No, I'm not the expert of course. Famous blogger of simplemom.net and new author Tsh Oxenreider came and actually spoke to my mom's group this week! She was absolutely incredible and super inspiring. My group asked her questions about everything from meal plans, to television-watching and how to keep life simple. She has three kids in 3 different stages of child/babyhood and has lived overseas. She is a "Real Simple" magazine issue in female form...only real-er!
Some notes from her talk about living a stress-free life as a mother:
1) ALways have a machine working for you. Washing machine, dish washer, whatever, but always have someone else doing 'your' job.
2) Make it a point to the worst thing you have to do that day FIRST *before checking your email.
3) Buy cheap $2 spray bottles from target and keep one in each room of your house (that needs cleaning). Fill them with white distilled vinegar mixed with water (home made cleaning detergent, recipe available on her website) and whenever you're in that room, give the appliances/toys/books a quick wipe down. Home-made cleaning solution not only cuts down on cost, but is safer for baby and better for the fresh air.
4) Keep baking soda in all the bathrooms. Same principle--give the tub and toilet quick scrub while kids are bathing and you will keep your bathroom clean :)
5) De-clutter your closet. If you keep track of what you have worn over the past 3 months, it probably consists of the same 8 outfits. Donate the rest/sell, but make sure you always keep some maternity clothes around, and some post-maternity, but don't spend big bucks on those. Invest in those 8 outfits you wear, in the post-maternity clothing phase.
6) "Twaddle". A term coined in the early 20th century by Katherine Mansfield that describes toys/forms of entertainment that actually make you child, dumber. Examples are toys that light up, make noise, basically anything that requires little interaction from the child. This mom recommends "open-ended toys", which are toys that encourage the child to use imagination and 'create'. Examples include blocks, leggos, etc. Open-ended toys do double duty because they can be used with multiple age groups simultaneously. They won't outgrow blocks for a good 6-7 years.
7) Rotate your child's toys. Put out only 50% of them, and hide the rest. Every 3 mo. rotate them. This way you keep the kids interested and avoids the clutter (and ugliness in my opinion) of having baby stuff everywhere.
8) Create a family mission statement. Stick to it when making all family decisions. Such as, what will we be involved with? Will we homeschool? Will mommy stay at home? All of the answers should be in line with your family priorities.
9) I asked the question of how to deal with guilt over staying at home. Tsh answered with challenging me to view stay at home mommy-hood for what it is...a job. I am the CEO of my house. Not just a cute coin phrase. I manage my house and my family, which is the most important job one can have, and a lot of work to do it well.
She is currently on book tour for her new book, Organized Simplicity. I just discovered her website and it has ummmm Kiiindof changed my life! If you love being organized even a little, it will take you to type A heaven.