“I would love to hear more about how your daily routines go….how does your day flow?”
Keep in mind that organization and order are helps to the busy mother. There is an investment of time on the front end of organizing something – whether that is your school room or your day – but the payoffs are that you become the manager of the day, a manager of the time, not a slave to it reacting to everything that comes up.
Organizing the day means anticipating as much as possible and leaving PLENTY of elbow room in the schedule for those things I cannot anticipate. I move through the day on the rails I laid down – habits of order and obedience. If I’m derailed for a time, I just pick up the rails NOT where I left off, but where I should be in the day. Shift what was missed to another day (I do this all.the.time!) A Mother’s day just does not work on a strict schedule or rule. A Mother’s Rule is dictated by LOVE and must be open to being flexible while being obedient to her vocation.
I was starting to self-destruct trying to react to all the things that hit me during the day, so this loose “Rule” is my answer to meeting the day. Think of it as a Rule…with Wide Margins! 🙂 It’s really more of a rhythm than a rule. I think St. Benedict offers us much wisdom – it is good to have a Rule in place that offers us opportunities for obedience, humility, and service. Our vocations demand certain obedience to the daily duty. A Mother’s Rule for her day must consider her vocation as well as the persons (little and big) she encounters in her day. A Mother’s Rule must have sufficient space for LOVE – dialogue, snuggles, spontaneous tickles, discipline, crisis:
“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
Love will bind the parts of the day together – those parts that are ordered and flow smoothly and those that seem to unravel around us. As long as we seek order and cover all with love – the day will be pleasing and harmonious. Count it all for good.
The following is my answer….my rule of LOVE. I offer it as a way of sharing and so that it might be a starting place for you to consider…
First, I’ll point out that I move through my day in “blocks of time”. Organizational methods are aplenty, but this one I discovered a few years ago and it has been a keeper! Blocks allow for elbow room – dirty diapers, a skinned knee, a request to read a favorite book, spilled orange juice, the extra 3 loads of laundry, snuggle time in the rocking chair watching the birds out the window – blocks of time are my “wide margins”. Keep that in mind for EVERYTHING you read here.
:: Rise and Shine Time (5:30 – 8:00)
We’re up early here – around 5:30 or 5:45! A confession – I’m not a morning person, at least not by nature. I am, however, learning to love the beauty in the morning hours even if rising at this hour is a real mortification for me. Here’s what the morning block consists of:
- While I’m nursing the littlest I say my morning prayers privately. These consist of prayers from my Mother Love prayer book and In Conversation With God. During this time the children stumble down and sit at my feet while I’m praying. The two older children are kind enough to know not to disturb until I finish my prayers, the 4 year old is in training. 🙂 I’ve visited with you before on my daily prayer routine.
- KEY to a happy day…..choose a happy apron to wear!
- Coffee, breakfast, morning visiting, breakfast clean-up, kitchen tidy, observation of the morning birds.
- Morning chores. Everyone has their own. The children get dressed and tend to morning hygiene, beds are made. I start laundry, tidy the living spaces, and take a look at the lesson plans for the day. I set out (some call this strewing) little vignettes or displays of books or activities. These aren’t ornate or complicated – many times this is a picture book, a statue of Our Lady or another Saint, and a coloring page. Very, very simple here – lest the temptation to become side-tracked on a tangent takes over!
- Free time with the leftover time in this block. I might check in at 4Real…or do some other online research, call mom for a **quick** chat 🙂 Sometimes I am firming up the lesson plans for the day. The children are ALWAYS enjoying playing outside during this time.
:: Morning Family Block (8:00 – 9:30)
Ok – another confession – my times are ishy! lol! So, when I say “8:00” please read, “8:00-ish” 🙂 More elbow room! If I’m reading a book to my little fella at 8:00, you better believe I don’t hop up and say, “ok, enough of that, time to move on to our next thing!” My day has more of a rhythm and less of a rule. Does that seem contradictory? It all goes back to that quote in Colossians…love binds all in harmony.
- Morning basket of work. I reserve the first hour of our learning time as together time. These are things we all do together. I have students from 8th grade down to preschool/Kindergarten-ish age. I gather all my resources into a large basket (hence the name) so it’s all kept together. We begin with morning prayers and devotions and a bit of reading about the liturgical day. I like reading from A Year in Faith and Art. (Updated Morning Basket post)
:: Learning Blocks (9:30 – 11:30)
My older students are now independent learners. It’s so important to set up good habits of obedience and attention when the children are little because if you do, the older child will move along those rails on their own! That means that I write lesson plans for older children and they follow them, with little or no direction from me. This frees me to work with my little people to build those good habits (see above comment about building habits)!
Most days, the lesson plans are completed as written, but there are some days I make room for rabbit trails. And, nothing is really ever without interruption here…so I anticipate as much as I can and try to be patient and gentle with the rest. Love binds everything in harmony.
So that you have an example of what the older children do during the day, please check out The Paper Stuff
and all of the pages under that index page.
:: Lunch and Angelus (11:30 – 1:00)
From 11:30 to 12:00 we quick tidy our spaces, swishing toys and objects into place (explanation of the quick tidy on this post
– scroll down a bit). The Angelus
is a short prayer at noon and lunch follows afterward. We clean up the kitchen together. Everyone has a job – everyone! If there is any free time after clean-up it is used for playing. I’m usually swishing laundry in the wash, out of the dryer, and starting my dinner.
:: Learning Blocks (1:00 – 3:00-ish)
Again, older children work independently, but this afternoon time is when we get to interact more because littler people enjoy mandatory quiet time. (Do you do this? Enforce quiet time in your home? You should! You really should!) During the afternoon quiet time, I like to listen to narrations, do dictations with older students, and have discussions. If I need a relatively quiet time to interact with a child, this afternoon time is as good as it gets!
:: Afternoon Time (4:00 – 6:00-ish)
We ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS end our lessons and begin a period of free time with a quick swish through the house and a quick tidy. It leaves the learning spaces fresh for the next day, and makes the home pleasing for daddy who will arrive home shortly. Quick tidies never take more than 15 minutes of time. After quick tidy the children have some free time, though some help me with dinner prep. I bounce between dinner prep, laundry, and baby/toddler. On the rare day that my dinner is almost completely put together by this point, laundry is caught up and humming along, and the littles are napping, I might catch up on emails, watch an episode of the Barefoot Contessa
, read something delightful, or look at something online. Rob is usually home at this point so his agenda is on my radar as well!
:: Evening Time (6:00 – 8:00-ish)
There’s dinner and clean-up during this time – hopefully closer to 6 than 8! We try to have family read aloud time (though we haven’t read anything lately – I need to begin again!), and family rosary is the last event of the evening. Bedtime is generally around 8, but again ishy – more reading aloud. Older children read in their rooms. Younger children pester older children while they are reading.
:: The Remains of the Day (8:00 – 10:00-ish)
🙂 Here’s where Rob and I finally catch up with each other. We might have a conversation together about something I’m fairly busting to talk about (without the presence of little ears)! Sometimes he watches something on tv, whilst I have some computer time or read a book, or sometimes lately there are dueling laptops. 🙂 Many evenings we set aside this time for our “date night”, watching a movie together while sipping a glass of wine! I love the remains of the day with my guy!
That’s it. It’s off to bed and start all over again the next day. This is a fairly typical day. It doesn’t account for trips out of the home which I am very guarded about during school hours. The only exception being Monday morning Mass. Sometimes after Mass we stop at the market for the week’s groceries, grab a treat for lunch and then start the day from there.
I hope this helps, Jamie! I’m not perfect, nor am I perfectly organized! I am learning that order, obedience, and service can all be acts of LOVE expressed in my vocation. It gives me great joy to find ways to faithfully live my vocation while offering all to Our Lord. The Holy Family, and Our Lady in particular offer me a great example of service with joy. All their efforts, all the little parts of the day, every thought and action was focused on living God’s will and embracing the Divine Child.
For some, the routine I live is far too structured, others may find way too much wiggle room in it. 🙂 We’re each unique, and God gives us each unique talents for living out our vocations and our days. Focus on God’s will for your family and keep your eyes on HIM. Don’t ever allow an idea here or anywhere to cripple you. Reflect on ideas you find inspirational and then offer it to God. He’ll let you know exactly what to do with it. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!!!
I pray your days are lovely, filled with expressions of love, and that this little glimpse into my day has been helpful.