Whole Parenting Family

On Finding Satisfaction Where I Am


I feel like a broken record. Didn’t I just write a post about finding satisfaction right where I am? Did I? I wrote about making where I am awesome. Maybe that’s what I’m thinking of.

But with every few months in the lives of parenting littles, times change. I even chatted with Brigid and Elise on the Caritas Podcast about how something as basic as how I approach Lent as a Catholic has changed since I had kids. Listen to it here and read the show notes here. As being a mom is already challenging (yes, I still give up treats as is our family tradition), I no longer have to find things that are penitential haha (mass with small kids. enough said).

I’m dissatisfied with a number of things about my life. And I was even more sick of hearing me b*tch about them, over and over again. My house is untidy, I’m out of shape and compulsively eating fudge <<before lent!!>>, I don’t sleep enough, often dinner isn’t made or made well.

So I drew a big ole list up.

What I want to change

Followed by another list.

How I am going to do it

I did have to face the reality that somethings got crossed off. I’m just not going to get to them. And that’s okay.

I tackled what I could and made a plan. Reading Better than Before is really helping me with making new & better habits, too.


1) Cluttered House.

We planned ahead for a Sunday when AA could take the kids out to the Lodge in Wisconsin and I had 9 hours to tackle the purging that needed to happen. I worked the entire time as did my mom & amazing sister. I had made a list ahead of time of what I wanted to accomplish in each room. And we didn’t finish the basement or get to the attic, but the first & second floors got a real going-over. I’m going to plan another day when he can take the kids and I can do those areas.

You’re thinking: what could take you that long? It’s the blessing/curse of a very large old house. Lots of closets to stash crap.

2) Out of Shape.

I can’t join a gym and am not using my yoga pass like I thought I would. But I reorganized the basement laundry room and made it a playroom with a stationary bike in it. This way I can supervise playing//fighting and bike in whatever I’m wearing. Bathrobe. PJs. Slippers. I have yet to get into proper shoes or a sports bra. I sit there and bike, even if it’s on the lowest setting, for 15 mins or so. Everyday.

Sweets are gone for Lent, but I also inhale carbs at every meal. Toast with breakfast? Sandwich at lunch? Baguette with dinner? I’m trying to be aware of what I’m eating. I refuse to cut out dairy or olive oil or all the healthy food groups that some diets suggest you completely avoid. I don’t need to heal a leaking gut or cure candida. I just need to eat more vegetables. Like my mama always says.

3) Poor Sleep.

One of the issues many at-home mamas I know who run businesses on the side face is the reality of how much time it really takes to get a thing “done” that isn’t homeschooling, feeding, napping, diapering, or cleaning up after, or reading to, ones’ children. I used to cut into my sleeping hours tremendously to sew for Whole Parenting Goods or do sponsored posts for this here blog.

I now get into bed by 10:30pm. I may still work from my phone or read, but I must be physically in bed. Otherwise when someone pops up at night or the morning starts at 6, I’m dragging so so badly. I cut out most sponsored posts and advertisements here because I didn’t have enough time. I can’t cut out the sewing because I love it sew so much. But I do more seasonal collections which helps.

4) Dinner Made.

Crock pot. Knowing I can put a slab of meat in there at noon and crank it to high and have something for dinner at 5? Amazing. Also I grocery shop once a week now with a loose meal plan in my head. I always keep carrots and onions and celery on hand so I can make the base for any soup or chili. I plan for breakfast for dinner at least once so I’m not disappointed I didn’t make a fancy dinner! Expectations low & meetable!

I’m not going to be great at everything I do as a wife, mother, and maker. I know that. But I want to be satisfied with what I am able to do. And be able to tell myself it’s a job that’s done. Not necessarily even well done, but it’s accomplished. The kids are fed, I am affirmed by my various outlets (Blessed is She, Zelie & Co, you all here!), and I have a few evenings of time with my husband. That’s enough for now. That’s satisfaction.


I hope you’re finding a pace of realistic expectations that’s satisfactory to you!!


  1. Brittney on February 23, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    The write it all down is pure genius. Doing that tonight. 3 kids is killing me and I’m only 3 months in. I think you’re right, knowing what you want to get done is only half the battle, planning HOW you’re going to do it is setting the stage for success. Love these posts!

    • Natural Mama Nell on February 23, 2016 at 7:50 pm

      I was there where you are, girl! It’s survival mode so don’t be too harsh on yourself!! So glad you’re here.

  2. Margaret C on February 23, 2016 at 6:52 pm

    What great progress you’ve made! This is a good reminder to me that I need to do some planning in order to make the improvements happen. Thanks for your blog.

    • Natural Mama Nell on February 23, 2016 at 7:49 pm

      It’s only taken six years of having kids! So glad you’re here!

  3. Susanna on February 24, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    This is so wonderful. I am finding myself finally feeling like we have a good rhythm and order, but it is so weird to find myself in a somewhat stable part of life. Like, we have a job, a house, a permanent city to live in, my vocation is pretty clear. I am still getting used to living and praying in a way that is not constant discerning and planning the future, but just being in the now. And part of that is exactly this, being satisfied in the everyday.

    • Natural Mama Nell on February 24, 2016 at 11:11 pm

      The not looking ahead to the next big thing–yes! It’s weird but really really great!

  4. Jenny on February 24, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    This is so good and honest and true Nell. Thanks for a glimpse of what it looks like for you. We’re in a similar rhythm over here if you swap homeschool for twice a week preschool and the stationary bike for a $100 Craigslist treadmill.

    • Natural Mama Nell on February 24, 2016 at 11:11 pm

      I love it. Maybe part of it is having a five year old?

  5. Rebecca on February 25, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    Thanks, Nell! It’s SO encouraging to know there are other mamas out there struggling in the same areas. I’m 5 mon pregnant with #3 and foresee it getting tougher again in survival mode, so I’m trying to get these same areas tackled and organized before that happens.

    • Natural Mama Nell on February 25, 2016 at 8:32 pm

      Yes. I’m alllllll about the prep!! Because three kids is serious survival mode. Just make that short list and power through it and you’ll feel amazing!! Happy cruising these next four months, mama. XO

  6. Katarina on February 26, 2016 at 1:37 am

    This post is a real keeper! Sometimes, what one mama needs is not philosophical pondering about why her current life is good – but real, practical ways and advices how to make it better . I got some pretty good ones from you today! PS. if it makes you feel any better, I liked your blog so much more before it had sponsored content and love it even more now that it hasn’t. To me, sponsored content are just not as genuine and sincere as those written from heart . Thank you for being honest and open with us.

    • Natural Mama Nell on February 26, 2016 at 6:57 am

      Thanks, sister. So glad you’re here with me!