Thursday, March 20, 2014

What I’ve Learned from Crystal Paine: Being Co-CEO of Ramirez, Inc. is a Calling is one of the most popular mom/budget blogs out there.  Crystal Paine, the mastermind behind the blog, has written two great books, and I recently finished the latest one, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. 

Honestly, when I picked up the book, we were still in survival mode.  I was fine with that because I had made my peace with dirty dishes, piles of laundry, and getting by, as long as I was able to spend some semblance of quality time with my kids, homeschooling, nursing, reading the Action Bible, chatting it up.  I was still sleeping in the recliner with the twins every night because it was easier to breastfeed that way; we were managing.

I wanted to read the book, though, knowing eventually we’d pull out of basic survival and be able to function a bit better in all areas.  Plus, I am the least organized person on the planet.  It’s one of the most awesome and most awful things about me.  I’ve accepted the way God made me, but I needed tips on how to refine the disorganization into something that wouldn’t be a complete detriment since I’m going to attempt homeschooling four kids, we eat at home almost every meal, laundry multiplies like rabbits, or like me and D.  I wanted to have all these tips in my mind, ready to use when needed.

As soon as I started reading this book, I transitioned to the bed with the twins, and it worked!  Sleeping in a bed made me feel more human because there was more sleep involved, and I found myself able to use some of Paine’s advice right from the get go. 

The book is a gem of information, but I’ll stick with the best of what I learned:

If it’s not the best, don’t waste my time:  I only have so many hours in a day.  Prioritize what I really want to do, what’s most important, what I value.  The rest is fluff. (She gives excellent tips for doing this.)

Know your I don’ts, and know everyone has some:  Paine is one of those women who’s easy to look at and believe she does it all.  I don’t believe anyone can do it all, but I have wondered sometimes if she might be the exception.  However, she listed her “I don’ts” in the book, the things she doesn’t do so she can do the things that are on her best priorities’ list.  Here’s my I don’ts list, the abbreviated version, because there is a ton I don’t do:

Ø   Iron clothes-they go to the cleaners or in the dryer for a fluff up round

Ø  Throw parties or events with themes or anything off Pinterest involved

Ø  Have my kids in tons of extracurricular activities

Ø  Knit, sew, crochet, all the cute things other mommies do

Ø  Spend time couponing because the food we buy doesn’t generally come with coupons

That’s the very short version, but you get the idea.  None of the above things are bad, and I have plenty of friends who do all of these things.  I don’t because they don’t fall in line with my best priorities, though I might decide to do some, one day.  Paine reminded me it’s okay to not do some things and to remember no one does it all.

Intense focus:  Using a short period of time to complete a task is awesome because you get to finish something, or at least a portion of it.  So much of the time I spend 15 minutes running around trying to do the 11 things I need to do, and accomplish nothing.  Using her keys for intense focus helps me mark things off the list and move on, leaving other tasks for when I can complete them.

My house is not spotless; everything isn’t in its place or even clean when we hit the bed every night.  However, her tips have made an impact.  I’m generally never more than one dishwashing away from a clean sink (we eat in almost every meal, and we cook them ourselves, so that alone is major.) and laundry is generally within one load of being completed in the clean department, no more than two loads behind on folding.  I know, the domestic divas are reading this and cringing, but we were in a place where getting dressed meant picking what you could find from the clean pile on the floor, sniffing it, and then deciding if it was still clean after how long it had been on the floor.  Baby steps.

Being one of the managers of the home is a big job, and Paine reminded me it can be a calling and should be something I put all my heart into.  The way my household runs doesn’t have to be the same as the way everyone else’s does, but making it as functional as I can for my family in the season we’re in is part of my job as co-founder of Ramirez, Inc.  It’s a job I’m quite fond of.

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