Emily Henderson Header Image Emily Henderson

Happy New Year

happy-new-years

Remember last year when I had all these insane resolutions? I clearly was either smoking something or I was high on newborn hormones (probably the latter), but I truly thought these were ambitious yet doable goals. Well, last year was an exceptional year, for sure and I accomplished a lot but I’d say that within weeks, if not days I had failed at a lot of the specific resolutions. Wait, I just reread it and I didn’t fail at everything. I definitely gave myself a week to decide on things where my instincts were unsure (it worked wonders). Also I feel like I definitely engaged more with you – I certainly can’t read every comment but I try to read and respond to the first few days worth of every post and without sounding too creepy, I do feel closer to you guys. I feel like my marriage has been strengthened, but we certainly didn’t have weekly date nights where we cooked delicious recipes together. I didn’t post 7 times a week and I think I called maybe 1/2 of the people I love on their birthdays. But don’t worry I did get my spray tan once a month. (I HIGHLY suggest ‘Versa Spa, level 1’ spray tan for anybody who wants a normal, light natural looking tan).

ANYWAY, the point is that I was ambitious and didn’t exactly stick to them but they were a good guide, and throughout the year I would think, ah we haven’t made dinner together in weeks, and then we would. So there was progress, for sure.

yellow-toy-child

So for this year I want to keep it simple (ish) but more personal. I keep thinking about the two things that are a daily humming stress in my life – things that I can control but just haven’t due to a myriad of excuses that you’ll read below. Sometimes your resolutions are more lofty, sometimes more about other people, but these two are just about things that I need to improve upon to make every single day slightly less stressful and therefore. Here goes:

1. Get and stay organized at our home. Every day my house looks like its been robbed, all cupboards open, clothes all over the floor, piles of (important) paperwork everywhere, and it has slowly driven me INSANE this year and caused a lot of anxiety. Brian and I are busy, messy people and neither of us are OCD (there is a case for marrying someone OCD for sure). When we first moved in to this house we had a newborn and not very much furniture so we never really dictated where things should go and because of that every drawer and cupboard just became a receptacle for anything near it that looked messy so everything was a ‘junk drawer’. I couldn’t find ANYTHING and it became absolutely MADDENING.

The good news: over the break I organized the LIFE out of the house, dumping out every single drawer and organizing them. I found 7 jump drives, 12 pairs of headphones,  27 pairs of scissors, 4 boxes of safety pins, countless 1/2 empty checkbooks, 5-6 different gift cards or store credits, countless duplicate vitamins and so many chords that went to random electronics, etc, etc. Its true that not being organized actually costs you money because you are constantly re-buying what you can’t find. It took me 18 – 20 hours (roughly three full days) to finish this project and it felt sooooo good. Brian watched Charlie while I listened to Serial and many other podcasts and filed, purged, and organized our home. I was dripping with sweat going up and down the stairs constantly putting things away all over the house. Ask me where the checkbooks are, I dare you … I know where EVERYTHING is now.

So now that its organized, and will soon be all labeled by drawer, I’m going to really try to put things away in the right place. It’s amazing how many hours can be spent just ‘putting things away’ – it’s so unsatisfying and yet so necessary. And when you are busy, it’s the first thing that we sacrifice (because it’s so annoying) and it’s the first thing that drives me INSANE. So, I am going to try really hard to do it ourselves and if we fail than I’m going to try to find someone to help 5 hours a week. Its kinda a BS resolution, right? If I can’t do it myself I’ll hire someone? Totally. If I don’t accomplish this one then I really am a piece of work.

emily-excercizing
Sorry, its the only photo I could find of me exercising – with my friend Jenny – when I was 5 months pregnant.

2. Get healthy, namely by EXERCISING (again), A LOT. You probably just fell asleep. SO BORING AND OBVIOUS. My clothes can hide a lot and certainly in photos you can pose to look skinnier than you are so many of you may not have noticed the weight that I haven’t lost since having Charlie. But this ‘mom body’ has got to go. It’s because I’ve stopped working out so the last 8 pounds are just clinging to my body. I stare longingly at my jean collection that just don’t fit into and instead reach for the oversized asymmetrical dress that makes me look like I’m in my first trimester.

Here’s a secret to all future moms out there – ‘mom body’ (that offensive term that we all understand) isn’t from giving birth, it’s from mothering a child. You can lose most of the birth weight without working too hard, but that doesn’t mean that you are toning muscle and therefore getting your body back. First off you most likely stopped working out when you were 6-7 months pregnant (walking at best) and then you really aren’t allowed to do anything strenuous for the first 2-3 months after birth. So you just get out of the habit of exercising. T hen the real excuses (and reasons) begin: its extremely hard to prioritize the gym at 7am when that’s when you’re smiling (and often nursing) child wakes up and is in the most adorable mood ever. And then if you work outside of the home or for your family, the rest of the day just goes so fast and all of a sudden its 6pm, when you feed them dinner and then 8pm when they are finally down to sleep. And that’s when I write the blog.

emily-charlie-henderson

So its been hard to work out and therefore to eat healthy (for me, they are really interlinked). At least those are my excuses. And I’ve talked to so many of my friends that have kids and they feel the exact same way.  I know that a lot of you are going to say ‘don’t be so hard on yourself’ and the thing is that I know I can do it, and I know I’m happier when I do so trust me that I need to do this.

Here’s the deal: if I’m out of shape I want it to be because of my metabolism, age, or genetics not because I’m just not trying. Even if I worked out and didn’t lose some weight I’d at least know that I tried hard for a year and then, well, its time for new wardrobe. Besides, how else am I going to reach my 2016’s resolution of being a Playboy Centerfold model? Putting pieces in place, folks and planning ahead …

That’s where we are leaving it – my personal and kinda superficial resolutions for 2015. I have a lot of other stresses and a ton of business goals, don’t worry, but these are two actual problems that are just mine to solve, issues that only I can take ownership of, so I’m challenging myself to fix them.

By 2016 you aren’t even going to recognize me. I’m going to look like Brandy from RHOBH and my house will look like Jeff Lewis’ brain – so organized and compartmentalized that I may actually lose friends from it.

If any y’all have any extra tips for either of these goals please leave them in the comments. Happy 2015, folks. Its going to be a very busy year, indeed.

* photos of Charlie and I by Stephanie Todaro. 

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  1. Since you listen to podcasts, check out Katy Bowman. How to get a healthy fit body with the activities you need to do instead of in a dedicated workout. A lot of her examples include her kids so you get healthy and can do it with Charlie!

  2. Love seeing Charlie’s development, since he’s 2 months ahead of my Thomas, your posts/photos are like a little preview! But, ugh. The mom body. Complicated by the fact that my belly got so big during my pregnancy that my ab muscles split, which means tons of exercises are off the table. Not to mention it provides a super convenient excuse not to exercise, since (though the internet tries to sell me all sorts of exercise “cures”) per the doctors I’ve talked to – exercise won’t help given the size of the separation, and surgery will be required if I ever want to sit up in bed again without rolling over on my side first. Beyond tough to motivate when the belly “problem area” is the one area I can’t do anything about. I’ll have to find a new motivation, since my previous primary exercise motivator (ahem, vanity) is out … Please stick to your resolution so I’ll feel guilty and stick to mine! 2015: Guilt is the new vanity.

    1. Hello friend! I have the same muscle separation from carrying my twins. It’s called diastasis recti and it stinks big time 🙁 The good news is that there are exercises that actually do help! If you have a women’s health pavilion or a physical therapist office that does prenatal and/or post natal therapy then go! Mine is an extreme case as well and the exercises they gave me helped a ton! I’ll never have a flat belly without surgery but the therapy exercises have made a huge difference for me.

      Cheers!

  3. I’m right there with you with resolution #1. The messiness in our house is driving me bonkers. i’m hoping maybe you’ll do some posts where you share your organizational knowledge… Looking forward to 2015, happy new year!

  4. Ugh. Emily, I adore you. Thank you for your constant inspiration. You rock. Good luck with your resolutions! I’m sending you organized and healthy vibes.

  5. I can’t imagine you have a ton of time to read these days, Emily, but if any of your readers are also working on organizing, read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo – it was a total game changer for me and helped me to get rid of SO.MUCH.STUFF! and I didn’t think I had a lot to begin with! it also really helped me to come up with a better plan of action for organizing our house… it feels silly to recommend a book on tidying, but it really was amazing.

    1. And i put in a hold request at the library! Can’t wait to get it!

      Also, for working out when short on time…combine strength training with cardio ( like Jillian Michaels 30 day shred that only takes 28 minutes) a wayyyyy more efficient use of time!

  6. I hear you dude. I’ve had three babies and it shows. I don’t think I’ll ever get my pre-baby body back, which I’m actually okay with- I’m okay being a little squishy, but not THIS squishy. Exercising consistently is my goal for this year too. Good luck to the both of us!

  7. Can’t help with the exercising, but re the messiness / putting things away, my advice is to change your house not yourself. By which I mean – if you find yourself dumping your bag by the front door when you come in, *make that the official bag place*. Or if you really really don’t want that to be the official bag place, then put a cactus (or something) in that spot and make the official bag dumping spot the next nearest place. If you find yourself dumping all your chargers on the corner of the kitchen counter, *make the drawer nearest to that spot the official charger storage drawer*. I did this myself when I sawed the newel post off my stairs to stop myself draping coats on it, and now I use the perfectly functional coat rack that is literally eighteen inches further away from the door but that I knew I would never use if the newel post was there.

    Also, I read an article a few years ago about a professional organiser who analysed the journalist’s messy desk and told her to dump the files and instead use open bins for paperwork, and the journalist found it worked a treat because she had this idea that if she filed something in a file not only was that a lot of work but she wouldn’t be able to put her hand on it easily if she wanted it. I do still have files (and Evernote for online storage) but I use the lids of boxes of photocopier paper as “bins” on shelves above my desk and it really does work for me. The lesson was that you need to adapt your storage systems to yourself, not adapt them to you. (Which in theory is great, but in practice a little harder to figure out – but it’s worth it, it’s so much less work!)

  8. I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but it makes me SOOOO happy to hear that you struggle with a messy/ unorganized house! I love pouring over design blogs and magazines and working on my own home, but I always end up frustrated that my house gets so unorganized and messy and can’t seem to stay in the picturesque state that exists in the land of the design blog photos.

    New resolution to self: When the house inevitably gets messy, remember that even people like Emily Henderson have messy homes sometimes too. **Chin up**

  9. Oh goodness, the messy house! I have a million excuses: house is too small, we’re home all day with a toddler and using the house too much, I cook too much and have to spend all my time cleaning up the kitchen/doing dishes… but really, if everything had a place, and WE PUT IT THERE (and caged my dog and took all my son’s toys away) perhaps it’d work. It won’t but I wish you luck on your organized journey!!

  10. If you’re like me, the times I am most inspired to write is when I’m working out. If you feel up to multitasking, there are some great apps now that convert speech to text so you can just talk your way through a good portion of a blog post if you happen to be working on something away from your laptop.

  11. I am the LEAST domestically goddess person I know – really – and even I have finally broken down and realized that a clean, orderly house is the fourth-best investment I can make in my time (after my husband/kids and work and yes, ME, but more on that in a minute). It just makes everything SO MUCH LESS STRESSFUL. Also more beautiful. The eureka moment came when I realized the housework – because the part where you maintain organization is really just that – is actually the practice of making life more comfortable and beautiful. And isn’t that what I’m always actually searching for? It’s helping. When it’s 9:30pm and I’ve been up since 5:30am and I’m just trying to unearth the house from the basic level of crap that comes when you have two toddlers and work full-time, the new philosophy is not entirely soothing, but it’s a hell of a lot better than just resenting every moment. So…baby steps.

    As for the part about taking care of me, well, exercise is essential. My personal savior is Callanetics (yup, 80s throwback). Not cardio, but such good results for so little time, and the Callanetics Studio has online videos you can do anytime. (I do mine on my lunch break in my office.) But whatever – find what works for you.

    And GOOD LUCK!

  12. It would be great if you could do a post on eating and working out post-baby. I agree that it is hard to find time to exercise (my little one is 9 months), but I also find it so hard to stick to a healthy diet. When dinner rolls around I’m exhausted from the work day and I just want to stuff something comforting (i.e., carbs) in my mouth. What are your strategies for sticking to a healthy diet? Even though exercise is important, I keep reading that it is what you eat that really determines how you look.

  13. Getting your home organized and having a place where each item “lives” is a great step! When a home becomes your sanctuary vs. a repository for stuff, well, you’ve just kicked it up a big notch. Tip for keeping it that way: have one medium-sized, attractive container that you use to collect/place used items during the day. Every evening before bed, redistribute the items to their proper places so each morning the container is empty. It will keep the clutter in check and your systems in place.

  14. I must be going thru the hyper-optimistic phase you had last year bc I just wrote down a full page of bulleted goals for the year….. Errrr… As for playboy, my mom mentioned at a Christmas party that Khloe K is getting in shape for Playboy and her neighbors thought she was talking about me. After a solid minute of puzzled looks someone responded, “well that’s respectable… It’s not like it’s porn.” #theholidays

    Good luck with your goals!

  15. I’m a bit ADD and my husband is way OCD so together I design and manage the house and he makes sure everything has a place and resorts my stuff if the piles get too high (which creates quite a “colorful” conversation to be sure, but I love it in the end). Our home now looks ready for guests all.the.time. and it feels so good to know that everything has a place. That of course means that we also went a bit more minimalist than I would had I lived alone, but it feels GREAT! Thanks for sharing your frustrations. It helps to make us all feel human!

    1. I really like the idea of setting monthly goals in lieu of new year’s resolutions. It’s focused, easier to measure successes (and enjoy them), and more realistic. Thanks for the idea!

  16. YES! You can do it emily, i know you can! I’m the same way, I’ve simplified my goals this year. but i love your thoughts about fitness/mom body. i feel the same way – i’ve been putting it off because i can’t just make time happen. but maybe if i think about it differently i can try. those darn 8 extra pounds are clinging of me for dear life too!!!! baby = 14 months. you are the best, i look forward to reading your blog this year.

  17. Emily,
    Please refrain from using OCD, many do, but it’s really a serious problem and not something to use. It’s real, please be the one to break the cycle of using it as a description of overly organized,super neat, tidy, persnickety.
    thank you,
    Kim

    1. agree…I have tried to pull these psychological disorder phrases from my vocab. (saying things like “I feel kind of manic” . . . or “schizo” or “ADD”). While people understand what you are trying to say, it minimizes the deep pain the afflicted are experiencing. (I have also learned that many people with OCD actually have messy houses…their OCD just manifests itself in different ways!)

  18. Would love to hear more about how you will be fitting exercise/good health into your day. I have the same struggle.
    Thank you and glad you’re back!

  19. A fellow working mom of 2 year old, my biggest tip is take 5 minutes at the end of the day to put stuff away. You’ll be amazed how much you tidy up in 5 minutes and the next morning your house looks so much better which makes me feel better.

    I dropped 20 pounds of my PRE baby weight in 2014. It was hard work through a mostly healthy diet (I love to bake!) and lot of exercise. I loved doing videos online so I could stay in my house and did them at night while my daughter slept. I really liked Fitness Blender myself.

    Love the blog and your positive and friendly personality. Especially love the keeping it real and behind-the-scenes reality.

  20. After having four kiddos, I definitely have that “mom bod” you were referring to. I always give myself a 1 year “grace period” before I hit it hard with the work outs, simply because I am still nursing and super tired. I don’t mind the extra roll (or two), as long as it’s gone by 18 months! lol

  21. The struggle with losing the mom body and actually finding time to work out is one of the worst for working moms. I recently started Crossfit (and of course am telling everyone about it!) but have seen such changes in my muscle tone in a really short amount of time. This coming from someone who used to run ridiculous mileage to try and lose the last of my baby weight. Maybe give it a shot- though you won’t end up looking like Brandy. We all know only cocaine and pharmaceutical grade stimulants give you that body 🙂

  22. OMG I hear you on the mom body! Today is day 1 of trying to get back into my jeans! It’s so frustrating for me cuz I gained all the weight in my stomach and butt, so I can get my jeans on, I just can’t do them up! And that’s pretty much the worst areas (for me anyway) to lose weight. So yeah! Solidarity, sister!

  23. I’m going to echo the sentiments of: please post about getting organized–how you attacked it and how you are maintaining it (or not)! Good luck with the exercising too. My tip: put on your workout clothes well-ahead of time (when you get-up, if the workout is in the morning for example). You are less likely to skip a workout if you are already dressed for it.

  24. You hit the nail on the head with the mothering a child business is what gives you mom body. My 4th is 18mos and its happened every time. It takes me awhile to be able to breathe and really have the space to excercise CONSISTENTLY – which really is the key. Have you tried running? I know its not for everyone, but thats been my differece maker. Even a mile and a half done with intensity, 4 or 5 times a week can start to change things and doesn’t take very long. I’ve found that it is enough to start the habit, give my body an initial boost, and motivate me to the next level. Also, im so glad you’re back:).

  25. On the exercise front, I would HIGHLY recommend Bodyrock.tv. It’s a website where you can find daily high intensity interval training videos, many of which you can watch and do in real-time. You don’t need much equipment – mostly just some hand weights – and the videos are intense but very short (usually less than 15 minutes). I discovered these workouts a couple of months ago and love them! Very easy to fit into a busy day but you still feel like you’re challenging your body.

    1. I second body rock. You can do the workouts at home and they’re free and short, and you will be SO SORE the next day so you know they’re working! It’s a lifesaver for busy schedules.

  26. I feel dorky writing about this, but last year I did the 21 Day Fix program through BeachBody, and it provided exactly the kind of structure I needed to get back into a regular exercise program and fix some bad eating habits I had developed (comfort food all the way, baby). I lost weight, but more importantly, I feel stronger than I ever have before, and also more educated about food, what my body needs, and what I need to be well. Maybe it will be the right fit for your busy schedule! xo

  27. If you enjoyed Serial, there are also Slate’s Serial Spoilers and Serially Obsessed that take the info a bit further. Also enjoying This American Life (duh 🙂 ) and Stuff You Should Know. Have you thought about doing a TED talk? I’d totally listen to you for hours.

  28. as for keeping the house from driving you MAD… after getting rid of everything you can (less stuff to manage makes you sane!) i would say hire a housekeeper (if you don’t already have one). it’s the #1 gift i have given to myself EVER. not only is the house scrubbed from top to bottom once a week, but we are forced to be tidier so that the house is picked up and ready when she comes! it’s such a weight off of my shoulders and in general makes the whole family so much happier.

  29. Regarding exercise – I really believe you have to find an exercise that you LOVE to do. You’re more likely to stick to an exercise that you enjoy doing versus dread or hate. It took me a long time to realize I hate going to a gym. To me it’s torture. I swam a lot as a kid and so I gave up the gym and started swimming lengths. I forgot how much I LOVED to be in the pool. It’s been 9 years now that I’ve been swimming regularly because I love it and miss not doing it. I hope you find something you enjoy doing just as much.

  30. I noticed a bunch of comments from people about getting organized! I have 3 little girls of my own and know how hard it can be to create and keep systems in an every changing and busy household. That fact is one of the reasons I started my business. Check me out ObsessivelyOrganizedByKeegan
    OObyKeegan.com
    I live and work in and around Studio City!

  31. Oh, how I can relate to these two goals you have for 2015, Emily. I’ve got the same two on my list as well. For exercise this year, I’m planning to go for brisk walks along the lakefront, take bike rides on the Tammany Trace, and plant a new garden this Spring (digging in the dirt does wonders for your upper arms, I’ve gotta tell ya). And, I’m going to de-clutter my in-home office (sometimes I forget what the surface of my desk looks like!). I’m still working on my list of goals for this year, but you’ve definitely motivated me to keep it simple and real. Take it easy, and Happy New Year! 🙂

    1. Hi Emily!
      I’m 3 months post partum with my 2nd as of tomorrow!
      Ahh! The mom bod is so not up my ally! For me, what’s worked with both pregnancies is giving up the idea (initially) of a full workout. I love them, and when I can, I do them, but if I cant, that doesn’t mean I can’t still exercise. I do calf raises while I’m patting my daughters back to go to sleep, I do
      15 push-ups when I leave each one of their rooms for naps. I do lunges to go get them from naps, run up the stairs instead of walk, park at the back of the parking lot, use the stairs, look ridiculous having dance parties with my daughter,
      Use her to do chest lifts like she’s a weight, erc… If I have 10 mins, I run. It’s not much, but 10 mins is better than 0 mins. I’m never going to be one of those get out of bed and workout early before the kids get up type of moms.
      It’s not in my DNA, so that’s ehaf worked / works for me to get my exercise in. This go round, I’ve found a gym that I love and is attached to a spa. It has nice showers and I can get ready for the day there, which helps a ton!!
      As far as eating, I use those pretty farmers baskets from anthro and keep fresh veggies and fruits in them prepped and ready to eat. It helps that there is always healthy food ready to go. I keep a pretty bowl with apples, bananas, and oranges ok too of my counter. I’m a huge snacker, so grabbing one of those before walking out the door is a healthy option! When I want crunch I make myself eat a bowl of carrots before grabbing the carbs (I could eat so many wheat thins.:.they should be called wheat fats for me!!). It helps with not eating an entire bag ;). I also allow myself a few pieces of dark chocolate with milk before bed (it was red wine before prefnant / nursing again!). I look forward to it all day and it helps me to not snaxk on the cookies and chocolate all day because I know im getting rewarded that night!
      I know this is lonf, sorry!!! Hope some of that helps! You are beautiful and look great, but being healthy is so so important! Especially with kids – you have to lead by example!! Best of luck!

  32. I hate “dieting” so I decided just to cut out what wasn’t actually doing something “good” for my body, and that meant bread/cereal/pasta. Sounds so annoying because everyone is doing it but for me it was an easy and straightforward plan to implement. Good luck on the working out. Running outside is always my go-to. So quick and easy.

  33. I can’t imagine your home being untidy at all. Do you know I actually commented on your survey last year to show us your home before and after tidying it up so that people like me (very unorganized and my house sometimes look like a trash can) have hope. Seeing that even people like you actually need to transform before a photo shoot.
    But none the less, hope that you reach your goal for the new year. Both of your new year’s resoultion are mine too ^_________^

  34. One of the hardest things for me to stay on top of is kids clothes. It drives my husband crazy when he tries to help dress the kids and can’t find anything that fits. So now I keep a copy paper box (easy to stack, FREE storage) in the baby’s room so I can toss the clothes in as soon as I see that they don’t fit. I have three kid’s and we live where there are seasonal changes so it is a constant battle.

  35. Happy New Year! I’m so with you on #1. The messes drive me bonkers and literally cause me anxiety. I have also just become and insane organizer and the labeler is in full force. Sounds like you got it under control, but I just bought this book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I’m so excited to put it into action. Cheers and excited to read the blog this year 🙂

  36. One side benefit to keeping house clutter put away is that it can be exercise (esp. when stairs are involved). Music helps, because you find yourself moving faster and dancing.

    Go Emily!

  37. This is the stupidest thing but I friend suggested it when we were both trying to lose baby weight… it’s a buddy system for accountability. We each have to do some form of exercise for 30 min a day and text the other a photo. We’ve been doing it for a year and a half now! It’s weirdly fun to think up amusing photos (often a weekly theme) and I hate the idea of her knowing I was too lazy to do it, so it’s really effective. I usually do 5 days of hard-core videos at home, mostly kettle bells (ryan raw on youtube is a favorite) and then just the park with the kids or a long walk on the weekends.

  38. Yep! My son also turned one in December and it is time to figure out a way to work out again. I keep telling myself, “This is life now. He’s one. No more newborn excuse!”

  39. The one key thing that has helped me get back in shape since having my kids is hiring a personal trainer. A good one- one that works for you. For me that looked like one that gave me a plan, a series of workouts for the month. Not just a trainer that you worked out with them and had to be dependent on having them for the hour to work out, one that actually trained you and gives you workouts to do on your own. Also these should be designed around what you have access too. I do most of my workouts at home with minimal equipment. This is great for kids . . . can do it while they watch a cartoon. She keeps me accountable, herself and by the fact that I am paying someone to design things specially for me so that makes me do it.

  40. If you’re into doing a fitness DVD when you can fit it in, check out collagevideo.com – you can preview the videos. I have a collection of Jillian Micheals, Cathe Friedrich and Kelly Coffey-Meyers. Those girls kick my ass. Also NikeTraining Ap – especially great of you can stream it to a tv. Most of the workouts I do are 30 minutes or less. I’m in the best shape of my life and I turned 40 this year. Good luck!

  41. Congratulations on picking out two fantastic – not at all superficial – goals.

    To help with your cleaning/tidying goal here’s one tip (it’s a long explanation, but it’s one tip):
    Place a pretty basket in each busy room/on each floor. As you are tidying up in that room anything that doesn’t actually belong in that room goes in the basket. Then grab that basket and go to the next room you are going to tidy. First anything from the basket belonging to that room goes in the basket and then put everything in that room away. Objects belonging to another room go into the basket and so on and so on.

    So as an example:
    Cleaning in living room, there’s a coffee mug for the kitchen, scissors for the office, and a book for your bedroom sidetable. All go in the basket. Then go to the kitchen, put away the mug. Grab the three toys that go in the living room and place in the basket. Go to the office and return the scissors. Grab the mail that goes on the foyer table. Go into your bedroom and replace the book, and grab the coffee mug that goes to the kitchen. Then place the mail on the foyer table. The toys and basket in the living room. And lastly, one more trip to the kitchen to return the coffee mug.

    It takes almost as long to read as to do it. It’s very helpful. And of course, you can always leave “basket rearranging time” for a specific day of the week (maybe not the dirty dishes), but meanwhile have somewhere to put things if you get the urge to tidy while you’re in a specific room.

  42. Re: exercise, I have a 1 and 3 year old and work full time. I work out at 6 am, while everyone is still asleep. Yes, it’s painful to get up at 5:30. But otherwise I know it will NEVER happen. The good news is gyms, yoga classes, etc. are less crowded then.

  43. So with you on the mothering body thing. I just did my first yoga class in over a year which nearly killed me. Our solution to getting regular excercise though is family walks with either pram or kid backpack….both involve pushing/carrying extra weight so more calories burnt etc. Its sort of working…better than nothing

  44. Emily, your writing is just great 🙂 refreshing!
    I found your blog via Joanna Goddard.

    I know what you mean – it’s so hard to fit in exercise WITH EVERYTHING ELSE! one trick I use is to make it non-negotiable, sort of like, how often do you not brush your teeth? How often do you leave the house without shoes?
    And then if I think to myself, I could get SO MUCH done in this hour and a half that I don’t go to the gym, I remember how fantastic you feel the morning after a workout.
    oh, and going to an exercise class/activity you really, truly, deeply enjoy. for me it’s a yoga class, but used to be playing rugby on a team. somewhere that’s super close to where you work or live, and easy to get in and out.

    with nutrition, I downloaded the Whole30 grocery lists and taught myself to only buy what’s on the list (if I catch myself staring at cookies, I say, get out of the shop!!!!)
    good luck!!