It’s Thursday and time to check in on my Playful Self-Discipline project! This month’s theme is Organization, and so far I’ve written about making my bed, setting priorities, spring cleaning one cupboard at a time and taking stock of my progress at the spring equinox. Today’s topic is organizing my daily and weekly routines.
Developing and sticking to a daily and weekly routine is something that I never expected to love about parenting. In my pre-baby days I was a big fan of spontaneity and would jump at the chance to just take off for a week of camping with a moment’s notice. Now I need to plan something like that rather a lot further in advance, and I would prefer to plan every meal of the trip and their required ingredients instead of throwing a bunch of random ingredients from the pantry shelves into a cardboard box and hitting the road.
My routines are a mix of the structured and organic, a flexible but predictable hodgepodge that is steady enough to get everyone through the day unscathed. The exact details and times are not fixed, but the overall flow of the day is often very much the same. I started looking at our daily routine awhile back, after reading Steady Days, and thinking about ways I could streamline my housekeeping duties led me to the weekly routine that currently works out well.
I’ve found that purposeful activity and connection is more important than doing the same thing at the same time every day. My kids have ultra-sensitive radar for the times when I just want to zone out and their behaviour will escalate until it grabs my attention. However, if I’m actively working on something away from the computer they will either join in or find their own activities to engage with.
Curious about my routines? Here’s a rough idea:
- Wake up & bring Claire downstairs, meditate upstairs for a short bit, then come back down and get breakfast.
- Check email, make breakfast for the girls, respond to urgent emails, surf facebook, etc while the girls eat and play.
- Have a shower, get everyone dressed & ready for the day.
- Either go out for a playdate, homeschool co-op meeting or outing to the park or shop, or start some kind of creative activity together at home. Snack is served when we’re hungry.
- Come home for lunch.
- Claire goes down for a nap
- Bea and I have time together to do something of her choice while Claire is sleeping.
- When Claire wakes up the girls have a snack and play together while I clean the kitchen and one other part of the house, then get started making dinner.
- Dinner, bath, stories, bedtime.
- Me time, usually spent writing and reading blogs.
Weekly, I focus on one big task per day. Mondays are baking day, Tuesdays I do the laundry, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays are open for whatever needs to be done the most and Saturdays are my day to write and decompress while Tom takes care of the girls for the morning.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with our routines. I like to have at least one day a week spent at home and at least one day a week out visiting with friends, but there can be a huge variation in social time from week to week. My playful self-discipline goal is to stay mindful of the impact our routine can have on the smoothness of our days, and to strive for a healthy balance of social or structured activity and self-directed time, especially when the fall comes and we start our first year of official homeschooling. The more I learn about mindfulness and meditation, the more I can see how routines and mindful living intersect. Every thing we choose to do (or not do) influences the path we are moving along in life. Both the actual actions I take and my reaction to them have an effect on my path.
Have you got a daily or weekly routine? How did you come up with it?