Simplify your life. That sounds like something we should be able to do fairly easily. It contains the word simple for goodness sake! But, would you consider your life simple? I dare say, about 99% of us would say our life is “complicated” or “hectic.” In our modern culture, we live such fast-paced lives running here, there, and everywhere…but to what end? If you remember, I shared my story of living on the hamster wheel of life, and how I exchanged that for a unique life I never expected! While everyone’s lives are different, there are three steps you can take to simplify your life starting today.
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Simplify Your Life by Not Giving in to Mom Guilt
I know…easier said than done. I’ve been almost every variation of mom you can come up with from stay-at-home-mom (SAHM), to working outside the home mom, to work-at-home mom. So, if anyone understands the guilt associated with each “position,” I do.
When I was staying at home while our boys were babies, I always felt guilty for not helping shoulder the financial burden my husband was carrying. When I was teaching in the public school, I always felt guilty for not being able to spend focused time with my kids. I was usually physically present, but rarely mentally present. Now that I’m a work at home mom, I feel guilty because I have to work during the day while my kids are at home with me. So, yeah…I know how heavy guilt can weigh on you.
If I’d simply taken the time to focus on the positive, I would’ve seen how the pros were balancing the cons. By staying at home, I was able to see all of my boys’ firsts! I was the one that (exhaustingly) got to spend every day with them. Then when I went back to teaching, I was able to relieve my husband of the financial burden to the point that we were able to add on to our house using cash for the whole thing! Now, I’m able to be the one educating my kids, while simultaneously working from home in an effort to begin contributing financially, again.
I mention all of that to say this…we experience different seasons in life requiring different things of us. The guilt will always be lurking in the recesses of our minds. But we can choose to focus on the good things our family is gaining. Remember, it’s your choice.
Simplify by Delegating, Dividing, and Conquering
Cleaning, laundry, and cooking has traditionally been the woman’s job, but that was when a woman’s responsibility was homemaking and childrearing. While I believe it’s our job as wives and mothers to create loving and welcoming homes, I also believe that everyone can contribute to the upkeep of your home. You all live there and create the messes! So, it’s not unreasonable to ask for everyone to take part in cleaning up those messes.
But, somehow, we’ve gotten this idea that if we don’t wait on our husbands and children hand and foot, we’re not good wives and mothers. (Remember the mom guilt? It’s back with a vengeance.) In reality, that is the farthest thing from the truth. Is it ok for us to do things for our families? Of course! Is it also acceptable for us to encourage our family members to participate in tasks that keep our home running smoothly? Absolutely.
The easiest way to delegate, divide and conquer is by creating a chore or task chart. Make a list of the tasks you need to accomplish daily, weekly, monthly, etc. Then when you have a list, each person has the opportunity to select different chores. I created a checklist for each of my boys with their specific tasks. They have a daily list and a weekly list. I even went as far as to assign them a completion time.
This one thing has helped us become more productive as a family, and it has helped to keep our house tidy and clean. Now, we can spend time doing things we want instead of digging out from under the clutter that has overtaken our home.
Simplify Your Life By Saying No
This may sound strange, but it’s essential. You absolutely MUST learn to say no. If you’re a people-pleaser, like me, saying no will feel unnatural and difficult. However, if you truly want to simplify your life, you’ve got to do it.
Now, let’s clarify exactly what I mean by saying no. I am referring to those tasks or activities other people request of you. You know the ones I mean…the ones you do out of guilt. (Mom guilt for the win!!) These are usually the tasks that push us to our breaking points. Things like making goodie bags for the whole class, agreeing to be the head coach or assistant coach for your child’s team, or “helping” a friend by watching her kids while she runs errands.
Make no mistake; all of these things are wonderful things! However, when you add them to an already full schedule, they become too much. Saying no, as uncomfortable as it is, will help you focus your attention on the tasks that need immediate action. You will find yourself more content and focused on the activities you’re heading up or participating in as opposed to worrying about the other 37 things you need to somehow get accomplished by the next day.
The greatest struggle with saying no is wondering, “What am I going to say?” My dad’s favorite quote for me when I start feeling overwhelmed with taking on another task is “No is a complete sentence.” In other words, no is completely sufficient on its own. It’s unnecessary for us to create a Powerpoint presentation stating the top 10 reasons we can’t do whatever it is we’ve been asked. It’s absolutely acceptable to say no, PERIOD. When we get to the point we can say no and move on, we’ll no longer be captive to the “mom guilt.”
One of the most influential books in changing my mindset about saying no was The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst. It was an absolute game-changer for me! I gained insight into why I said yes all the time. And it helped me realize I was actually robbing others of potential blessings. If you’ve never read this book, I urge you to read it. (Just consider it your summer reading assignment.) You’ll love it, I promise!
So, now that you have 3 easy ways to simplify your life, are you ready to apply them? Are you ready to focus on the positives by not giving in to mom guilt? Will you create a chore chart for your family to delegate, divide, and conquer? Can you consider the implications another task will have on your family? If you said yes to those questions, you are absolutely on your way to a more simplified life!