In the months just after I had Some Boy, life became a little…scattered. The laundry didn’t get done as quickly as usual, dishes sat in the sink, and dinner got cooked if I felt like it. I always had this vision of being a fantastic mom, wife, and career-woman. I thought it would come naturally, but those instincts just weren’t kicking in. Two weeks ago I actually lamented to Nate about how I felt like I should be in my “groove” already and how distressed I was over the fact that I wasn’t figuring out how to balance it all. Okay, I cried about it. Hey, what new mom doesn’t cry at least once every couple of weeks or so?? That day, “Totally Together” showed up in the mail for me to review.

totally together

I’ve read a number of motivational/organizational books before and honestly, many of them have left me feeling inadequate. Not so with Totally Together. Within just the first few pages, I felt a sense of understanding. I could relate to every single thing the author said. And it’s no wonder…the author practically IS me! A fellow blogger who works full-time from home, Stephanie O’Dea also felt the walls closing in when that first child came along. But she adjusted her attitude, changed her habits, and learned to keep her expectations in check. “You are a mom,” she says. “You will never feel as if the day is long enough to get it all in. It’s okay to let things go, it’s okay to prioritize, and it’s okay to say no.”

Say no? What a concept! I read on and found handy tips for running a successful household: easy chores to do every day, organization skills, how to involve your child and use a timer to manage tasks. She suggests truly practical ideas like making cleaning fun (“mop-sock skating,” anyone?), using a crockpot, and planning for holidays in advance. Best of all, the book comes with a handy week-by-week calendar to help ease you into this new, lower-stress lifestyle. After all, it takes a while to break bad habits. The weekly calendar includes a handy checklist of daily chores as well as things you should do weekly or every other week to keep your household on track. There’s also a neat meal-planning grid. I've been incorporating her suggestions for the last couple weeks and it truly has made a world of difference for me.