Friday, August 28, 2009

“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.”

Upon hearing a Homily this summer (mid July) I decided I needed to reorganize a bit. I felt I was getting buried in the muddle of the daily chores and to do lists and had lost site of my ultimate goals for my family. The homily was just about slowing down and yet somehow getting more accomplished, somewhat like the Germans seem to do here. I went over it and over it in my mind and just couldn't figure out how that is possible, but I did decide there are things I do need to change in our lives. I need to simplify and get rid of extra stuff that is not helping us achieve our goals. I guess this year we have just been in survival mode a lot and that's okay from time to time but we need to stop, reevaluate, and re-prioritize when those times end.

So to start off I made a list (because I L-O-V-E lists!) of our priorities for raising our children. Keep in mind these are very broad categories that include so much detail that I am not mentioning here. With the exception of the first two, the order is arbitrary.

#1 To get our children to heaven and help them learn to be the saints God intended them to be.
#2 To teach them our morals.
#3 To teach them financial responsibility.
#4 To help them to find their vocation and career.
#5 To educate them.
#6 To teach them responsible nutrition and eating habits.
#7 To teach them safety.

Then I took a look at our day and tried to nail down wasteful activities and frivolous free time.

On weekdays, the girls are in German kindergarten from 8:45am-12:30 or 1pm. I have flexibility on pick up and drop off times, but that is usually what I do. Isaac takes a nap at 9am and usually sleeps for 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours. This is the time I think I was wasting the most, although I can't say exactly how. Then errands can be run after his nap at 10:30 or 11am. Daily Mass here is at 11:30 (half an hour away) or noon (15 mins away) which I was rarely making it to. :( This is a big problem. No matter how many times I went over it in my head, I could not figure out how to get necessary errands accomplished and attend daily Mass everyday, so I decided 2-3 times a week would be a serious improvement that we could start with, at least while Brian is away and I have no free time to do my errands unless I hire a babysitter. After I pick the girls up, it is time to start winding down for nap/rest time. This is another part that needed work because somewhere along the way we stopped reading before nap/rest time. Many days this summer, Isaac and I walk to get the girls from school which is something I do like and want to keep up while the weather is good.

During the rest of the afternoon, 2-4pm, is nap/rest time for all the kids. Hannah has rest time in her room from 2-3:30pm. Genna either takes a nap the whole 2 hours or she has rest time like Hannah in her own room. Isaac goes down for a nap at 2pm and he wakes up anywhere from 3 to 4pm. For now this is also working for us, but when Isaac transitions to one nap, it will have to change. The only thing that I have yet to work out here is Hannah's reading lesson. In the past we were trying to do her 20 minute reading lesson at 3:30 after her rest time, but this was not working because Isaac is awake by then most days and it is his crankiest/most demanding time of day (when he wakes from nap until dinnertime.) So I am still working on that. I get housework done, make phone calls, check email, blog, etc during this time.

I decided our evenings were one time of day that we seem to have down a good routine, with good use of our time, and we don't usually have to rush to get it all done. This is because when Brian left I focused on this time of day and getting the kids to bed on time. So from 4:30pm-8pm we are set.

After much planning and thought, here is the new and improved schedule!

Our Schedule
(improvements are in italics)

5 or 6am Isaac wakes up and we cuddle on the couch while I watch the news and he drinks his milk cup
7am breakfast (Han and Gen wake up at this time and get dressed first) Girls watch Peep and the Big Wide World for 20 mins while they eat
7:30am Han and Gen do their activity sheet for the day (details in another post)
8:30am take girls to school
8:45-9am sing songs and play with Isaac
9-10:30 or 11am Isaac naps (I have my prayer time and read from the Word Among Us, then exercise or clean)
10:30 or 11am run errands, play outside, or free play for Isaac
12pm lunch for Isaac and me
12:40pm walk to get the girls from school
(2 or 3 days a week we go to Mass and then eat, and then we do not have time to walk to get the girls from school; so we drive)
1:30pm religious readings or stories and prayer time (usually Angel of God prayer or the Angelus depending on time and moods of kids)
2-4pm nap/rest time for all three (Hannah is allowed to get up at 3:30 and Isaac usually wakes up at 3:30 and typically I have Genna stay in her room until 4pm even if she is not asleep)
3:30pm planned activity for Isaac while Hannah usually colors
4pm the girls play together and Isaac "helps" me with anything I have not accomplished through out the day that I needed to do
4:30-5pm cook dinner (I am putting an educational 20 min video on for Isaac at this time because he suddenly decided to hang on my leg and cry during this time)
5-6pm eat dinner and clean up kitchen
6:00-6:30pm family time (sometimes we go outside/watch short movie/play game/have sibling play time/have special dessert)
6:30pm clean up down stairs and head upstairs to get ready for bed
7pm prayer time then story time (Han and Gen choose one book or chapter each) in Isaac's room while Isaac plays
7:30pm girls head to their rooms to read while I read and sing to Isaac and give him his last blessing before laying him down in his crib
7:45pm tuck in Genna and sing to her
8pm tuck in Hannah
after 8pm I clean up anything I didn't get to in the kitchen and make the girls lunch for the next day, then I lay out their activity sheets for the next day
Then comes my free time!

Although I still feel that there are not enough hours in the day, I do feel like I am doing a better job of managing our time and working towards important goals. I certainly do not keep to this schedule perfectly everyday, but I am trying to during the weekdays as many days as possible. Weekends are totally different and are much more flexible.

Over the next few weeks, I hope to expound upon our goals and go into more details about how I am working towards those in our daily lives.

(Blog title quotation by Mike Murdock)

1 comment:

Becca said...

I'm looking forward to these blogs!
I remember writing down goals awhile ago for Caleb. They were short term goals though so I need to redo them. I had forgotten how helpful that was.
Good idea to actually write out the major goals of the family. What a great way to examine whether our daily activites are helping/hindering our priorities as parents.

btw, I love lists too! I just wish I was better as keeping to the list!