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Hello, my name is Gina and I have problems. Scheduling problems. Control problems.
I’m not lazy; in fact I know that on many days the thing I need most is to rest. But I can’t figure out when I can fit it in.
Being on time anywhere is a challenge. I have a full day go by and I know I’ve done a lot because the kids are still alive, but I look at the piles of toys and I’m like why???? I have a plan in my head about how my day should go and I don’t stick to it. Some days the word FAIL is plastered to my subconscious mind.
I get angry that there aren’t more hours in a day.
Dealing with my problems has involved some heart digging, but I’ve also had to come up with some practical solutions. I don’t need to feel like every area of my life is flawless, but I do feel like I need to have more sense of control, and less guilt.
I am in control of my schedule, my planner, my to-do lists. They do not run me.
After reassessing how I’m running my life and my household, one the major changes I made was to simply write my daily schedule down. I had done this at the beginning of our school year, but a lot has changed since then. I had an ideal schedule in my head, but there were a lot of nebulous gaps in it.
After writing my schedule from wakeup to bedtime, I’ve learned several things:
- I have more time than I thought.
- Social media is the biggest time-waster ever.
- My kids are happier on a predictable schedule.
- I feel less guilt about relaxing when I schedule it in.
- I do have time to clean, cook and shop when I set aside the time to do it.
- I’m more disciplined about taking care of myself and being healthy.
Trust me, even if you recoil at structure, this is so worth doing! Just try it! It doesn’t matter if you’re a stay-at-home, work-at-home or work-outside-the-home mom; you will benefit from scheduling your time at home.
Here are some general tips I have when creating your ideal schedule:
- Be as specific as possible, but realize that these are just guidelines. Remember, you own your schedule. It doesn’t own you.
- Give yourself a couple of “free” periods throughout the day that will give you time to catch up if you fall behind on scheduled tasks (or if you need more time to relax or play with your kids!).
- Be very selective about what you do when your kids are asleep, including before they wake up, naptime and after they go to bed. Those are the times I absolutely need quiet—to read, pray, write or spend time with my husband. I try to get ready for the day or for bed when the kids are getting ready so I’m not wasting that precious sleep time doing things like brushing my teeth.
- Include self-care times like relaxing or spending time with your spouse or going out with the girls.
- Consider tasks that you can distribute throughout the week, such as working on a particular project or cleaning a certain area of the house. Try to do it on the same day each week; that way you won’t put it off.
- Schedule time for essentials like errands, budgeting, organizing, whatever. I do those during our “free times” as needed.
I’ll share my daily schedule here, just to give an example. This is my schedule, for the month of May, 2016. I have three kids, ages 3, 5 and almost 7, and we homeschool. Your routine might look like it…or not. I will adjust it again when summer vacation starts at the end of the month, and I will probably adjust again later. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but seeing someone else’s schedule on paper can give you a little bit of guidance.
|Wake up, read Bible, pray, work out
|Kids wake up, breakfast, morning chores, get ready
|Check email and social media
|Free time or morning activity (parks, etc.)
|Lunch, afternoon chores
|Quiet/nap time for kids, writing/work for me
|Make dinner, eat, clean up
|Evening activities (vary)
|Kids go to sleep, spend time with husband, relax
Once school is wrapped up for the year, our schedule will adjust slightly. We won’t do school in the morning, so that time will be set aside for activities or household projects.
Since no one is exactly like me, I thought I’d link to a few ways other moms make their schedules:
Daily Schedules for Stay at Home Moms (for older or younger kids) via Our Small Hours
Toddler and Preschooler Daily Schedule via Tales of Beauty for Ashes
Time Blocking via Hey Donna
How To Balance a Business and a Baby without Going Insane via Brilliant Business Moms
Why a Stay at Home Mom Schedule Matters via Military Wife and Mom
Why and How To Make a SAHM Schedule via What You Make It
And if you REALLY want some coaching through this, there are even more incredible resources out there:
Rhythms, Routines & Schedules by Rachel Norman and Lauren Tamm: ideas for simplifying and streamlining your life with kids from infancy through school age. I sooooo wish I had read this when my kids were babies; it provides many specific examples and ideas for how to manage your time when you very needy little ones.
Make Over Your Calendar by Crystal Paine: Crystal from Money Saving Mom is the expert on everything like this. She runs a very successful business while raising a family so she knows her stuff. This is a free video course, full of practicals. And if your really love Crystal, check out her popular courses: Make Over Your Mornings, Make Over Your Evenings and Make Over Your Year! I pretty much stalk her, FYI.
Family Systems: How to Automate Your Housewife Life by Hilary Erickson: I LOVE these ideas about how to make your home run like a well-oiled machine; I’m working through this eBook now! So much practical, sanity-saving advice.
You don’t have to be drowning in day-to-day life. While we all have unique circumstances, applying some of these wise principles provided by wise women WILL help.
And remember, as I often say, don’t look at all the examples and then feel insecure or overwhelmed because you don’t feel like you “have it together” like everyone else seems to. Even the best of us have horrible days. If you struggle with this, I think you’ll be encouraged by reading my free devotional, Woman of Strength.