homemaking

Why Mothers Need Minimalism

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When people think of minimalism, I think most of them picture one IKEA couch in the living room, cold white walls, no TV, no toys, and plants hanging by the kitchen sink. That's not the point at all. 

Three years ago, embracing minimalism changed my life and transformed my motherhood from angry, frustrated, and overwhelmed to happy, light, and free of stress. I fell in love with the way of less, and never looked back. My marriage improved drastically, my kids became less anxious around me because I wasn't a yelling basket case anymore, there was no longer clutter everywhere I looked, and I found myself doing things like sitting on the floor building train tracks with the boys, watching old James Bond movies with my husband, cooking more meals, and taking walks with my little girl. Suddenly, I was much less busy, and I was a better person in general. All because I got rid of the stuff I didn't need. 

I could go on and on about how minimalism has impacted my motherhood, but instead I'm gonna break it down into a few main points, because I truly believe in two things: Jesus and minimalism. I know it's the answer to the epidemic of overwhelmed, tired, frustrated mamas. 

WHY MOTHERS NEED MINIMALISM


Less cleaning.

Do I really need to go on here? LESS CLEANING! I have about two days a week where I do a couple loads of laundry, clean the bathrooms, run the vacuum and the Swiffer, and wipe down the walls and baseboards. That's it. I'm not pulling your leg, exaggerating, building up a false reality- this is my actual life. I have to do the dishes (much less than most people though), make the beds, and pick up shoes, coats, art supplies, and a few toys, but that's it day-to-day. 
 

I don't think cleaning up and being frustrated and overwhelmed is a very good way to spend these precious, short years of raising kids. Minimalism has created an escape from that for me. 


I don’t remember my mother ever playing with me. And she was a perfectly good mother. But she had to do the laundry and clean the house and do the grocery shopping.
— Patricia Heaton

I'm always ready to have someone over.

My house could be at it's very worst, and I would still feel okay having someone drop by. Why? Because there simply isn't enough stuff in our house to ever allow it to be that messy. It's so wonderfully liberating. 

I have more time.

We create the life we want, time is in our hands, and I decided to create more time for myself by eliminating the excess. I have so much more free time these days versus my pre-minimalism life. And I have two more kids since then and I work from home now, so really I should have much less time. Minimalism, you win again. 
 

from  my instagram feed

 

STOP SETTLING FOR OVERWHELMED. 

LET’S UPROOT WHAT’S WEIGHING YOU DOWN AND UNCOVER YOUR ABUNDANT MOTHERHOOD.

 

I enjoy my home more

I don't like to cook, but I like being in my kitchen. I love putting on some music or a podcast and creating a delicious, simple meal for my family. I don't like doing laundry, but I love sitting in my living room while my kids play Legos on the coffee table and I fold their clothes. Minimalism has allowed me to actually love my home and love spending time in it without having to spend hours or days getting it perfectly clean (then having it last all of three seconds). 

A better marriage. 

Maybe you don't see the connection between minimalism and marriage, and I never would have either, but it's there and it's really strong. Since becoming a minimalist, my brain is so uncluttered and clear, which made me a happier person, which has made me a more available wife. Brian can't believe how much more I laugh, how much kinder I am in general, how much more available I am to listen to him, be intimate with him, spend quality time with him. Our bond is stronger and our relationship has improved by leaps and bounds since we purged our stuff. 

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I'm able to be a mom who plays. 

I've already harped enough on how my mind is clearer and I am a happier, freer person, but it fits in again here. Because of minimalism I'm free to be the mom who plays with her kids instead of saying "go play". I spend a lot of my time in the yard kicking the soccer ball around, dancing to Taylor Swift in the living room, and playing with tiny toy unicorns. I run a business from home and it doesn't put a dent in the quality of my motherhood because I spend no extra time managing stuff. 

I'm a happier person. 

I just have a lot of joy these days. I don't really know what else to say on this point, except, life is simple and sweet and good, even when we're going through something hard. Because it's intentionally focused on what matters most. 

WANT A LITTLE EXTRA MOTIVATION?

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homemade powdered laundry detergent

i want to know something. why is laundry detergent so expensive?? ugh.  

making my own soaps is part of how i stay home when we can hardly afford it.

it really adds up and helps a lot, even if it doesn't seem like much. i prefer powdered detergent, and most of the recipes i found on pinterest when i first set out to make my own soap were for liquid {i think it ends up being cheaper if you go the liquid route, but i don't care that much}. i tried a few different powder recipes but didn't love any until i improvised and fell in love with my own. vain, i know. 

here's the recipe like you all asked for. the ingredients you'll buy to make this soap will make enough to last you a year, and will cost you about $20. i make it in one big batch, store it in a big ugly bucket in the garage, and take smaller amounts of it that can fit in my cute mason jar in my laundry room. cause laundry sucks enough... i need my soap in a cute jar. oh, and you'll only need two tablepoons per load. yes, that's it. no, you don't need to add more for an extra dirty load. this is no nonsense soap and it's awesome. two tablespoons is plenty, trust me. 

side note: i read that using too much detergent in the laundry can actually cause the clothes to not get clean. weird, i know. 

allie's laundry detergent

i insist you label your soap that when you make it. and send me a pic ;)

what you need:

3 bars of plain ivory soap

1 box arm & hammer washing soda

1 box borax

1 tub oxi-clean stain remover

2 lemons or 1 container purex crystals

directions:

1. grate the bars of soap with a cheese grater (i have one i use only for making soap)

2. add the washing soda, borax, and oxy-clean powders to the grated soap. 

3. shave the rind off the two lemons into the detergent mixture, or add the container of laundry crystals. this is an optional step meant to add scent that will refresh your clothes and last for the duration of the batch. 

4. toss and stir and mix it all together and store in your container of choice. 

done!

now go get your laundry off the floor and into the drawers, now that you can afford to!

A Dirty Kitchen

It was one morning last week that I posted this photo of my messy kitchen before Bella and I dove in and conquered the mess. We scrubbed and made bubbles and talked about horses and about the right way to load the silverware. I like sharing my messes on social media. It's so anti-Instagram right now. Most of what I see being popular online is perfection- perfect hair, stylish clothes, moms with perfect bodies, neat and perfectly decorated homes. I appreciate beauty and a great photograph, but there's something wrong when we stop being real with one another. Sometimes life gets messy, and I have no problem sharing that with my followers. 

Once the kitchen was clean, I got the kids down for naps and sat down to check my Facebook page, where I saw a negative comment (something I'm learning to get used to). 

"I would never let my kitchen get that bad. Yikes."

I'll spare you my knee-jerk reaction (I'm sure you can imagine), but I ended up doing what has proven to be the best method over the course of my time as a blogger-- silence and a prayer. As much as I wanted to respond (and I certainly didn't lack the words), I knew it wasn't what this woman needed. Whoever she was- a wife, a stay-at-home mom, working mom, whatever- I prayed that she would learn grace. Grace for others, so that she would no longer attempt to shame others with comments like this one, and grace for herself, that she would learn what's really important; and it certainly isn't a clean kitchen. 

What she didn't know is why my kitchen was so messy. She didn't know that the day before had been one of baking cookies, playing in the backyard, reading endless stacks of books, and driving with the windows down. It had been a day of playing with my children rather than sending them to play while I cleaned up the kitchen. I (normally)  rinse the dishes and pick up my house as I go through the day, and load the dishwasher before I head to bed every night. But that day? That day I saw an opportunity to say "no" to mundane and "yes" to joy and childhood memories.

It wasn't out of laziness that the crusty dishes gathered, but out of a Spirit-led choice to live this blessed, fleeting day I had been given as a gift. 

As the fun and laughter turned to yawns and snuggling, the day came to a slow, and I tucked my littles into their beds just as my tired husband walked in the door. As I warmed up his dinner and listened to him summarize his work day, I saw another opportunity to love and serve in my home. Again the Spirit led me away from my chores to my hard-working husband who had had a bad day at work. Rather than let him eat dinner at the table while I cleaned up from a day spent outside with my kids, I sat and listened and encouraged him. Through our dinner conversation I saw that he needed his wife- he missed me. What a huge honor and blessing that is- for him to actually miss me after ten years of togetherness and three kids! We added his dishes to the mess and enjoyed a movie on the couch, exchanging glances, laughs, and kisses until I fell asleep in his arms.

You can bet your last dollar that I will "let my kitchen get that bad" when there is an opportunity to enjoy and to breathe life into my family. I don’t stay home to keep a clean house. I stay home to cultivate love and grace and Jesus in my family, and serving them through homemaking is a part of that, but not the top priority. Look how many precious memories would never have come into existence if my kitchen had been cleaned.

That would have been an absolute pity, and the poorest use of my time I can think of. 

For the Wife Whose Husband Works Long Hours: How To Thrive and Not Just Survive At Home

When Brian was signed on at his previous job, we were told the hours were 8AM-4:30PM. Once he started working, we quickly realized {through lots of arguments and cancelled plans} that overtime was just a part of his job. We made the decision that as long as his job could support our family, it was better for him to be at work for long periods of time so that I could stay home with our babies, than it was for us both to be gone from 8-5 every day. 

The hard truth was that moping and complaining about it or trying to change things out of anger wouldn't do anything good. It did a lot more good when I chose joy in my life, and no good at all when I gave in to my flesh by griping and allowing depression in.

I continually reminded myself of these truths:

  • It pleases God when I choose to praise when circumstances do not make it easy.

  • It pleases my husband when I choose joy and am happy with him and his job.

  • It pleases God when I please my husband.


So how do you handle life with small children and being a stay-at-home mom with a husband who is mostly gone? Here are my key choices that make a big difference. 

Your husband's days off call for some major family time! 

Turn off the world and tune into what our purpose is- family. Depending on what you're feeling is best for your family that day, you can either hang out at home or spend the entire day out, bypassing naps and soaking up every hour. Involve the kids in everything, even if it takes a little longer to move through the day.

Take advantage of technology when your husband is working.

If possible, make it a point to let the kids FaceTime with their daddy a couple work days per week. Be careful not to tell the kids about it until it is actually happening, just in case it doesn't work out. It is also a great idea to send him tons of pictures and videos of whatever we are doing that day. That way he is brought a little joy in his day and feels like he missed less special moments.

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Let go of expectations. 

I have to let go of all my expectations about when he will be home, if he could maybe get home early and help me with the bedtime routine, if we could maybe make it to a social event we were invited to, etc. When I hold onto these expectations {because sometimes, they do happen} I am always completely let down if it doesn't end up happening how I wanted. Then I'm in a terrible mood and can't love on and serve my hard-working hubby when he gets home. 

Try to go out for coffee with a friend once a week, every week, no matter what.

You have to take care of yourself, and you have to make sure your well is full so that you can continuously and constantly pour into your family. Get out of the house, sip a delicious cup of coffee that you didn't have to make, and talk to another adult. Perfection! 


 

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Plan a monthly date night out, and some date nights in, on the weeks in between. 

It is extra important for a couple with crazy schedules to have alone time! Go out to one of your favorite restaurants and enjoy the benefits of your husband's working so much with a delicious meal that you didn't have to cook. Sit close to one another, hold hands, touch, kiss, and act like a dating couple. When you stay in, cozy up on the couch and act the same way together. As long as you are without kids and enjoying one another's company, the goal is met, and the marriage is strengthened. 

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Plan for the occasional nap during the week. 

Try to let go of the chores and lay down on your couch a couple times a week during the kids' naps. It is so refreshing and will really help you get through that second half of the day.

Have a routine to use as a guideline. 

Create a list of daily and weekly must do's- the things that keep your family functioning smoothly. When you don't have your hubby home to wrestle with the kids while you catch up, a routine is a lifesaver!

Don't let the work schedule become a "pause" button for your family. 

Take the kids to do fun things by yourself; don't wait for hubby's day off. Know that you will do something else fun on his day off, but his schedule can not have you waiting around at home constantly. I know my limits and where I can and can't handle them on my own, and I live my life as their mom.

Try to keep yourself busy.

Whether that means making an effort to get out of the house at least once a day, or just being productive at home, it's important to have some form of motivation to get going. Stay busy and don't let yourself just hang around getting depressive about your husband's schedule. 


WANT A LITTLE EXTRA MOTIVATION?

HERE ARE SOME EPISODES OF THE PURPOSE SHOW THAT ARE RELATED TO THIS TOPIC!

 
 

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