Welcome back to the ORGANIZED Work-At-Home Challenge! You can find the beginning of this challenge *here*
We’re coming down the home stretch! We’ve gotten a birds-eye view of where we’d like to see ourselves a year from now, broken things down into month-by-month goals, and learned to tackle different aspects of our home each day of the week. Now we’re zooming into the day by day. This is where the rubber meets the road, ladies. This is where our baby steps start creating the big picture of our lives.
As a mother to littles, there are a few things that need attention every day. These are the basics, and may even be things that nobody even notices… unless they don’t get done. My basics list includes:
- Devotions & Prayer
- Personal Hygiene (yours and the kids)
- Meals (prep and clean-up)
- Quality Time with Family Members (Husband and Children)
- Kitchen Maintenance (wiped counters and sweeping)
- Quick Pick-Up
- Drink Enough Water and Exercise (honestly, exercising only ends up happening about twice a week for me, even if I like to think of it as one of my ‘dailies’)
That’s the survival list. The basics of running a home and doing it well. If you want to progress beyond survival mode, I heartily recommend adding a spot in your Daily list to focus on your Weekly Task and another spot for focusing on your Monthly Goals.
It’s all nice and good to say you want to accomplish all that, but without a daily routine, that list will just sit there haunting you. Trust me, I know how easy it can be to get sidetracked. It’s easy to get so caught up in dishes, meal prep, and laundry that you forget about quality time with your kids. Or get caught up in family time to the extent that no one has clean dishes to eat on or clean clothes to wear. There has to be a balance and your daily routine is the tool you use for getting there.
Please notice that I say routine here, and NOT schedule. Schedules (7am –this happens, 8am –this happens) DO NOT WORK WITH LITTLE KIDS IN THE HOME. Did I say that loudly enough? Let me try it in bold italics. BY-THE-CLOCK SCHEDULES AND LITTLES JUST DON’T MIX!
Trust me, I love schedules. You’ve probably never met anyone who loves schedules as much as I do. However, it’s taken me several frustrating years to finally realize that babies and toddlers are just too unpredictable and change too often to tie down to a clock.
There are a few things that can be loosely scheduled (naptimes usually happen around 2pm around here, no excuses). But ultimately, your beloved munchkin is going to want to take a ten minute potty-break when it’s time for reading time, they’re going to wake up after 45 minutes instead of their planned two hour nap, they’re going to be teething and need to be put down earlier than usual before their grumpiness spirals any more out of control, and they’re going to be emotionally needy and in need of cuddles just when you’ve ‘scheduled’ to clean the bathrooms. Or, on a good day, they may be happily playing in the corner and making their baby brother erupt into belly-laughs, a scene too sweet to interrupt for the scheduled nap or bath.
So if you don’t take away anything else in this series, I hope you remember this. In the life of a mother with littles:
- Structure and routines are good and immensely helpful. Use it with flexibility and remember that your routine is there to serve you and your family, not the other way around.
- Rigid expectations in the form of schedules and non-negotiable deadlines cause stress, feelings of failure, and always-rushed-parenting-syndrome (Okay, I made that syndrome up myself, but it’s true).
So that being said, your challenge for Day #15 is to start writing down your basic daily routine into these categories.
- Before-Kids-Wake Routine
- Morning Routine
- During-Naptime/Afternoon Routine
- Evening Routine and
- Before Bed Routine
Look above at the first list of home-running essentials and write down what tends to happen when. You’ll probably find that some things will have an obvious place (duh, breakfast happens in the morning) while others might be having trouble fitting in anywhere (exercising? Ha! When does that ever happen?).
We’re going to look into this more in detail tomorrow, but ultimately, it’s going to be your responsibility to polish things up. I don’t live in your home to know how it works. Besides, your routine is going to look entirely different depending on if you have a two-year-old or a five-year-old in the home (or both).