It’s hard to believe it’s been almost four years since I left my news producing job to be a stay-at-home mom. So much has changed since that time. We moved. My little family grew to four. We moved again. And now, my oldest—my sweet spitfire of a girl—is learning so much and shamelessly sharing her thoughts, ideas, and opinions with anyone who has ears to listen. Meanwhile, my son is developing his personality, starting to talk, and constantly looking for someone to put on his shoes and chase him around.
Although I’m still adjusting to this new season of life, I’m finding a new mantra when it comes to being productive in daily life: If it’s not working, it’s okay to change it.
Of course, there are always things we can’t change. But in this case, I’m talking about the little things we can. Perhaps, they’re our kids’ bedtimes and morning routines, how often they do extracurricular activities, when we do chores or how we can enjoy our time alone.
In the past, I always fought changing routines and systems because I developed them based on what was working for other people. So I expected them to work for me too. But when the results of said routines and systems weren’t living up to my expectations, I continued on the same impractical path because I didn’t want to be seen as a coward or a quitter. The whole time I would criticize myself until I felt like a failure.
I so desperately wanted to prove that if I set my mind to something, I was going to see it through. But I had no idea what it would cost—until it was too late. Turns out, all that proving—my value, my loyalty and my love for my family—blinded me to the fact that I was becoming my own worst enemy. Striving to meet the unrealistic expectations I set only left me overworked, overwhelmed, and a lot more stressed. And that wasn’t good for anyone.
Now, I fight daily against the desire to use my systems to prove I’m good enough. I also try to hang on to the idea that change isn’t always a bad thing.
When Change Is The Better Thing
Sometimes change can be the better thing. And from where I was, it was definitely the better thing. Making small changes helped me find some of the routines and systems that would give more time and energy for my family while keeping my spirit renewed, and my sanity maintained.
These days, that means taking in God’s wisdom first thing in the morning and then praying for guidance as I use smartphone apps to plan my day. It means lacing sneakers for treadmill runs to increase endurance and refocus my mind. It means spending days homeschooling or playing with the kids and writing at night. It means ordering groceries online and using Amazon Prime whenever I can. It means planning meals, without creating a rigid schedule. And when it comes to housework, it looks like ignoring the voice in my head that tells me I should be able to clean or do laundry in one day like my mother and grandmother—and getting it done the best way I can.
My methods may not be what someone else would choose, but they help me foster a home environment that is full of the joy, love, peace, and creativity that my soul craves.
What To Remember When Finding What Works
Of course, nothing is ever perfect and there will always be hard days, but giving myself permission to make changes helps me approach those days in a way that doesn’t rock my entire world. Over the past year, I’ve changed so many of my daily methods and routines to find what works for me now as a mom of two. Each time I had to remember that I am not a failure, a coward, or a quitter when something doesn’t work for me and my family. I had to remember that each family is different and what works for one won’t always work for another. I also had to remind myself that God has control over our lives, that his plans are for our good, and that there’s nothing wrong with letting go of what isn’t working to move us to that end.
Those moments we’re called to let something go can be hard to face. They can hurt our pride. But I’ve learned they’re necessary in order for us to be our best. I think my friend Jennifer Dukes Lee sums it up perfectly in her new book, It’s All Under Control. She says,” Sometimes God will ask us to let go of something because it’s not good for us. Sometimes he’ll ask us to let go of something to make room for what’s better.” Now, that doesn’t sound so bad, does it?