It’s been almost a year since I blogged about the freedom that comes from discipline and I’m not surprised that it has, yet again, been a theme in my life lately.
In short: I’m in desperate need of structure.
As the twins have been increasingly content to play and occupy themselves, it has given me more time and more opportunities to do things unrelated to them. While it has been great, it has also revealed just how out of control life has become AND how desperately I have been craving structure.
Beginning in childhood, we tend to think that freedom means no rules, no boundaries, no structure.
It’s actually the opposite.
Since the boys were born we have been less strict with following our budget, which leads to overspending and stress.
We’ve eaten out (also not in the budget) WAY more than we should simply because it was easier than meal planning.
When we have free time the LAST thing we want to do is something responsible, but that has led to us feeling burdened by the lack of discipline. In reality, we could have found the time to create more order in our lives if we had really made it a priority.
We’ve allowed our lack of discipline to create mild chaos in our home.
Two weeks ago, at one of the mom groups I attend, the speaker discussed setting priorities. She started by mentioning one of the laws of physics – that an object in motion will stay in motion unless something interferes. The same goes with our priorities – if we want change, it isn’t going to miraculously happen. We have to step in and fight to make it happen.
This week, Brennan and I sat down after brainstorming separately and discussed what our priorities were for our family, our marriage, and ourselves. Not surprisingly, they were almost identical!
I will blog more about them later, but the top three are:
1. Spiritual growth
2. Financial freedom
3. Family time/closeness
Each one has many bullet points and ideas for how to implement them, but we wanted to keep each overall priority simple.
We’re using these priorities to help us make decisions and allocate our time, and it is already making a huge difference.
Example: meal planning
I decided that every other Wednesday (budget day) will be meal planning day. I will also be simplifying the meal rotation to 10-15 meal options so that I have less thinking to do, and we will be using the slow cooker daily if possible to ensure that dinner happens.
I will “shop” that day using the Walmart Pickup (click for $10 off your first order!) app (the BEST THING EVER) so that I am able to see how much we actually need in the budget AND we won’t be able to easily buy impulsively. Immediate savings! Plus, we will save time by pulling up and having them load the groceries into my van!
I will also put each meal on the calendar so that I don’t have to think about what’s for dinner. Instead of wondering what sounds good, we will simply have what is scheduled. This alone will alleviate stress!
Oh, and I also found out that Costco will DELIVER to our house so that’s also a game changer! Now I can stay on budget and only get what we need (we all know how difficult that is at Costco!).
Just taking action in this ONE area helps our budget (financial freedom), helps us eat better, and gives us back time spent grocery shopping multiple times a month (family time).
These things may sound simple – and that’s the point. Right now, my exhausted brain can only handle so much without feeling overwhelmed, so these simple steps to make meal planning (and sticking to the budget) happen are well worth it.
I’ve felt so tired and didn’t think that structure was necessary, but it turns out that the lack of structure was making me even more tired!
I feel SO free and relieved knowing that my groceries are ordered, we stayed within our budget, meals for the next two weeks are scheduled, and my family will eat well.
We’re excited about our new family priorities and cannot wait to see how they shape our lives from here on out.
Do you have priorities that guide your family? I’d love to hear about them!