Scheduling our days (giveaway!)
It’s ironic that I write a blog post on scheduling today of all days. I had taken 5-10 minutes last evening to write out a rough “schedule” of sorts for our morning, but by 8 am today, I had basically thrown it out! My kids and I were already struggling in such a manner by 8 am that I wanted to scream … I knew we had to do something different in an attempt to save the day so I gathered the kids around, we prayed together, and then … we headed to Starbucks, because hey – sometimes some unexpected coffee for mom and a treat for the kiddos is a good thing. So, you see – even though I have recently realized, as shared in this post, that I need to be more intentional with our days, sometimes the only thing schedules are good for are to be thrown out. I’m hoping that you non-schedulers have now decided that you will in fact continue reading this post … 😉
By nature, I am a scheduler – I like to write things in my paper planner (don’t try to persuade me to use an online planner – my husband has already tried … and failed) and try to “have my ducks in a row,” in a sense, by planning things out. However, if I’m honest, although I wouldn’t call myself the most rigid of schedulers, planning can become an unhealthy thing for me when I do it in order to control my life rather than trust God. In actuality, marrying “Mr. Can-always-go-with-the-flow” and having children has loosened me up from my over-scheduling ways, although at the same time, I have learned that, when done in a healthy manner, scheduling is an intentional and freeing (for me) way to approach life. Curiously, though, my tendency to plan did not make its way into my job as being a stay-at-home-mom. I won’t unpack all the reasons why, although I will mention that laziness, feeling like I didn’t have the time to plan, and the fear of becoming a slave to a rigid schedule were all involved.
In her book, Steady Days, Jamie Martin writes, “A Steady Routine (her wording for a daily schedule) is a blueprint for your day and your children’s days. A successful teacher wouldn’t show up to her classroom without a plan. We wouldn’t arrive for a busy day in the office without an idea of what we wanted to accomplish. Our lives at home are no different.” (parentheticals mine). This made so much sense to me! And so, a few weeks ago, I began to take either a few minutes at night or in the morning to think through our days and make a “flexible plan” for each day.
It has been incredibly helpful for me, and I believe, for my kids. I no longer start the day by wondering what on earth we will do until naptime or counting the minutes until that time of the day comes, as I sometimes did. Making a schedule helps me to not set a stressful “tone” in our home (which can happen due to my stress), something that is a huge benefit to my kids during our days. I am finding more joy in being a mom because I am operating within something that allows me to be myself; because as much as I’d like to be, I’m just not a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of woman. The thing I love most is that I am being intentional with our days – I am taking my job seriously and thinking well about the things that are best for each day versus haphazardly filling our days with whatever comes our way. Although these benefits seem to be only about me, they are not – because of each of above benefit, I am much more often able to be a more patient, loving, gentle, and fun(!) mom … and that is highly beneficial for my kids.
If you’re practical like me, you are probably wondering what on earth this “flexible schedule” looks like. Although I’ll keep this brief, I’ll share a bit of how I go about my planning of our days. First off, although this is still a work in progress, I have a more of an ‘big picture” schedule of our week in my planner that includes play-dates, scheduled appointments, etc. However, when it comes to day-to-day scheduling, I tend to look at our days in 2 sections: morning (8-12) and afternoon (1-6 pm). There are givens that happen each day such as meals and naps, which I then schedule around. I include activities I do with the kids, household chores that need to be done, emails and phone calls that need to be sent/made, etc. For example, this morning’s schedule, had I abided by it, looked like this:
- text A.D. about having their family over for dinner
- time spent in the Bible, prayer, etc. (me)
- mop kitchen floor, wipe down playmat in kids’ play area
- throw supper in the crockpot
- kids (Elijah – work on locating things on a map, read together, capital and lower cases of the letters “a” and “b,” dance :), numbers #11-20, and memorizing Ephesians 4:32a) * note – Abigail does many of these with us, especially if she does not take a morning nap.
While some like to plan out their days hour by hour, I tend to keep our schedule to something similar to the above list with a rough idea in my head as to when I will do each thing. This works for me, although you may need to do something differently. And while I did not do everything on this list this morning, I started the day feeling much more prepared and intentional because the planning had been done.
I am learning that (flexibly) scheduling our days has great potential for a happier mom, happier kids, and a calmer home, among so many other benefits. And what’s not to love about those things?
Steady Days by Jamie Martin has been a valuable resource for me as I journey toward embracing and thriving in my job as a stay-at-home-mom. The book is broken down into 2-3 page easily digestible sections and includes many tips and tools toward becoming a “intentional, professional mother” (her words). If nothing else, it will encourage your thinking toward new things you may want to implement into being a mom. Because of this, I’d like to give away one copy of the book! To enter the drawing, please leave a comment below that includes something on your fall “bucket list” (ie. something you intend to do this fall season). 🙂 You must enter by 10 pm MST on Sunday, Sept. 31st – the winner will be chosen randomly and announced Monday, October 1st.
p.s. You don’t have to be a mom to enter the drawing – maybe you’ll find the book useful at a later time or maybe you know a mom you could give it to … whatever the case, please feel free to enter.