I’ve been very aware of my personal seasons recently. I used to think there was something wrong with me when I’d fall into a down season. The moments where I just want to sit and do nothing have felt so wrong to me. I’d constantly beat myself up, thinking of how terrible it was and howI was falling behind when I wouldn’t do everything I “needed” to do.
So I’ve decided to experiment recently. I’ve been indulging in my slow moments. I let myself sit in bed longer, I skip cleaning tasks a little more. I let myself sit and do nothing as much as I want. I don’t tell myself I’m a bad mom when I decide we’re going to eat ramen on the couch for dinner because cooking just didn't sound appealing that day.
There’s definitely a balance. You can’t indulge in breaks all the time. Your house can’t become a pigsty and your children need veggies every once in a while. But that doesn’t mean we have to do things perfectly all the time, or even most of the time.
So this is what I’ve been reminding myself recently:
you need to remember all the things you’ve done and stop focusing on all the things you have to do.
So this is my experiment: creating a balance in being productive while also allowing myself to indulge in the selfish, lazy moments we all need a little more of.
HOW I LIVE A SLOW LIFE
MAKE BIG MEALS THAT LEAVE A LOT OF LEFTOVERS
If you’re like me, you are not the best at meal planning. I honestly don’t cook dinner more than 3 times a week because, well, I just don’t want to. I know myself and I know my family and I know we’re going to want Chick-Fil-A more than once and I’m learning to be okay with that.
Besides our terrible habits with eating out, I have just accepted that I’m not the home-cooked-meal type of mom. I’m slowly learning to love cooking… but for now I’m going to stick with my big batch, one pot meals.
I’ve found that soups, casseroles, and noodle dishes are awesome. When I’m feeling fancy, I’ll cook a nice meal for 10 even though there’s only 3 of us. That way, we have tons of leftovers and the microwave can be our personal chef for the rest of the week!
This is a no brainer when it comes to living simply. At least in my life, clutter has been a huge time waster and stress maker. Having more than I need left me with so much maintenance on a daily basis that I never felt like I’d have time to myself. Constantly making decisions about where things should go or which one of something I should use left me brain dead most of the time. That, along with frequently giving up and letting my space reach atrocious levels of gross really just weighed me down most of my early life.
When I decided to declutter, I finally had control. I finally didn’t need as much as I once did which meant I could fill my time with less money making tasks and more relaxing, soaking in life stuff.
MAKE A SIMPLE CLEANING ROUTINE
This is much easier to do when you downsize. I can definitely appreciate that my 2 bedroom apartment is much easier to clean than a 4-5 bedroom, 2 story house with a yard.
Either way, there are ways to simplify your cleaning tasks and at least give the illusion that you’re cleaning less throughout your day.
Make a simple routine where you really just have to do one thing a day, or everything on just one day with maybe a few tiny daily tasks.
Clean as you go. When you’re cooking, when kids are playing, when you have an extra second where you feel like doing a little bit. Try and clean a little at a time throughout the day.
Partake in the 5 minute rule, even when you really don’t want to. If something will take 5 minutes or less to accomplish, just do it when you’re thinking about it. You will always feel better in the long run and really, what’s five minutes?
Don’t focus on the fact that it’ll get messy again. Floors are that thing for me. I avoid cleaning them when I notice they’re dirty because I know that by the end of the day they’ll just get dirty again. Really though, it’s so much easier to clean them in the moment than to sit and look at them get even dirtier throughout the day.
Clean when the kids are awake. Even though it’s so tempting to clean when they’re sleeping and they can’t run through you’re piles or steal your cleaner, cleaning sucks anyway so why not add the extra trouble? Then, you’ll be free to relax and have alone time (which is actually impossible to do when they’re awake) when they finally do have some quiet time.
DO WHAT YOU CAN, WHEN YOU CAN
I think this has been the most important thing to remember. I’m too good at focusing on everything I need to do and everything I haven't done without ever congratulating myself on the things I have done.
I look at the spots on the floor that I could mop without thinking about the fact that my floors are mopped multiple times a week and it’s okay if they’re dirty for a day.
I on all the unhealthy food we eat without appreciating how balanced our diet really is.
I look at how much the TV is on without seeing all the moments I stop and give my son my undivided attention throughout the day.
There is always something to do. Always. There are always floors to clean, healthier eating to do, and there will always be more that you could be doing for yourself and your family. It’s exhausting just thinking about all the stuff I could be doing. So I’ve decided to not.
I get into cleaning spells. I spray one counter down and the next thing you know I’m on my hands and knees cleaning the cabinets and baseboards and deep cleaning the high chair and washing the couch cushions. This happens more than I think I realize. Our house is clean.
Is it perfect? No.
The point is, I do have my moments and you do too. We all have those moments where we want to cook an amazing meal or do something exciting with our kids or make the house spotless. It’s just not all the time and that’s okay.
As long as you’re indulging in those surges of energy that propel all the productivity in the world, you can indulge in those moments where you really just want to watch a whole season of Desperate Housewives.
Photo by Jessica Arends