When I say that my life has a schedule, I don’t mean down to the very minute, not usually. There are some things that demand punctuality, but that’s not the case for most of my life as a stay-at-home mom. Even now as we enter summer, I find that my life is better with some kind of plan, or at least an outline. I can always change things later, but a framework saves me the mental energy of figuring out what to do as I go.
Writing it Down
I’ve used several methods for keeping track of my life, but no matter what, I write things down. Some helpful tools might include any of these:
- spiral notebook
Currently, I like to use a planner since it includes a monthly, weekly, and daily view for writing things down. Though there are things that happen yearly, seasonally, and monthly, this post will focus on creating a weekly schedule that works.
Things to Include
In my spreadsheet that I typed up many years ago, I set up my day by approximate times, but now I just write things down in order of how I’ll probably do them. I include all of these things in my typical day:
- scripture study
- weekly cleaning
- toilets and bathroom sinks
- kitchen counters and appliances
- taking out all the trashes
- deep cleaning (more on how I do this here)
- specific goals I’m working on
- daily task
- paying the bills
- organizing photos and scrapbooking
- blogging (which gets 2 days :))
- repairing clothes or other crafting
- appointments or kids’ activities
- what we’re eating for dinner
Adapting to the Seasons
My spreadsheet served me well for many years, and I made changes as needed. During times of pregnancy or with newborns, I didn’t work on as many goals, and the times I set were more like suggestions. I still had structure to my day, even though my life was ruled by feeding the baby and trying to get enough sleep.
During Covid-19, I suddenly found myself as a teacher with 5 kids at home. It was a huge change for me because I lost my afternoon of solace. Though it was a tough adjustment, I drafted a new schedule to help my kids get their schoolwork done and manage the use of technology. 3 kids using 2 computers meant planning ahead to make sure they’d get the time they needed.
Now that school is over, it’s time to come up with a summer routine. In summers past, my husband was working, so the kids and I came up with 2 activities per day, 1 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon/evening. Some included me, but others didn’t.
- Monday: blowing bubbles, Family Home Evening
- Tuesday: going to the park, yoga/party while Mom’s gone
- Wednesday: cooking class, playing with the hose in the sandbox
- Thursday: library reading activity, date night
- Friday: special art project or sidewalk chalk, movie night
- Saturday: finish yard work for the week, adventure (drive, hike, or other outdoor activity)
- Sunday: Church, board games
My husband will be home this summer, so we used these ideas to come up with a plan for our summer days at home.
When I think about how often things change, it almost seems like too much work to try to plan anything at all. However, having a plan in the first place is an element of consistency that I want to keep in my life. It helps my kids, especially when they’re home, to know what to expect. I think a lot of our success during Covid-19 came from keeping structure to our days during a time when everything else felt (and still feels) unpredictable and scary. Maybe I can’t rely on things to always stay the same, but at least I know I’ll be cleaning my toilets on Monday morning, eating Chinese food on Tuesday, and watching a movie with my family on Friday. It might not seem like much, but those few scheduled things – almost traditions now – help me feel peace when I need it most, which is every day during the mundane.