Earlier this month I was reading a few blogs for leisure when I stumbled across a post about daily rhythms that stopped me in my tracks. I poured over the author’s every word and knew that this post was meant for me to read. It was the solution and an answered prayer to some unrest I’d been feeling, and once again I was left marveling at the power of words.
I met Amanda in Kansas City back in June during our time spent at Harvesters, and I’ve been following her on social media ever since. We are close in age and both have young children. On her blog Home Song she wrote about how she’d developed a daily rhythm for herself as well as her children to start following each day now that summer is over, and I found her daily rhythm so well thought out and easily adaptable to my own life.
As aforementioned, reading her post was an answered prayer because I had been starting to struggle with how to balance everything on my plate now that fall scheduling and activities were in full swing. I wouldn’t say I was necessarily overwhelmed yet, but I was tired of my brain running on overdrive 24/7. I wanted to be more present with whatever I had going on without constantly thinking about what was next. I just couldn’t turn off. If we were at the playground, I would be happy that I was playing with my kids, but I’d be constantly thinking about what I’d tackle once we got home. If we were eating dinner, I’d be thinking about what to accomplish that evening – blogging, house work, quiet time with Jamie, or something else. I just didn’t ever feel fully present, and that was frustrating me. Maybe you can relate?
I think as humans we are naturally inclined to thrive on some kind of routine, and as a stay-at-home mom the last four years, I’ve on-and-off struggled without one.
But! But, but but! I’ve found one! All thanks to eloquent Amanda.
For the sake of brevity, here’s the routine we’re loosely following that’s helped me shed a thousand pounds from my mental load. To an outsider, it likely wouldn’t appear that I’m doing anything drastically different than I was before, but in my head, I feel so much more free, present, productive, and rested. No kidding – I’ve probably told my mom a dozen times that I’m of the opinion that this routine has more or less changed my life.
The structured flexibility fits my lifestyle to a tee, and man… this is just so good.
Everything is split into two-hour blocks (Amanda explains more about the significant of this).
5:00 – 7:00 a.m. | ME TIME
Potential fillers ideas for this time: blog, read, drink coffee, exercise, watch TV, or take a long uninterrupted shower.
7:00 – 9:00 a.m. | MORNING ROUTINE
Kids wake, we all eat breakfast together, unload dishwasher, load dishwasher, clean up breakfast and kitchen, make all beds, get dressed, do hair, brush teeth, get ready to leave the house.
9:00 – 11:00 a.m. | OUT
Preschool, speech class, MOPS, library story time, bible study, dentist appointment, playground, gymnastics, play date, etc.
11:00 – 1:00 p.m. | LUNCH AND CHORES
Make and eat lunch together, clean up lunch and kitchen, kids play independently while I do daily house work, to include laundry, vacuuming, and/or wiping down bathrooms. I usually do all of this while talking on the phone.
1:00 – 3:00 p.m. | ME TIME
Blog, watch TV, nap, exercise, take a long shower. Whatever you want to do! These are two additional hours to find rest and rejuvenation to power through the remainder of the day. Sadie naps and Hadley stays in her room for quiet time. She either sleeps, looks at books, or plays with her dress-up clothes. I don’t care what she does, but she must stay in her room and quietly play or rest.
3:00 – 5:00 p.m. | FLEX TIME
Run errands, more house work, pay bills, work on the yard, play with the neighbors outside. This is usually the time of day where I may let the girls watch a show or movie of their choice.
5:00 – 7:00 p.m. | DINNER AND FAMILY TIME
I cook dinner (often letting them help or watch), we eat dinner, clean up dinner and entire kitchen (Hadley clears her own plate, puts it in the sink, and gets a lysol wipe from me to wipe her place at the table after every meal), start dishwasher, play a game at the kitchen table, jump on the trampoline, go on a family walk, make a tent and play on the floor. This is my intentional time spent hanging with my family. They get a bath at 6:30, followed my lotion, pjs, a cup of milk, teeth brushing, stories, and then lights out for both of them usually at 7.
7:00 – 9:00 p.m. | HANG TIME WITH HUSBAND (except when he’s deployed – womp womp)
9:00 – 10:00 p.m. | WINDING DOWN FOR BED
I shoot for lights out no later than 10 p.m.
A few take-aways:
- All seven days of the week look very different. We have different things going on each day, and this schedule allows us the flexibility to make this is all work regardless of what we have going on.
- I don’t feel like I have to put anything housework related on my to-do list anymore, and my house feels much tidier. For example, if we are all ready to go by 8:20 a.m., that leaves me with plenty of time to look for something to straighten up or wipe down. I’ll enlist Hadley’s help in assisting me in straightening up whatever they got into that morning.
- When I’m resting or blogging, I no longer feeling an ounce of guilt. I feel like I’ve carved out time for me, and that’s important. REST is so important when it’s balanced with productivity.
- I have several hours a day that I feel so much more present with my kids. I find myself looking for things to do with them during the time I’ve carved out as “family time”.
- I can honestly say that getting up at 5 every morning isn’t an issue if I go to bed by 10. After getting 7+ hours of sleep, I feel good to go. After a few weeks of doing this, I’ve become quite addicted to getting in that quiet time for myself. I actually look forward to my girls waking up because we can eat breakfast together, clean up together, make our beds together, etc. etc.
- It’s simply incredible to me how fast kids catch on to routines and meet expectations if you set them and remain consistent.
Can you tell how passionate I am about this? Reclaiming a bit of structure and routine has been such a game changer. I feel like my kids are getting a more present mom who isn’t trying to do the laundry, clean the kitchen, feed them breakfast, and brush my teeth all of the same time like I used to.
Just like the quote “a place for everything and everything in its place”, I now feel like there’s a time for everything and everything in its allotted time.
Okay! That was a bit wordy. 🙂 Seriously though, I hope this resonates wth some of you like it did with me. Throughout the last couple weeks, I’ve mentioned bits and pieces of this routine on my Instagram Stories, and I’ve had about 20 of you ask me to share more about this routine on my blog. This let me know that many of you were likely struggling with the same things I was – finding routines, being more present, waking up earlier, etc.
Let’s chat! I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Do you thrive on routine?
If you’re a SAH mom, do you do best with or without a routine?
Are you trying to be more of an early bird?
Have you ever tried waking up early and having a “golden hour”?