I never plan my day. I may have one thing here and there that we go to at a specific time, but I rarely actually look at the clock. I’m by nature, a creative soul who prefers to float through the day like a butterfly. I work highly off of inspiration, and sometimes I get an inkling, a creative spurt where I am extremely driven and focused to produce an image that I’ve seen in my mind, or write a piece that just comes to me out of now where, and I HAVE to get it out.
This doesn’t boast well for being a mom. I hear over and over, from books, parenting experts and my husband that children yearn for a routine. A schedule where they know what’s going to happen next. Something they can count on, so they know where to go and how to behave.
Enter the mom who doesn’t understand this. It’s a foreign language to me really. Planning each hour of things to achieve and places to go. Sure, if I have meetings, appointments and various things I need to be at I can. I can show up on time or early if its a professional need. But I don’t like it, and its not natural. I love spur-of-the-moment, fly-by-the-seat-of-your pants adventures.
I’ve created my own “schedule” in an effort to provide a better environment for my children. I’ve created this system, and I thought it might be helpful to all those moms like me out there, who just can’t stand a routine and box we have to participate in everyday. I seriously can’t stand it. I don’t want to know everything I’m doing every hour. I want to feel each moment and pursue what comes.
So, here’s what I do with my kids, that stretches me a bit, while still offering them some kind of routine that everyone else tells me we need to have.
MORNING: Wake up, hang out and eat. Sometimes we chat, sometimes they play, and I drink some coffee and just wake up. I try to put them onto some sort of activity like playing cars, while I decide what we should all eat. Then we eat breakfast.
GET READY: We get ready to go somewhere or do something. I like to shower and clean myself up in the morning. I like to feel ready to take on the day, whatever is coming! I also like to answer a few emails and write down what I want to accomplish/maybe try to get a few things done before we head out. While I do this, I work on keeping the kids doing various activities. Usually I put one show on while I’m in the shower for about 10 minutes, then I referee fights and games while getting ready.
ACTIVITY: We like to go to the YMCA for playing during the winter. Its a great spot for the boys to get their energy out and socialize. The baby usually does really well for about 45 minutes. If its sunny outside, we head to a park. I like to be out of the house doing something.
SNACK: I also feed them a snack at the Y, or in the car after playing because I like to keep going places since we are out and about. The car is always messy because I feed them in there, but it enables me to keep going with anything that comes up.
ERRANDS: Since we are already out, I also plan my errands or “me stuff,” like if I want to go to Target, grab Starbucks, mail something…you know whatever I feel like doing after the kids get all their wiggles out. Usually they are better behaved after playing for a couple hours, so I can accomplish something.
AFTERNOON: Depending on when we get home, I like to do some quieter activity like reading books, teaching my toddler to read or a scholastic activity and lunch. By this time they are really wanting to watch TV. Like begging for it, so I let them have some TV time.
LATE NAPS: I like doing later naps because its not so hard to get them to go to sleep. We always have a story, right now we are reading the Magic Treehouse, and then they fall asleep for about an hour and a half.
EVENING: My least favorite time of the day. If it’s summer, we go back outside. I take them to play at a park, on a walk or so on. If it’s winter, we do some kind of learning activity. That doesn’t always go over very well, and some nights its just me struggling to clean, get laundry done and manage their energy.
DINNER AND BATH: I get some kind of dinner out that they’ll eat. We sit down for all of 5 minutes. But we get something down, then I like to get them in the bath before we do bedtime. Sometimes I actually do baths in the morning, while I am trying to get dressed and ready, so this changes. A bath keeps them in one place and playing nicely for a bit. Sometimes I’ll put them in separate baths because they fight.
BED: For whatever reason, as soon as I say its time for bed, they play like angels. I capitalize on this and do some work and catching up. (Whatever I didn’t get done at nap time). They play for sometimes an hour or so, then I get them in bed, read a story, and they usually fall asleep because I wait til 9pm or so. I’m not a fan of fighting with them to go to sleep, so I just wait longer to do it.
Notice how I have no time frames for these activities. I honestly don’t have a schedule for any of it. Sometimes we get up and go out early, other times I don’t get them out of the house til after 11 am. It all depends on what I have to do that day and what I want to do. Some days I want three cups of coffee and laundry all put away before I leave. Other days, I leave the house in a disaster state and go early. No set times.
The kids seem to be doing fine with the general idea. They know we’ll have some sort of fun adventure, then we’ll come home and they’ll eat and learn, then get a show then nap…they get the gist of what we do.
One thing I do do, is I tell them my plan as I go. I tell them I want to get the laundry done before we go, or that I want to leave soon, so we can go to Target, or that we are going to go later because of this or that. I communicate the general scope of the day for them, so they are always prepared and on board. So far, its working for my personality and theirs. so I’m hoping it will help someone else who is feeling pressure to conform to a set time-schedule, yet doesn’t even really know how to do that! Find your own way!