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My Problem with the Busy Mom

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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

The Not So Busy Mom Plans Ahead

A few months ago I shared a post highlighting 4 traits of the not so busy mom. I knew that at some point I wanted to devote a single post to each trait, so I’ve been digging a little deeper into each trait as we look to live a full life without all the busy.

Just a reminder, the first 3 traits are:

Trait #1: The not so busy mom lets go of perfection.

Trait #2: The not so busy mom lets go of her need to impress others.

Trait #3: The not so busy mom considers her priorities.

Today we will be looking at trait #4.

Trait #4: The not so busy mom plans ahead.

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So much busyness enters our lives when we don’t take the time to plan ahead. We don’t plan ahead, and we rush to the mall for a last minute gift. We don’t plan ahead, and we race to the grocery store a few times a week for ingredients for dinner. A weekend is filled with non-stop errands when we don’t plan ahead. Free moments in our calendar disappear. Every afternoon is a scramble, and downtime seems a thing of the past.

Planning ahead comes naturally to some, and perhaps as a struggle to others. There are many ways, though, to plan ahead, stay head of the game and be just a little less busy!

4 simple ways to plan ahead:

1. Flip your calendar before the month is up. A quick glance at the month ahead will remind you of the holidays, birthdays and other special events that await you. You can choose greeting cards, purchase presents and make sure you have all needed clothing items like tights for your girls for Easter, special shoes for a wedding, Halloween costumes, Christmas bow ties, etc.

**(I realize that if you are using an app you might not be “flipping” a calendar, but I think you remember good old-fashioned calendars that need to be flipped!)

2. Make meal planning your friend. I have written many posts on meal planning, so I will keep this short and sweet. When you plan your meals you will find that your afternoons and evenings are significantly less hectic. Don’t worry about creating elaborate meals; instead, just make a plan and enjoy the peace that follows.

For more about meal planning you can check out my posts found here, here and here.

3. Stick to your nighttime routine. Planning ahead can be as simple as planning for the next day. I wrote a post about 5 tasks to do before bedtime to prepare for the next day. Small tasks the night before lead to much slower, peaceful mornings. And who doesn’t want that??!!

4. Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today. These are some wise words from Benjamin Franklin. You might wonder what this has to do with planning ahead, but I guess simply stated, if you don’t procrastinate (and you get things done now) you don’t have to worry about planning ahead. When a nagging task come to mind, do it. When a phone call needs to be made, make it. Take care of the “to-do” today, and enjoy a little extra space in your tomorrow.

What about you? Are you good at planning ahead? Any advice or encouragement you can share with us? I’d love to hear from you, so leave your thoughts and ideas below!

Until next time,

Charissa

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The Not So Busy Mom Considers Her Priorities

Last week I shared the first 2 traits of the not so busy mom.

Trait #1: The not so busy mom lets go of perfection.

Trait #2: The not so busy mom lets go of the need to impress.

This week we continue digging deeper into the 4 traits of the not so busy mom by looking at traits 3 & 4. Today we will look at trait 3 a bit more closely.

Trait #3: The not so busy mom considers her priorities.

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A lot of our busyness can come from over-stuffed calendars and overloaded schedules. We take on commitments and lead events. We sign up for activities and participate in groups. Our children have something to do every afternoon, and we play chauffeur. Our weekends are filled with more sports, classmate birthday parties and whatever else we might find to keep the kids occupied. We get to Monday morning, and we can’t believe we have to do it all over again.

Another Way

When we consider our priorities we can better fill our days, weeks and months. When we consider our priorities our calendar is filled with the things that matter.

Let me share some of my priorities, so that you can see just what I mean.

My top priorities include:

  • my relationship with God
  • loving other people (family, friends, neighbors, people I meet, etc.) by reaching out, serving, encouraging, etc.

These priorities shape how I choose to spend my time and even more importantly, how I choose to spend my life.

With these priorities in mind, the following are the types of things you will see on my calendar:

  • lunches with friends
  • at home “dates” with my husband
  • Bible studies
  • trips to the playground with my children
  • church activities & meetings
  • walks with my mom
  • dinners with extended family
  • outreach activities in the community

I know my priorities and these priorities shape the choices I make, the way my calendar is filled and the things that fill my days.

As you explore this idea of living a full life without the busy take time to consider your priorities. Do the things you fill your time with, the things you fill your day with reflect those priorities?

When you fill your calendar, your day, your weeks, your months…your life with your priorities in mind, you’ll find your life isn’t a busy life but a full one.

What about you? Do your calendar & the activities you pursue reflect your priorities? Share your thoughts below; I would love to hear from you!

Until next time,

Charissa

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Let Go of the Need to Impress Others

Those who constantly try to impress others will quickly depress themselves. ~Lysa Terkeurst

In Tuesday’s post I shared about letting go of perfection, the first trait of the Not So Busy Mom. Today I am sharing trait number 2 which is closely connected to the first trait.

Trait #2: The not so busy mom lets go of the need to impress others.

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I care very deeply about how others see me or think about me. That desire is not all bad. I love God and I love people, and I want that to be evident in the life I live. At the same time, if I am constantly putting pressure on myself to impress others then I can quickly add extra busyness and craziness to my life.

As the opening quote from Lysa Terkeurst implies, you can only sustain impressing others for so long because eventually this trend will negatively affect you.

We can’t please everyone all the time, and we shouldn’t try.

Eventually we will disappoint someone.

If you feel the tendency to try to impress others to the point of way too much extra stress and busyness in your life, consider the following:

  1. We all have different gifts. Your best friend may be a fantastic cake baker, and your neighbor might be a design pro. You might have a friend who has an eye for style and a sister with super organizational skills. You are not them, and they are not you. Appreciate the gifts of others and be thankful for your unique gifts.
  2. True friends know you and love you no matter what. Your true friends won’t care if the meal isn’t perfect or your house isn’t tidy. True friends won’t be concerned about the party decorations or the appetizer table. Know that your friends love you, and they don’t need you to impress them.
  3. You don’t have to be like everyone else. We see another mom throwing an extraordinary birthday party, and we think we need to do the same. Our neighbor signs their children up for every activity imaginable, and we believe we have to do that, too. The moms at the bus stop talk about their crazy schedules, and we wonder if our simple life is boring. We are all different. You don’t have to be like everyone else. Be you. I’m guessing a lot of people will find your life refreshing and inspiring.

We spend a lot of time looking at other people’s lives. It’s the reality of a social media-crazed culture. Please remember (as many people have mentioned before), we usually share (on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) the “highlights”. We share the clean kitchens, the smiling children, the fancy date nights, the elaborate dinners and the festive birthday parties. Deep down we know these “perfect” moments aren’t really perfect and cannot be sustained, but we see the highlights, the photo-worthy moments and we try to keep up. It’s what we do.

Instead…

Let’s live authentically. Live intentionally. Don’t worry about trying to impress others. Share your life (the highs and the lows) with others. Encourage your friends and acquaintances to do the same.

Let go of the need to impress and live a life that’s just a little less busy.

What about you? Do you struggle with the need to impress others? Share your thoughts on this topic in the comments. I would love to hear from you!

Until next time,

Charissa

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Let Go of Perfection

A few months ago I shared a post called 4 Traits of the Not So Busy Mom. I don’t limit the Not So Busy Mom to 4 traits, but I thought it was a good starting point for someone who might want to learn more about living a full life without the busy.

This week and next week I want to share a bit more about each of these 4 traits, so today we will explore more about the first trait.

Trait #1: The not so busy mom lets go of perfection.

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Please know that I will always encourage you (and me) to aim high, dream big and pursue a full life. I will also always discourage you (and me) from running around like crazy, over-filling our calendars and overloading our lives. A lot of the craziness in our lives comes because we seek perfection.

I think we all know that perfection isn’t possible, but we still push ourselves and our families in ways that make it seem like we do think it’s possible.

I’ll say it again:

aim high

dream big

pursue a full life

but please, let go of perfection.

The pursuit of perfection will keep you running in circles. It will have you cleaning your house more than you need to. It will have you signing up for more events and activities than your calendar can handle. It will have you more concerned with your outward appearance than you inner spirit. It will make you stuff true feelings and fake a smile. It will have you chasing after those things that truly don’t matter. It will keep you busy, very busy.

Celebrate the ways you are progressing. Consider areas in which you need to improve. Be excited about new things you are learning. Ask for help when you need it. Get encouragement from family and friends. Share your struggles and share your triumphs. Let go of the busy. Live the full life, and let go of perfection.

What about you? Have you let go of perfection? Share your struggles and victories in this area; I would love to hear from you!

Until next time,

Charissa

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Dollar Tree DIYs

The Dollar Tree is the perfect place to find the inspiration and items to complete your DIYs.

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Every time I post a DIY project I will always begin by saying that I am not crafty. I struggle in this department. I struggle, and yet, I want to get better, so I keep going. Thanks for putting up with this beginner!

My first DIY is not an original idea. I saw this one on a YouTube tutorial and was inspired to give it a try.

$4 Dollar Tree DIY, decorative plate

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Materials:
  • small glass plate (usually found in the candle section)
  • tissue paper
  • Mod Podge (they do sell this at the Dollar Tree)
  • foam brush

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The Process:

Cover backside of plate with a layer of Mod Podge. (I originally used a small paint brush found in a water color kit. That didn’t go so well, so my husband found me a foam brush at the Dollar Tree.)

Lay tissue paper on the backside of plate that has the Mod Podge.

Brush tissue paper with a layer of Mod Podge.

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Allow Mod Podge to dry over night.

Cut off excess tissue paper.

These are great to use on your bathroom vanity to display makeup or facial products. You can use them on your nightstand or dresser to corral your most-used jewelry. You can place a candle or plant on top of them, too. My daughter even made one for her room!

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$6 Dollar Tree DIY, mini bulletin board

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Materials:
  • 8×10 frame
  • pom poms
  • burlap
  • ribbon
  • baker’s twine
  • miniature clothes pins
  • hot glue gun (I didn’t purchase this at the Dollar Tree.)

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The Process:

Take apart the frame removing the glass.

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Wrap burlap around the cardboard frame backing securing with glue.

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Cover seams with ribbon.

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Glue pom poms to frame.

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Put the burlap covered cardboard back inside frame securing with tabs.

Use small dabs of glue to secure baker’s twine to edges of frame.

Clip clothes pin to the baker’s twin.

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The result is not perfect, but it’s super cute for my kids’ room.

Next time you are at the Dollar Tree keep your eye out for items you can use for a fun and creative DIY. Don’t be afraid to experiment a bit.

What about you? Have you completed any DIYs recently? Share in the comments; I would love to hear from you!

Until next time,

Charissa

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5 Unexpected Items You Will Find at the Dollar Tree

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I am a big fan of the Dollar Tree Store. In just one place you can find such a wide variety of items for a great price (that price being $1, of course)! I think it is a great place to buy items you might already need to purchase but at a much lower cost than most stores.

The Dollar Tree is certainly full of some of the basics that you might expect to find including: paper goods, party supplies, toiletries, candy and various food items. In fact, that’s just the very start of the expansive list of products you can find at the Dollar Tree.

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Today I want to share 5 unexpected items you will find at the Dollar Tree.

Wall Decals

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People are loving wall decals these days. You see them a lot in children’s rooms and baby nurseries, but they have also become quite popular in the main spaces of the home. You can buy expensive decals or you could pop into the Dollar Tree, and choose from their wide selection of decals for any wall in your home. You can also think outside the box and create framed art using these decals.

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Books

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Did you know you can find books at the Dollar Tree? They have children’s books, books for teens and adults, cookbooks, coloring books, word searches and other activity books. You never know what you might find. I have yet to find a cook book at my store, but popular books are often snatched up quickly. Next time you’re at the Dollar Tree take a look at the book section, you might just find a hidden gem.

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Teacher Supplies

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Before having children I was a classroom teacher. Teacher supplies can be pricey, so it’s nice to have a place where you can buy needed items inexpensively. You can find certificates, banners, posters, flashcards, motivational stickers, mini-whiteboards, and many, many other options perfect for the classroom. These can obviously be used in your home, day care or church as well.

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Accessories

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When it comes to accessories, the Dollar Tree has you covered. You can find sunglasses, fashion scarves, socks, winter hats and gloves, headbands, bows, and clips. (I know I’m forgetting something.) Our family favorite in this category is probably anything hair-related. I have purchased many a head band and hair-tie for my daughters from the Dollar Tree. I will also say that their hats and gloves have held up over the course of a couple winters. Check out the numerous accessories the next time you are at the Dollar Tree.

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Name Brands

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I think some people steer clear of the Dollar Tree because they think everything sold in the store is an off-brand. That’s not true! The Dollar Tree is full of name brands including (but certainly not limited to): Almay, Betty Crocker, Bic, Brillo, Campbell’s, Colgate, Crest, Dial, Goya, Hanes, Lays, Scotties, and Softsoap. If you see a name brand you like and normally purchase, scoop it up and save yourself some money. It’s also pretty cool when you can match up a name brand item with a coupon. Hello, free (or almost free)!

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What about you? What items do you like to purchase from the Dollar Tree? Have you found any unexpected items while shopping? Share in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!

Until next time,

Charissa