Although I haven’t written anything about it, I have been working hard on my “one word” for 2010: FOCUS. I determined when I picked this word that I would focus on different things each month so that I wouldn’t be overwhelmed with all I wanted to focus on this year. I mean, seriously, you can’t call it “focusing” if you’re jumping from one thing to the next as we tend to do as mothers.

So, I’m just reporting on my monthly focuses so far. Because for some reason if I post about it, it makes me more accountable.

My January focus was LAUNDRY. I know, call me crazy…there are MUCH more important things to focus on than laundry of all things. But laundry is my most dreaded household task, and a large part of what I want to focus on this year is becoming a “Professional Mother.” And part of that to me is being a “Professional Housewife” too. This is my day (and night) job and I want to do it well. That means I better sure as heck be able to do a little laundry without turning all my whites pink.

Sure, I can do laundry. I’ve been very “laundry-capable” since before I was a teenager. But I’ve never really become a specialist. I want to know all the ins and outs of getting stains out and keeping up clothes like my sister-in-laws do. Well, I’m pleased to report that our laundry is in good shape. I’ve figured out all the special cycles on my washing machine and I’ve made my whites whiter. I have a good schedule running to get all 4-5 loads folded and put right away in the same morning. And that feels good.

Next up is figuring out a system for the kids to do their own. They help me fold when they’re around, and yes, like many other things it’s much easier to do on my own. But Max and Elle are totally old enough and I need to get them going.

In February I focused on FAMILY MEALS. We have always been pretty good at having family meals, but dinner was starting to slip into a later and later time slot which really messed up our night-time routine. Dave suggested we start having family dinners at 5:30 rather than 6:00 so we could get to homework, practicing, the bed-time routine and all that jazz earlier and at first I said no way. We couldn’t make it work. But we tried and I have to say it has worked wonders (thanks Dave). We still can’t quite get it down to a science since our kids are signed up for WAY too much right now, but I started planning meals on Sundays for the week, making sure I had dinner prepped before the kids started trickling in from school, and man oh man those two little teeny things made all the difference. I also started a weekly routine of making home-made whole-wheat bread (and I didn’t even post pictures here if you can believe it…recipe coming). It feels good.

In March my focus is SPIRITUALITY or as someone put it in church today “opening my spiritual eyes” more. This was tipped off by that great Motherhood Retreat I had last weekend. I’ve been lagging a little on what’s most important as little trivial things have been seeping in and grabbing big chunks of my time.

So, I’ll be back to report later. But for now I must go finish folding laundry!

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  1. I didn't know you were doing a topic a month on Focus…but I love the idea. And I love the laundry explanation! It is so inspiring that you are striving to be a *professional* mother. Once again, your blog is one of my very favorites!

  2. You always have the best ideas…I love this "focus" by the month. What a great way to tackle it all and find solutions to the things you want to work on.

  3. You are amazing Shawni!
    I have only one "system" in my house that works great, and that is laundry. Monday morning I grab all the dirty clothes and wash all day. As each batch comes out, I sort it in my bedroom. I lay two huge towels on the floor. One towel is for the kids clothes. I lay the shirts flat on one end, so they don't get wrinkled. Then pants/shorts lay in the middle. The other end is a pile of pjs/unders/socks/etc. The other towel is for the grown up clothes, keeping the whites in a laundry basket. Tuesday morning I grab the rest of the clothes and finish up. Every Tuesday night the kids sort, fold and put away their own. It has been a WONDERFUL thing for me, cuz who can keep track of whose unders are whose when you have four girls?!?!?! Then NO MORE clothes laundry til next Monday! I LOVE having it be "done!"

  4. I have a blog crush on your blog. 🙂 You inspire me so much with your posts.

    I make have my kids help me with laundry and it has really made things more manageable for me. Here is my post about laundry (and a couple of other things I've learned from blogging.)

  5. Just in case you're interested, for stains, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the product ZOut. Zout with a Z and it comes in a red bottle. It gets out grease and strawberry stains and ink stains, and I have never found a better stain remover.

  6. I love your focus idea……I'm going to give it a go. And — Your stressing about laundry made me laugh. I remember how stressful my laundry use to be until I heard Gayle Haight speak about making changes in your life in a stake conference. She said, "If you don't like something in your life, change it." From that day forward I changed my routine. No more stressing. I professionalized my routines. Laundry on Monday — I would sometimes start after midnight on Sunday to get a load ahead. It made if so nice to not have to worry about laundry except on Monday. Each day had a "focus" and I always tried to sneak in something extra in the day to acomplish — one drawer to clean out here, etc.
    Any way, my whole point of the laundry rambling was to tell you about visiting my oldest son at BYU. His room had no clothes laying around and I was surprised. He said they were in the dryer. And…………they were all in the dryer. You couldn't fit a tootpick in that dryer. So………..teach those kids. I messed up on that with my boys.

  7. I have your blog on my google reader and I always look forward to reading your posts. I love your book {which is how I found your blog}! I also love all of your inspiring thoughts and ideas that you post here. You are an incredible mother and an incredible example. Thank you!

  8. You are such a positive inspiration. Making motherhood (which I love) and homemaking (ie. Laundry which I hate) seem just as important as it should be. I love your idea of focus. It is really easy to get swept away in the minutia of life.

  9. Hi Shawni, I saw Sarah's blog post today and was truely intrigued to come visit yours! You have a beautiful family and I look forward to reading more 🙂

  10. So what is your trick to get whites whiter? The best thing I did with laundry this year is I have my two youngest take turns folding the laundry basket every morning. They don't look so great in the drawers but they have to iron their clothes anyways. I never have to fold anymore and they are learning a skill. It has made a big difference in my days to not have the laundry pile up and the boys are learning a job. Good for us all. I just had to learn to give up the organized drawers.

  11. Getting the laundry under control was my biggest accomplishment this year! It's not just getting it clean and put away, but getting clothes that no longer fit one child put away for the next child to wear…and also getting rid of clothes that everyone has grown out of. Endless! 😉 My biggest sanity saver was buying multiple pairs of socks of the same design and/or colour. This has helped me heaps with the sock monster problem I was having!

  12. Good blog about housekeeping. My focus word for the rest of March is "dusting", and my focus for April is going to be changing all the shelf paper in the kitchen cupboards.Do you prefer shelf paper with the cute little flowers, or do you like the shelf paper with gridlines? In May, I will focus on making sure all the hot chocolate cups are hanging on the cupboard hooks in the same direction. A woman can never think too much about housecleaning, that's for sure.

  13. My husband works for DB and loved your book so he gave it to me last Mother's Day. I love it too and I was thrilled to find your blog and love reading about your great ideas. Now I just need to figure out how to implement them all.

    I currently only have two kids with one on the way, (but would love to have five like you and my family growing up) laundry is already overwhelming! Please share what you found that worked?

    I love that you are focusing on something important each month. That is exactly what I need to do so that I don't get overwhelmed by all the things I'd like to do and am not doing. Thanks so much!

  14. Shawni, you do not know me but I was roommates and still remain good friends with your sister-in-law Kara. We lived together when she got engaged to Steve. I have even been to your house once with Kara, years ago, but only for a short time. Anyways, I just finished your book and I just want to tell you that you are so inspiring to me. Your book, your blog, etc. I had my second baby boy in October and have had a hard time snapping out of the baby blues and your book and blog have helped me so much. Thank you for all of your great ideas! I don't know how in the world you do all you do with five children but hopefully someday I can get there! I seem to struggle getting anything done with only two kids. Anyways, I don't know if this is weird but I just wanted to tell you how wonderful and inspiring I think you are…even if I don't really know you!

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