30X12 Challenge: April Update


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This month I had a little bit of help from my daughter. She gave her room a really good cleaning and ended up tossing a few things in my 30 item pile for April.

April's 30 pile

You are looking at my 30 things going either to the thrift store or the garbage this month. In the pile are stuffed animals, slips I never wear, bibles I have not used in quite a while (I have others I love more), plastic bottles gotten free at 5k’s, craft items and more.

What did you toss this month?

A Short Free Video Series That Will Encourage You

If you are like me sometimes all the household clutter can make you feel like a failure as a mom. After all, so and so down the street never seems to have a stray toy in her house and she has more children than you!

Or perhaps it isn’t clutter that has you feeling like a failure as a mom but something else related to homemaking, whatever it is take a few minutes today to watch this short video series and let it refill you mom tanks with encouragement.


30 times 12 challenge

Join the Snail Pacing Goal Achievers Facebook group as we declutter our homes one inch at a time!


How To Have A Better Morning Without Getting Up Earlier


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Are you tired of mornings where you fly out of bed and rush, rush, rush? Me too!

Do you constantly get told that the solution to your problem is simply to get up earlier? Me too–but um–I already get up somewhere between 5 and 6 am so I don’t think that is my problem. Actually, I know with 100% certainty it isn’t my problem and I am almost as certain that it isn’t your problem either–even if you get up several hours later than I do.

How To Have A Better Morning Without Getting Up Earlier--It is a lot easier than you think!

The Solution To Rushed Mornings

I found my solution to rushed mornings in Crystal Paine’s new course Make Over Your Evenings and I plan to share a big part of it with you below, but to completely makeover your mornings from over-stuffed and overwhelming to manageable and sane, you will need to enroll in the course.

How to have a better morning without waking up earlier!

How To Have A Better Morning Without Getting Up Earlier

In day 9 of Crystal’s Make Over Your Evening course, a light bulb went off in my head.  She was talking about placing things you need for errands that next day near the front door when suddenly in my head I started thinking of all I could do at night that I have been cramming into the morning hours.

I admit this isn’t the first time I have heard about preparing for morning the night before, but up until now I have always combated it with the excuse that I am so brain-fried at night that I would rather use that time to just relax. After all, I deserve to relax after a long hard day of homeschooling, homemaking, and blogging.

That attitude problem was causing me to have to fit too much into my mornings–a time when I am most alert and capable of my best work.

As I watched Crystal pack her purse for the next day for her camera crew, I started thinking of all the no-brainer things I do each morning that I could take time to do in the evening even with a fried brain.

3 morning tasks I am moving to evenings and how it is freeing up 25 minutes each morning without overloading my evenings.

3 Morning Tasks I Am Moving To Evenings

Your tasks that you can move might not match mine, but that is understandable; you are not living my life and I am not living yours. I am simply listing mine so that it will get the wheels turning in your head of what you could take out of your morning routine and put into your evening hours to make mornings a little less hectic.

1. Pick out an Outfit for the Next Day

I am already in the habit of picking out a workout outfit and placing it on the kitchen table each night before I go to bed so it just seems natural for me to take just 5 to 10 minutes more to pick out an “after workout” outfit as well.

I have always fought this idea, saying the Indiana weather is just too unpredictable to decided what makes sense to wear the night before–but seriously–that excuse should have died years ago when handy weather apps became available.

I have already been practicing this a day or  two and it is making mornings a whole lot less stressful–and not just for me.  It also helps my poor husband, who is often still in bed when I am getting out of the shower, and was enduring having to pull the covers over his head while I turned on the lights to pick out an outfit.

Time to do this each evening: 5 to 10 minutes

2. Assign Children Their Chores

We have a chore chart that I fill out for the children each day. The chart is a lifesaver for me, it has freed up so much of my time to pursue blog work and it provides my children with money to learn to manage well.

However, it takes around 10 minutes each morning to fill out. I can just as easily look around my house at night and see what house-cleaning tasks I can assign to the kids the next day as I can in the morning. It does not require a fully alert brain to write down “fold laundry” or “wash dishes.”

Time to do this each evening: 10 minutes 

3. Put Work Gear Where it Needs to be

Since I work from home, I don’t need to prepare my purse or lunch or diaper bag for the kids (long past the diaper  stage), but since our home is small, my office is a floating one.

By floating I mean I work wherever it is quietest and that depends on not just the day, but the time of day. It takes me about 5 minutes to gather all my work gear from where I was working the night before to where I am going to be working that morning.

Each night I am going to make it a habit to think through where I will be starting work the next day and place the supplies I need to work in that place.

Time to do this each evening: 5 minutes

How To find 25 extra minutes each morning without getting up earlier.

Time Saved In The Morning & How I’m Making The Tasks Fit Into My Night Time Routine

If you add the time it takes me to do those 3 tasks, I have freed 20 to 25 minutes for my mornings without getting up any earlier.  What would you do with an extra 25 minutes each morning? Work out? Read? Study God’s Word? Take a longer shower? I am planning to get more blog work done. Boring, I know, but by getting it done while I am most alert I can relax and do fun things that require me to be less alert later in the day.

Of course, that also means I need to find 25 minutes at night to do these tasks. My plan is to do them right after dinner when I still have a bit of energy left. I am going to have to practice self discipline to not hit the couch with a good book before they are done, but I know the reward is that I can now read my book in the evening without thinking of all that blog work I didn’t get done.

I have been practicing this new routine the last few nights and it really hasn’t felt like it has added stress to my evenings in any way, but it sure has taken stress OUT of my mornings.

A few More Ideas of Things You Might Want to Shift to Evening Time

  • breakfast prep
  • getting the dishwasher started
  • writing out your to do list
  • setting out your workout gear
  • signing kids’ papers for school and placing them in their bags
  • cleaning the kitchen counters
  • making lunches
  • deciding what is for dinner

Once again, what works for your evening routine is going to depend on the unique nature of your family and your stage of life, but having a evening routine is going to make mornings run smoothly without even having to get out of bed one minute earlier than you do now!

How You Can Achieve Morning Success Too!

How To Have A Better Morning Without Getting Up Earlier--It is a lot easier than you think!

A blog post doesn’t allow me to share all that I am doing to make over my evenings in order to make over my mornings without getting up earlier.

However, the 14 day course Make Over Your Evenings does! Crystal walks you through exactly what you need to achieve success with her simple 5, 5, 5 formula. A daily 5 minute video, followed by 5 minutes of reading and wrapped up with 5 minutes of filling out a worksheet that will help you come up with a night-time plan that caters perfectly to your needs.

Go grab your copy here!


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Dear Mom, You Failed But You’re Not A Failure


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Dear Mom,

You might feel today like you are a failure, but you are not. Today you might have failed–but that doesn’t make you a failure.

Perhaps today you either yelled at the kids or you burnt dinner or your art project didn’t turn out at all like the example you saw of Pinterest.

Perhaps you did more than one of those things on the list since the sun came up today…and now you feel like you should write the word “failure” across your forehead.

Sure, you took a picture of that burnt dinner and put in on Instagram with #momfail attached. You say you did it because you are okay with it and you want others to laugh with you—but inside a part of you feels like it was more than just a failed dinner, it was a reason to consider yourself a failure.

Dear Mom, You Failed But You're Not A Failure: 6 Tips For Succeeding At The Mom Life

But today was just one day in your long motherhood career! And one bad day out of thousands does not equal failure.

As the iconic song states, “The sun will come out tomorrow,” and when it does you start with a clean slate.

Failure is not based on a one time effort. Failure is achieved only when you fail to get back up and try again.

Go to bed, mom. Get some rest and then tomorrow get up back up!

How To Help Yourself Succeed at the Mom Life

1. Give Yourself Grace

My guess is when you yelled at your kids the first time today internally you shamed yourself which only created a greater likelihood that you would yell at them some more before the day was through. When we feel bad about ourselves, we act poorly.

Next time you yell–pause, take a deep breathe, apologize to your children and then forgive yourself for yelling and then try and take a few “mom time” moments to erase the bad mood and start fresh.

Dear Mom, You Failed But You're Not A Failure: 5 Tips For Succeeding At The Mom Life

2. Sprinkle Your Day With Mom Moments

Put a magazine you love by the couch where you often sit. Take 5 minutes when you can a few times during the day to curl up on the couch and read an article before going on to yet another chore.

Get up before the children–even if it is just 30 minutes before they wake up–and do what energizes you most for the day. Read, do a bible study, pray, workout or whatever fills your good mood tanks.

Insist on a daily 30 minute quiet time in the early afternoon where everyone retreats to their room no matter what their age, so that everyone including mom gets a break from each other and can start the second half of the day refreshed. Use this time to read, craft, or do whatever ignites passion within you. Passion is contagious! It is hard to be in a poor mood when you are filled with passion for life.

Dear Mom, You Failed But You're Not A Failure: 5 Tips For Succeeding At The Mom Life

3. Take Regular Breaks From the to-do List

Although a to-do list is an essential successful homemaking tool, some days it can be a successful home wrecking tool. If you find that you are becoming enslaved to getting one more thing done on your list to the detriment of those you love–it is time for a break from the to-do list.

Or perhaps the to do list is leaving you defeated because day after day little gets crossed off the list due to the demands of the motherhood season you are in . If that is you it is time to take a vacation from the to-do list for a few days.

During that time re-evaluate what is truly possible to get done each day in your stage of parenthood.

Also take a day and do an “I did it” list instead. Simply write down what you did all day, from nursed the baby, to changed the diaper, to washed those sticky hands after lunch. I used to do this in the early mothering years once and a while and it was a HUGE mood changer for me. I would go from, “Man, I am a failure as a mom I can’t get anything done,” to, “Wow! I had no idea I changed that many diapers and washed that many dirty faces during the day. No wonder I get little else done! ”

Dear Mom, You Failed But You're Not A Failure: 5 Tips For Succeeding At The Mom Life

4. Set Minimum Housekeeping Standards

When your standards are to make your home look like it jumped out of the pages of a home decor magazine on a daily basis you are going to FAIL. Every. Single. Day. And those fails are going to make you feel like a failure.

But you’re not, your standard is simply too high. Those photos require a crew of cleaners and hours of prep work, and I can almost guarantee you that they didn’t have any children underfoot when they were doing that prep work either.

Instead of shooting for the moon, never to reach it sit down with your spouse and discuss what minimum household cleaning standards are important to you. You can, of course, do more than these minimums. The whole idea is to make realistic expectations for busy days, as many days in the child rearing years are. Should you hit a slower season, do more–but during busy ones be happy if you just hit the minimums.

I did this with my own husband years ago when we were in the baby stage and we came up with clean laundry. Not folded, not put away, just clean. At least one clean kitchen counter for food prep. Enough clean dishes for the next meal. Bathrooms that we wouldn’t feel embarrassed should friends drop by unannounced and wanted to use them. And a couch that is clear of toys to relax on at the end of a hard day.

Notice our list doesn’t include tidy bedrooms (we just shut the doors), toy free floors or even crumb free floors for that matter. It simply included what we needed to survive: clean laundry, a space to prepare food, dishes to eat that food in, a clean place to clean our bodies each day, and a couch to collapse on at the end of a hard day without getting attacked by a stray toy.

Dear Mom, You Failed But You're Not A Failure: 5 Tips For Succeeding At The Mom Life

5. Make Time for Deep, Meaningful Friendships

To survive as a mom you need people on your team who are right there in the trenches with you. Friends who won’t give you the, “Oh my word, lady. What is wrong with you?” eye when you reach in your purse for your wallet and it comes out with half eaten candy stuck to it. Instead these friends will laugh and say, “Oh, I am so glad it isn’t just me!” and give you a hug.

These friends remind you–you are not the only one who fails from time to time at this homemaking career. They remind you to look at the broader picture and not just at today.

These friendships take time and effort to develop, but every moment you spends developing them pays in HUGE dividends so make sure friend time is always on your to do list. Never scrub it out thinking you don’t have time. You NEED it!

If you are interested in friendship building, you might also like these posts:

A great book on the topic of friendship that I read and loved: Friendship: A Gift To Give

6. Watch This Video Series and be Encouraged

I spent some time this weekend watching the free 3-part video series The Truth About #MomFail Culture: 10 Things You Need to Hear on the Hard Days and I came away so encouraged!

Each video is right around 15 minutes long, a perfect breather in a busy mom day.

It is only available for a short while so take some time this week to watch it and be reminded that you are not alone. Be encouraged that all moms fail from time to time, BUT that does not make us failures as moms or homemakers, it only makes us human.

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