Whatever Works

January 2019

People often ask me, “How do you do it?” I am a little confused by the question because I don’t know exactly. I just do it. I see what needs to be done, and I suck it up and do it. I can’t wait on someone else to come along and clean up another poop mess. It’s all on me. #singlemomlife

I love productivity hacks and tips and methods. I love reading about how people handle different areas in their lives so I can get ideas as to what works for me. I have to adapt everything to fit for my life, because I haven’t seemed to find anyone else out there with my exact life situation. I have to take in all the tips, tricks, hacks, and methods that I see and read about and then measure it against the reality of my life to make it work for me.

I feel like saying this as a note of encouragement: give yourself grace to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Different seasons of life will mean you need to approach certain areas of life differently. I mean, I don’t have to mix formula for 2 babies anymore (can I get an amen?), so my nightly prep for the next days looks a lot different than it did a year ago.

And also another note of encouragement: embrace your strengths and forgive your weaknesses. I’m really great at laundry (like I wash, dry, fold, and put away all in the same day, every week), but I never make my bed. I mean, I want to be a person who makes their bed, but also at the same time, I don’t care enough to take the 90 seconds it takes to make my bed.

So over on the ‘Gram, I’ll be doing Tip Tuesdays in my stories and posts, and for the bigger “items” of tips and methods that I use, I’ll even write some blog posts to go more in detail. I’ve done a few stories on different things like laundry, sensory closet, my van and all that I keep in there, my travel advice, our family closet, a house tour, activity bags, meal planning, and our indoor swing. Go here to scroll through the highlights on my profile.

Organization brings peace into my life, and I know that’s not how everyone finds peace. That’s okay. I just know that for me I need things to have a place so it can lessen stress during the moments I really need to find something quickly.

But also, I’m not perfect in every area. I’ll do something a certain way, and either it won’t work or I’ll get lazy. Then it just gets dropped because it wasn’t serving it’s purpose well (like the sensory closet I had). That’s when I just let it be and come back later to reassess what would work instead.

So let me tell you about my sensory closet idea now that I’ve mentioned it. I’ll get back to productivity after I take this rabbit trail. So 4 of my girls have gone through Occupational Therapy for different reasons, but sensory avoidance/seeking were all big reasons for most of them. In addition to OT, Nora and Sadie have done the ASAP program through Harmony Family Center. This family therapy approach felt like a mix between emotional play therapy and OT. A lot of sensory activities and tips.

So because I don’t keep my girls’ clothes in their rooms (we do a family closet), I decided that my girls NEEDED a sensory closet in their empty closet. I bought sensory toys or just collected the ones we already had around the house, and I filled the closet with them and with pillows and blankets and other things to make it cozy and fun.

Y’all. They never used it. It was there for them to go into whenever they wanted for some peace and quiet. So it just sat unused for a couple of months. Then I was given a massive Barbie Dreamhouse. So I turned the sensory closet into a Barbie closet, and it serves a dual purpose now.

First purpose is for Barbie play time. All of their Barbie toys are in there, and they have a blast with that big dreamhouse.

Second purpose is that we have a rule that they’re allowed to go play in there alone without anybody else interrupting. If you watch my Instagram stories, you know my house is LOUD. It can be overstimulating and just frustrating to be in if you’re having a rough day. So my girls know that they’re allowed to play alone to kinda destress and regulate.

Because through trauma education and brain development research and therapy, I have learned that play is an incredible tool for kids to regulate and sort through their feelings – big and small. Giving them space to just play it out is an opportunity for them to sit in their feelings.

Now one thing I want to be better at is playing WITH them one on one. It’s hard to do given the ages and number of children I have, but I’ll be fully honest here, I don’t actually enjoy it either. BUT I know it’s a great bonding experience. So I’m working on that.

But anywho, back to productivity.

There are just some days I just can’t. I just don’t have the energy to push through doing the dishes or even making dinner. So I’ve learned (and still learning) to just take a step back and say, “not today.” Again it goes back to giving myself grace in that moment. I don’t strive for perfection (well, I’m trying not to), but I do seek peace for my home and life. Peace sometimes means a well planned and executed day with healthy meals and equal quality time spent with each kid and beautifully clean counters, and then there’s peace found in ordering pizza and eating it on the trampoline while ignoring the to do list.

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