About Common To Moms

There are many common life experiences we share as women, and sometimes life is less than glorious. That’s when we need a little inspiration to get us through the day. Welcome to Common to Moms, where we find motivation for meaningful living on our every-day journey as women, wives and mothers.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

8 Hours a Week

Dear Friends,

Since last week's post I have been a little more focused in the cleaning department. Thanks to the ladies for posting, your stories are inspiring to me! I've also been thinking about how I can be a little better in the cleaning/decluttering area. So this last week, I managed to get all my dishes in the kitchen clean, declutter a major spot that has been piled up for a LONG time and even get caught up on some laundry. But it has been building back again already, so I have been giving the topic of cleaning a little more thought. (I hope blogs posts on cleaning don't bore you!)

A friend of mine once mentioned to me that in the company she works for she has the flexibility to take something called "wife" hours. The impression I got was that as a wife, you could take up to 8 working hours per week and use them to take care of your home by cleaning, cooking, etc. When I heard this, I though it was an awesome idea! Especially since two people each working 40 + hours per week tend to get tired and housework is difficult to keep up with.

Christian and I both currently work and technically, he is in charge of the cooking and I am in charge of the cleaning. Realistically, there are often times we eat hot dogs in the microwave because he is exhausted from his job, and most of the time our dishes are dirty since I am tired from caring for babies and kiddos all day.

But a thought hit me tonight as I tried to get a little more motivated to accomplish more around the house. According to Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project, success must be measurable. I typically don't usually measure my house cleaning in anything but results (ex: are the dishes done?), but what if I began to measure it in time? What if I worked to hit 8 hours of "wife" hours every week? How would my life/house change?

Now I realize that many of you could never clean that many hours each week, and to be honest I'm not even sure if I have that kind of time. But I do know that when I cleaned for 35 minutes one night last week it made a pretty big dent in my kitchen. I can only imagine if I spent a solid 8 hours on my house each week how it would begin to look!

So my goal this week is to spend 8 hours of cleaning before next Sunday night. I won't make myself clean at a specific time every day. I will just allow myself to do it whenever I have the energy but add up the hours.

I will track my time on the blog for you to see this week and let you know the results!

How much time do you think you spend cleaning? How has that changed since you've been married? Since you've had kids?

Thanks for reading and leaving your thoughts!

Love, Rachel

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Squeaky Clean? Not so much...

If you know me or have talked to me long, you know that I am a pretty messy person. I tend to leave a trail of messiness in my wake, especially in my home! I am definitely aware that this is not okay and try desperately to change this about myself. While I was pregnant before Melody was born, I was finally getting the hang of keeping my home under control. But then cue becoming a mom and with it the chaos!

Currently my system is... well... I don't really have a system. Daily do what I can if I have the energy and try to keep the chaos from taking over?!

I did recently try to clean all the rooms in my house for company for this past week end and realized that even after I cleaned them (picked up floors, vacuumed, put things away), they still weren't cleaned! I discovered that I have CLUTTER with a capital C-L-U-T-T-E-R!

It is lurking in frustrating places: My bedroom vanity, my TV stand, my entry way dresser, my shoe box/give-to-good-will/return-it-from-being-borrowed/coat-hanging section of my entryway, to the futon in my office, to a little pile underneath the highchair, to the food on top of the fridge, to the basket of toiletry items I seldom use on the back of our toilet! It's everywhere!!!

And I want to CRUSH it! It makes my house look messy. I want to demolish those places, fling them all out of my house and be rid of them! I hate that after I cleaned up I still need to keep cleaning!!!

So I have two questions. The first: When do you clean? How do you clean? What is your system?

And this is the big question: What is the one thing you have learned in your life that is the most pivotal thing for helping your home be in order?

P.S. Today is my Birthday!!! I'm 27 and Melody turned one last Thursday. Do the birthday dance, do the birthday dance! :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Now I lay me down to...

Sleep! I hope the hint makes sense now. A picture of Audrey Hepburn in a sleeping mask = a post about sleep. :)

Some of those who have lived with me can tell you that I used to have no trouble falling asleep. In fact, I had trouble getting into my pajamas BEFORE I fell asleep. There was one particular night in college that I fell asleep as soon as I sat down on my bed. Apparently I left the bedroom light on, sat down on top of my bed, kicked one shoe off and fell over in sleep without even letting go of my bag. I awoke to find my oh-so-kind roommates standing over me giggling, with a camera, about to immortalize this proud moment in my life. Luckily, I woke up before they could take any pictures, but they have never forgotten how I fell asleep mid- sitting down on my bed.

Maybe I lived in a state of over-exhaustion in college that enabled me to fall asleep so easily, but since then, falling asleep has not been so easy! Thanks to some disturbances outside our house while I was pregnant with Melody, I began to worry when I laid in bed at night. What would happen if our neighbors had a party after the baby was born while the baby was sleeping? Would it wake her up? How would we react if someone broke into our house when the baby is born? Do we let them take everything and hope they are not interested in the baby? Or try to phone the police? Or cry in desperation 'You can have anything, just don't hurt my baby!' The scenarios I could come up with were endless- crime, natural disasters, domestic disasters (home fires, etc) and they began to come to life in my thoughts as I lay still and pregnant trying to find sleep.

There have been other times in my life where things like excitement about a new job or a new phase in life, or even stress has kept me from sleep. But this is different. Fast forward one year after Melody has been here and I still often find myself having difficulty turning off the flow of paranoid and crazy thoughts at night! Before you go thinking I am a truly insane person, know that during the day these things don't bother me. They also didn't bother me before I had a daughter. It seems that having a sweet, wonderful, helpless little creature (a baby) attached to my life and my heart has brought out a bit of an over-protective monster. :) My mother has always said she has difficulty sleeping when kids are in the house and now I truly understand her. However, I am fairly determined not to live out my life raising children in a paranoid, sleep deprived way.

I have tried thinking about many things to get myself to fall asleep: prayer, journaling, going to bed earlier, going to bed later. Still I am not able to lay down for long without thinking that every sound I hear must be someone in the house or a fire from our dated heating system. While going to bed earlier rather than later helps, there are only two things that seem to really work for me.

First, I have to check my attitude. This may seem strange because the desire to protect my daughter and my family is a good thing. However, the only thing that brings me peace deep in my heart is to remember that all of us are only here on Earth for a short time and none of us is immune to death- so why am I acting like we can be? No matter what happens, whether we live or die (whether we are robbed or not), God will be with us every step of the way. He will guide my actions in a crisis and He will protect my daughter whether she is alive on Earth or lives with Christ in heaven. Even just typing that seems like a downer, but really it's not. It is a peace-giving truth. One that makes my blood pressure lower just a little. :)

Second, I have been reading a book right before falling asleep. In the past I have tried to read other things before I go to bed- my Bible, a spiritual help or self-help type book, Jane Austen or other fiction. None of these things help me wind down before I sleep. My Bible and other spiritual guidance books tend to make me start thinking about deep, big picture ideas about life while fictional books are just too hard to put down. I wind up staying up all night trying to finish a book because I love to read!

Finally though, I have found the perfect book to help me fall asleep. It is a book called Through Painted Deserts by Donald Miller. (He is also the author of Blue Like Jazz... Someday I will learn how to post a link to the books I am talking about.) This book for some reason is the perfect aid to help me sleep. Something about the descriptions of the cross country journey he takes and the mild mannered tone in his humor and thoughts about God has a calming effect. After reading a chapter or two, I feel very peaceful. I might have a smile on my face. And I can put the book down, cozy up to my pillow, turn the light off and fall thoughtlessly into sleep.

But soon I will be finished with the book, and what then?

So here is my question:

If you are a mom: Did it get more difficult for you to sleep once you had a child? Did worries about your child keep you up at night? If so, have you moved past that? How?

If you are not a mom: What kinds of things are keeping you up at night these days? What helps you to fall asleep at night? A certain genre of book? Prayer? Benadryl? Something else?

I'm looking forward to hearing your replies! Can't wait to discuss this throughout the week!

Love, Rachel

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sneak Peek!

I couldn't resist! Here is a HINT at what Monday's post will be about.

Feel free to start guessing what the subject will be! :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Why A(nother) Blog?

Since college I have had many, many wonderful friends with whom I have shared common values, goals and amazing life experiences. However, many of us are now scattered across the United States and the world! For those that have moved, I have never quite gotten over the loss of your presence in my life, so I am creating this blog as a tool to keep myself connected with you and a place for women who share similar values, goals and experiences to connect to each other when our busy lives may not allow us to meet or talk in person!

How this blog will work (at least for now)
Each week I will publish a post about a topic on my heart that we can comment on throughout the week. Check on Monday for new posts, then check comments throughout the week to participate in discussion (like Facebook only less chaotic). This should be a place where we share experiences, ideas and the websites/people/events that inspire and influence us! If you don't feel like commenting though, no worries, just enjoy reading what I and those who do want to comment have to say. Just know that I would love to hear from you all, and for those that live far away- I miss you terribly! My life has never been the same without you in it the way you were at one time, so I LOVE a reason to be connected!

All that being said, I also want to welcome you to share this blog with friends who I have never met! There is an internet world out there filled with moms, wives and women who are looking for encouragement and community when they have spare moments online. (I know, especially when Melody was a newborn, that was me!) So share and share alike this website with other friends!

Next week will be my launch for the website- so tell your friends, get ready to participate and look for my first "official" post on Monday, March 21st, 2011!

Blessings on all the beautiful women reading this! And thank you for your interest:)

Love, Rachel