Editor’s Note: The following was written by Melanie Andrews for AggielandMormons. To read the full article, click here

As a mom and wife, I am constantly bombarded with reminders of my inability to keep a perfect home, feed my family perfectly healthy meals, and stay current on all of the latest fashion trends, all while maintaining perfect patience with my kids. A few years ago, I was flooded with feelings of inadequacy, stress, frustration, and more importantly, I was devoid of peace and joy.  It took a long time to realize that the source of many of those feelings was the idea that in order to live a fulfilling life, my life needed to look perfect too. I’ve now learned that maintaining a picture perfect life is anything but simple, and simplicity is what I really craved and needed during that particularly stressful time in my life. It didn’t happen overnight, and there were several “Aha” moments along the way, but I am now at a point where I can share 3 ways in which I have found greater peace and joy in my life through the process of simplification.

  1. Avoid the Pinterest perfection trap

    My daily life compared to Pinterest suggests that I’m falling short in just about every area possible. Not so long ago, the pressure to create a perfect home, host the perfect parties, cook perfect meals, and raise perfect kids nearly crippled me. Instead of focusing on all of the good things I accomplished at home and all of the positive things that I did with my kids each day, all I could see were my failures stacked right next to the piles of laundry and stacks of dishes. Then my 4th child happened, and any pretense I projected of having it all together flew right out the window. I was so engulfed in the trenches of motherhood that reality finally slapped me in the face. I don’t live in a Pinterest perfect world, and neither do you. So why do we hold ourselves to such unrealistic standards and expectations?

I’m not sure why it took me having 4 kids to figure out this simple truth, but as soon as I did, I embraced it and dedicated an entire year to simplification. What does that mean? I didn’t beat myself up over letting my child pick out a Halloween costume at the store rather than crafting it by hand. I stopped waiting until my house was perfectly decorated or perfectly spotless before inviting a friend into my home. When my last baby turned one, we celebrated two days late, and by celebrated, I mean we sang him happy birthday and ate cake. End of story. Did you know that a one year old has no recollection of his first birthday? I apparently did not—until after spending many sleepless nights planning the perfect Dr. Seuss themed birthday party for my second son’s first birthday. Complete with a homemade party banner, over the top games, a five-course meal, and hand-stitched gifts. In the end, the ungrateful little guy couldn’t have cared less about any of it, and was actually happy for the festivities to be over so that he could go to bed.

To read the full article, click here