When I was a new mom, I was suddenly thrown into the world of trying to keep the house under control and dinner on the table with the added responsibility of a tiny human being relying on me for his every need. I was overwhelmed to say the least! As I searched on-line for guidance, the re-occuring advice was that I needed be on a schedule. By the time I had several years (and several kids) under my parenting belt, I was the queen of making schedules. But, it wasn’t because I was succeeding in my role as a mom and homemaker. No, it was because I had made so many schedules! And, within weeks, each one would fall flat, leaving me flat on my face crying because I just couldn’t get my stuff together! It wasn’t until many years into this vicious cycle, that I was introduced to the idea of creating a daily routine!
A daily routine is similar to a daily schedule but without the strict time constraints. It is the order, or the flow, of your day. You see, the reason my schedules kept failing was because I had kids! (Ironically, I needed a schedule so badly because I had kids! LOL!) But, kids can completely obliterate even the best of schedules with a single diaper explosion or melt-down over a math problem. My day would be going along exactly as planned, then an unexpected incident would completely de-rail my whole operation. Before I knew it, I was two hours behind with no hope of ever getting back on track. It doesn’t take very many days of that to make you completely give up… again.
But, a daily routine is a schedule with grace. When un-expected events occur, it’s okay. Since you are not under time constraints, you have the freedom to deal with the un-expected, then move on to the next thing. Yet, your daily routine is always there to give you the next thing. Without that, you waste tons of time and mental energy between tasks trying to figure out what you should do next. My daily schedule has truly given me the structure that I need without taking away the necessary flexibility required for successful, peaceful parenting.
Have you found yourself in the same boat? If so, follow these simple guidelines to give the daily routine a try:
- Write down everything that needs to happen in your typical day. This includes getting up, daily devotions, meals, nap times, school drop-off, homeschooling, housework, computer tasks, play time, self-care, bath time, bedtime… Everything.
- Establish “check points” with grace. Check points are a way of giving yourself accountability with grace. Check points are times during the day where you would like to be to certain points of your routine. For example, the best check points to begin with are when you would like everyone to get up and go to bed. The time between when you (the parent) get up and when you go to bed is the time-frame for the rest of the family’s daily routine. Next, establish a few check points during the day. These mid-day check points should include meal times, nap times, and necessary obligations (where you have to be somewhere at a certain time). Write these check points in order on a piece of paper with plenty of space to “schedule” the time in-between. Block out the 30 minutes before each check point. This is were the grace comes in to your daily routine. That extra thirty minutes is going to serve as “catch up” time for that portion of the day. You are always going to have unexpected things pop up. Knowing that you have several thirty minute periods scheduled for catching up during the day removes that stress and allows you to deal with your kids in a kinder, more patient way!
- Fill in the rest of your time with the remaining necessary tasks. Go through your list of remaining tasks for the day and jot down how long you think each task should take. Then, fill in the empty space on your paper with those tasks. For example, if you have three hours between breakfast and lunch, pick tasks that add up to 2 1/2 hours worth of time (remember, the other 30 minutes is your grace period), and add them to your routine.
- If you have more tasks than you have time slots, re-evaluate. If the tasks on your list outnumber the hours in your waking day, it’s time to re-evaluate your list. Can you get up 30 minutes earlier and still get a decent amount of sleep? Can some jobs be done every other day? If so, they can share the same slot on your routine. Are you constantly falling behind because your home is full of clutter, or are you exhausted because you have poor eating habits? There are great resources to help you on-line. Invest in them! Here is why it is worth it! Are you doing too much? If you can’t fit everything into your daily routine, it’s time to have a family meeting to decide what you can cut out of your schedule or delegate to someone else. This one is hard because we want to do everything, but it is necessary for your quality of life! Seeing everything written down is good for you and your family to really understand what you are asking of yourself on a day-to-day basis and will provide clarity when making those hard decisions!
- Adjust your daily routine as needed! You are not going to get everything perfect the first time. Write your daily routine in pencil, and spend the first couple of weeks tweaking it! You will settle into a rhythm that works for you and your family, and you will be so glad you stuck with it!
- Don’t wait. Do it now! Don’t put off making a family routine until later. If what you’re doing isn’t working, then something needs to change. Simply click the button below, to get our free Daily Routine Worksheet, and give the daily routine a fair try. If it doesn’t improve your life, you can go back to how you are doing things now. I promise. If you’re struggling with getting started, here are some tips to overcome procrastination.
How about you? Have you tried and tried to establish a schedule and failed? Do you create the perfect schedule only to have it de-railed by life? Do you have any tips that have worked for you?
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