First, I want to thank everyone who commented on my last post. You all gave me encouragement, and some good ideas. I really appreciate it.
Second, in addition to my attempts to create a routine and good habits for my children, I decided that I needed to do the same for me. Having a nanny taught me the value of a neat house and organization, and I don’t want that to slip away.
My biggest challenge is to STICK WITH THIS. I want to get lazy, but getting lazy will lead bad places. Bad, disorganized, highly stressed out places.
Here are the general goals each day:
Empty the dishwasher in the morning, and put the breakfast dishes in. This means I come home to a clean kitchen.
Help the children get through the evening without losing my shit. Mileage varies on this one. Pickup and drive time seem to be particularly fraught.
Have a weekly meal schedule (I’m still tweaking this) so I’m not leaving work panicking about what I’m going to feed my children for dinner.
Clean kitchen, go through evening routine with kids, M in bed by 7:30, girls in bed by 8-8:30.
Finish cleaning kitchen, and PACK LUNCHES FOR THE NEXT DAY. This one is big, and it’s the one thing in the evening that I most want to not do sometimes. I just have to keep in mind that i really does not take that long, and it makes mornings so much better.
My goal is to be able to watch a little TV or read each night, and go to bed by 10 p.m.
Now, each evening of the week, the kids and I will have a chore: Monday, put away clean laundry; Tuesday, clean upstairs bathroom; Wednesday, vacuum; Thursday, clean downstairs bathroom; Friday, get all dirty laundry to Bella’s. Weekends are for cleaning rooms and vacuuming upstairs, plus paperwork, especially organizing and paying bills. I have to get better at this too (the organizing part, not the paying part).
So far, Thursdays are the worst days because they are the longest. After I pick up the children, I have to also get my CSA veggies. This puts us home after 6 p.m. Not coincidentally, this is also leftovers night.
Does it seem like I’m missing anything? Before you ask, Dan has weekly chores, too, and he also needs to stick with them. We, as a family, are refocusing on team work right now.
6 thoughts on “Back-to-School: The Schedule, Mine Edition”
Something that might help your motivation for cleaning the kitchen and making lunches might be a variation of something I’ve employed with success for a few months now.
After a long day once the kids were in bed I had started a bad habit of plopping down on the couch. Sometimes my husband would even bring me a beer or some wine, but even without the beverage once my butt was down it wasn’t getting back up again. That meant that even basic picking up didn’t happen. If I did this a few nights in a row the work would build up. Then I’d be sitting down thinking about how big the mess was getting which made me even less motivated to deal with it.
To avoid this backlog I made a deal with myself that no matter how tired I was or how anxious I was to start watching a movie or just relax I would do at least 10 minutes of cleaning. As soon as I come down from the boy’s room I set the kitchen timer and do as much as I can. Some nights when the buzzer goes off I immediately stop with the knowledge that at least I’ve done something. Most nights, however, I keep going for what is usually only a little while longer until the kitchen and living room (my priority spaces) are both taken care of.
The key for me was not letting myself sit down until I did my chores. Mentally the open ended concept of “doing my chores” seemed overwhelming on some days. 10 minutes is much less scary, which is why I can stick to it. Plus, I have fun racing the clock to see how much I can get done before the buzzer.
You might need more time to reasonably include making lunches, but even 20 or 30 minutes doesn’t sound that bad. If convince Dan to use that time for chores too you could get a lot done in a short period of time.
Similarly, I work pretty hard to be done with my evening chores by 9 p.m., 9:30 at the latest. Making lunches in the evening 1) doesn’t really take that long and 2) makes mornings that much less chaotic! I often employ a timer when I’m facing an onerous task that I think is overwhelming (i.e. cleaning the office, filing paperwork). Breaking it into a chunk of defined time definitely helps me get started!
As far as Dan: I have tried convincing him to do *something* house related on a daily basis for 10 minutes every night. No go. He is a great cleaner, but he really does wait until he can’t stand it anymore. I’ve stopped picking up his messes (dirty socks, etc.). I get enough of that from the kids! 😉
Another thing that helps me with the kids in the AM is having them pick out their clothes the night before. That way there are no issues with getting dressed (e.g., where is my favorite shirt? I don’t like these socks because they itch, etc.). Saves a big hassle and time-suck in the AM to help each kid with their clothes problems. I know that this is another area where I slip up and get lazy – the mornings afterwards are hell for me. Maybe my kids are pickier when it comes to clothes but I have a hunch that most go through stages of pickiness in this area.
You are doing great. This is really, really, hard and people have to make sacrifices somewhere. Carve out time for yourself no matter what.
Ah, and here is where the true beauty of school uniforms comes in! It makes picking out an outfit irrelevant! 🙂 I do get the boy’s clothes ready the night before while I’m doing his bedtime routine. Takes about 2 seconds.
My time is usually a beer and a book, about 20 to 30 minutes a night. That’s my unwinding time, and I stick with it!
You’ll think this is nuts, but I bet it could work with a little thoughtful organization. (read, put stuff in same place every day so it’s findable in fridge). Have Kate get lunch packing started while Flora does homework. Kate digs helping in kitchen. She’d probably be happy to work in there while you worked on dinner. She can find the hummus and snacks & napkins & apples & put them into the lunch boxes I bet!
Actually, that’s not nuts at all. Kate loves helping in the kitchen, and she will assist with dinner. I’ll have to try her on lunches and see if I can make it fun. If she senses a “chore” in the offing, she’ll dig in her heels. 😉