You may or may not love structure. But I can assure you that you NEED a daily routine.
For most of my life, I’ve taken my life’s organization for granted.
Raised by a born-organized mother, I was used to a lot of structure in my day – public school also contributed to this.
Once I started college, that structure continued – I got up for classes, ate at predictable times when the cafeteria was open, studied, went to my job, and planned out time for a lot of extracurricular activities.
And after I graduated college, I began working 9 to 5 jobs for more than a decade. I figured out when to eat, when to clean my home, when to run errands, when to have fun and live my life once my work day was over.
Then I became a stay-at-home mom.
For the first few years, schedules were actually easy, because everything depended on my baby’s sleep schedules. My days – and nights – were broken into two- to three-hour chunks, and I used naptimes to my advantage to finish housework and blogging.
The beginning of the end
Everything began to change once my children stopped requiring naps – and we started homeschooling. You’d think that a school day would help create some sort of structure, except that for a couple years it didn’t.
- I struggled with young children who just didn’t want to have anything to do with school.
- I dealt with my own tiredness and trying to get up and moving in the morning.
- I tried to figure out when to fit homemaking in to my days.
- I attempted different homeschooling routines, to try to find something that worked effectively for my family. Was early morning better? Or would my children want to learn in the afternoon? (Ha! In a word … NO.)
Without any consistent structure or direction, I never felt like I was accomplishing anything. While I thought the loosey goosey approach would be freeing, it felt more like a train wreck.
As the wife and mom, someone needed to give my family stability and direction – that someone is me.
Finding a live-able routine
Finally, last school year, I fell into a rhythm for our days. And while it’s semi-relaxed, it’s still very regular.
- I’m up by 6. (And I’m using the early morning to spend time in the Word and exercising before my kiddos are up.
- My children and I eat breakfast by 8, and morning chores are done by 9.
- We work through our school day between 9 and 1, then break for lunch.
- I fit blogging and my virtual assistant job into the afternoons we’re not heading off to lessons.
- We start picking up our house around 4, and I start cooking dinner by 5.
- Our family eats every night (together!) at 6, then I clean up the kitchen and prepare for the next day.
- By 8, my husband and I are going through our family’s bedtime routine. (Pajamas, brush teeth, go to the bathroom, read the Bible and pray, get a bedtime story.)
- By 9 I’m sitting down with my husband, and we’re off to bed by 10:15.
Even though it’s a very loose structure, it’s still a structure. It gives bones to my day so I can flesh everything out.
The frustration of backsliding
This summer, I totally blew off my structure. I knew the routines were good – but I was feeling lazy. And summery. And ready for a vacation from life.
(It doesn’t help that my husband’s a teacher and he gets the summer off … his early rising tends to motivate me to get out of bed in the school year. But when he sleeps in during the summer, I do too.)
As my family was structure-free in June and July, I began to long for routine. I found out (again!) that I NEED a routine.
And so, now that the school year is just about to begin, I’m excited – not for cooler weather or school lessons or extra-curricular activities, but for the discipline and effectiveness that a routine can bring.
I know all too well that I NEED a routine – because routine makes my life easier, more productive, and calmer.
What daily routine works best for you?
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