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My Problem with the Busy Mom

full life

A couple years ago I picked up a brochure from my local grocery store and on the back there was a small bio about the nutritionist who had helped to create the pamphlet. As I read a little about her I was struck by the fact that she was described as a busy mom. As I read her bio I was reminded of how frequently this little adjective (busy) was being used to describe moms. Each time I read or heard someone use this word to describe themselves or another mom I would cringe. This might seem like an odd reaction, and even I had to ask myself why I was so bothered by people using the word “busy” to describe a mom.

Moms are busy. I think that goes without saying.  Perhaps that is the first reason I am not a fan of using the word to describe this group of women.  It’s like describing an athlete as athletic or a painter as artistic. It’s redundant. I have children to care for, a home to keep, meals to plan and prep, homework to oversee, appointments to make, parties to plan, bedtime stories to read. (Do I need to keep going?  I could.) Moms are busy. It’s a given.

I also don’t like this description because it seems to imply that if you just write “mom” it’s not enough. Is it not enough to write, “She’s a mom of 4 who enjoys spending time inside and outside the home.  She is a homemaker, writer, and gifted guitarist.”? I guess that’s not enough because “busy” pops up before the word mom wherever I turn.

The third and most important reason I don’t like using the word “busy” to describe a mom is because I don’t (as a mom) want to live a life that is defined as busy. As I mentioned earlier I do believe that moms are busy.  The list of things that moms need to accomplish is endless, and usually with each additional child the list becomes longer. I can’t escape this. You can’t escape this. What we can do is avoid getting caught up in the busy.  The tag line for this blog is “living a full life without the busy”. We will certainly have lists for the day, the “to dos” that can’t be avoided, the tasks that come with the roles in which we find ourselves, but I want to be very intentional about how I fill my days and my life. I want to be careful not to get caught up in the busy. I am so much more than a busy mom.

There is a lot more to write on this topic, and I will be continuing this conversation. It is the heart of this blog.

What about you? Do you mind be referred to as a “busy mom”?

Until next time,

Charissa

Choose Gratitude + Inspirational Tees from Cents of Style

2 weeks ago I shared 2 of my goals for 2017. I also shared 2 extra goals which were less concrete than the first 2 but probably more important. One of those goals was: More Gratitude (Less Complaining).

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I find myself quick to complain. Many times this complaining is just done in my own head, but then it eventually spills over affecting my words and my actions. I decided that this year I want to make the intentional choice to be thankful when tempted to complain.

There’s so much I could complain about:

  • the weather
  • how I feel
  • a sleepless night
  • a cold cup of “hot” tea
  • a missed opportunity
  • a misunderstanding
  • a hole in my favorite sweater
  • a missing item
  • a scratch on the hood of my car

Of course, that’s just the start of the list. Let yourself get into it and each of us could probably complain all day, every day.

I could complain all day or I could Choose Gratitude.

There’s so much to be thankful for:

  • my loving husband
  • my energetic children
  • lifelong friends
  • new friends
  • eggs and toast
  • a text message received at just the right time
  • a quiet morning
  • a long walk on a warm afternoon
  • my favorite robe
  • an encouraging conversation

This year I want more gratitude (less complaining).

This shirt is a great reminder. When I saw it among the selections at   Cents of Style I knew it was the one for me.

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Today through 1/22 Cents of Style’s Inspirational Tees are on sale.         Use code INSPIRE17 to take 50% off lowest marked price + free shipping!!

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So many fun and meaningful options! Which one is the tee for you??

Choose Gratitude is mine because there is always a choice.

I can choose to get upset, complain and grumble or I can choose to be thankful and grateful for the moments, the day, and this life.

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What about you? How can you choose gratitude today?

Until next time,

Charissa

(This post contains affiliate links, so thenotsobusymom receives a very small commission if you make a purchase through these links.)

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Let’s Get Moving in 2017

In my Goals Post for 2017 I shared that one of my goals for this year is to exercise for 30 minutes each day. Today I am going to share a bit more about the whys and hows of this goal.

Let’s get moving in 2017!!

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Why this goal?

The number one reason I include exercise in my life and in my goals for this year is for my health. I want to be healthy. I want to take care of my body. When I take care of myself physically it positively affects many others areas of my life.

Options for exercise

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The options for exercise are endless. I am choosing to share a few general options here.

  1. Join a gym. I have not been a part of a gym since my college years, but it was a good fit for me then. A gym can be a great option for someone who is motivated by having to get up and get out of the house to exercise.
  2. Classes. Classes are a great way to try something new. Most recently I took a class at a fitness center, and I had so much fun challenging myself by working out in a small group setting.
  3. Outside. Getting outside for movement is a great option for exercise. You can walk, hike, bike or run. The movement plus the fresh air results in a refreshing workout.
  4. At home. It is possible to work out at home. If you have a basement or spare room with exercise equipment working out in that space is obviously a great option. I don’t have room for large equipment in my home, so I choose to use DVDs or online workouts to “get my sweat on” at home.

Ways to stay motivated

Let’s be honest, we can get all pumped up to exercise and be fit, and then life happens. We can quickly lose motivation, so I wanted to share some simple ways to stay motivated.

  1. Write down your goals. Write down your goals in a notebook or a journal. Writing them down makes it “official”, if you will. Then you can add your exercise task to your calendar. Check it off as you complete it each day, and stay motivated to continue down the healthy path.
  2. Work out with a friend. I took an exercise class with a friend this fall. I try to walk with my mom once a week. If you know someone is expecting you to join them for a work out, you are far less likely to skip it.
  3. Change up your work out. One day you can take a class. The next day you might go for a long walk. Later in the week you might run with a friend. Changing what you do helps keep the task from feeling stale.
  4. Don’t change up your work out. For some changing up what you do will be the motivating factor, but for others, if you don’t change it up (but instead keep it the same), you will find more success. Keeping it the same keeps it simple, and for some that’s just what is needed to stay motivated to exercise each day.
  5. Listen to music or podcasts. I love to listen to podcasts. I am also a big music fan, but I like to listen and learn while I work out, so that’s why I choose podcasts over music. Whatever you choose, listening to something while exercising takes your mind off the hard work and helps the time pass quickly and enjoyably.

A few of my favorite podcasts:

The Simple Show, http://theartofsimple.net/thepodcast/

Sorta Awesome, http://www.sortaawesomeshow.com/

The Dave Ramsey Show, http://www.daveramsey.com/show/home/

Final word of encouragement

Don’t be discouraged!

Oh, boy, is it easy to get discouraged. You miss a day or 2 of exercise, or a week…or even a month, and you think, “What’s the point?”. Please, don’t get discouraged! Throw on your shoes that next day and give it a go. Don’t beat yourself up over yesterday or the past few months. Look forward and keep moving!

What about you? How are you going to get moving in 2017? Leave a comment sharing some of the ways you move for exercise!

Until next time,

Charissa

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5 Books that Have Inspired and Encouraged the Not So Busy Mom

Today I am sharing 5 books that have inspired and encouraged me on my journey to live a full life without the busy.

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Here they are (in no particular order):

  1. Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy           by Alli Worthington

I shared this book in my Top 4 Reads of 2016. Not only is it a top read for 2016, but it is also one of my top inspiring books for moving beyond the busy and living a purposeful, meaningful life. Worthington shares details and insight from her story to help each of us break the busy in our own lives.

Wise words from the author: “Our lives have gotten so cluttered up with things we think we ‘should’ do, that we can’t figure out what we were meant to do.”

2. The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands   by Lysa Terkeurst
I was a huge fan of Lysa’s book Unglued, so I was excited when my sister shared The Best Yes with me. This book really encouraged me to consider my priorities and live a life that reflects them. It’s not always easy to say “no”, but sometimes you need to say “no” in order to say “yes”!

Wise words from the author: “A woman who lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule will often ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.”

3. Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier and More Secure Kids                                                         by Kim John Payne with Lisa Ross

This parenting book was like a breath of fresh air. I saw it sitting on the shelf in one of our local libraries, and I was immediately drawn to it. Our world screams “more”: buy more, have more, do more, but there is great power in “less”. This book explores and encourages a path that pursues “less”.

Wise words from the author: “Meaning hides in repetition: We do this every day or every week because it matters. We are connected by this thing we do together. We matter to one another. In the tapestry of childhood, what stands out is not the splashy, blow-out trip to Disneyland but the common threads that run throughout and repeat: the family dinners, nature walks, reading together at bedtime (with a hot water bottle at our feet on winter evenings), Saturday morning pancakes.”

4. Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her House of Youth Entitlement                                                                                         by Kay Wills Wyma

One way to be just a little less busy is to not take care of everything ourselves. Sometimes we think it’s easier just to do all the tasks ourselves instead of asking our family to join in and share the work load. Wyma shares her 12 month journey to get her kids involved in and caring about life at home.

Wise words from the author: “Instead of communicating ‘I love you, so let me make life easy for you,’ I decided that my message needed to be something more along these lines: ‘I love you. I believe in you. I know what you’re capable of. So I’m going to make you work.’ ”

5. The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own                                                                                                                  by Joshua Becker

This books was one of my Top Reads for 2016. Like Breaking Busy, I also must include this in my list of books that have encouraged and inspired me down the not so busy path. Becker shares his journey of becoming a minimalist and why and how we can begin living with less in order to have more.

Wise words from the author: “Our excessive possessions are not making us happy. Even worse, they are taking us away from the things that do. Once we let go of the things that don’t matter, we are free to pursue all the things that really do matter.”

I’m thankful for these 5 authors who have shared their stories so that others might be inspired and encouraged. Perhaps one of these books might do that for you as you takes steps towards living a full life without all the busy.

What about you? What books have inspired you recently? Share the titles in the comments below!

Until next time,

Charissa

(This post contains affiliate links, so thenotsobusymom receives a very small commission if you make a purchase through these links.)

 

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A New Year, A New Not So Busy You

 

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(A photo of a calendar I will not be buying this year.)

Why do we continue to label ourselves as “busy”? I just don’t get it.      Busy afternoon? Sure. Busy day? Possibly. Busy week? Maybe.                Busy month? Could be. Busy year? I hope not. Busy life? Please, no.             Busy mom? Please, please, no.

I will say it again: I am so much more than a busy mom. You are so much more than a busy mom.

If you are looking back at last year, looking ahead into this new year and thinking that you are ready to start living a full life without the busy, then here’s to a new year, a new not so busy you!

We all live different lives with different priorities, responsibilities and unique situations. A new year, a new not so busy you requires you to take some time to reflect on various areas of your life and find ways to: make intentional choices, simplify and slow down.

Today let’s consider a few areas of your life where you might be able to be just a little less busy.

Home life

Routines. Establish routines to combat busyness. A few weeks ago I shared 5 task to do before bedtime to prepare for the next day. This evening routine takes just a few minutes, and it can save so much time and prevent unnecessary craziness in the morning.

There are many routines you can implement in order to have things run a little more smoothly thus preventing extra busyness. These routines include (but are not limited to): an evening routine, a morning routine, a laundry routine, and a cleaning routine. Pick one of these routines, implement it for a few weeks, tweak as necessary and notice and enjoy a little less busyness in your home life.

Quick tip: Do 1 load of laundry a day.

Meals. Meal plan to eliminate evenings spent racing to the store or calling for take-out. I fully believe in meal planning and have been doing it with success for many years. Meal planning does not have to be a complicated process, so please don’t make it harder than it needs to be. You can meal plan weekly or even monthly. There are so many recipe ideas available to you. Pick 5-7 simple meals for this week and make your evenings just a little less busy.

Quick tip: Create a master list of meals your family likes, and refer to that when meal planning each week.

Commitments

We don’t want to live exclusively inside our own four walls. Building relationships, being involved in our communities, volunteering in schools, and serving people are good and important ways to spend our time. Sometimes, though, we overdo it. We spread ourselves too thin. We get involved in things because we want to look good to others. We over fill our calendars and over stuff our lives. Be involved. Be committed. Serve. Do good. Use your talents and gifts. At the same time, consider your choices, your time, your energy, your motives.

Quick tip: List your priorities and your commitments. Do they align?

Your children’s activities and commitments

Here we go. I know. You might not want to go here. We have to go here. Just like we can over stuff our own calendars. We can also over stuff our children’s calendars. If your life is feeling crazy busy there’s a good chance your child’s life is crazy busy, and I’m guessing they are also feeling the squeeze. Allow your children time to be home, to be bored, to think, to breathe, to imagine, to create, to play with their siblings, to read a book, to draw a picture, to climb a tree, to cuddle next to you, to tell you their thoughts, hopes and fears. Sports, lessons (of various kinds), and other extra curricular activities are great and can be quite beneficial, so yes, let them be involved, but again, consider carefully how you fill their days.

Quick tip: Check in with your child at the end of each season. Ask them about their desired activities and provide your own not so busy insight as you consider the new season and the calendar before you.

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Please don’t try to overhaul every area of your life at once. Hopefully, there was something that caught your eye, something that made you pause, something that jumped out at you. Start there. Chat about it with your spouse, a friend, maybe even your children.

A new year, a new not so busy you is a possibility. I hope today’s post encouraged you to begin the journey!

What about you? Are you looking to make this year and you not so busy? Share your thoughts! I’d love to hear them!

Until next time,

Charissa Continue reading “A New Year, A New Not So Busy You”

A Little Help for the Hall Closet

(A big thanks to my husband for his help on this mini-project.)

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I think we all have an area (or maybe many areas) in our home that could use a little decluttering and organization. I find that one of the ways my life becomes just a little less busy is by bringing order in the places and spaces within my home. When there is order, searching for an ingredient, item or tool happens rather quickly and without much hassle. Remember the famous quote from Benjamin Franklin? “A place for everything, everything in its place.” Good advice.

This week we were able to bring some needed order to a small space in our home by providing a little help for the hall closet.

The Before

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We live in a small home and have fewer closets than most. In our hallway we have one closet that houses our washer and dryer. We also have a small closet which was probably originally intended to be used as a linen closet. We don’t have or need many extra linens, so we have used the closet to store toiletries and pantry items. The closet has served its purpose, but it was definitely in a need of some help.

The Process

We cleared the shelves.

We moved out items that needed to live in a better place.

We threw out unused or expired items.

We cleaned the shelves.

We covered each shelf with contact paper.

We reorganized the shelves.

We found containers around our home that could help store items.

We bought a few more containers.

We replaced items in an orderly and organized manner.

The Products

Contact paper. We bought a floral print at a local store, but Amazon has more options than you could ever want or need. Here’s a floral choice.

Containers.We had a few dollar tree storage options that we were no longer using, so we re-purposed them.

We also bought some refrigerator organizer bins and thought they might work well in the closet for some of our go-to items that we want to easily see and access. These are similar to what we found at our local store.

Total cost: Just about $13

The After

closetafter

Our hall closet is now a cleaner, prettier and more organized space. I’m happy with how it turned out. What do you think?

My Advice

One Project at a Time. It’s easy to look around your house and get overwhelmed or discouraged. Maybe your kitchen cabinets are cluttered. Perhaps there is a large stack of mail on your table. Do you have a shoe pile spilling into numerous rooms? Maybe your dresser drawers won’t close anymore. Don’t try to tackle everything at once because if you do then nothing will get done. Pick a project and take a step forward. Work on it for 15 minutes today and tomorrow and so on.

Enlist Help. My husband helped me get focused and stay motivated to complete this project. Working with him was super helpful because we could split tasks and bounce ideas off each other.

Let Go of Perfection. Is this closet perfect? No. I have seen many prettier closets, but you know what? I’m okay with that. We tackled the project and the space is better than it was before.

What about you? Do you have an area of your home that could use a little help?

Until next time,

Charissa

(This post contains affiliate links, so thenotsobusymom receives a very small commission if you make a purchase through these links.)

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Why I Set Goals Each Year + 2 of My Goals for 2017

I love a good goal, and the start of a new year is a great time to set a goal… or ten. You can clearly set a goal any time of the year, but the fresh start that a new year brings seems like the perfect time to reflect on the past year and consider the coming one.

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Why I Set Goals Each Year

Goals motivate me. They push me the in the direction I am hoping to head. Goals help shape many of my every day decisions and activities.

Last year my husband and I set a big financial goal. We didn’t end up reaching the goal, but we got very close. Am I discouraged? No. In fact I am quite happy. I don’t think we would have made the progress we did if we had not set the goal. We are encouraged to once again dream big, set motivating goals and work hard towards them.

As you consider setting goals for the year, (and no, you’re not too late) consider various areas of your life including:

  • marriage
  • children
  • job
  • health/fitness
  • finances
  • service/community life
  • hobbies

I have chosen a handful of goals for 2017, but today I am sharing just 2 of them.

2 of My Goals for 2017

  1. Get moving for 30 minutes each day. And by moving I mean moving for exercise. I might choose: walking, running, biking, exercise video, a class at the gym. The “what” I do doesn’t matter. I just need to do it for 30 minutes. I am also very happy to do it for a full 30 minutes or break it into smaller time frames based on my day (like 2, 15 minute sessions). Sometimes you just have to make it work.

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2. Sleep 7-8 hours each night. Sleep is beyond important to me. When I sleep I am a clear-minded, kind, energetic wife, mother and friend. I have recently developed the bad habit of staying up way too late as I work on growing my blog, but it’s time to get back on track. Warm bed, here I come!

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I want to end today’s post with 2 goals that are certainly not concrete because their progress is not easily measured. And yet, I have been thinking about these for awhile and will be striving to grow in these particular areas, so I thought I would share them with you now.

2 More “Goals” for 2017

More Gratitude (Less Complaining)

Ok, confession time. I can be negative. A lot of this negativity is internal. There’s this negative reel that just runs through my head affecting my mind and attitude. I find that some things trigger the negativity (like lack of sleep). I want to break free from my negative thoughts and choose gratitude. There is always something to be thankful for!

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Goal 2: Make Time for Simple Memories with My Family

Ok, confession time (again). I am too easily overwhelmed. I get caught up in my thoughts and emotions, and sometimes miss out on beautiful simple moments. I say “no” to these moments when I should be saying “yes”.

This year I want to take a deep breath and jump into the special moments that will remain with my children for years to come. I’m looking forward to more spontaneous dance parties, game nights, t-ball in the front yard, and adventurous walks in and around town.

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What about you? Have you set any goals f0r 2017? I’d love to hear about them!

Until next time,

Charissa

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