As I have mentioned before, this pregnancy has been a very rough one, making me feel sick almost all of the time. Through all of this, I have had a much harder time focusing on daily tasks, and fully being there for Simon on our days at home together. For a while, I often felt foggy, confused, and…kind of lost. At any given time of day I had no idea what we were supposed to be doing. Simon would ask “When is lunch?” and I would uncertainly answer: “Ummmm, right now?” We had no structure going from day to day, and I felt so much guilt because I know most children, including my own, thrive on routine. During a particularly difficult day over a week ago, I exasperatedly reached for my laptop and googled: “stay-at-home mom schedule”, hoping to find some inspiration that would get me back on track.
I spent some time reading blogs and articles, in which other stay-at-home parents shared their daily schedules, and tips for how they keep going without a boss or a deadline to keep them moving forward. I also reached out on facebook to other parents I know, asking how they structure their days. I got inspired to make a new plan for Simon and I.
One thing I noticed right away was how most others agreed that a rigid plan is a bad idea. The daily routine needs to be in place, but also be very flexible. Children are unpredictable. So is the weather, the budget, and the flow of life. One week might bring freezing rain every day, keeping us inside and unable or unwilling to go on a daily outing. The next week might require a lot of extra errands. I knew whatever plan I came up with could not be too strict or I would become discouraged when, inevitably, I could not keep up with it. It was to be more of a guideline than set in stone. Basically, I needed something to reference on my more foggy-brained days, when Simon asks: “What are we going to do now, Mumma?”
So, I typed out a routine for us to use on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. (The other two days of the week Simon has preschool, and I work at the Library.) Weekends are a toss-up and will change so much that there was no point in scheduling them. (Plus, Jeramy is home on the weekends to help me .) Here is what I came up with:
~7am: Wake up time. Spend the next hour making breakfast, drinking tea, and shaking off sleep. Eat breakfast together at the table.
~8am: Getting dressed for the day. Shower if needed, get myself and Simon dressed, brush teeth.
~9am: Go somewhere, or go outside. Unless the weather really stinks, get out and run errands, have an adventure, or spend some time in the yard.
~11am: Prepare lunch together. Eat together at the table.
~12pm: Time Out. Simon can watch some tv or play quietly. I can use my computer or read. This is a good time for another cup of tea. Also a good time to blog.
~1pm: Activity time. Get out some art supplies, do some puzzles together, create a project, read aloud from our current chapter book.
~2pm: Time for a healthy, energizing snack. Smoothies, fruit, nuts, popcorn, etc. An afternoon pick-me-up. Enjoy the snack out on the deck if it is nice.
~2:15pm: Pick up time. Do some clean-up around the house. Put on some music, throw in a load of dishes or laundry, and do the chores that need to be done that day.
~3:30pm: Daddy is home. Depending on the day, different things may happen: family errands, Daddy and Simon playtime, Mumma working an evening shift, etc. Start prepping dinner.
~5pm: Dinner. Eat early because Simon goes to bed early.
~6pm: Pick up time. Simon picks up toys he has taken out. Mumma and Daddy pick up after supper. Tidy things up before bedtime.
~6:30pm: Start Simon’s bedtime routine: pajamas, brush teeth, sip of water, bedtime story, lullabies, tuck in.
~7pm: Mumma and Daddy can collapse on the couch.
Last week was our first week with this routine. We have not yet fully conformed to it. One day Simon slept in late so everything was pushed back and we ended up skipping a few parts of the routine. On another day we ended up on a much longer outing than I had expected, and didn’t get back home until late afternoon. Today, we spent most of our morning reading books together, because it was too cold and windy for us to go anywhere. However, we have followed the schedule part-time. When I am not sure what to do next, I can simply glance at the clock and the schedule posted on the fridge, and feel reassured. I have been more productive and more present for my son. For this, I am thankful.