Friday, December 13, 2013

8 Confessions of a Blogging, Homeschooling Mom - A Look Behind the Curtain

It's confession time. Time to peel back the curtain and show the not-so-picture perfect side of the life of this blogging/homeschooling mama. Because for some reason there are a lot of women out there who are convinced that women who blog automatically somehow have it more together than they do. This is simply not true. And here's proof.

Confession #1: I am a terrible housekeeper.  I am pretty good at doing the dishes every day, and I vacuum regularly. And I try to clean the main bathroom on a regular basis. My kids keep their stuff picked up thanks to these cleaning charts. But my house is still a mess most of the time. Why? One word. Clutter. A lot of it. I have piles (and boxes) of "stuff" everywhere. When people come over, I "clean" up clutter by throwing it all into a box, lost forever. The irony? Most of my cabinets and closets are organized to the letter. When it comes to cleaning, I am all or none. And when it comes to all these piles, sometimes I don't even know where to start. I hope that someday I am able to conquer my clutter problem because, frankly, sometimes it's embarrassing. And I really would like to know where certain things are that currently can't be found. And it is a lot easier to relax in a clean room. And maybe I could invite people over more often. So I hope that someday I can say I finally have a clean house. That day, however, is not today, and, as of right now, clutter is still a major problem for me.

(So thankful for my patient and understanding husband, who very rarely complains about this problem of mine!)

Confession #2: I sleep in later than I should.  I am very blessed in that my kids are very self-sufficient in the mornings. They can get their own cereal and/or yogurt and entertain themselves until I get up. I am very lucky, I know. The flip side of this? Getting up early is difficult. Because it's just a little too easy to turn off the alarm, roll over, and sleep for just a little bit longer. Or a lot longer. But I don't get nearly as much done and am not nearly as effective when I choose to stay in bed instead of get up on time.

Confession #3: I stay up later than I should.  When I don't go to bed at a decent time, I sabotage myself to repeat #2. Or if I do get up early the next morning, I am cranky because I am sleep-deprived. My crankiness does not set a good example for my children. Or make for a joyful, productive homeschooling day. (I was tempted to schedule this post to automatically publish in the morning sometime so you wouldn't know how late I am staying up tonight. While it doesn't look like I will be finishing this post tonight after all, for the sake of transparency I will tell you it is currently almost 2 am. Case in point...)

Confession #4: I spend too much time online. This includes e-mail and social media such as facebook and pinterest. Again, I am all or none, so periodically I can go through periods where I rarely check social media at all. But, when I get the "itch" again, I spend way more time online than I should. There is definitely an addictive component to the internet in general and especially social media that can be hard to resist. And sometimes I don't do a very good job of resisting.

Confession #5: I am a chronic procrastinator. It is December 12, and we still haven't put up our tree. This is partly related to Confession #1. The area where the Christmas stuff is is cluttered, and getting to the tree and the ornaments/decorations will require some work. Really, if I'm being truthful, procrastination is probably the cause of my clutter problem! I was once told by a friend in high school: "Most people wait until the last minute. You wait until the last second!" Not good. And it does not produce good or satisfying results. 

Notice the partially painted wall in the photo below (aside from all the "stuff" covering the kitchen table)? It has been like that for a good 2 years. 

Confession #6: I don't spend enough time in the Word. I have been following a one-year Bible plan for over three and a half years now. And I am not even halfway done. At best, I spend time in the Word occasionally. I am better at reading my Jesus Calling devotional. Which is great. But it's not the Word of God. I need God's Word to renew my mind and feed my spirit. And, yet, so many times, I just don't read it like I should. Because I don't feel like it. Because I just don't make it a priority. This one hurts worse than the others. But there it is. The truth. 

Confession #7: A lot of times, I don't spend enough time in prayer. Just like #6, I don't consistently and intentionally spend time in prayer on a regular basis. Sometimes I do, but I am more consistent in allowing my love and my fire to grow cold than I am at soaking Him in. And sometimes, when I tell someone I will pray for them, I don't. Not on purpose. I just somehow forget to. Or I just say a quick prayer and then move on to the next thing on my agenda... or the next status on facebook. This is not how spiritual battles are won. I know this. And yet, so many times, I just don't do it. I understand Paul when he said, "For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing" (Romans 7: 19 - NIV). I understand what he is saying in this verse, because he's describing me

So there you have it. 8 confessions of a real-life, blogging, homeschooling, pile-making, sleeping-in mama. Now the truth is out: this blogger ain't perfect. There was a part of me that really wanted to clean up those areas of my house just a little before taking those photos. Make it look a little neater. A little more put together. But I didn't. This is it, in the raw. There's no going back after this, and I wouldn't want to. I'd rather be real than perfect. Because only He can make us perfect. On my own, I am anything but. 

And you know what? It's ok. Because His mercies are new every morning. Will I ever paint my kitchen wall? Maybe. Will I ever get my clutter under control? Perhaps. But perhaps not. If nothing else about my confession list changes, I pray for consistency in my walk with Him. Because I can't live this life without Him. Because I can't lead my children to Him if I'm not being led myself. Because I can't do ministry with a painted wall. Am I going to work on my weaknesses? Of course. But in His strength. Because anything else is doomed to fail. Any goals I set for myself apart from Him, will carry a weight that will eventually crush me. Am I perfect? Not even close. And, yet, He loves me. He is for me. He died for me. In all my imperfections. In all my weaknesses. And having a love like that is worth giving Him all. Because He gave all for me. 

So if you find yourself thinking that other moms have it more together than you, don't. Remember that you have something that those other moms might not have: hope. While you are looking at them wondering what they have that you don't, they are looking at you wondering the same thing

For when I am weak, then I am strong. 
--2 Corinthians 12:10

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 
--2 Corinthians 12:9a

Do you have any confessions you'd like to share? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below. Remember, you are not alone in your weaknesses and struggles.

As a follow-up, I will be posting soon about "Living in the Measure of Your Own Grace." I pray that it blesses you.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Free Printable Kids Cleaning/Chore Charts {That You Can Edit!}

Remember my Free, Printable Morning and Bedtime Routine Charts {That You Can Edit}?

Well, now I have free, printable cleaning/chore charts, too! Because, again, no two households are alike, these are also editable.

These cleaning charts help keep the toys/clothes/etc. picked up around the house.

For each room, my kids understand the charts to mean that they are to clean their stuff out of those rooms. so, when it says, "Clean living room," they know that it means they are to pick up everything of theirs in that room, not that they are to clean/dust/vacuum the room itself. 

I use the morning charts before homeschooling, and these cleaning charts afterwards. My kids know that before they can do something fun, their cleaning chart must be done first. This helps provide motivation for them to clean quickly! These charts work great at our house. 

Each chart is available in 5 colors: pink, blue, purple, green, and a generic gray. The colors are editable also.
Just like the morning/bedtime charts, you will need to download these cleaning charts to your computer and then open in Microsoft Word or comparable program if you want to edit them. 

If you have any trouble downloading, editing, or just have general comments, please let me know in the comments below. Otherwise, enjoy!

{Note: These charts are for personal use only. You may link to this post, but please do not link to the charts directly or upload them to your own site/blog. Thanks!}

You can download the cleaning/chore charts here.

{If you have an older version of Microsoft Word or otherwise have trouble downloading the above version, try the Word 97-2003 compatible version here.}