Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Schedules - friend or foe?

I'll admit, I have a love/hate relationship with schedules.

On the one hand they work so well.  We put all our babies on feeding/sleeping schedules and they slept through the night by 8 weeks old and have continued to be happy, well adjusted, smart, well rested children ever since.

Yet, I also prickle at them.  I want spontaneity, surprise, freedom.  What can I really accomplish in a half hours time when I try to follow a strict routine anyway?


That's what I've discovered really works for our family.  We do need structure - God is NOT the God of chaos.  His creation is all about design - order if you will.

However, His creation is also full of variety.  Hence, our lives should reflect a bit of that too.

I don't have to have the exact same menu each week, the same precise order of events.  But, I do need a plan.

Just an example of an average menu
In our house, a menu is pivotal.  We live a good 30 miles from the nearest real grocery store; a 'fly by the seat of my pants' approach to meals is just not going to cut it.  Hence, I write out a menu for the week with each meal represented.  I think the kids like this. It gives them a heads up as to what's on deck for their nutrition each day.

A written schedule of chores has also made life run more smoothly.  I tried the approach of every 1/2 hour being mapped out.  For our family, that was too restrictive.  If something didn't get done, we felt behind. Stress and anxiety prevailed.

Our chores schedule - posted on a wall for all to see

Our current schedule is broken down into two components.   A daily chores/activities section with approximate times the tasks should be accomplished.

 >Walk the dog after breakfast, sweep the floor after lunch, start school by 9 am - you get the idea.< 

The second sheet lists the days of the week and more elaborate chores that should be accomplished before dinner on that given day.

All the children and I have to do is look at the wall, see what's expected for that day, and make sure it gets accomplished.  It's freed me up from recalling what task has or hasn't been completed for the week as well as the constant nagging of the children to complete xyz. It's also given the kiddos more ownership over their responsibilities.

In summary:   Overall, I would consider a schedule to be my friend, but if I let it become my master - controlling every move I make, it quickly turns into my foe.  Balancing that line between chaos and robotic, using the faculties God has given me, is where I aspire to land.

What sort of schedules work for you?  Or are you strictly an 'as the mood strikes' sorta person?  I'd love to hear what works for others.  I'm always trying to tweak ours and find new ways to oil the wheels of life.

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