Sunday, August 28, 2016

How You Do I do it??? Keeping My House Clean.

Keeping the house clean... The struggle is real and true...and many of us don't know how to get out of the vicious cycle. I understand. I have been there. I have five kids going in 5 different directions. I know. I so know what it feels like to get one area cleaned to turn around and see another disaster.

So, how do you conquer this?  Ok, Ok, you can't get rid of the kids...or in some cases, your husband. Yes, I said it. Sometimes, it may be your other half. Even if it is, what can you do?  I have walked through this struggle. And to be honest ladies, it's really not a struggle for me. Ninety-nine percent of the time my house is company-ready. I like it to look nice, just in case somebody stops by. I never want to be embarrassed. But at the same time I am not a slave to my house. I have found that the more organized I have become the more time and spontanaiety I have in my life. Order can be a freeing thing. And yes, when the kids are younger it is harder. It just requires more order. So. let me give you a few helpful hints to keep the house in order.

* Everyone helps!!! From walking age on up!!! Everyone can pick up after themselves.  Teach them to pick up after themselves when they are done with whatever they are doing. It takes a little time on your part, but it works in the end. And if I see something left out, I immediately go that person and have them stop what they are doing now and clean up the last mess. This also goes for yourself. Sometimes we can create big messes. Finish one task before another.

*I wash dishes after every meal so they don't stack up. It takes five minutes to wash dishes afer each meal. If not, you end up doing an hours worth of dishes at the end of day after dinner when you are tired and grumpy. I also put away any food items and wipe the counters down and wipe the table down. If you have a child above the age of 4-5 you can have them wipe the table down after every meal. I also would sweep really quick around the table after every meal ( a job for a child over the age of 6-7).

*Have chore lists for each child. We normally clean on Saturday mornings. Everyone has a list and we clean our large home in less than 2 hours. That includes all 4 bathrooms, all floors are cleaned, dusting is done and things put away. I don't give the kids the whole bathroom to clean. One goes in and does all the toilets, one cleans the counters and showers and the other sweeps and mops the floors. It's a joint effort and it makes a difference and it doesn't overwhelm anyone.  We also have chores during the week. Floors are swept at least once a day, our main family room that gets the most traffic is usually vacuumed everyday, trash is taken out (by the way,  that is on the chore list on Saturdays. Our youngest has to empty all the trash cans in the house) and general clean up. 

*I never leave my house in a disaster state. Before we go anywhere we all go around and straighten up. Toys are put away, family room straightened, table cleared, school books put away. That way when we walk in later we don't walk into a mess. It makes a huge difference on my own mind set. I hate walking into a mess...especially if you are bringing more stuff into the house. I also go through my house late at night whenever everyone is in bed. I straighten things up, put things away that were left out and leave the house the way I want to wake up to.  Waking up to a disaster makes me want to hibernate and not get anything done...and then you have a bigger mess. It only takes 5 minutes to do a quick overview late at night. 

*I periodically go through rooms and clean out. Get rid of clutter, go through any papers, and make sure everything that is in that room should be there. We had an ice storm this past week and since we were locked in our home I decided to go through my closet. I threw away some clothes, I made a bag for charity and I reorganized the whole closet. It felt so good to go through it all.

*When the mail comes I instantly go through it all. I don't have any stacks of papers around my house. I throw the ads away immediately and open up any correspondence. I have a place for any bills on Matthew's desk and anything really important goes in my planner so that it doesn't get lost. Now that we pay almost every bill online we don't get many paperbills. That has cut down a lot on our mail. The trick though is not to let it stack up. Go through it, pay it, throw it away or have a special file for it. Mail can really become a clutter problem. And if you get magazines, read them and then give them away. Don't let them stack up. And that goes for catalogs too (if you get any)...go through them, pick anything out that you want to order and then trash them. And if I know I am not going to order anything, they go right into the garbage.

*As a general rule when we bring something new in the house, we try to get rid of something. Not that we look for something in particular, but we try to stream line all the time. And everything should have a purpose. And if it doesn't have a purpose then it needs to go. The older we get the more simple we have become. I like that. It makes my life so much easier. 

*Oh yeah...a definite must. I make my bed every morning. There is nothing like getting into a made bed every night. I have a beautiful quilt on my bed...and I want to show off it's beauty. I can't do that by having it crumpled at the end of my bed. After a long day of homeschooling and dealing with my kids there is nothing like coming into a neat and tidy room with your bed made. It's simple.

This is a brief synopsis of how I keep my house clean and company-ready. It makes me feel so much more peaceful knowing that my house is clean. Remember, more organization brings so much more freedom into your life. You don't have to be a slave to lists and calendars, but but keep things a bit more orderly, it allow so much more time. If you have any questions, let me know.

My Doula World

Three years ago I decided to take the classes to become certified as a Doula. I had been an Lactation Counselor for 7 years, and my kids were getting older, so I decided it was time to pursue this dream of mine. 
What exactly is a doula? Most people don't know what it is. They think I am a midwife and I get to catch babies. That would be awesome...but a bit scary for me. The true definition of a doula is: a woman who is trained to assist another woman during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born. That's it. Plain and simple. I don't do anything medical...I don't catch babies...but it is one of the most amazing jobs ever, ever, ever.  I get to support a mom emotionally, mentally, physically while she goes through one of the most challenging times of her life. I breathe with her...through every contraction. I move her around to better positions in different parts of the labor. I talk to her and tell her she is doing such a good  job. I am her cheerleader. I talk to grandparents and other family members on what is going on so the mom can focus on her labor.  I support dads and make sure they are hanging on and let them have breaks when they need it. I laugh with them. I cry with them.  I always feels honored to be included in one of the most intimate times of a families life. They allow you to be part of this time that truly should be beautiful and empowering. The bond you have with the moms and even the dads is awesome. To see them become new parents (even if it's the sixth baby) is amazing. I literally cry at every single birth. To watch that baby cry out for the first time gets to me every time. To hear that mom make that final push...that truly comes right from her core...makes me realize every time how powerful woman are.
And what are some of the other things that are involved:
~ Long hours. Yes, many long hours. Babies don't always like to come at fast speeds. They usually like to descend slowly. Taking their sweet time. I usually get there when the mom is in early labor, and I stay until the mom is settled in her room after the birth.  I am there for the first moments of breastfeeding, to make sure that the baby is latched on. It's a bonus that I am a lactation counselor, so I get to bring this area of experise in the mix.  I don't like to leave until everything is settled and mom is ready to rest.
~Sometimes it's messy. There are fluids involved that you don't want to talk about. It's a hospital (normally) you get what you expect. It's a good time for me to oil up with my essential oils, so that I stay healthy.  
~Emotions are flying all over the place. Labor might not being going like the mom wanted it to. The parents might be disagreeing over what to do next. You may have a pushy nurse or doctor who is trying to change minds and may have an alterior agenda. Everyone may get tired. Wait, this is a definite! Babies like to come in the middle of the night...or at least to start labor then. Moms and dads usually haven't been sleeping well lately anyway.  So, everyone is tired. The hospital rooms are cold and not always friendly. It is an emotional time. That's where I like to step in and be that even balance for them. To bring them back to focus and not let emotions swing rapidly through the room.
And as a doula, it's important to have a supportive family. I live on an adrenaline high while I am at a birth.  I may also be coming from a long day with my family of 7. And then I have to be ON. It takes a lot out of me emotionally to be there. I may have only had two hours sleep too. So, when I come home, my family kicks in and makes sure I get plenty of sleep and they take care of the house without any of my help. It makes a world of difference for me. Especially if you may have back to back births. The doula also must be tended to. And my family rocks at this. They make sure I get what I need to get back to my first job and my first love: my family
So, this is it in a nutshell. I serve the Asheville, North Carolina and Spartanburg,South Carolina area. If you are in need of a doula, please leave a message and I will get back to you.

Amazing Moments as a Doula

It seems that I have been going to births for most of my adult life. The first birth I ever was at was for my niece Brianna, and that was 22 years ago. I was 18 years old and it was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. Little did I know at that tender age that I would be attending births as a a careeer.

There are so many moments that you experience as a doula. There are so many highs and lows. And there are so many hours that you are there. Many moments of laughter, maybe tears, tense decisions and talking. The first moment that I always think of is when you get that first phone call. It seems like they are always in the middle of the night. The jolt from bed you get when you hear your phone ring. It startles me. You are expecting the call any day, but somehow you didn't think it would be that night.  And then the adrenaline rush comes in.  Usually my doula bag is packed, a shower is a must (never too sure when you will get another one), and I usually talk with my husband about what he needs to do to step in for the next day. Doula husbands have it hard...lots of alone time with the family in many situations that they are not used to handling. And then off to the usually deserted streets. Funny thing is that I usually will remember a song from the radio...and every time I hear that song I think of that mom. There is a certain Adele song that always takes me back to driving the quiet streets of Daytona Beach to the hospital.

Another amazing moment is when that mom gets into her place...into her zone of conquering all fears and OWNING her birth. We go into each birth (may it be your first or your last) with certain expectations. And sometimes it just doesn't go like that. And that's ok.  There is that moment where they go into a zone of pulling out all their strength and perseverence and push through all obstacles in their way. I can see it on their face. They are usually quiet. They may be looking straight at my face, but I know they are no longer even looking at me. They are in the spot they need to be to deliver that beautiful baby.

And my favorite moment of all, is the actual moment that the baby pushes out and shows themselves. The mom has overcome every obstacle...she is the most powerful that she will ever be. It's amazing the strength that they can gather, that they didn't even know that they had. And to see the faces of the parents. I wish I could capture in a picture what I see. Pure joy and elation. It's the amazing moment. To hear those first cries from the baby. The voice that they waited to hear is there. All these moments in one makes it amazing and exhilirating to me. And there is always me...with tears in my eyes. I cry at every birth...I can never stop the tears from flowing. It's one of the sweetest moments that I get to share with another family. I am so blessed.

I feel so honored to be at these births with these families. They are hard, strength draining, tense...but even with all the emotions flowing, it is one of the most amazing places to be. And for those first few moments after the birth, I pray quietly for that baby. I pour God's  blessings over them. That they may be the person who God intended for them to be. That they may triumph over all the obstacles that will come their way. And may they always be loved and feel loved. That is my prayer.