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My Love/Hate Relationship with Routines and Schedules

Confession. I am not the most organized person. Shocking, I know. It is definitely not my spiritual gift. I am painfully aware of this fact in this moment, as I am searching everywhere for one of my 10 Expo markers. I don’t know what it is about kids and Expo markers, but they are NEVER put back where they are supposed to go. I say that as if I actually had some semblance of organization to my mock “command station”, which is really just a counter that collects junk, and these markers truly had a home.

I desperately want to be one of those really organized people. You know, the mom that has a true command station and all of their pens are in the right place. But I have learned that this is just not where I am at yet. So, here we are. Trying again. The irony of ironies is that I need the Expo marker to have Matt start checking off his freshly laminated to do list, my latest attempt to get us on some sort of a schedule. As a homeschool mom and a homemaker, you would think that this just comes naturally to me. But it doesn’t. I really do need to work at cultivating these skills. Our lives would just run so much smoother with some form of routine and order.

 I did pretty well there for a while after Callum was born, but the transition from 2 to 3 kids really does throw you for a loop. It is always chaos at our house. I have been actively working for the past 2 years to implement some form of a routine, but being the “free spirit” that I tend to be in my flesh, this has been a very challenging area for me to master. It has been something that has taken a ton of prayer and a significant amount of trial and error.

The good thing is that I have nailed down what doesn’t work for us. Anything with a very rigid schedule does not work. Our life has too much ebb and flow for a tight schedule. Anything too loosey goosey is simply not going to get done. I tried a system of just listing out things that hadn’t been done in a while and needed to get done, then work my way down the list. Nope, that was a huge flop. Then I tried a yearly/monthly/weekly/daily schedule. But having a detailed list that assigned dates to every chore in the whole house was overwhelming and made me feel claustrophobic. Anything super cutesy that involves me taking time in the morning to set up the kids and my schedule will get forgotten until noon when I realize that we haven’t done chores yet.

What does that leave, you may be asking. Well, I think I may have found a system that can actually work for a person like me who loathes schedules and routines but actually needs them in order to thrive.  It is a cross breed of a schedule and a routine. I took a tip from Terri Maxwell, and started putting anchors in my day. Specific points that we do at the same time every day. Here are my anchors:

6:45 – Mom wake up

8:00 – Kids wake up

12:30 – Lunch

1:30 – Nap

6 – Dinner

8:30 – Kids Bedtime

10:30 – Mom Bedtime

This gives me a guide for my day.  Then I filled in the spaces with things we do every day and roughly where I would like them to happen. It is not a schedule. Just a list of what I need to do, and in the general order that I would like to do it in. But the best part is that I am not tied down to the schedule. If I need to take the kids to the doctor, I can easily grab my list after I get back home and pick up where I left off. This enables us to have some flexibility, but still gives us enough of a spine that things can’t be forgotten. And when I fall off track, which I inevitably do, it is simple to pick up my list and start again. I made one for Matt and I am working on Callum’s now (though his is more just because he wants to have one too).

I will probably share this routine with y’all next week if it ends up working well for us. I am still tweaking my lists to encompass all that needs to be done in the day, but so far I am loving it. It has been the first thing that actually seems like it could help keep us focused and on task and that could work long term. Now, if only I could find that marker for these lists I’ve made. I may just go to the store, buy a new pack, and call it a day.


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