Do you ever feel like when you’ve found your groove as an individual, everything else sorta falls in line? What does it look like for you to find that flow and maintain it? Let’s explore some things together in regards to just simple things we all encounter as women: laundry, dishes, toys, meals, etc.
For instance, when I’m up on meal planning and putting in our grocery order either Sunday or Monday, our week runs much more smoothly. It’s a miracle what a game-plan does for me even without doing meal “prepping” but just simply having a plan! There isn’t the tension or arguments about the dreaded question, “What’s for dinner?” That question led to feelings of being overworked, overused, unappreciated, and overwhelmed for my mom when we were growing up. I didn’t realize the gravity of that question at the time as a kid but after discussing with her later on as an adult that she was invited into the home after a long day’s work with that question by myself, my brother, or my dad almost daily – she felt all of those things and often anything but in her groove.
I could probably spend an entire blog post on why I think meal planning and doing a weekly grocery list is invaluable to me as a mom and our family as a whole – but instead, first I want to shift to show you that organization as a whole has really helped me find a good flow and as a result made my life so much more enjoyable and reduced stress.
Raise your hand if you’ve seen the new show on Netflix sweeping it’s way into homes all over the US and inspiring people to ask “Does this bring me joy?” Based on her novel, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, Marie Kondō helps families and individuals to go through their items not by rooms but by category, where they can see every single item they own in one space, touch it, ask if it brings them joy, and if not – thank the item for it’s time and move it to the giveaway pile. If the answer is very clearly “YES!” the goal is for that item to be a permanent fixture in your closet, on your bookshelf, in your kitchen, etc. until it no longer has that answer. It is a thorough and invigorating process. My husband and I did it over a Christmas break two years ago now and it was truly and honestly life-changing. Wow did it feel good to say goodbye to the things that we were holding onto and couldn’t really define why but furthermore to fill our home and our space with things that actually make us extremely happy!
I’m not saying that it’s impossible to find a good flow in today’s world if you haven’t done something like Marie’s method, but I highly recommend examining if adding more order and structure in your normal day-to-day life would end up bringing you joy and help you abandon the stress just a tad.
A big part of finding my flow has been to retrain my brain to see certain chores and responsibilities in a new light. I remember being a young, married, college student and absolutely loathing laundry and dishes. In fact, I would just let them pile up sooooo stinking bad that by the time I was forced to address the issue (because we literally had nothing to eat on or I had zero underwear left), it would take me an insurmountable amount of time cleaning and fixing my problem and I would spend most of it cursing myself and the chore for being sucky.
The truth is though – everyone has laundry and dishes. It’s just the way it is. So the real question was – Was I willing to change my mindset and get more diligent and organized about these chores so that I would be able to find joy in doing them?
Well, it took 10+ years my friends, but I am able to report that, yes, in fact I did reframe my mentality about it, and I’m never going back. It’s so much more enjoyable to have a system in place that helps each task feel manageable and organized so that the process is actually pretty seamless and calming. Where soggy food that had sat in the sink for more than a few days would make me gag before, by doing the dishes as I cook and always running the dishwasher before bed each night/unloading it as I make the kids’ breakfast each morning, I never even really see soggy food and the gag reflex is 100% at bay. That’s not to say that this is how it is always because life happens and sometimes you still have to go to bed with a sink full of dishes – but for the most part that is not how we operate anymore.
One of the biggest benefits from shifting my mindset is it helped me so much in my parenting and teaching my kiddos to participate and actively help in all of these must do chores. It’s become a ritual for them to bring their plates to the counter after dinner, to unload all of the items that are take residence in the “kids’ drawer,” and just see that by working as a team we can take a fraction of the time and keep up on everything with so much ease! Currently, I wash two loads of laundry for the kids and check around Monday/Tuesday and again on Friday or so for when their baskets are full. I fold and they put away their items after I’ve folded. It’s fast, I listen to a podcast or music while I fold, and they have everything put away nicely in their drawers and closets within minutes.
My tip for laundry? Do it when you have one full load – whether that’s for yourself, or your kids (combined or separate). Wash – dry – fold – and put away all in the same day. By doing this, you’re not surrounded by 3-4 loads to tackle (unless you enjoy that and have the freedom to watch Marvelous Ms. Maisel on Amazon or something). What I love about staying up on my laundry is that my clothes are never wrinkled, I can address stains more quickly and I have ended up saving more clothes, and I’m able to wear my favorite and most flattering items much more often making me feel great!
What does finding your flow look like for you? What is one or two areas you want to see if being more organized and putting in forethought might bring you more peace and joy in your daily tasks? I’d love to learn more about things that work for you because chances are – they will be helpful for someone else too!