Today is all about systems within our homes. Systems within motherhood. This is Holy Order to me. God is a God of order and I believe this is one way we can honor Him.
As I often do, I like to share a little story to start my solo podcast episodes. You see I often get questions like how do you do it all (answer is I don’t) how do you find the time (answer whatever is your priority will get the time) and I’ve even gotten comments are remarks behind my back about how I make other moms feel less then. People close to me have told me “i’m not as good of a mom as you”
This really breaks my heart because a) I hate that I make people feel inferior in their motherhood because of how I treat mine. and b) they are probably overwhelmed and struggling with feelings of inadequacy or which is where I was not all that long ago. And maybe to the outside I have always put on “i’ve got this” attitude with motherhood and to be truthful on most days I do. However this was not the case 3 years ago.
I was constantly overwhelmed. I would literally cry over the state of my house. I felt like I yelled at my kids all the time, I stopped doing anything fun with them because I was overwhelmed with cleaning up after them taking care of my house. I was miserable at the end of the day with my husband. There was nothing left for him and I just found myself depleted and not enjoying this whole motherhood gig.
I knew I wanted to be home as much as I possibly could. I wanted to be the one who prepared the meals and kissing the boo boos and to be honest the first 4 years of motherhood were wonderful.
But slowly by surely the mundane tasks of motherhood, partnered with the addition of more kids, minus a lot of sleep , plus some bouts of postpartum anxiety and seasonal depression and a whole lot of retail therapy, and most importantly not putting my relationship with God first left me miserable in my motherhood.
I missed the mom and just overall person I used to be. I felt like I totally lost myself, I was wracked with mom guilt for ever wanting to leave my kids, which left no time for other things to fill me outside off being mom. I felt like I was failing my husband and not being enough for him and I was failing my kids and overall struggling with my identity and purpose.
I knew I didn’t want to live like that. And I knew there was so much abundant joy in motherhood, I just needed to find it again.
It started with a life assessment. Notoriously a perfectionist I scoured the internet for quizzes and goal setting and all the self development things. I created a Life Audit system that I have been doing every year 3 years now.
Because nothing can never grow and improve unless it is measured and I think the one time gift of life and motherhood deserves a whole lot of intention to make it the best one we can.
There are 6 dimensions in our life we need to assess. Spiritual and Service, Emotional and Mental, Career and work, Physical, Relationships, and Financial.
When something is not balanced we will fall into a slump or worse a depression. When I first created and completed this assessment I couldn’t rate anything higher than a 3 or 4 (out of 10) and I knew just a couple years prior I would have several areas where I would have rated in the 8+ area.
I wanted to be back in high ranks of happiness and fulfillment again and believe it or not, managing my home was so severely affecting my emotional and mental well being that it was having a direct effect on every other dimension of my life.
Stuff, clutter, cleaning. It affected me spiritually, and physically because I was feeling drained with no mental energy to put intention into these things. It affected me in the area of career because I couldn’t work any more with the madness going on around me which led to a negative effect financially. Which finally and most importantly affected almost every relationship in my life. I wasn’t being a good wife, mother or friend.
Now I know I am pretty hard on myself and to my friends and family they wouldn’t have guessed any off this but inside I was struggling.
It was then and there that I made the decision to stop letting life happen to me and to be intentional with my actions especially as it pertained to being a mother.
Long story short and if you haven’t listened to episode 8 then go back and do that, it will explain more. But after figuring out what I needed to change, I started working on things, that first year off change there was a compilation of things but then I got even more focused and I really started working on my stuff. Something that I thought had brought me joy had actually depleted the joy from me. I started working on a minimalism journey which freed up some much needed mental space. I started implementing systems and routines and piggy backing habits in order to get to a place of joy and abundance in my motherhood.
So I am hopeful that what I am going to share may help you too.
God is God of order and creativity and because we are made in His image I think that may be why we thrive when we have order and the mind space to use our creativity.
Our world bombards us with the message that we need more, and more will make us happy. We also are a part of this culture that tells us motherhood is hard. And that there is no time for anything else to fill us. And while yes motherhood is challenging it is also rewarding and such a gift, but our culture doesn’t focus on that. So we sit with too much stuff, not leaving the mental space for joy in the mundaneness of motherhood. We forget about the abundance and the purpose.
So let’s get into the nitty gritty.
I believe to find success in anything systems are key. I was first introduced to the concept of systems when I was an 18 year old hairdresser and we were trying to improve our customer service and retention while working with a business coach.
I think of motherhood almost as a business role. It’s a “career” no one is ever really equipped for and we often waddle our way through finding success or let’s not say failure but difficulties. Which was where my motherhood took me after a few years. As more and more responsibilities got added on I became overwhelmed and unable to thrive because I didn’t have the proper systems in place. Which is exactly what happens to so many small businesses.
So whether you see motherhood and wifehood and keeping a home functioning as a business or not, realize we are the lady’s of the house. I don’t know about you but my home would not function well without everything I do. We all have our roles but I take responsibility as the head of our home. My husband is of course the head of our family, but his main responsibilities are outside the home providing for our family. So in saying all that there is a lot of wisdom to be gained in the process of systems and running a successful home.
So going back to the 6 dimensions I rate in my Life Audit book there are systems within each dimension, in order to thrive in your motherhood.
Spiritual and Service
When I made the decision to actually put God first. To be sold out for Jesus. To seek Him in every area of my life things started to improve drastically. I’ve been a Christian for 15 years but it wasn’t until the last 4 years that I really made my faith and walk with Jesus a top priority.
So my day starts with first self discipline to wake up early and make time for a quiet time before the responsibilities of mothering take over. Meditation, reading my bible, prayer, listening to worship music. My days are 100% better and I am so much kinder, organized, and intentional as a mom. I have an upcoming episode discussing my morning routine in detail, but for today I am just going to share those 4 things as an essential spiritual system to have success in my motherhood.
Emotional and Mental
Two words. Planner and Gratitude. I know not every woman is a big time planner but I know there are many that are. So I love to plan but my difficulty was always with following through with my plans. You see I am truly a rebel at heart, I like to march to the beat of my own drum. It’s always been something I dealt with, and I know God will use that personality trait for great things such as being a self starter, a steady doer and entrepreneurship. But the truth is rules or systems win every time. When we follow rules and are obedient in action to them, our opportunities are endless. So make a plan and stick to it. Again a further more detailed episode to come on that.
Secondly I touched on gratitude. Living in gratitude changes our perspective and often as moms caught up in the mundane we need a perspective shift. Go back and listen to episode 3 if you haven’t. I have a daily gratitude practice. Its another part of my morning routine. You can check out my spiritual journal to see how I do it, or you can simply grab a notebook and write down 5-10 things you are thankful for every day.
Career and Work
OK so whether you work inside the home strictly doing mom duties, outside the home or at home for another job or business you need systems to run things efficiently in order to have growth and success.
I have a cleaning schedule I use and stick to so I stay on top of my house. I have a system I use for teaching my kids responsibilities and helping with chores so we are all on the same track as far as expectations. Meal planning, scheduling things and sticking to it are all a part of my systems. I also talked about piggybacking habits. So for example I (rather Lilia now) sweep the floor in the kitchen after every meal. I throw a load of laundry in at the end of the night. I empty the dishwasher every morning. I have an AM and a PM cleaning routine I stick to, each day of the week I focus on a specific task.
I also have systems within my content creation business. I have a blog, youtube channel and podcast as well as being a stay at home mom, a foster parent and a hairdresser. I also volunteer, run a bible study, foster parent support group and serve regularly in the nursery at church.
I write on certain days, film or certain days, record podcasts on certain days and I time block every day to get maximum productivity.
I don’t say this to try and brag about my busy-ness, I love to live a full and busy life. It fills me to be very involved. I’m an enneagram 7 and labeled as an overachiever on other personality tests. It’s who I am and how I’m happiest but if I don’t implement systems then I can’t do any of it well.
So deep and honest truth right now. This is my weakest area. It’s something I am constantly trying to work on and am constantly failing and starting over. Because of the busy life I lead this is always the one on the back burner. I am really working on this area being more balanced because when I put an effort into my physical – meaning I eat well and exercise regularly everything else is better too. But it comes down to meal prep and scheduling my work outs. Being intentional. When I do those things I see success. I think all of us will struggle more in one dimension of our lives and this happens to be mine but I won’t stop working on it.
So this is a big one especially for an introvert like me. I can easily go days being home, just working on my business and spending time with my family. I have had friends hurt me in the past which made me push people away. But this year more that ever God has made me realize the importance of friends. And my family isn’t meant to meet every relational expectation. So I have been more intentional and leaning into friendships. Praying for God to put people into my life and being intentional about making time for and nurturing those relationships. Again like I said its easy for me in the busy-ness of life to totally neglect this area. I know some women are more social and extroverted and they really need this and it coms easier to them. We are different in how we make and maintain friendships but the point I am trying to get at is, life is so much better when we do it with other people. When we have others to share in our joys and our hurts. In our successes and our failures. So it may seem silly but I even have systems implemented with friends. For example I make it a priority to go to weekly moms group. I try to do at least one, one-on-one dinner with a friend each month, I try to do a coffee date a couple times a month. I make it a priority to make sure I am the one initiating convo, a text or email just to say hello or ask a friend how I can pray for them. I lead a table of women (with a friend) in a bible study weekly. People, relationships are a beautiful gift and we need to be intentional about nurturing them.
I am no financial expert and next to physical this my next weakest dimension. I am a dreamer and a doer not so much an analyzer. I’ve always hated math and ya know, ya girl is just not a numbers gal. But because it is a weak point, it only means I need to be more intentional about it. Budgeting. Setting and working towards financial goals. All of these are regular systems I have implemented. (Even though I suck at them and could use a lot of improvement. They still exist. For me it is about being a responsible steward of the money God has blessed us with.
So to sum this all up and help you understand the importance of systems I have this to say
Systems, structures and methods play a significant role in building an abundant, joy filled motherhood. They serve the running of our homes and motherhoods as foundational supports or building blocks if you will.
Systems allow mothers to run their homes efficiently. And it allows us to monitor and manage all our responsibilities well – from child raising, to bill paying, to self care, to dishes and laundry.
Systems help us grow and one of the key factors to a humans happiness is growth. And I think its Tony Robin that says if you are not growing you’re dying.
Systems help us be strategic and they enhance our performance and productivity as well as give us purpose.
A systematic approach to motherhood allows us to meet and exceed all our expectations and responsibilities. And it may seem too structured for you but trust me when you run the mundane on systems its gives you freedom to focus on fun and fulfillment.
If our dishes and laundry and homework and meal prepping – all the mundane tasks of motherhood run systematically then we can do so much more with the time we save from the consistent approach we implement in our lives.
At the end of the day systems ensure quality and consistency and when our lives run that way it allows us the mental and physical space to do more with our lives. Not to be overwhelmed, not to worry about others opinions but to really live fully freely all out in the purpose God has called us to.
This is not about being legalistic or robotic but actually about freedom, joy and purpose. It’s not always easy and I am sure not always perfect at it. But it brought a lot more peace to my home when I became a mother of systems.
This is about glorifying God even in the little things, by bringing order and structure to function in peace. To be better moms, and better manager of our homes .This is about you being a happier mom.