 weeks and a 3 yr old toddler, had to learn how to do it all on my own. I was aprehensive on the start of it, but decided to just dive in and take it one day at a time. It actually turned into an interesting time of re-learning who I am in the sense of how I want to live.

I realized I really don’t like all the literal stuff that is around me: clothes, decorations, jewelry, dishes. Lots of the stuff I have, I have been given or inherited. Very little have I chosen. I ooh and ah over things I like, but almost never purchase or incorporate them into my life. Its always somebody else’s and I can’t have it. So I decided that enough is enough, and I began to purge. My guest room is now filled with all the things ready for consignment or yard sales, that I am praying people buy so that I can get the stuff I want. I want to look at my things and feel happy, not stressed.

Now I want to clarify some: I am EXTREMELY grateful for all the things I have been given. My children have been clothed and we have many things thanks to the generosity of friends and family. I’ve just realized that I have too much. Its time to bless others. Some stuff I have been giving away, while others I hope to spread the gift from one thing to another. I see it as an exchange. i.e. Thank you, for this amazing set of outfits that we have now outgrown. I hope to sell them to turn them into training pants, as my son learns the art of the potty so the stash of diapers I have will last three days instead of 2, and hopefully soon will no longer have to wash one childs soiled underclothes.

I traveled for five years out of a suitcase so little of the things of our house have been acquired because of me. The dishes were all my husbands before we married. We never had a gift registry so nothing was picked out by me. The majority of what we’ve purchased has been because it was the least expensive option that seemed liveable.

But then there are the things that I purchased thoughtfully that I love. We lovingly purchased our mattress. Best and worst decision of our marriage; I LOVE my bed. I dont want to sleep anywhere else and I will happily stay in it as long as possible each day, which is part of why I nap when the children do. After hours of debate in the store (which drove my husband nuts) I LOVE my curtains. Everytime I look at them I smile with peace and joy. They are beautiful and perfect. I’ve decided to spread those feelings throughout my home. I want to be surrounded by things that bring me peace….which I have found is having less, not more. Thus the purge. Right now, there is too many and it is stressful. I don’t need 6 travel coffee mugs. I don’t need 15 tupperware containers, or 30 6 month onesies. Less is more: less to clean, less to manage, less to have to find space for = more time to my family, more time to myself, and more time enjoying ice cream with my husband.

Mothering v. Chores

This is a great area of learning for me. 90 % of the time mothering trumps cleaning for me. Then when dirt interferes with my mothering, I clean. Some people are just so organized they never seem to have an issue with their house being dirty. This amazes me. It’s a skill. It’s an ability. I view it for me as a responsibility. I’m not good at it, but I have to do it. But how some days when your child declares for twenty minutes that he has “more poopoo” and refuses to get off the toilet, do you clean the dining room as he insists that you have to sit with them in the potty?

I am working on balance. House organization is overwhelming to me so I have to take it in baby steps. While cooking lunch, instead of thinking “the kitchen needs cleaning”, I think “while I wait for blank to cook, I can talk with my son and clean this counter.” After we eat I wash the dishes rather than leave them in the sink. As we play I encourage my son to put away what he is finished with. When we finish reading a book, he puts it back on the shelf. When we are finished with toys I put them back in the box (well some of them because otherwise he just pulls them back out again. My floor is forever covered with cars. However at the end of the day we tell him to park his cars which he does in a row along the wall so mommy and daddy don’t kill themselves tripping on the cars). How do you choose at moments in the day when to mother and when to focus on chores?

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