I have gotten a couple of questions on Simplifying Your Life (Part I, II and III) that I would love to answer:
"You mention your family’s "beliefs, goals and priorities" in the last couple of posts. I'd be interested to learn what your family's beliefs/goals/priorities are and how you established them. Was it a formal process with the whole family? Are they written down somewhere? Etc.”
This was an interesting question to me and made me really think about how we first started establishing our priorities as a family. I would not say that we have a formal process that the whole family was involved in, but it did all start with a discussion with my husband and I years ago. Our children were pretty young and we were getting a lot of “advice” from well meaning friends and family on what they should be able to do, or should not do, I was getting pretty frustrated and my husband, after listening to me ramble on for some time, finally just looked at me and said “in our family we choose ________, it is that simple”. I left out the particular situation because it doesn’t really matter, it was his statement that left me feeling at peace and more free to make choices for my family based on what we thought was best – not what others thought was best.
This conversation made me start thinking about all the conversations my husband and I had in the past, things that we had both said were important to us and I started making more and more parenting decisions based on simple statements that we had agreed on. We came to an agreement on what we thought about things like leaving our children alone (at home and at activities), sleepovers, tv/movies/games, and so on. Decisions became easier, less stressful and based on what my husband and I thought was best for our family, not what others where doing or thought.
I also have certain goals and priorities that are personal, based on what I think God is calling me to do in my family. You can see the shorten version of this in my sidebar:
Once a year we have a family meeting to discuss our Lead Roles. Each person needs to explain how they feel they did over the last year and state any goals they have for their areas for the upcoming year. These goals are discussed and can be added to by other family members, but need to be agreed upon. This is important when dealing with big issues such as finances, it confirms that my husband and I agree on our goals and that the kids know what we are working towards, but even in the smaller things, like snow removal, it gets the kids thinking about how they did and how they can do better. Each summer I go through our Chore charts and Lead Roles and make any adjustments that I feel would work better or add any additions due to being a year older.
In short, I believe that it is up to my husband and I to come into agreement for what our family’s beliefs, goals and priorities are, but as the mother and wife, I set the tone for how those play out in our family.
“I need small steps. How do you do it? Do you have a daily list? try to keep a certain amount of free time?”
I do have lists; I find that if I have a list of what needs to be done it is more likely to be done! I have a weekly outline of what to do:
I also have Spring and Fall Cleaning and De-cluttering lists and Weekly Cleaning lists, which I don’t always follow perfectly, but having a list takes out the guess work. I am not a naturally organized person (as many friends will concur), I have to be specific about planning my time to keep my family and myself organized.
For more tips on everything from keeping organized, getting out stains or great recipes check out WFMW!