All Star Mom: Candi- " I used to feel guilty for having a clean home"

Meet Candi! She is a mom of 2 boys, a beautiful wife, a twin, a dental hygienist and a great friend. If I had to nominate someone for Mother of the Year, it would be her! She is so uplifting and inspiring. She is constantly trying to improve herself and better her home and family. She gives several resources that help make her life easier, which several of the programs she uses I can attest to, as I use several of them myself.

I Used to Feel Guilty For Having a Clean Home

This is me and my first born son. I smile when I look at this photo because I had no idea the journey that would take place. 

I sat down looking across the table at a therapist wearing a bright yellow cardigan, a crisp navy-blue button down shirt, perfectly curled hair and a bubble necklace with coordinating ballet flats.  I nervously smiled as I told her a little about myself and explained that I wasn’t sure if I needed to be seeing a counselor or a life coach.

Then I blurted out “I feel guilty for having a clean house!!” (The look she gave me confirmed that I indeed was in the right place!)

I started talking about the guilt I felt as a mother, not for what I was doing, but for what I wasn’t doing.  If I cleaned my house then I felt guilty for not giving attention to my kids, if I was reading a book I felt guilty for not serving my neighbors and I went on&on&on…  She blurted out “that sounds exhausting!” I assured her it really was!

Most of all I felt guilty that I didn’t feel present and I feared I was going to miss my children’s childhoods…I would hear moms make comments like “forget the dishes and burn the to-do list- don’t pass up making a memory with your child”.   And “your children are small once, you’ll regret doing anything but cherishing your time with them.” 

So I would do just that, leave the dishes…only to spend twice as long later scrubbing dried food off pans.  I would rip up my to-do list-only to have an overwhelming feeling looming over me that I was forgetting something (and inevitable crisis when I actually did forget something important!)

Every time I would put my hands in the sudsy water to do dishes I would have a wave of panic wash over me…..What memory am I missing?! , I’m a horrible mom I would comment to myself.  I would begrudgingly leave the dishes and sit by my two year old, who was happily playing trains by himself, not really wanting me to join in.  I would try to join in and be completely present but couldn’t shake the distractions and turmoil swirling around me.  I would get to the point where I couldn’t stand it any longer and I would clean& clean& clean (and feel like a horrible mom the whole time).

After one cleaning spirt a well meaning friend commented on how clean my home was. She went on to say that she used to have a clean house like mine, but decided it was more important to spend time with her kids. 

 I wondered how she was able to do that and why I couldn’t.   On one hand I felt self-conscious if my home was clean and on theother self-conscious if it wasn’t.

Then a miracle happened when I learned the concept of Practices vs. Principals, it just clicked! My guilt was lifted, I felt free..I realized that I had been so consumed with the practice of how other moms were being present with their families that I had lost focus of the actual principal I was shooting for.

I once heard “in motherhood we are all in the same ocean but different boats” No two mothers lives are the same and there are a million different practices to be a mom that is mindful and present with her family.

I decided to do what worked for my unique personality, family and circumstances and not what worked for another mom.

I found that I work best by having trusty systems and routines that allow me to maintain life and not feel like I have to do everything at once.

Here are the practices that work for me to reach the principal of being present (and the beautiful thing is something totally different might work better for you).   

I use the Mind Organization for Moms program to bring order to my paperwork and to file all of my ideas.  I cannot explain the freedom that my brain has knowing that no ideas or tasks will get lost but instead moved forward when its convenient for me.  Imagine not having anything on your brain!!! It's awesome!! http://powerofmoms.com/previous-store/m-o-m/

*I’ve involved my whole family in this simple cleaning schedule. I find freedom in quickly spending time each morning and evening. We tweaked it a bit (I do a load of laundry most days and sometimes do the daily chores on Saturdays) but we always do the morning and evening chores. My home is tidy and it isn't a big deal to maintain.

*My husband and I use the YNAB budgeting system for our finances. 

*I have menu plan now with theme days and 7-10 recipes in a binder for each day (Mon.=Healthy, Tue.=Mexican, Wed= Breakfast, Thurs=Comfort, Fri=Pizza, Sat= Grill and Sun=Crockpot).  I remember the principal behind family meals is gathering and connecting. I do like having well balanced meals but the consistently connecting is what's the most important 

*I spend a ½ hour each evening rotating between different areas that need attention. My counselor really stressed that I can't do everything at the same time. I found instead of using my discretionary time each evening on social media that rotating between important items gives me a whole lot more balance.  (Mon= Finances,  Tues=Parenting, Wed=My career, Thur=Menu, Fri= DATE, Sat=Reading, Sun=Planning  the week.)

*I ground my self each day with connecting with my Heavenly Father through prayer and scripture study and exercising. Mike and I also spend time each evening praying, studying scriptures together and talking. We watch a 10 minute parenting class from Amy Mcreedy and spend 30 seconds checking in on our finances http://www.positiveparentingsolutions.com

*My husband and I were inspired by this blog to calendar out our entire year to make sure essential things took place in our lives. And I found this awesome planner.

I found that not having to worry about forgetting something important, how much money we had, what we were going to have for dinner, if we had any clean dishes/ laundry, my career or key relationships made a huge difference.  The idea of “keeping up” instead of feeling like I had to “catch up” works for me.  

A few days ago I set up a shoelace and cheerios for my toddler to string.  The activity didn’t go as planned.  As I began showing my little boy how to string cheerios he began eating them as fast as I could string.  My immediate reaction was to make him stop and string the shoelace properly, but I paused and quietly whispered “choose the principal over the practice”.  The principle behind me sitting down with him was to feel close  and strengthen our relationship.   I didn’t allow myself to get caught with the actual practice of stringing cheerios.  I spent 10 minutes stringing while he giggled and ate and I felt peaceful, clear, focused and best of all present. 


Cate Johnson said...

I agree mother of the year!!

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