It's been kind of a difficult transition this year, trying to figure out a routine that works for me. I think what it comes down to is I have spent the last 13 years of my life having my routine dictated by others. I mean, I definitely have sought to bring order to the chaos, establishing some semblance of a routine, but when it comes down to it, a puking toddler trumps all. With littles, there's always something. Nothing goes according to plan.
Anyway, it's been a process trying to figure out what to do with myself. I started the school year setting priorities. And that was a good thing. I also set up a simple routine for myself. Also good. But Mondays. They were not good. And Tuesdays? Not good at all, man.
In my simple routine, Mondays were errand day. Tuesdays were cleaning the house and laundry day. Wednesdays were for bigger projects, like tackling the utility room (still hasn't happened), Thursdays are my Bible study day and I decided to do baking and other cooking on Thursdays. Fridays were to be my fun day, to either go somewhere or work on a fun project at home. Sounds good, right?
Here's the problem. Our house gets messy over the weekend. 'Cause, you know, there are 5, or often more, people running around making messes, and only 1 or 2 people cleaning any of them up (not complaining--because messes make for great memories--just telling it like it is). So on Monday, when all those mess-makers finally went somewhere else to make messes, I wanted to clean. But I had to run errands. But I wasn't ready to run errands. First I needed to plan meals, and then I needed to make a list, and then I needed to check my favorite deal sites and make those lists, and then I needed to check for coupons. It took half the day. And then I was shopping the other half. And then I had to come home to a dirty, cluttered house, and put the shopping away. My entire day revolved around all of...that.
And then Tuesday, it was finally time to clean the house. But Tuesday mornings I volunteer at my kids' school. Usually I'm there for an hour, but one or two times a month I'm at school for almost 3 hours. So there's half my day gone again, and I haven't done anything at home. Not to mention the laundry. Laundry doesn't really take much effort, but when one is trying to get 6-9 loads done in one day, it's sort of mandatory to keep it moving, and in order to keep it moving along, one needs to be in close proximity to the washing machine. All day.
It was a mess. I was constantly frustrated with myself for not being able to get any cleaning done and not being able to finish the laundry. My frustration poured over into the rest of my week.
I don't know why it took me so long, but I finally realized that something had to change.
I decided since I have to leave the house on Tuesdays, maybe I should run my errands on Tuesday, too. So I switched the days and gave myself permission to stay home on Mondays.
This simple little switch has been life-giving. My Mondays are more relaxed and are a wonderful introduction to the week. I'm no longer beginning a new week feeling rushed and frustrated. Instead I begin with peace and a sense of accomplishment. Ahh. So good.
You might think that staying home on Mondays would be restrictive, but it's actually felt quite freeing. I love that I can stay home and do what I want and need to do. I don't have to leave the house on Monday because I know there is time set aside later in the week for errands. If we run out of something, well, we can just do without until Tuesday.
Here's how this all fits in with my priorities.
- God: Cleaning is, for the most part, mindless busy-work, which means that doing housework is a perfect time to pray. I crank up the local Christian music radio station and dance, sing, and praise through my day. In addition, I am honoring God by honoring and caring for myself, my home, and my family.
- Family: I am creating a more welcoming space for my family and a better atmosphere at home. Like they say, when mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.
- Rest: my Mondays at home are busy, but restful. Yes, I accomplish a lot, but since I am home and don't need to be anywhere else, I can rest as needed, read a chapter or two of my book in between tasks, or even take a nap.
- Self-care: I am caring for myself by leaving margin in the beginning of my week. I am not setting myself up for frustration and failure.
- Connection: Starting my week out in such a calm and favorable way makes me more likely to be in a place mentally to reach out to others, making those meaningful connections.
How about you? What's your weekly routine like? Are there any changes you need to make?