How to Stop Procrastinating When Perfectionism is the Problem.

How to Stop Procrastinating When Perfectionism is the Problem.

In school (which seems like forever ago now) I was one of those students who could write an essay the morning it was due and still get a A.

Growing up I had no consequences for not doing chores daily, there was no allowance and no punishment. Over time I developed a habit of only doing them once a week, putting them off until I wanted something.

These things highly reinforced my tendency to procrastinate. I had a belief that I worked well under pressure.

In my adult life, I have uncovered a new truth of the matter: I procrastinate out of perfectionism. If I’m not going to do it perfectly, I’m just going to wait until I’m ready to do it. Then the timer runs out and perfectionism goes out the window and getting the task done is all that’s important.

Waiting until the last minute means overcoming perfectionism out of necessity, rather than choice.

I’ve always been great at planning. I love planning projects. I’ve planned my home renovation, my garden lay out, my monthly meal plan, our weekly budget and I write extensive packing lists. My follow through, however, is often lacking.

When I used to work as an hourly manager in retail, my boss had a saying, which I heard often:

“Planning is only 10%, execution is 90%”

In other words, you can make all the elaborate plans you want, but if you don’t actual DO them, they don’t really matter all that much.

Recognizing the problem is half the battle.

My struggle with decision anxiety has played a role in this form of procrastinating. I find it so difficult to make a decision, so it gets put off until I have no more time to think about it. Either I panic and make a choice or someone else chooses for me.

So many years I’ve planned to have a garden, and for so many reasons I’ve always failed. But perfectionism has caused me to set myself up for failure before I’ve ever started on a number of occasions.

It would usually look like this: I’d write a list of all the veggies I want in my garden, I’d research which make good companions for one another, I’d decide how many plants of each to have, I’d plant my seeds (exactly enough), some wouldn’t grow, some would grow a lot, I’d readjust my plans for what grew, I’d visit my garden patch to check out my spacing, it wouldn’t look right so I’d start all over, I’d transplant what was left of my seeds and try to keep them alive.

Often I never reached the end of this plan. Somewhere along the line I’d get tired of all the planning and stop with all the doing.

I’ve killed a lot of plants in my lifetime.

Last year we bought a house with 2 acres of land and I was given 10 months to decide where I wanted my garden. In those 10 months I changed my mind nearly every time I was asked where my husband should put the fence or where my dad should till the land with his tractor.

One day in March my dad came out unannounced with the till behind his tractor and I had to make a final decision. I had to tell him where I wanted him to till and how big of a patch I wanted.

As I anxiously weighed the pros and cons of two promising garden placements, my dad’s advice comforted me.

“Well, you’ve got good sun here and you can always make it bigger later.”

My dad isn’t a very outspoken person, what he was telling me in this statement was that he was done waiting on my indecisiveness, and I needed to just start.

The sun was the same for both places. I was struggling to decide if I wanted the garden in front of the red wood tree or beside it. It really didn’t matter which spot I chose, which made it even more difficult of a decision.

I saw them that my perfectionism was my problem. I kept this in mind as I began planting: “Just start. It doesn’t have to be perfect.”

As I dug my second hole for a tomato plant, I thought “What’s so bad about crooked lines? Nature doesn’t grow in perfect lines.”

With my third hole I realized “Perfect spacing is a man made construct. In nature these plants would never grow with exact spacing between every plant.”

After the last plant was in the ground I looked out at my hard work. I knew lines weren’t straight and spacing wasn’t even. Perfection is impossible, but it looked GOOD.

I still have more plants that need added to the garden, and a past version of me would have cringed at the thought of different aged plants growing in the same lines. I had to realize that my garden will never be perfect, some plants will thrive and grow taller than others, some will die and leave gaps. This is nature.

My garden will never be perfect, but it can still be fruitful, and so can we.

How Can We Overcome Perfectionism

1. Realize perfection is not natural.

A tree does not grow in perfect symmetry, but it’s roots are still strong and it’s branches are still balanced.

2. Realize perfection is not necessary.

The tree does not need a clear path to grow. The roots wrap around the obstacles, it uses the rocks and hard places as anchors. The bigger the boulder, the better the anchor, and the more difficult it is to uproot that tree.

3. Realize perfection is not moving you forward.

If the tree waited for the boulders to move out of the way, if it waited for a clear and easy path, it would never grow. The challenges aren’t going anywhere, make sure that YOU are and keep moving forward.

4. Realize perfection is not good for you.

Imagine if a tree tried to grow in soft, easy dirt. The roots wouldn’t be very strong, because they wouldn’t have to be. The tree wouldn’t be very tall and mighty, because it would fall over in that soft soil. The foundation wouldn’t give the roots anything to hold onto, they would have anything sturdy to ground themselves to, they’d have no anchor.

How weak would you be if you’d never faced a challenge in your life?

Stop being a bad friend to yourself.

Stop being a bad friend to yourself.

Making friends as an adult is hard. We’re surrounded by so many lies that make us feel unworthy of friendship, and most of those lies are coming from ourselves.

Take a minute and ask yourself: am I a good friend… to myself?

Really think about it.

Are you. A good friend. To yourself?

How do you talk to yourself?

What does your inner voice say to you? Does she constantly criticize you? Does she always have something negative to tell you about yourself?

Don’t listen to her. Break up with that version of you. You literally don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

How would you talk to a friend in your situation? If your friend was trying to lose weight would you congratulate her for all her hard work, or would you tell her she hasn’t lost enough?

Would you tell your friend she’s a bad mom for giving her kid chicken nuggets for dinner, or would you be understanding that she’s had a rough day and just needed to feed the kid something he would eat without a fight?

Would you tell your friend that you still remember that dumb thing she said in front of the whole class freshman year, or would you have some grace and realize it’s not worth remembering?

Can you count on yourself?

How many times have you told your self you would do something and then flaked out for a lame excuse?

If you had a friend that was always cancelling plans to watch Netflix or to waste time on Facebook, would you still want to be her friend?

If you had a friend that was always giving up on her dreams, what would you say to her? If your friend wanted to run a marathon or start a business and gave it up with no real reason, what would you tell her?

Do you make time for yourself?

Would you want to be friends with someone who never prioritized spending time with you?

Yeah, adults get busy and we just don’t have time for friends sometimes, but what if your friend had the exact same schedule as you? What if you KNEW she had the time to spend with you, but chose not to every single day?

Then how would you feel about that friendship?

10 things you can do to be a better friend to yourself.

  1. Start talking to yourself like you’d want to be talked to. Compliment yourself and move past those complaints. Turn your focus to the positive things about yourself and the negative voices won’t be so loud.
  2. Realize when your being mean to yourself. Stop the thoughts before they turn into feelings. Every time you find yourself tearing yourself down, stop and build yourself up immediately.
  3. Keep your promises. When you say you’re going to do something, do it. Whether it’s a diet, a work out program, a beauty regimen, journaling, starting a business, whatever, stick with it until it doesn’t make sense anymore.
  4. Remember it’s okay to change your mind, but it’s not okay to give up. It’s not breaking a promise to yourself if you decide what you’re doing isn’t right for you. But just stopping because it’s too hard, that’s not okay.
  5. Practice self care. Take time to intentionally be with yourself, take a walk or a bath or read a book. Do something that makes you happy on a regular basis.
  6. Treat yo self! Don’t be afraid to spoil yourself once in a while.
  7. Get to know yourself. Sit down in a quiet place and do some self reflection. Who even are you anymore? What are you like? What are your dreams and goals?
  8. Do yourself a favor and pay it forward – to yourself. Don’t procrastinate the little chores for tomorrow. Do them today, so you can thank yourself tomorrow.
  9. Invest in yourself. Invest your time and money to be the best version of yourself. Enroll in a course to help you where you’re struggling. Spend the time it takes to declutter or organize your home. Buy that self help book. Meal plan to save yourself time and stress later this week.
  10. Believe in yourself. Chase wholeheartedly after your wildest dreams. Believe you were created for more and that you are capable of fantastic things. Why not you?
5 ways to simplify life with 2 kids under 2 years old.

5 ways to simplify life with 2 kids under 2 years old.

I’d like to introduce you to my boys. These guys fill my life with joy, and cause a lot of stress doing so. I’m so grateful to be their momma!

Desmond is 2 and a half years old now and Dash will be a year old in June.

If you’ve already got 2 under 2, I don’t have to tell you how hard this life is. I don’t have to tell you how absolutely rewarding it is either.

For those who don’t know, caring for a toddler is like constantly cleaning up after a tornado, while it’s still happening. Babies aren’t much easier, it’s like having a gremlin that you’ve accidentally fed after midnight.

This is scary business, raising sweet little monsters angels. It’s the most important and under appreciated job, and it’s yours! Congratulations.

The good news is, there are lots of things we can do amidst the chaos to make this mom life easier. I’d like to share just a few of my best tips with you.

1. Evening prep time

Every night before we head to bed, my husband plays with our boys while I get the kitchen ready for the next day.

I prep the coffee maker and program it to start before we get up, I make my husband’s lunch, and ensure that my kitchen is clean enough to make me feel excited to see it in the morning.

I also do one super helpful thing. My youngest is on formula, and I use those formula to go containers every day. By pre-portioning the formula I never have to keep track of how many bottles he’s had that day. I can just look at how many sections are empty. Super easy!

2. Ready to eat snacks

Toddlers are bottomless pits. They will -loudly- demand a snack at the worst moments, like when the baby finally goes down for a nap. Having quick and healthy snacks on hand has been a big help around our house.

Desmond now goes to the fridge and can get his own apple sauce or cheese stick when I’m wrist deep in a diaper change, or he can grab fruit or a bag of Veggie Straws off the counter.

3. Car go-bags

The absolute worst situation to put yourself in as a parent is to be unprepared while out of the house. Too many times I’ve found myself without enough diapers, or a change of clothes, that’s why I always keep a bag in the car for each boy.

I like to use those little wet bags for cloth diapers, or a gallon size ziplock works well too. I do a bag for each boy for a specific reason: I often leave one with my mom or send one with my husband. When I do this it’s so much easier to have two separate bags. I can also throw both bags into a large diaper bag for family day trips.

In each bag I always keep:

2-3 diapers

Wipes

Spare change of clothes (usually PJs)

Socks

Larabars or Veggie Straws

*in my baby’s bag I also keep enough formula for a single bottle.

4. Get your toddler involved

My first instinct was always to send Desmond out of the room when I’m cooking or cleaning. I’m so glad I didn’t follow that thought.

I’ve got my 2 year old involved with cleaning, and now we cleans his own spills, puts away his toys when asked (most of the time), and even is in charge of vacuuming downstairs.

Okay, he doesn’t really vacuum. He does turn on the Roomba though, and that’s a big help. If you’ve got hard floors, I highly suggest investing in an automatic vacuum like a Roomba. It’s greatly cut down on how often I have to sweep.

5. Individual quality time

It’s so important that your children feel loved and special. They don’t understand that every thing we do is for them. They don’t get that we can love both of them all the time. That’s why is so important to find just a few moments each day to make them each feel like they are your number one.

I love when Dash naps and I get to snuggle with my toddler. He lights up when he sees me alone sitting on the couch, asking him to “come snuggle.” He doesn’t always nap anymore, so we have quiet time where we sit and watch a movie together.

Most mornings my toddler will sleep in, and Dash will wake up first so we get some time together, just us. These are the moments I treasure most. I get to be their favorite person and see this gleam in their eyes when we have special times like these.

It doesn’t have to be hard to find times like these, we just have to be intentional about it. Set our phones down and focus all our attention for just a few minutes on one child and see how their behavior changes.

What things do you to make mom life easier?

How do your kids help out?

How do you spend quality time with them?

How to stop hating housework.

How to stop hating housework.

I hated cleaning most of my life, you can ask my mom. I gave her such a hard time when it was time for chores, I always had a headache.

At the time, I didn’t understand why I got headaches so conveniently when asked to sweep the kitchen. My mom always thought I was faking.

Turns out I was giving myself headaches. I hated cleaning so much, the stress would boil up inside me and cause a tension headache.

This hatred stuck with me into adulthood, into motherhood. I never liked to load dishes, fold laundry, clean toilets or mop. And because I didn’t like it, I didn’t these things as often as they need to be done, which inevitably resulted in my house being a disgusting garbage pit all the time.

Clear Out The Clutter

I’m just gonna say it: cleaning sucks and I never want to do more than the bare minimum.

You know happens when we have more stuff than we need? We have to clean more stuff than we need to.

Don’t like doing dishes? Don’t have more dishes than you’re will to wash daily. If you have 4 plates per person, you’re going to use ALL of those before you clean them.

If you only have 1 dish per person, you’ll never have to clean more than that. You’ll be forced to wash them as you need them, but never have a chance to let them build up.

Doesn’t that life sound lovely? Only ever having enough dishes to fill your dishwasher once. Never having a mountain of dirty dishes that require three wash cycles? Imagine the free time you’d have. Imagine how much less time you would have to spend thinking about those dishes.

Cleaning gets so much easier when we have less to clean. The stress level goes down and confidence rises.

I can clean my house. It’s not too much. I am not overwhelmed.

I want you to be able to say those things, too.

Use Purposeful Products.

I used to use a lot of dollar store cleaning products that were full of harsh chemicals that just didn’t work. The strong odors made my chore related headaches worse. These products’ power were not as potent as their smells and required a lot of elbow grease, which I just didn’t have. I was always frustrated.

A good friend finally convinced me to try essential oils for cleaning and that changed everything. The oils were far more potent and did an incredibly job at tackling these ancient messes that nothing else could touch.

The best part: they smelled better! Aromatherapy has some major impacts on our mood. Citrus oils have a mean cleaning punch to them, but they are also uplifting and energizing. The last thing I usually feel when cleaning is energized, but thanks to aromatherapy I was feeling it.

Get Into a Routine

Once you get your house clean, the worst feeling is letting it get out of control again. The best way to avoid this is to stay on top of it all, all the time and that doesn’t have to be a ton of work.

It takes some getting used to, but when you develop habits that help you clean as you go about your day, most of your chores will get done without much thought.

I always try to start a load of laundry before I pour myself a cup of coffee in the morning, this ensures that I will wash a load for the day and avoid piles of unwashed clothes that turn into a mountain of laundry to fold later. This one load I start in the morning I will dry around lunch time and fold before dinner. I either put it away before bed, or first thing the next morning while the kids are still asleep.

I also like to clear my kitchen counters and empty the sink every night while I pack my husband’s lunch and program the coffee maker for the morning. This way I get to walk into a clean kitchen in the morning with fresh coffee waiting for me, and there’s hardly a better feeling than that.

Because I know the kitchen will need to be cleaned up in the evening, it helps to motivate me to keep it clean throughout the day. One incredibly valuable thing my mother taught me was to “clean as I go” when I’m cooking. This means rinsing mixing bowls immediately after use and putting ingredients away as soon as I’m done with them. I avoid a huge intimidating mess at the end by doing this.

Know Your “Why.”

Motivation and mindset are huge players in this game. If you don’t know why you’re doing something, it can be pretty hard to find the strength to do it at times.

It helps to focus in on why having a clean home is important to you.

I like to keep a clean home so I can have guests over without stress, because my family deserves to not live in a sty, and because I know God has called me to at least have this area of life semi put together.

The Proverbs 31 woman is my role model for being the best wife, mother, and woman I possibly can be.

How Do I End the Hatred of Cleaning my House?

  1. Declutter your hot spots. For me this was laundry and dishes. Thoroughly go through your spaces and ask of every item “is this serving me?” If it’s causing you more stress than it’s relieving, get rid of it. If you have multiple appliances, pare it down to one of each type. (I traded in 3 different appliances for an Express Cooker, that’s a lot of freed up space in my cupboards!).
  • Need help decluttering? Check out Decluttering 101

  • 2. Rethink your products. Declutter and organize your cleaning tools and products. It does a lot for your motivation to get excited to use your cleaning supplies. Don’t be afraid to invest in a new broom if that’s what will help you.

    If you’re interested in switching to oils for cleaning and aromatherapy, click here.

    3. Create a routine to keep on track. Think about what things are nonnegotiable tasks that need done daily. List these things out and find specific times of day or other tasks that are done daily (like meal times) that you can connect these chores with.

    Want some more info on creating habits? Check this out.

    4. Determine your motivation. Why is it important for you to have a clean home in the first place? Do you like to have company over? Does it make you feel more comfortable? Does it ease anxiety? Do you do it because your children and husband deserve it? Has God called you to have a clean home, to be hospitable at any moment?

    Have you overcome your hatred for cleaning? How did you do it? Let me know in the comments!

    Did this article help you? Leave me a note below.

    Don’t forget about your friends! Do you know someone who might benefit from this post? Share the love and repost to your Facebook or Pinterest!

    Being a ‘Hot Mess’ is NOT a Job Requirement for Motherhood

    Being a ‘Hot Mess’ is NOT a Job Requirement for Motherhood

    There’s a number of lies I was told by society.

    The lie that hurt my joy most was this:

    Being a hot mess is just part of being a mom to young children.

    I believed that ALL women in the same season as me were handling it the same way. I thought we were supposed to be be behind on chores, always running late and dependent on caffeine because that meant we were too focused on our kids to care about anything else.

    I was so fooled by this lie, I didn’t see it was an excuse to be lazy, unreliable and unkempt.

    I recently read an article posted on Portland Mom’s Blog called “Why I’m Not a Hot Mess, and Neither are You.”

    There is a season of your life where things may seem like a mess, but only because you’re going through so much all at once. And if that’s you, THAT’S OKAY!

    It’s totally fine to not have it all together when you have a newborn, you’re changing careers, you’re in school, you’re starting a business, or whatever else. On behalf of the mothering community, you have our permission to not “get it all done.”

    Here’s where I disagree with the article: I was a hot mess.

    I really, really was. And it had been going on a very long time. I never liked to clean, and I wasn’t good at keeping up on dishes and laundry. I don’t mean that I had dishes in my sink or that I’d consistently forget wet clothes in the washer.

    My house was a disaster:

    • I couldn’t cook because I had no clean pans
    • I couldn’t wash my pans because my sink was full of dishes
    • I couldn’t put the dishes in the washer because it was full of mostly clean dishes
    • I couldn’t put those dishes away because most were dirty since I didn’t rinse them first and now there’s a bunch of yuck clogging up my dishwasher

    Also:

    • I had 5 loads of laundry that needed washed
    • I had no baskets to put them in since the baskets were all full of clothes that still needed folded from last time I did laundry
    • My husband was out of clean work clothes
    • I had a bag of stinking clothes diapers that needed cleaned, too

    And:

    • The dog needs a bath, but I can’t use the sink
    • The fridge needs cleaned out because something stinks in there, but again I can’t get to the garbage disposal
    • The cat litter needs cleaned
    • There’s nothing for dinner
    • My toddler needs a snack, again

    And that was my life EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

    You see how I had no time for myself? I was on a hamster wheel, chasing my to do list. I had all these things that always needed to get done, and I had zero motivation to do them. I was lazy, right?

    Then something changed.

    I forgot what society had to say about moms, and I was reminded what God had to say.

    “John 10:10 says that we are called to abundant life, and mothers are no exception.”

    -Allie Casazza (The Purpose Show)

    I wasn’t lazy. I was overwhelmed. There was just so much to do, that I didn’t want to do any of it. It fed my anxiety. I had a low self image because I was ‘failing’ at my wifely duties, which lead to depression. I began to see myself differently.

    Being a hot mess, I was NOT living abundantly. I was not living life on purpose. I was aimlessly living the same, unfulfilling day over and over.

    I got inspired: if we’re called to abundant life, what does that look like?

    • Not worrying about a sink full of dishes
    • Not having a mountain of laundry to wash and fold
    • Knowing what’s for dinner every day and that I have everything I need for that dinner, too
    • Enjoying time with my kids, playing with them, snuggling them and not feeling guilty about a mess waiting for me
    • Having company over and not feeling embarrassed about the mess
    • Spending quality time with my husband, instead of endless chores

    I had a new hope.

    I joined Allie Casazza in her #DeclutterLikeAMother challenge. It was a month of intense, focused decluttering my home. I threw out boxes of toiletries I’d brought with me when we moved 6 months before and never even unpacked, I donated clothes and blankets, I stopped storing appliances on my countertops.

    A huge weight was lifted. I felt like I could breath as I walked into my kitchen to see it clean, over and over again. I can handle my dishes because there aren’t as many. I have the time to fold my laundry as it comes out of the dryer.

    Not having to chase that constant chore list means that I have TIME to get ahead on other things. I have the time to meal plan and to prep snacks for the kids. I have energy to pack my husband a lunch for work. I have the time to take care of myself, too! Showering is so important.

    I’m not pouring from an empty cup anymore.

    We all fall behind from time to time. We get into seasons of overwhelm, that’s part of life.

    But if you’re living in a constant state of overwhelm and anxiety, life has a lot more to offer you. Fulfillment and overwhelm cannot live in the same space.

    Are you ready to break free from the hamster wheel?

    They’ll remember the love, but will they remember the mess?

    They’ll remember the love, but will they remember the mess?

    I can’t recall how many times someone has said this to me as a word of comfort:

    “They’ll remember the love, but they won’t remember the mess.”

    For a long time, I believed that. After years of struggling to keep a clean house I have to stand up and say, that’s complete BULL HONKEY.

    Yes, your children will remember the love you gave to them, that part is absolutely true. No, they won’t remember every time there was a pile of dishes in the sink, because honestly kids don’t care about that. But they WILL remember the condition of your home, and if your home is always a mess, if YOU’RE always a mess, that memory will stick with them.

    I speak from experience. My parents are amazing and I love them dearly. They taught me many important life skills, but there’s one very important one they neglected to pass on simply because they didn’t know it themselves: how to keep a clean and inviting home.

    I did not grow up in a minimalist home. I did not grow up in a clean home and I did not grow up in a hospitable home.

    My parents never would have anticipated the troubles this would cause me in my adult life. They likely believed that I would only recall all the things they did for me out of love, that I was blind to the mess around me, but that wasn’t the case.

    My parents are children of depression era parents. Their parents saved EVERYTHING on the chance that they may need it in the future. This is a completely fear based decision, to save things for a rainy day. Yes, you should absolutely have money set aside for emergencies, but you you shouldn’t keep old things that you MIGHT one day need.

    Last year my grandma moved into a fifth wheel, and left her house to my parents, which meant that I got the privilege of helping clear out what she left behind. Bless her heart, but the woman had a box labeled “STRINGS TOO SHORT TO USE.” What was in the box? Exactly that. It was full of tiny bits of strings that couldn’t possibly be used for anything. This is the kind of mentality I was raised with. Nothing was thrown away, because we might find a use for it in the future.

    What really happened was, my dad would go looking for something he knew he’d kept years before, and he would spend half a day looking for the thing. That time spent looking was all wasted, it would have been more productive to spend the money on buying a new whatever-it-was, than the spend more time looking for an old one than it would have taken to earn the money at work for to pay for a new one.

    This taught me to keep everything, I was a borderline hoarder, keeping things out of fear that I might need them. I’m so thankful that I changed this belief as an adult.

    Letting go of fear based decisions has freed me to use logic and faith to make my choices. Letting go of fear is what gave me my second son, deciding that I wasn’t afraid to take on two children under two years old, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

    Everything kept out of fear has an emotional value to it. Every time you look at the item you kept out of fear, you’re reminding yourself of your fears! Let it go! Let go of the fear and let go of the clutter.

    If you’re hanging onto an item out of fear that you may need it SOMEDAY, it’s not serving you and it’s useless to you and your home. It’s clutter and it’s needs to be cut from your life.

    My mom didn’t teach me to keep a clean house.

    My mom would take one day a month to deep clean, and that woman could CLEAN HOUSE! She got a lot done in a single day, especially when she’d recruit us kids to help out.

    But what she lacked was routine. She didn’t keep the house clean day to day, and I didn’t realize at the time that it was a matter of anxiety and overwhelm. I didn’t notice that was the problem, until it was my problem.

    I adopted the same mentality she carried. I held onto the same overwhelm and anxiety. If the house was a mess, I lacked all motivation to take care of it, until it was a HUGE mess of a beast that needed courage and ambition to slay.

    As a kid, there were always mountains of dishes and laundry to be done. I’ll give her credit here, because she does keep up on dishes now and has for the past few years. But the damage was done when I was young. That’s the habit I saw daily and I kept for myself.

    These chains took years to break because I didn’t know HOW to break them. It wasn’t until I discovered decluttering and routines that I began keeping a clean house consistently.

    Cutting the clutter in my home has reduced the feelings of overwhelm that kept me from getting housework under control. Getting rid of the unnecessary things in my life has freed up more time to clean, also.

    Developing the routines of always keeping counters clear and washing, drying, and folding one load of laundry each day, has given me a head start on house chores. I no longer have to say “I can give the dog a bath AFTER I do the dishes and have my sink clear.” I no longer have to feel guilty spending a day out, knowing there’s a mountain of laundry waiting for me at home. I no longer have to be filled with stress the moment I get home from a trip and see my house is just as filthy as I left it, because it was left clean!

    We weren’t very hospitable.

    We rarely had house guests. I remember my mom would always get freaked out when I asked to have friends over. It was always a big deal to have anyone come to our house and would send my mom into one of her cleaning sprees.

    As an adult, I kept this with me. My stress levels would peak when guests were coming over.

    1. Because my house was always a mess.

    2. Because that’s what I knew.

    My husband has always loved to host gatherings, and I didn’t. I hated having anyone over, because there was SO much to do before anyone could see my house. I was so ashamed of the house I lived in and I finally understood why my mom never liked to have guests.

    What she didn’t know would happen, was that she would raise a daughter full of conflict.

    I knew I was called to be hospitable, God tells us to open our homes and our hearts. I closed off both for a very long time. I was embarrassed of my housekeeping skills, I was afraid they would judge me for my home. I made it about ME.

    The point of being a hostess is not to show off your perfect home or your cooking skills, it’s about being there for others. Opening your home and your heart to those who need your care and friendship, that’s the point.

    I do remember the love.

    My parents love me with all they have. They give me absolutely everything they possibly can. My parents have always been there for me, even when they weren’t there for themselves.

    Children will always remember the condition of your home, but also the condition of your heart.

    If you’re under stress every day because you can’t keep up on the housework, that’s what they will remember and that’s the behaviors they will learn from you.

    I keep a clean, decluttered and welcoming home now, BECAUSE I love my children.

    Having experienced it myself, I know that my children will take MY habits and make them their own. I don’t want to see them struggle as I did, I want to see them shine. I don’t want their every day to be an uphill battle with a messy home, I want them to spend their time and energy on things they love.

    I want to spend my days enjoying time with my family, not constantly cleaning up after them. This is why I’ve adopted the minimalist attitude, developed my routines, and make the effort to reach out to those in need. I want them to see that this is normal. I strive to be the person I want my children to become.

    Are you ready to set the example for your family and to be present for their lives?

    Visit the Hot Mess Toolkit to find my favorite ways to make your life easier!

    The lies I believed about love and marriage.

    The lies I believed about love and marriage.

    Remember what it was like to be young and in love?

    Remember when you ALWAYS had to sit right next to your significant other? Holding hands, touching thighs, stealing kisses.

    Remember when you were always excited to see him? When you’d happily greet him with a kiss?

    Remember when you posting about your Man Crush Monday every week? When you had no shame to publicly expose your husband’s hunkiness?

    Remember when you HAD to fall asleep in his arms? When you were excited for a spontaneous romp? (Yeah, that’s how I’m going to refer to that… sorry, not sorry.)

    When did that stop?

    Why did that stop?

    Somewhere down the line, I think we get told a few silent lies about what marriage is supposed to look like. Sometimes no one has to say them out loud, but through observation we pick up on it.

    Lie #1: you don’t have to always sit together.

    I remember when this first occurred to me. I was at a big family dinner and I saw that all the older couples felt no need to sit next to each other. They freely sat wherever they pleased and weren’t concerned with where their other half wanted to sit. It seemed freeing.

    I suddenly felt as though my husband was my safety blanket, and I only wanted to sit with him because of my incredibly small comfort zone. So I sat away from him for the first time.

    It didn’t take long before that “need” to sit with him at all time dissipated completely. And with it, a flame extinguished.

    Lie #2: healthy couples don’t feel the need to tell everyone else how happy they are.

    I do remember someone saying this to me. It was my sister, and we were talking about how annoying some couples are when they constantly post on social media about their love for one another.

    Did you know when you stop sharing with others all those little things you love about someone, it becomes really easy to forget all about them? At least for me, it did.

    When I stopped posting pictures with my husband, stopped sharing online all the ways I loved him, stopped talking about him positively to others, I stopped noticing all those things and began taking him for granted.

    Lie #3: couples who’ve been married more than a year, just don’t DO it all the time anymore.

    This one hurt us the most. This is where most of our disagreements happen. Simply because I believed it was NORMAL to withhold. Any excuse I could find, I used.

    Any couple who’s been married many years, will tell you it’s the key to a happy marriage.

    If you’ve read (or listened to) Girl, Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis dedicates a whole chapter to why you need to just get on with it. Her suggestion is to have a Sexy September- or whatever month it happens to be- and just DO IT every single day, no excuses, for the whole month.

    Lie #4: your kids and house come first.

    This is a lesson I had to learn from my son watching Sherlock Gnomes a million times.

    In one scene of this animated child’s movie, Juliet (the leading lady) is having an arguement with Gnomeo. Gnomeo is desperate for her attention and just finished a daring act to retrieve a flower for Juliet. She couldn’t care less, he foolishly risked his life and she is only concerned with saving her garden (and home to all her family and friends, which she and Gnomeo have just taken rule over).

    She says to him “the garden can’t wait, you can!”

    And instantly he is heart broken. His face falls in a way I’ve seen only too often on my own husband’s face. The look of disappointment, feeling unappreciated, a feeling of shame and uselessness.

    How often have we told our husbands that they can wait? We’ve told them they are less important than whatever else we are doing at the time.

    When did your husband stop being the most important person in your life?

    When did our hearts stop skipping a beat when they walked in the room?

    I think it happened some time after we started believing these lies about what our marriage should look like at any given time.

    What lies have you believed about love or the expectations of marriage? Share in the comments.