A Lesson Learned: Stress and Disorganization

I’m not the most organized person. I used to be. While teaching, my classroom was always very organized. Everything had a place. Even the kids knew where things went.

But now that I am at home, I feel like I have lost the motivation to organize. The majority of my house stays rather picked up, but the monotony of doing the same things every single day is draining…emptying the dishwasher, doing laundry, picking up toys, repeat. You get the point. It’s really debilitating to my motivation. There will always be tomorrow, after all…

2010 was a rough year for me. The first six months of 2010 were the most stressful in my adult life. A new baby, major baby blues, a very active toddler, moving (which was our own choice), and a husband gone every night finishing his Master’s degree do not equal out for a peaceful, carefree life.

However, looking back on the past year some of the stress was brought on myself. The fact is…disorganization greatly contributes to my stress level. And for the past year, I haven’t been organized. I haven’t had a plan. A few of the months were spent on survival mode. Even this blog was created on a whim. And I don’t typically plan any of the activities I share with you…they just sort of come to me and then we try them out. (I’m sorry if this disappoints you…just tryin’ to keep it real!)

But good news for me, IT’S A NEW YEAR! I can start fresh. I can MAKE a plan…for cleaning, for cooking, even for playing with my kids. I can have a daily schedule and try to stick with it! I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions (mostly because I end up breaking them by the end of January), but I’m hoping that recognizing my own disorganization as a key contributor to my stress and anxiety in the previous year will help me do better! I certainly hope so!

Here’s to cleaning schedules, to-do lists, and an organized day! They’re certainly things I haven’t seen in the last year or two!

What about you??? How do YOU stay organized and what goals are you making for the coming year?


  1. I'm with you!! I struggle between making idols out of lists and depression out of not accomplishing anything but the day to day "musts". During the month of December, I decided that this is the life that I lead (stay at home mom of a almost 3 year old and a 3 month old) and I get to decide how to live it. I developed a "true north" plan. I wrote down everything- what has to be done, what I want to do, what I want my child to learn from me, and what helps keep me sane. I'm spending this month finding ways to break all this into manageable pieces.

    For example: I want to read at least 6 books on theology and I'm assigning months and titles to those months.

    I want to teach my oldest at least 8 verses. I'll be using some flash cards from John Piper's ministries. We'll shoot for one a month, and that gives me 4 months of grace and review!

    I've assigned days of the week for cleaning tasks, and if that doesn't happen that day, instead of "doubling up", I'll give myself grace to know that it will come around again that next week. (outside of company coming :)

    This is the first time my list making has allowed for grace- and I feel so energized by it!


    -Thanks for your posting! I love that your ideas are accessible, and involve little prep, and very few trips to "buy supplies"!

  2. I really needed to read this today! Sometimes I convince myself that I am the only one struggling with a daily routine (or lack of one) and that everyone else is pulling off their own effortlessly. I think most of my last 3 years have been on survival mode! I am hoping to do better this year by making sure that everything I do is thought-out and sticking to a basic (very basic) plan for the day. Such as, a more predictable routine when it comes to the kids (they are almost 2 and almost 3…I am hoping this will help with behavior, too), and 2 or 3 manageable chores for myself just to help me keep up a little better for now. Up until now, I have been doing things as I think of them, running around the house all day, and then wondering in the evening what I actually did–because it doesn't look like anything was accomplished and the kids need attention. No wonder my kids are all over the place! These things seem so obvious, but it takes a lot of discipline to put them into practice. I think another critical part of this for me is relying on the Lord and starting my day asking for His help and guidance. You have reminded me of that in the past. Thanks for keeping it real, writing on these helpful topics, and for all the great ideas you've shared!

  3. The monotonay is killing me, too. My classroom, like yours, was as organized as they come…I'm a total spaz. And really, everything in the house has a home, too, but we all know that just b/c it has a home doesn't mean it gets put there. :-)

    One website I use to help with recipes and meal planning is Meal Planning Mommies {http://mealplanningmommies.blogspot.com}. They are friends who all stay home with their kids and are also learning to be domestic divas.

    Some days I wonder if I'll ever get it. Really. And then if I do, will I notice that I'm getting it? Will I enjoy the moments of mommyhood that I get?

    It's all about planning…(in my opinion). I'm working on this, too. But thanks for sharing b/c it's so nice to hear that others have similar struggles. I thought I was the only one who feels like having a day off of dish and laundry duty now and again…

  4. Oh gosh reading that was just reading my life!! Except mine has gone on for nearly 2 years ( I have a 2 and half year old as my youngest) It has only been in the recent months that I have been getting back on top of things.

    I feel so disheartened at the monotomy at times and like you lack the desire to get up and do the things that need to be done.

    2011 though I am really hoping to pull my socks up and get the house organised. In fact I have already begun. I am tossing and turning over if I will blog about it though. I'm scared to show some of my disaster areas lol!!

  5. I have joined a group of women at my church to do once a month cooking which has helped me gain some order to meal time. I tested out the motivated mom daily planner at the end of 2010 and plan to do some tweaking to make it work for me in this season of life.

  6. I could have written this EXACT same post, expect I am not a SAHM. Disorganization leads to chaos which leads to more disorganization leading to more chaos, over and over. I too need to make this MY year in so many ways.

  7. I feel the exact same way. My classroom was so organized it was disgusting. Now that I've been a SAHM for 4 years, not so much. I have decided that I can't live in this chaos anymore for my sanity.

    I tried FlyLady like a previous commenter mentioned. I found her way too overwhelming and all it was make me more anxious to see my inbox full of all these reminders from her.

    Like another previous poster, I found the Motivated Mom daily planner and I think it will help me out a lot. The list of things/chores I have to do is already written down for me and I just check it off. Today was to be my first day and unfortunately not all of it got done, but the kiddos are sick and tomorrow is another (hopefully healthy) day.

    Meal planning is another way I am going to try and stay on top of things. I was good about it for so long last year and then it all just fell apart when my son was hospitalized and I never started it up again months later when he was finally healthy.

    Good luck!

  8. Hi Janae,
    I'd like to thank you for taking the time to update your blog and share all your wonderful activities! I'm a mom of a 2 year old and a 7 month old. I desperately want to do what I can to provide a nurturing learning evironment for my little ones. I have already done many of your activities with my two year old and she loves them!

    Most times, I feel like I'm just trying to keep a grasp on things; laundry, dishes, getting dinner on the table. I have to say that the ONE thing that revolutionized my 2010 was the Moms Home Journal I downloaded from Notebooking Pages.com (http://notebookingpages.com/just-for-mom). It helps me to keep on track of my things to do during the week. I also try to follow the FlyLady cleaning system. It helps me to follow a routine!

    God bless you for all your efforts and sharing your knowledge with us!

  9. Thank you for this and for all of your wonderful posts! It's refreshing to read all of the comments from other Moms too!

    My son is just about 14 months old and I just now am starting to feel like I'm getting a handle on staying on top of everything. I would NEVER have dreamed it would take me a full year of being a SAHM to feel like my world was relatively organized again.

    With baby number 2 on the way in May, I just pray daily that I can keep up with it and allow myself grace for those (many) days when I look around at 9pm and wonder what I did all day! :o)

    Thanks for all that you share. I really appreciate that your creative ideas are inexpensive and usually require readily available materials. It makes it super simple to try them out on the fly!

  10. Thank you for posting this! I know that organization of my home would make so many things in my life easier…I call myself a "part time" stay at home mom, because I also "nanny" (more like chauffeur) 3 older children for about 4 hours 4 days a week. I take my 2 year old with me, so that makes things interesting!!!

    Anyway, I've been visiting your site for a while and wanted to leave something for you….


    I was chosen to receive the Stylish blogger award and I got to pick bloggers I thought deserved the award as well and you were one of my choices :)

    Check it out here:


  11. I think we must be living the same life (except I'm not a teacher). My daughter was born 19 months ago when my son was only 19 months. One month after my daughter was born, we moved house. I've also been battling with post natal depression – something I have not mentioned on my blog or to many people before. And, I have come to the same conclusion – I need to get organized. I'm great at planning, but sometimes lack the motivation to follow through on my plans. Teaching my toddlers is what I love to do and sometimes tend to leave planning meals and home stuff to the last minute. So, like you, my resolution for 2011 is to become organized in all facets of my life. Towards the end of last year, I outlined my home routines and entered them into my Omnifocus program on my iPad. I use it like an electronic home management binder. I have gone into detail about it here: http://unitedteaching.com/blog/?p=308. I'm still working on the rest of the stuff though. I think the next step will be for me to create menu plans for each season rotating on a 4 week basis. Thanks for being so open and sharing.

  12. I wish I could keep my classroom as organized as my house!
    My home is really organized now, but that's because of some major overhalls in how we work as a family. We now have a list of all the monotomous chores for every day, week, and month. I laminated it and posted it, so my husband can now see exactly what he can do to help out. It's much more a team effort now and that makes me feel much less stressed.

    I also decided to follow a minimalism code. If I can't clean a room completely in 5 minutes, we own too much stuff. Time to donate!

  13. Like many others mentioned it seems like you have written exactly what I am feeling. I am a primary teacher (first/second grade) turned stay at home mom (due to relocation for my husband's job I resigned) and so now at home I feel very disorganized and I have only been a stay at home mom since August.

    In my classroom everything was organized. My label maker and storage bins were my best friends.

    I am definitely a schedule type of person. I seem to go through the same thing each day too with emptying the dishwasher, doing laundry, and picking up toys. And now I am adjusting to having 2 kids at home with me instead of 1. When it was just me and my 2 year old I felt like I had somewhat of a "schedule" but now that my newborn son is in the mix – we just go with the flow and aren't really on a schedule.

    I am glad I stumbled upon your blog because even though I am (was)a teacher and have many ideas in my head it's nice to see other people's ideas and I am glad you have taken the time to share! On another blog I read the blogger always ends his posts by saying "sharing is caring" so thank you for sharing all of your wonderful ideas!!!!

  14. I just wondered how things were going with this. Also I would LOVE to see what your schedule/routine looks like! Thanks!

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