Reader feedback is so important to me which is why I do polls every January to help me plan out posts for the year. From the polls I did on Instastories a few weeks ago it became clear that there is a hunger for more motherhood content, both practical tips and meaningful wisdom. So I’m excited to start a new Motherhood Q&A series to tag along with my Motherhood Mondays series on Instastories. Every Monday there will be some motherhood content on one of the DoSayGive channels: blog, Instagram, or Facebook.
I don’t know about you but I love to pick the brains of other moms, especially those who are a few steps ahead of me in the parenting journey. I like to ask how they do certain things in their home or how they figured out a common parenting issue. So this series is not because I have all the answers to motherhood, but rather to encourage, inspire, or help fellow moms in some way. I want to pay it forward because I have been richly blessed by the wisdom of other moms.
Since we just entered a new year I decided to answer some of the reader questions I received related to routines and organization.
Q: How do you not get overwhelmed with the day to day? Do you have a weekly prep?
For me, and probably because I have school-aged children, it’s more of one big “semester” prep that helps me not get so overwhelmed. Over the recent Christmas break I did a major editing of the home, organized the family google calendar for the spring (I have a sub-calendar for every child to keep track of appointments/activities and share relevant things with my husband so he can add to his calendar), and meal planned for two months. I went through and figured out what meals would work best on what days (crockpot on basketball game days, pizza always on Fridays, etc.).
Sounds ambitious, I know. But one of my goals for the new year is to cook more for my family. Not necessarily fancy, time-intensive meals, just wholesome and satisfying. I have tried before to plan meals by the week, but would lose momentum if I didn’t have time to sit down and plan over the weekend (and end up spending too much on take out!). Because I’ve meal planned for two months I can quickly place my Instacart order on Sunday. That same day I try to wash the produce and chop any veggies for fresh snacks.
In addition to the google calendar, I wrote relevant events (and meals) down on a large paper wall calendar in our kitchen. Tip: If you have children on the anxious side, having a visual calendar for them to see what’s coming up this week really helps. All children feel comforted by routine actually. Even if they can’t read you can use it as a teaching tool and show them with your finger: “Look, in four days we are going to your grandmother’s house…let’s count: one, two, three, four.”
I have found that order and routine make for a less stressed out and pleasant home so I am hoping this two month meal prep plan will work for me. Will keep you posted!
Q: How do you do a day-to-day schedule?
As a young mother I was always in search of the elusive “perfect” schedule. However, with so many therapy and doctor appointments for our second daughter, this was rarely achieved. This forced me, however, to be more easy-going when things weren’t scheduled perfectly according to my plan – somewhat:). My goal is to have a flexible routine. If we get off one day or week, we try to get back to the routine the next.
I love seeing other people’s schedule so here is a typical weekday for us right now:
- 5 am-6:30: I work (and get so much done!)
- 6:30-7:30: Make breakfast, help girls get dressed/do hair if they need help, read the Bible
- 7:30-8:00: My husband usually takes them to school just when Louise is waking up
- 8:00-9:00: Feed Louise and play with her while getting ready:).
- 9:00 – 11:00: Louise naps and I usually work
- 12:00: Pick kindergartener up
- 12:00-3:00: Lunch, play, maybe go to park, Louise takes a shorter nap if she has to go with me to do afternoon pickup or longer nap if my housekeeper is there.
- 3:00-6:00: Pick up girls, give them a snack, then they usually get started on their homework. A few days a week we will have an extracurricular, but we try not to over-schedule too much because I don’t like to be running around after school every afternoon. (But with four children that is hard!) Prepare dinner.
- 6:00: Dinner
- 6:30-7:30: Bath, reading aloud, bedtime. (My oldest stays up later.)
Now our schedule looked quite different before my girls were in school everyday. Back then, it was so tempting for me not to do “all the things” because there are so many good things to do (art classes, music, dance, gymnastics, choir, etc.).
But I heeded the advice of respected moms a few years ahead of me. And now I tell moms of young children the same thing: enjoy the unscheduled time you have with your children because it won’t always be this way. Not that you shouldn’t do any activities but just don’t overdo them.
Yes, the days can be long, but once you get into schools and homework and all the activities, you may wish you had savored a bit more the days when you didn’t have much scheduled (or afternoons if you work outside the home) . When you could take leisurely strolls to the playground at 4:30 or head to the zoo or the Arboretum last minute or been able to read together a lot more.
I will share more on this in an upcoming motherhood Q&A but having plenty of unstructured time not only allowed my children’s imaginations and friendships with each other to blossom, but it provided more opportunities for me to instill to in them good habits, encourage good character and curiosity and really influence them as much I could before they were under the watch of someone else for 8+ hours a day.
Bottom line: I miss those days! I try to give Louise the same types of experiences but things will be a little different for her because she has to go along with her older sister’s schedules. Mornings will be an important time for these things once she drops her morning nap!.
Next week I am going to talk chores and responsibilities so feel subscribe to DoSayGive below so you don’t miss it.
Have a question you want me to answer in an upcoming Motherhood Q&A? Ask in the Comments section below.
Photos: Audrie Dollins