Monday, April 30, 2007

"There are timetable things everywhere!"

Indeed there are, Angel. Indeed there are!

Most unusually, yesterday was a free day for us. We went to Mass on Saturday night in anticipation of doing something yesterday that didn't happen, and Angel and I decided to miss our brass band rehearsal as we were tired.

So I spent the day getting organised. This past week I finally realised why I keep feeling as though I am wading through glue. Doing anything with a high maintenance eleven month old baby is like driving across the Alps - you have to assume it will take at least twice as long as you expect. I'm a slow learner, but I get there eventually. Faced with this realisation I picked A Mother's Rule of Life by Holly Pierlot off the shelf to browse through in search of inspiration.

While I know I will never manage to fully implement a Rule in the way she recommends, I did find myself inspired to put things on paper, trying to work out a routine that will allow me to fit in everything necessary without that paddling like fury feeling. I now have copies of the following in a nice neat binder and displayed in the kitchen ...

  • Daily schedule for all five of us, in half hour increments. Yep. Even Little Cherub has a schedule (along the lines of "with Mum", "with Dad", "with Angel", and a slightly optimistic "nap")
  • Weekly schedule, in morning, afternoon and evening blocks
  • Evening schedule of who does what when and who drives them. Again even Little Cherub is included ("go with Dad to take Angel to dance" for example). This schedule alone made me realise why my brain was hurting trying to remember everything - and why one child ... ahem! ... got forgotten at dance one day.
  • Schoolwork and daytime activities for this week
  • Menu plan for this week
  • Basic weekly housework task list
Now, I am not by nature a "schedule every half hour" person, but I found it a surprisingly useful exercise. Drawing up a detailed schedule allowed me to see just what was realistic, and how to overcome the logistical problems in my day. Today I put the schedule to the test, and had the calmest, most orderly day we have had for longer than I care to remember (at least until Star had a five star bedtime meltdown).

I noticed that two things made a very big difference. Firstly, I was focused on what I should be doing at any given time and didn't let myself get distracted by what I wanted to be doing. Secondly, I had a couple of planned times to get on with practical tasks while someone else was responsible for Little Cherub, which meant the amount I could do increased exponentially.

Will it last? Watch this space!

1 comment:

Pixilated Mum said...

All right. I'm delurking. Hi. I'm Maria, and I read your blog regularly. (waving hello)

I just implemented a household schedule, too. It took me a while to get it done --- first the master schedule detailing what to be done in every room --- and then figuring out how to manage the whole thing in increments that would not drive me insane. It's been about a week, and I promise you, I feel so much more in charge of my house. It can get a little nutty what with three children and homeschooling them and then just Life, but a schedule makes an extraordinary difference, methinks.