Thursday, February 28, 2013

Which Shifts To Work-- not overworking ourselves

(This post is part 2 of the post "Me Time" both are based on the same quote by Sister Beck)

Overworked, Tired, Stressed . . .

Have you ever felt this way?  I have!  

It was at one of these times that I came across a talk by Sister Julie B. Beck in the 2010 BYU Women’s Conference that I have referenced on several occasions.  She said:

“In order to prioritize time wisely, I learned something from my father-in-law years ago. He was a steel-worker and spent his life working three different shifts. He either worked the day shift, the afternoon shift, or the night shift. As a young mother I realized one time that I was working all three shifts, and that’s why I was so tired. We can’t do all things all at once, and we have to be careful and safeguard our shifts.

As I have talked to young mothers and mothers with children at home—those with teenagers and young adults especially—they tell me that their most important shift to be at the top of their game, to be the strongest lioness at the gate is the “swing shift.” That’s the afternoon shift. That’s when everyone comes home hungry, tired, needy, and less lovable. It is when you are hungry, tired, needy, and less loveable. It is also the time of day when people are more teachable, when they are most grateful. When we realize and prioritize our time properly, we don’t expect to use all of our strength on the other two shifts so that the afternoon shift can be safeguarded and can be a time of strength and power. We plan for times when the meals are there together, when we can create that home environment and when that family can gather, and you are the strengthening power and force in that family. Remember that influence and power come when we prioritize correctly. If you spend time elsewhere, you don’t have it to give. For other women it might be another time of the day. Some of us have to be on call during the day shift. 

There are many who need help during the day. Service is needed during the day, but look at and evaluate your life. Ask “Where do I need to prioritize my time?” and “When do I have to be at the top of my game?” I have learned that a good woman with the help of the Lord can usually work two to two and a half shifts. However, no one can work all three shifts. You have to prioritize where you are going to spend your energy.”

As I have thought about Sister Beck’s counsel I have seriously considered what I can do in order to be at my best for my family. 

1.    Early morning scriptures-  I know it gives me patience and strength for the day.

2.     Read-  I feel strongly that this time as a mother with children in our home will pass so quickly.  
This is my only chance to learn all I can about being a good mother and homemaker.  
I am always reading something that will help me in my motherhood career or to help 
me be a better homemaker and of course always a good wife.  

3.    Do something I love-  Sometimes I do a project, refinish furniture, or organize something.  
I don’t always have a project because sometimes life is just too busy. 
I include our children on many of my projects.  They have been great assistants when 
I have had a lot of sanding to do and they love to help paint!

4.    Write it down-  When I stop and reflect I can see how the Lord 
is always there to bless and help me.  
It is my way of bottling up this time of my life so that  I can enjoy the 
memories for years to come.  
When my kids are busy raising their own kids I don’t want to say, “I can’t remember the details 
of when everyone was home.”   I want to remember the moments that make up my life. 

                                          5.  Making time work for me-  I am a morning person so I choose 
to work really hard in the morning.  
From 2:00pm -3:00pm I try to slow down and let myself catch my breath so that  
I can be ready for the afternoon rush.

Make a list of what works for you.  If your not a morning person arrange your day so that you work hard in the afternoon and have slower mornings.  There is more than one way to accomplish life successfully! What helps you to be a better mother?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Survival Mode

Survival Mode

I have found myself in survival mode several times over the past 10+ years of mothering.  Here are some of the reasons that I have been in survival mode:

- morning sickness
- preparing to move (We have lived in 7 states and even more houses!)
- trying to settle into a new home
- new babies
- sickness or health problems for me or someone in the family
- lack of sleep (due to a child waking me up!)

Here is my list of how to survive in survival mode:

1.    I buy paper plates and don’t feel guilty for using them!
Sometimes you don’t have energy to do ALL the dishes.
2.    I modify the cleaning schedule.  I pick up everyday, but instead of deep cleaning each Monday I deep clean every other week and touch up bathrooms as needed.
3.    I don’t have any projects or anything extra on the schedule that doesn’t have to be there.  We try to cut back kids activities also. 
4.    Eating healthy is very important to me so I still try to cook and have family meals but they are very very simple and I keep things like “Stouffers Lasagna” in the freezer for days that  I really can’t cook. 
5.    I stop when I can’t do anymore. 
6.    I take naps.  I am not a napper. Once I wake up in the morning I like to keep moving, but with a new baby I love to take a nap in the afternoon.
7.    Just do the best I can and be happy with any effort.  

After our sixth baby was born I found myself in serious survival mode.  She was born on the first day of school.  Our three elementary kids were split between two different schools, our basement flooded twice a week after she was born, and our two year old decided that he was ready to be potty trained!  I posted the following pictures at that time in life:

Please rest assured that things are never dull at the Bradshaw's house!  In the past two weeks we have:
Potty Trained Tanner (he took the initiative).

Started 3rd grade, 1st grade, kindergarten, and preschool.  The 3 oldest go to two different schools.  Grandma also came to help.

Had our 6th beautiful baby.

Had our basement flood


. . .but, life is good.  


Somehow, some way life does get better and you eventually get out of "survival mode"!


I'll be honest.  I like to focus on the positive.  I like to envision myself always looking like this:

Reality is . . .

Sometimes my boots get muddy and my pants get caught in my boots.  
(How embarrassing!)

I envision my house looking like this:

Reality is . . .
 For the first time in my mothering career I had a child decorate their crib with poop, yes poop.

I envision my children dressed in coordinating outfits and smiling.
 Reality is . . .
 I think they are just as cute after they storm downstairs to play and let their imaginations run wild.  

I envision my kids so loving and fun:
 Reality is . . .
 Sometimes they collapse in a public restroom because they just don't want to go potty.

I envison my children achieving greatness:
Reality is . . .
There are a lot of bumps that happen along the road to greatness!  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

6 Steps To A More Organized Life

6 steps to a more Organized Life
by: Tasha Bradshaw

A few years ago I visited a professional organizers blog that boasted, "Get Organized Once and For All!  I laughed; I wish it were just something that you did once and then you’re done!  As a mother life is moving from one stage to another and from one season to the next at such an incredible speed I often wish life would slow down so that I could catch my breath!  

Throughout my mothering years I have been on a quest to simplify the time and effort that it takes to maintain a house of order so that I can spend more quality time enjoying my family.  As a mother of six children ranging in age from 2-10 I have found six helpful tips that our family doesn't want to live without.

1.  Cut the Clutter

2.  Coming and Going

3.  Personal Treasure Boxes

4.  Place for Papers

5.  Consistency is Key

6.   You Can't Do It Alone

1.  Cut the Clutter

Everything you own really does take some of your time. It either needs to be dusted, put away, cleaned, arranged, or picked up.  The less you own the less time you have to spend caring for things.  This includes clothes. We have found that having fewer clothes is so much easier.  In reality we usually only wear a certain percentage of our clothing.  We try to buy items that mix and match.  It is much easier for children to help put clothing away when the drawer isn't bulging with items that don't fit and are rarely worn.  

We have all walked into a room that is so strew with toys and seems so overwhelming to pick up.  By cutting back on the amount of stuff that is in our home it makes it easier for kids to see where items go and the putting away process seems so much less overwhelming! 

2.  Coming and Going

Let face it, life is constantly in motion and we are running from one thing to the next.   In my post titled, “Launching and Landing,”  I mentioned how essential it is to have items that we need easily accessible when we leave, and easy to put away when we return.  Here is part of that post:

I read in the book, "Project: Organization, Quick and Easy Ways to Organize Your Life," by Marie Ricks, that you should have a "launching and landing" place in your home.  

We were fortunate when we bought our house that there was an unfinished mudroom just off of the garage.  We were able to have it finished how we wanted and it has made coming and going much easier!  

Here are some important ideas for "launching and landing":

Have an assigned place for your keys.
Have a specific place for your coat and purse.  We each have our own hook.  It is easy to grab what we need on the way out the door and easy to put away. 

Where do backpacks go?  We hang ours.

Where do you keep gloves and hats?  We have a basket for ours

Where are you going to keep library books that need to be returned?  We keep them in a basket so they are easy to grab when returning to the library.

3.  Personal Treasure Boxes

When my children were younger their rooms were beautifully arranged just as I wanted them to be.  I quickly learned that as children grow they have opinions too.  They have special papers, special toys, and many things that I personally don't want to save!  Our solution was to give each child their own Personal Treasure Box.  Their treasure box is a special box just for them.  They can keep anything they want in their treasure box.  There is only 1 rule:  The lid must fit on!  If the lid doesn't fit they need to clean it out so that it will.  If they choose not to clean it out that is when mom has the right to "help" clean out.  In their treasure boxes they have a variety of treasures from McDonalds toys to art projects they love having their own personal space. 

4.  Place for Papers

It seems that papers come in by the armful and if they aren't carefully dealt with they can easily cover the kitchen counters.  I highly recommend the Mind Organization for Moms program on the Power of Moms website.  Each day when my kids come home from school I grab my "inbox" and quickly put papers I receive into 1 of 4 folders: 

1.  Today (things that need to be done today) 
2.  Weekly Review (things that need to be looked at this week) 3.  To File (papers to file, or art projects to take a picture of) 
4.  Read and Review (items that I would like to read over, but it doesn't have a deadline)

I also have an accordion folder with a slot for each child to put papers that we need to keep and study from.  (Spanish or spelling words)

Our children bring home beautiful projects and artwork from school, but if I kept everything I would need to build an extra room on the house!  I keep a few favorites in their file and then I take a picture of everything else.  They can look at the pictures of their artwork on the computer and I plan to print them in a book.

5.  Consistency is Key

I really believe that being consistent is one key to a successfully organized home.  Yes, there are busy weeks when it feels like everything is falling apart, but when we just keep trying it makes all the difference.

We consistently read our scriptures, consistently pick up our rooms, we consistently eat dinner together, we just keep trying and keep working!  Success comes from not giving up!  

6.  You Can't Do It Alone

At times my husband will open a cupboard and say, "Why is this in here?"  My response is, "The kids unloaded the dishwasher." While it may at times seem easier to do everything yourself so that it can be done exactly like you like, I know that as a deliberate mother I step back and think about what a disservice it would be if I did do everything myself.  When our children grow up and live on there own I want my son to know how to achieve a streak free bathroom mirror.  The only way they learn is if we teach them and allow them to practice.  Our kids have turned into amazing helpers and I know they feel satisfied when they have worked hard and can see results.  They feel ownership in keeping our house clean because they are a part of the process. 

We have daily chores as well as Saturday chores.  I am now reaping the benefits of taking time to teach the oldest kids when they were young because their efforts really make a big difference in our home!

Getting organized is an endless process, but for our family it is worth the effort so that we can live the quality of life that we desire.   

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Typical Day

Schedule, Schedule, Schedule 

I know that some mothers are scared of the word "schedule."  They feel like if they commit to a schedule that they will be tied down and confined.  I actually feel like it brings so much freedom.

Habits are powerful tools when we use them to help us accomplish our goals. 

If you have kids, it seems that you don't have full control over your life and anything can happen (and does happen)!  I use my schedule as a guide for what to do next, but sometimes something comes up and you just try to survive.

From time to time I write down my schedule so that I can see how long it actually takes to do laundry, prepare meals, clean, and take care of kids.  It always helps me realize how much time I don't have:)  

This is my general plan for life (more than you ever wanted to know about what I do!):

I try to have a good morning routine that focus on four areas:

Prepare myself for the day
Prepare my family for the day
Prepare the house for the day
Prepare meals for the day

5:30 Wake up (I will mention that  I don't have a tiny baby and I currently sleep through the night!)

5:50 Shower and get ready

6:25 Make sure that everyone is awake

6:30 Family Scripture Study and Family Prayer

7:00 Help kids get dressed, make their beds, do their hair

Chores- between 7:00-8:00 the kids do their chores which really helps our morning get off to a great start! (more about chores in a later post)

7:20- 8:00 eat breakfast, make lunches

8:00 Take kids to school

8:10 Dishes-  I don't like to do dishes (who does?) so I set the timer for 10 minutes.  I can do anything for 10 minutes and I usually get it done!

8:20 Think about dinner (if it is a crock pot meal I throw it in, if I can thaw or chop something ahead I do)

8:38 Start a load of laundry (it is always sorted so it is quick and easy to start)

8:40 Exercise (walk on the treadmill or do another workout) I am in the basement with all the toys so the kids will play, do puzzles, or they can watch Dora or do something by me.

9:15 House pickup- I start upstairs and open blinds and pick up.

9:30 Laundry in the dryer

9:45 -12:00 (this time varies from day to day)
Mondays- I do all the house cleaning
Tuesday- Go to an exercise class and playgroup
Wednesday- Grocery Shop, Tanner has a soccer class
Thursday and Friday-  Visit teach or run errands or stay home.  I try to have at least one of these days be a home day. 

12:30 Eat lunch-  I always tell the kids a story with a scripture picture during lunch.

1:00  Ellie’s nap- I read her a story before she takes a nap (this is her bedtime story, our evenings are usually busy with the older kids)

1:15 Dishes

1:30 Tanner Preschool-  I teach him for about 30 minutes 4 days a week.

2:00 Tanner’s quiet time, he plays toys in his room

2:00 Computer time-  I use this time to respond to emails, write down thoughts, do anything else that needs to be done.   This is my moment of downtime before the afternoon rush!

2:55 Pick up kids from school

3:10 Snack time

3:25 Homework x 4 kids
Our chore charts have helped the kids know what has needs to be accomplished. I sit at our "homework" table and assist everyone.  

5:00 Finish preparing dinner (Abigail and Alexis set the table)

5:30 Pick up the house (by this time it looks as though a Hurricane has hit our home and if anyone were to stop by they would wonder if I ever pick up!) –Thankfully Justin always calls when he is leaving work and it gives me 30 minutes to pick up!! 

6:00 Family Prayer, Dinner, and Dishes

6:50 Sometimes we have scouts or activity days, sometimes it is Relief Society, other days it is soccer or something. (usually Justin and I trade off who takes and who stays home)  We cherish nights that are free!   

7:00 Little kids get in the tub

7:30- 8:00 Little kids to bed

8:30 Big kids to bed

9:30 Ideally I like to get in bed and read until 10:00, but this doesn’t happen often enough :)  

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