The kids are fighting and fussy constantly at one another. The house is a wreck. The baby is clinging to your leg. Dinner is late. Mental exhaustion hits. You are afraid that you are doing more harm than good as you try to get everyone and everything in order.
Whew! I feel you! Some days all you can do is the bare minimum to just survive, but that doesn’t have to be the case all of the time. Our home isn’t spotless all of the time or even most of the time. There are days that don’t go as planned and dinner gets pushed back a bit. Exhaustion hits and the basket of laundry doesn’t get folded. However, most days do run pretty smoothly and predictably, and I try to always remember that tomorrow is another day and things will get done in time.
What helps us stay consistent is our routine. It gets tweaked and changed with the seasons, and allows flexible structure to our day. If you take a look at your days, I bet that you will start to see that you even have some kind of routine. The question though, is does it work for your family?
The Purpose of Routine
Many times, I’ve heard people say that they don’t like routines because they don’t like to be boxed in. They want the opportunity to be spontaneous, and a routine is just too rigid. There are others who depend on their routine so much that they end up being slaves to it, and damage relationships or even themselves in the process.
A good routine will support your day to day functions, while also allowing you to be flexible with your time. It gives boundaries to your time, so that you can say yes to the right things and no to the things that aren’t in yours or your family’s best interest. A good routine will help ensure that you are living a well-ordered life, which brings about true peace and fulfillment. It may not completely eliminate the chaos of little humans, but it just might help you experience more joy within that chaos.
An Example of My Routine/Schedule
- Wake up
- Get Coffee
- Journal/Spiritual Reading
- Mentally Prepare for the Day (My hubby interrupts here and there as he gets ready for his day)
- Wake up kids
- Get dressed and ready for the day
- Start a load of laundry
- Make sure kids get breakfast, are dressed, and are ready for school
- Drive kids to the bus
- Walk at the park with 2 littles
- Let the kids play at the park
9:30AM – 3:00PM
- Switch laundry
- Eat breakfast
- Feed littles a snack
- Meal plan
- Order groceries
- Feel littles lunch
- Eat lunch
- Put baby down for a nap
- Fold laundry (usually 2-3 loads, and sometimes it doesn’t all get folded)
- Put laundry away (I usually leave the big kids clothes for them to put away later)
- Do an activity with pre-schooler
- Take a nap if I’m tired
- Pick up kids from the bus
- Arrive home
- Get older kids started on their chores (each child has designated, rotating zones)
- Make sure baby is happy
- Start dinner
- Eat dinner
- Dinner chores (each child has designated, rotating chores)
After dinner chores:
- A child takes a bath or shower (the kids have designated bath days)
- Some kids read
- Get the baby dressed for bed
- Make sure kids get dressed for bed
- Teeth brushed
Between 7 & 8PM
- Family night prayers (decade of the rosary, thank God for 3 things, sing Ave Maria, homemade night prayer)
- Kids to bed
- Get comfy and ready for bed
- Wind down with hubby or get things done (movie, book-me/guitar-him, budget, etc.)
Tips to Create Your Own Schedule
- Don’t try to change too much at once
- Look to see what is already working in your schedule
- Is there anything that HAS to happen at a certain time? (ex. I have to get the kids to the bus at a specific time)
- Is there anything that you WANT to happen at a specific time? (ex. Meals, bedtime, etc.)
- What else NEEDS to happen in a given day or week?
- What else do you WANT to happen in a given day or week?
- Allow for buffer time. If something takes 30 minutes, allow an extra 10-15 minutes in your schedule so that you don’t feel rushed if something comes up. (Babies love to poop right when you are trying to get out the door). If everything goes smoothly, you can take an extra few moments to breathe.
- Don’t try to cram everything in. Trying to do everything at once just leads to burn out. It’s okay to say no.
Allow yourself and your family at least two weeks to get used to the schedule and tweak if necessary. Remember that this is a tool to help you run your family better, it isn’t meant to rule your life. You will find that you will have to tweak it a bit as the seasons change. The baby will not always be clinging to your leg. In the meantime, breathe and give yourself some grace. It is possible to feel at peace in the chaos of life.
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