Friday, July 25, 2008

Works For Me (Christian update below)

My blog buddy Angel did a cool post on "what works for her." In other words, she shared several cute and shameless tricks for getting through the day as Mommy. You should check it out, cause she has some great ideas that I am sooooooooo going to steal.

I am telling you, for those of you who are not mommies, this job is NOT for wimps.

I have to give an extra special shout-out of encouragement to those mommas who are doing the full-time mommy job of staying home with your children. I cannot tell a lie: I think stay-at-home moms (also known as never-at-home-mostly-in-the-car moms) ROCK. I think they are women with more guts than brains (haha, just kidding. I do wonder what I am thinking sometimes... it seems as though going to work would be a lot easier). I also think they are CHANGING THE WORLD, one tiring day at a time!!!!!!

Sooooooooooo. What works for Me:

I would have to say that the common denominators in "what works for me" are this:

Maybe it is that I don't have as much brain mass as some others, but if I am not organized, many, many things get overlooked! Plus, I tend to spend my day "putting out fires," instead of handling priority items, when I am unorganized. And, if I don't hide things, all I can see is too much clutter... it just makes my brain hurt. That is all there is to it.

1. The Budget
Each month, Matt and I print out a budget that we try to stick to. Sometimes we keep up with it, sometimes we don't. But it is always better when we do! I would love to show you a complete picture of our budget, but for obvious reasons, I will not. Anyway, it lists the following:

  • Income - all sources, and then a total
  • Finance Payments - mortgage, credit, loan payments, etc, and then it tells what percentage of our expenses this category is.
  • Fixed Expenses - non-negotiable spending or fixed spending: anything that is automatically withdrawn, insurance payments, phone, cell, cable, utilities, charitable donations, then the percentage
  • Variable Expenses - The TOUGH category!! Household (Target, BJ's, Walmart for example), Gas, Groceries, Auto upkeep, Entertainment, Clothing, Prescriptions, Medical expenses, Dining out, Gifts, Vacation, Cosmetics or Beauty, Date Night, Babysitting, House Cleaning, Pet Care, Haircuts, Other, then the percentage

2. Main Toy Closet/Media Closet:

Here is a picture of where most of the toys in our house go. We have a big closet, and next to it is a window bench. These two things hold most of the toys in our house... and the rest stay in storage and get rotated in and out. In the closet, once you get to the point that our little hands can't reach, we use it for electronics and media storage. The window bench is completely full of toys. This soooo works for us, and it works for the boys at play time AND clean-up time.

3. "In-Boxes"

In one of our big windowsills in the kitchen, we keep 3 boxes. That is where we put all of the rediculous paperwork that is taking over the universe. We clean our boxes out, realistically, maybe every 2 months. Matt has a box. I have a box. And the third box is for really important papers, like bills. Most of the time our boxes are overflowing (which would not be the case if I were a little better at cleaning them out). But, at least it keeps the dumb paperwork off of our counter. I hate paperwork. UGH! Does it have no end??
4. My Office/Special Place/Closet

Well, here you have Darlene's Special Place. I live inside this little closet when my kids sleep. This is where I balance the checkbook, write letters, blog, make calls, handle paperwork, record in baby books, email, make lists, etc. etc. etc. It is mom-central. I have a plan to install shelves and some fun corkboard. I kinda feel like this is my high school locker. I actually had a desk like this when I was growing up. Hence, my special place.
This works for me for many reasons. 1. It is mine, all mine. 2. It is hidden, in a closet, and I can just shut the doors and hide the clutter 3. I keep it cute and inspirational, with quotes, and pictures of my loved ones. I also thrive when it is clean.

5. Minimal Commitment Calendar, and Old-Fashioned Paper Planning

Yes folks. I am a "No" person. I know, it is terrible! But I say No to A LOT of stuff. I hope and pray and search that it is never God that I am saying No to. Nevertheless, I do not put a lot of stuff on our calendar. This is what works for me! I simply cannot function if I am running all over the place.
I know several awesome friends who cannot function UNLESS they are running all over the place. I am not one of them. So, therefore, I say no. I keep a minimal-commitment-calendar.
Sigh. It sometimes comes with guilt. But, usually, it just leaves real room in our days for real life. Time to Live the Thing.
In addition to a minimal-commitment-calendar, I use old-fashioned paper planning. Somehow it works better for me if I write, instead of type, my commitments down. When I tried a PDA, I was missing appointments all over the place. OH well. Like this post is called: Works for me!
I am currently using Simplicity for Moms, by Franklin Covey. Love it, so far.
6. Reality!!!!
So, the truth is: Beauty matters to Darlene. What do I mean? I am a super visual, artistically driven person. And I love and appreciate beauty; see this post for more. In fact, I hope to post more about beauty. But I have no use for Pie-in-the-sky beauty. Function and usefulness make something that is beautiful, well...., more beautiful. An example: Why drink out of ugly glasses? WHY? There are plenty of beautiful glasses - and cheap - even at goodwill. And beautiful glasses can be even more beautiful than art... why? because they have purpose.
So, all this to say. I LOVE reality. It works for me. If you were to come into my home, you might find it lovely (who knows!!??), but if you really looked around, you would discover that there is reality around every corner. Usefulness and Function and Purpose, too! Here is a PERFECT example!! Our bar. We just built a bar last year, and it is home to some heirloom glasses from my mom and dad. It is also home to our booze, which is probably rotten - we don't drink cocktails much these days. Under the bar is a cabinet. We planned this cabinet to be filled with bar-like items, maybe even cocktail napkins, or drink mixers. Heehee.
It is filled with diapers. and wipes. and plastic bags for royal messes.
And, guess what??? It is one of my favorite things about our house!!!!!!!!!!!
It works for me.
So there are some of the things that work for me. That was fun. Be sure to do your own list, and link it to Angel's blog. I will be checking your list out!!! What works for you?

3 friends had a thing or two to say...:

Tessa said...

I am right there with you with making functional things also fun and pretty! From the pictures, I am falling in love with your house! It looks absolutely beautiful!

Somewhere In The Sun said...

Hi, I found your blog through the challenge via Ellie's blog. I just wanted to say that I am a minimal commitment person as well. I learned the hard way that this is best for us. I have 4 children at home. They need me here. I used to do all kinds of things at school, church and with and for friends. That left no time for doing the things that I needed to do at home. I have NO guilt (anymore :D).

I also use paper. Used to use my Blackberry but it was too time consuming. I use the momAgenda and I love it!


Sarah said...

Love it! Thanks for your very realistic view of reality and how much fun the "normal" stuff can be! There is a lot of joy in keeping a home with realistic expectations and that's what you're doing! Thanks for the link!

-Sarah from Create Studio