Our third time visiting Gulfport, Mississippi and it won’t be the last!! We are all about restful vacations in this family, and this is always just that: restful, peaceful, serene, and best of all—extremely memorable. I hope you enjoy reading this post and going through some of the pictures we captured while on our June vacation!Read More
I will always be thankful for books that I read that whisper their quotes into my ears long after I have turned their pages. It’s been a while since I’ve read Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker, however, this quote will always be one of my favorites. It is something that I live by and stand for, and I think it will probably resonate with many of you as well:
“Dear one, may I say something? It is not shallow or empty or frivolous to create a beautiful space to live in. It is not silly, not vainglorious, not a waste of time and energy. It doesn’t make you superficial nor slides you down the godly scale. We spend the majority of our hours in our homes with our people. Creating beauty and nurture under your roof with colors that soothe, art that inspires, furniture that invites, and textures that thrill is a wonderful use of your small space on the planet” (67).
I take a lot of pride in striving to keep our house clean. Some days we may find more clutter or pet hair than others (we do after all now have SIX pets living inside our humble abode…) However, there are some pretty basic steps that we do that guarantees pretty well for our house to be clean and put together. If you’re anything like me, you want something that you feel good about for your family, but you need something that works and won’t let you down. Do you agree?
Habit #1: Keeping an EMPTY Sink
I am ALL about products that take care of our essential needs, while doing the job they are designed to do…even and especially when it comes to dirty dishes. After every single meal, my family and I make sure that dishes are loaded INTO the dishwasher, and that they don’t simply pile up. Truthfully, my husband and I don’t even sit down for the night until this step has been made because doing so takes off stress and pressure in our busy mornings. With 1/3 bio based and other thoughtfully selected ingredients, New Cascade Pure Essentials is free of phosphates and chlorine but also FULL of power needed to get our dishes and silverware sparkling clean. I grew up in a household with a mom who always ran the dishwasher, regardless of how full it was. Every morning one of my chores was to empty the dishwasher and still to this day, it’s actually a task I kind of enjoy doing. Using a product such as Cascade makes this ‘chore’ even easier for us in the long run, because it cleans even baked-on foods and is tough on stuck-on messes. An added bonus, perfumes in the formula are infused with essential oils that offer a light citrus aroma (Lemon Essence and Orange Blossom). I really can’t stress enough how much we love using Cascade Pure Essentials. These are available at Target stores nationwide. Through March 30, save $1 off Cascade Pure Essentials (30 count or larger) using Cartwheel in the Target App here.
Habit #2: Having a Trusty Vacuum
“I know that Goldens shed…but do they shed a LOT?” I’m asked that question ALL the time, and my answer is always this: “Sure they shed a lot, but they’re more than worth it.” If I didn't have a trusty and reliable vacuum though, I may be swayed on that belief—however, we use a great cordless vacuum, and daily (or a couple times a day) we are able to pretty effortlessly clean our first floor with it. Yes, animals shed and kids track in dirt, but if you can get used to doing this in your daily grind, I really believe your stress will be lighter.
Habit #3: A Laundry Routine
What is your LEAST favorite adulting job…? Without a doubt, mine is laundry. Gone are the days of living at home, where your laundry was magically out of your hamper one day, then folded and ready to be put away the next. (Unless you’re MY kids…because that’s the story of their current life, ha ha). My husband and I try to do ONE load of laundry a day. And not just throwing it in the washer to let it sit and get covered with mildew…no, actually complete the laundry process: wash, dry, fold, put away. When the weekends come, we can breathe easier and we aren’t struggling with a multitude of laundry to contend with. This chore doesn’t come so effortlessly for me (or either of us), but when we follow through and make it happen, our life feels a LOT lighter.
Habit #4: Put It Away!
Every single night, our kids know they are supposed to pick up EVERYTHING off of their floors and put said things away in their proper places. And me, Mom, does this too in my own bedroom. Dirty socks, shirts, a random shoe, or whatever object that isn’t in its’ proper home—I put it away. This is another area in life that we don’t easily rest UNTIL the job is done? So we make sure to do it. A helpful idea is to set a timer for 20 minutes, and go crazy getting rid of/picking up clutter. I don’t know if you have kids or how old they are, but they need responsibilities. Ours are 5 and 6 years old, which is plenty old enough to carry up toys from the steps, and to make sure dirty or clean clothes are in their proper storage areas.
Habit #5: A Room a Day
Instead of trying to tackle our entire house (we have a two story house with an unfinished basement and with three bathrooms..) it makes more sense to clean one room in entirety, a day. I mean beyond the daily vacuuming and de-cluttering. Whichever room is scheduled for that day, clean it and clean it WELL. If it’s the bathroom, remove wastebaskets, scrub out the shower or bathtub, clean the sinks, wipe the mirror, and wash the floor with a cleaning solution. We have found that cleaning one room a day helps our weekends to be more restful, and often times, the kids ENJOY helping. Our daughter Reese LOVES to scrub toilets and to clean our basement steps. So vccc random and kind of funny, but she does a good job and at just five years old, she is learning what it means to create and KEEP a beautiful home.
I know this sounds like a lot. But honestly with the help of my husband and kids this is 30 minutes a day worth of habits that really have changed the way we keep a clean house! What are some must haves in your household for creating a clean space? What daily habits to you already use? What would you add to this list? I would love to hear your thoughts, please comment below and fill me in on all your hacks! :) Happy Cleaning, Friends!
In our house, we rotate bedtimes. Honest to goodness since the time they were no longer breastfeeding, my husband and I have switched on and off. If he puts Reese down, I put Pierson down. Sometimes there's the nights where that can't happen; I'll be shooting a wedding or have photography sessions for instance and Asa will do them both--or we'll flip flop because one kiddo has requested the other parent. But 95% of the time I think it's pretty routine that we just switch.
Recently it was my turn with Pierson. Tis' the season for all things Halloween, so he set out ALL the books that he had related to this holiday. We decided on Happy Halloween Little Critter, and before we began he rolled closer to me and asked, "Mom, what are YOU scared of?"
I could have told him that I used to be deathly afraid of praying mantis, (ahem, still am) or how I still fear pretty much ALL living creatures besides dolphins in the ocean...but I kind of froze. I decided to just matter of factly say, "Well, Buddy--most adults aren't really scared of things such as the dark, or monsters, or spooky things like that; we're more afraid of other things. I guess what I'm scared of is being a bad mom."
He straight up laughed, y'all!
"MOM!" he giggled. "You're not a BAD mom! That's just silly!"
And in that moment, I believed him. Five years of his life have come and went. His babyhood is a blur. I remember finding out I was pregnant with him, being excited that we would have a summer baby. I remember his first birthday, and trick or treating indoors when he was two because it was pouring out; he knocked on all the doors with his cousins and screamed "trick or treat!" I remember being terrified that I would break him. Surely my lack of knowledge in the motherhood department would at some point just utterly FAIL, and he wouldn't turn out okay.
Except that he did... and he has. And while his babyhood is a blur, his childhood is becoming a raw and vivid memory because that's the season we are in. I sit here and I wonder, in their short amount of time--their four and five years of living on this Earth, will they remember the wrongs?
I doubt any child remembers their youth as being perfect (because parents are human, and WE, are human). But lately I've wondered, how will they remember me? Pierson is my sensitive soul. If I raise my voice even a smidge, he winces and closes his eyes. I didn't lay a finger ON him, yet somehow his heart is shattered and his feelings are in disarray all over the ground. And then there's his sister, who I for the life of me and honest to God, cannot figure out. She can be so head strong and so TOUGH, and most days it doesn't feel as if anything I say or do affects her whatsoever. Can you guess what that translates to for me...?
A LOT of anger. I often feel that my life is a permanent profession of redirecting and saying phrases like, "Please stop. DON'T do that. You NEED to listen. You need to go to time out. Okay, I'm done. NO!" And then I remind myself--I am currently teaching kindergarten through fifth grades AND I have a four and a five year old at home. Oh, hello!
But this really isn't about her--or him. It's about moms. And the fact that I think there are a LOT of you who are scared of being bad at your job. But the truth is, you aren't. I just bought Jen Hatmaker's newest book, "Of Mess and Moxie," and it arrived at THE perfect time. She said this, which I just loved:
"Friends...I believe we can take a handful of things quite seriously as parents and take the rest less seriously, and it is all going to be okay. You are doing an amazing job. Your children know that they are loved and have felt it all these years deeply, intrinsically. If we get seven out of ten things mostly right as moms, we are winning the majority, and the majority wins the race." (Pg 17).
It's actually taken me over a month to finish this post, because guess what, today we just set up our CHRISTMAS TREE. No, Thanksgiving hasn't even passed, but I'm a blogger and our family LOVES Christmas so yeah, we're way early. But the truth is, this fear of mine hasn't changed. I think it was ingrained in me before my son ever entered this world and I'm not certain that it will ever go away. But maybe it's okay to be a little scared. Maybe it's okay that we STRIVE for goodness--that we don't give up, that we keep going, that we keep praying, and disciplining, and hugging, and crying.
Maybe it's okay that we want to be good moms. And maybe it's okay that sometimes we are scared.