Finding Freedom in a Laundry Basket

There is this area in my life that I have been trying to get ahold of for YEARS and yet, despite my many promises to myself to “do better” and “try harder” I seem to fail and fail time after time.

Keeping my house clean.

You might think I’d be embarrassed to admit that so publicly, but let’s not kid ourselves, we all have those areas – right? I mean, maybe you are perfect and are in control and living exactly how you’d like to live, but I am going to go out on a limb and guess that you have similar areas in your life. Areas that are ALWAYS bothering you, that you wish you could get control over but just never seem to be able to.

Shame lives in darkness, so I’m bringing it out in the light – airing my dirty laundry (which I seem to always have a lot of in this house) but not just for the purpose of venting or being gross or having a pity-party, but because I’ve had a minor break-through and I’m hoping it will help you as well!

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So, in all my years as a fitness coach and business mentor, it is my job to help people have breakthroughs in areas where in the past they have failed and the biggest mistake people make when they try to change behavior is just that – they try to change BEHAVIOR. You can try to pull apples off an apple tree and staple oranges on it all day, but it won’t be long before the rotting oranges fall off and apples grow once more.

Behavior is a SYMPTOM of mindset. We all do what we WANT or what we believe is best. Until we change our MINDSET, and tap into a deeper motivation or belief, and get the ROOT fixed, the fruit and behavior will never change.

Buying a new workout program, joining a business opportunity, putting together a budget or chore chart, those are all well and good, but they won’t last, unless the mindset has shifted.

So, first I had to identify what my CURRENT mindset was when it came to keeping my home clean. What were some of the thoughts and core beliefs I had? I actually wrote them down, and here’s what I came up with:

  • I have four small kids, our house will never be clean.
  • In order to have a clean house I’d have to be one of those uptight, anxious, no fun, anal people that makes everyone uncomfortable when they come over, and I don’t want to be like that.
  • Having a clean house would require me to be cleaning 24/7 and I’d rather be present with my children, not worth it.

It’s the mindset that stops us isn’t it? I had convinced myself that all this was true. I’d tell myself these things over and over, even though I was incredibly unhappy with how our home was kept, I just believed it wasn’t possible, or the sacrifice I’d have to make wasn’t worth it.

It wasn’t until just a week ago, when we had to evacuate because of Hurricane Irma and ended up staying with a good friend on mine in Orlando that all my “reasons” disappeared.

We were graciously hosted by my friend Sarah, who has three children, the same ages as my older three and is pregnant with her fourth. She works a full time job, has a husband and of course the kids to care for, and is a Beachbody coach to boot! Yet, somehow, her home was so clean, and organized and well kept and peaceful and comfortable and I never felt like the kids couldn’t be kids, and I never felt like she was stressed or overwhelmed or missing out on time with her kids because she was scrubbing the floors all the time.

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I’m sure she’d tell you she gets tired by the end of the day (she is growing another human after all), but during the week we were staying with her, I saw her constantly taking an extra minute or two (that’s really all it took) to clean a dish in the sink, wipe down a counter top or table and put away the toys the kids had finished playing with. Probably what had my jaw on the floor the most was when she pulled a load of laundry out of the dryer, folded it all and put everything away, all at the same time.

You can do that?!?!

Never in my life had I actually done all of those steps all together in one day: wash, dry, fold and put away.
(gosh, we are REALLY getting into some embarrassing reveals here aren’t we?)

Something finally clicked for me.

Having lots of kids didn’t mean it would be IMPOSSIBLE for me to have a clean home.
I could work hard to maintain a clean home without being uptight and making guests feel uncomfortable.
I could still spend beautiful, quality time being present with my children and just do the laundry all at once after they are in bed.

Seeing someone in MY SHOES, doing what I thought could not be done gave me such HOPE. It allowed me to believe it was possible and made me actually want to work hard to make it happen.

Over the past three days we have been home, I have never felt so happy with our little place. I cleaned, organized, threw out unnecessary clutter and have consistently maintained our home to a level I have NEVER in my life done before. I even washed, dried, folded and put away a load of laundry all in one day.

Being a visual person who thrives on beauty, I had no idea how much it was affecting me to be living in such a dirty and cluttered home. I even feel like I am more thankful and in love with our home now that I am showing it some love (which is actually the same thing that happened when I started working out and eating well, I started loving my body more, just from the sheer action of being kinder to it).

Taking care of my home isn’t a waste of time, like I thought it was, in fact, if my home is clean and peaceful and under control it can be a place of SERVICE to others – just like Sara’s home was to us while we were fleeing the storm.

I guess I am writing all this to say, if there is an area of your life that you are unhappy with, but you are CONVINCED there’s nothing you can do about it, maybe it’s in the area of health and fitness, maybe you want to start a business, or a blog, or a YouTube channel, want to write a book or pay off a large amount of debt….dig a little deeper. What are the “reasons” you are giving yourself for why you can’t. Are they ACTUALLY true? You will never attempt something until you BELIEVE it might be possible.

Is there someone in your life that you can go to, watch, learn from and be ignited with a spark of HOPE? Sometimes that’s all it takes, to see someone doing all the things you thought couldn’t be done!

Maybe, all the hard work to get healthy, build that business, live frugally, keep the house clean, seems like a drag, but time after time I am learning, it’s actually just the payment for a much richer, happier, peaceful and wonderful life.

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