For the work-from-home-mama, life isn’t as simple as just focusing on raising kids and keeping the house clean. It also means finding the time to get work done, while desperately hoping that the client on the other end of the phone or email couldn’t hear the chaos (or the intro song to Paw Patrol that is currently keeping them entertained). Throw in a large pinch of Mom Guilt for feeling like the work effort and the parenting efforts aren’t enough. It’s a recipe for a stressed, overwhelmed mama. I’ve been there….ohhh, I’ve been there.
The overwhelm is real. There isn’t enough prime attention and energy for everything.
I was raising my voice at my kids. I was mad at myself for not keeping a tidy home. I felt a sense of shame over when was the last time that the bathroom floor was actually scrubbed? Not to mention those baseboards…. I didn’t like the fact that frozen pizza and potstickers had been creeping into our regular dinner routine more often than they should. Life was overwhelming, and I was just struggling to keep my head above the water.
Every time my phone rang, I dreaded answering it — since it meant that someone out there is needing something from me. I had nothing left to give.
The elements of life that impact other people (clients, etc) often get the best of me…. which means that the people who matter the most — my own family — get what is left over. And that just isn’t good enough. Don’t the people who matter the most — your own family — deserve the best?
Late last year, I found that each day the overwhelm was beginning to outweigh the joy I found in each day.
I was tired of my husband coming home, and answering his “how was your day?” with something less than positive. Why wouldn’t it be joyful, getting to spend my days with these squishy, hilarious babies? But all was seeing was all the things I *should* be doing, and wasn’t doing. Why was the house cluttered and messy? Why couldn’t I figure out what to make for dinner? Why was I stressed about my work?
How the mindset change happened
One day, I found the secret. A friend shared a post on her Facebook feed, and I scrolled through it mindlessly while the kids were in the bath. The blog post, entitled How Getting Rid of My Stuff Saved My Motherhood, was going viral around mom blogs and Facebook feeds everywhere, and it showed up in my newsfeed more than once.
Written by a mom of four kids who had been in this place once before, Allie Casazza writes a blog and now follows a minimalistic lifestyle, which allows her to focus on what really matters — her family. This was the first that I had ever heard about ‘purposeful living’ and ‘minimalism’, and I was hooked. This was the way to a simpler, less complicated mindset, which promised to lead to a simpler, happier life. I was intrigued.
The Road to Minimalism
After reading Allie’s post, I was hooked. I immediately looked around the house and was things that I wondered why on earth they were taking up precious real estate in our home. Toys the kids didn’t play with. More jackets and shoes than any one person would ever need. Far more pots than I had space to use at once.
Reading Allie’s article lit the proverbial fire under my butt to realize that your STUFF becomes your THOUGHTS. It is so true. All of the STUFF was the reason I was stressed and on edge. I was constantly picking things up. Putting things away. Getting tired of the process and letting them sit, where they because mental clutter. Piles would form. And then, because I was spending so much time focusing on all the stuff, the energy to actually clean — as in, scrub floors, remove dirt — happened far less than I wanted to. With too many belongings, it became a vicious circle and my stress and sanity were always the first to suffer.
The path to getting out of the overwhelm is easy. The answer is MINIMALISM. Keep only the things you use and love. Get rid of the rest. Having less stuff means less piles to clean, less things to put away, less things for the kids to strew around the house.
It doesn’t just apply to ‘stuff’. It applies to routines and thoughts as well. Simplify the home. Simplify meals. Simplify business goals and routines. Simplify cleaning. In the last year as I have began my journey towards simplifying these things, I have been slowly seeing life start to fall into place. We’ve had more joy and less stress at home, the house seems cleaner and tidier, and while our lives are still full, life just seems to work better. And best of all, the sense of overwhelm is happening less and less frequently.
If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, with a lot on your plate, have you ever tried to adopt a more minimalist lifestyle?