When You Desperately Need a Daily Routine
You may or may not love structure. But I can assure you that you NEED a daily routine to make your life and homemaking much easier.
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 – and that someone is me.
If you are in the middle of feeling like your home and life is all up in the air, hopelessly scattered with daily confusion, it’s time that you also need to realize that you are the one who needs to give your family stability and direction.
It might seem hard. It might feel virtually impossible. But you can do it.
Finding a live-able routine
After years of floundering, last school year I finally fell into a rhythm with our days. And while it’s semi-relaxed, it’s still very regular.
- I’m up by 6:30. (And I’m using the early morning to spend time in the Word before my kiddos are up at 7.)
- 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 late 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.
Creating your own schedule
As you work to create your own schedule, it’s important to know what you want and need to get done every day.
Once you know what those tasks are, ask yourself if they’re reasonable goals. Just because you’d love to attempt to become Superwoman doesn’t mean that it will automatically happen.
As you figure out what you need to do and reasonably could accomplish, figure out when you want to fit everything in. Write down a basic schedule, or create online reminders (do this through Google calendar or by setting up reminders on your cell phone).
Once you know when you’d like to do everything, try it out! I caution you against trying to fit too much in. I’ve done it before and my fantasy schedule both stressed me out and disappointed me. Don’t make the same mistake.
The frustration of backsliding
This summer, I totally blew off my structure. I knew my 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.
And so that your life can be easier, more productive, and calmer, you NEED a routine, too.
What daily routine works best for you?
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I love your blog. I fight being extremely tired all the time.. Most days I feel like I’m just plain lazy. I’m so frustrated with myself that I can’t seem to get a routine going in my life. Thanks for your good spirit.
Hi Sad :) I have always been a sahm. And I homeschooled my children and kept home with a schedule. Loved it! Jesus blessed it. I did come across a time that I was so tired all the time and knew not why. It was frustrating and I too felt lazy. I had a checkup and turned out I was very anemic….iron and vitamins and praise Jesus I’m up and full speed ahead.
I’ve been feeling a nudge to go get blood work down to see if I’m low on some sort of vitamin.. I’m going to do that. Thank you for your response!
I don’t think I could have the routine I have now when I was a full time working teacher, but since going part time I have adopted a routine that works well for me now. I wake up at 5.30, brush teeth and wash face so I can really wake up and then read for an hour. At 6.30 I make breakfast for husband, sort any chores and I find that I pack a lot in at this time of the morning, from vacuuming and washing floors, laundry, folding, tidying kitchen etc. I go back upstairs with my breakfast at 7.30, look through schedules, appointments and work emails, although many say you should not do this until you get to work, but I prefer to be prepared. I then have a shower, get ready and feel ready to go and face the world. When I return home I make sure I have an hour to myself, catch up with news, eat lunch etc and then get on with chores, prepare the evening meal for family, spend time with my mum who comes over for dinner and then spend time with husband and the rest of the family until bedtime which is also around 10ish. Just before going to bed I ensure that all my paperwork and clothes for the following day are are set out.
I often wish that I had followed this routine earlier, but I am not sure that I could have done all this with a full time job and two small children who didn’t like sleeping.
This sounds like an ideal routine, Ana!