There is no doubt about it, running a home is complicated, and when you add in a partner, children, pets, homeschooling, work, gardens and working animals it can sometimes seem like you're out of control. I have no magic wand that will fix this for everyone - I get a lot of emails asking about routines - but the intention of this post is to show that we all have a full and busy lives, to give you a few resources to research for your particular lifestyle and to, hopefully, gain some inspiration by reading how we all construct our days.
I guess the thing that makes the biggest difference is babies or young children. When you have a baby crying for a feed or a cuddle, everything stops. Toddlers need a lot of supervision and play time with mum or dad. If you have babies, toddlers or young children under school age, you'll already know that you can have a routine, but it's often changed according to what the children are doing.
Many women also fit their lives around their partner. Meals are usually structured so that everyone eats when Dad comes home and often women get up early so they can have time alone with their husband before he goes off to work. Others make time during their day to talk on the phone. This often happens when the husband works away and there are frequent short phone calls to discuss various family and household matters, as well as that special time when the wife and husband have some alone time on the phone and dad talks to the kids and makes sure they're ok and they know he misses them.
Then come the pets and working animals - they all have to be fed and tended to. Cats need cuddles, dogs need walking, dairy cows and goats need milking - often twice a day, and there are eggs to collect and chook pens to clean. And they all need to be fed and watered.
Many of us have gardens that need watering and weeding and hopefully there are vegetables and fruit to be picked each day. But that only comes if the garden has been looked after and time spent planning, sowing, planting, digging, raking, staking, composting, fertilising and mulching.
Add to these common elements things like grocery shopping, cooking, baking, preserving, sewing, crafts and hobbies, reading, talking to your children and other members of the family, friends, exercise, work outside the home, volunteer work, homeschooling, cleaning, driving children around, and all the other things that fill our lives on a day to day basis, and you can see why we sometimes feel frazzled and burnt out.
Changing your attitude to housework may help you with your routine. Instead of it being something that must be done, that you don't want to do, and will have to be done again tomorrow, think of it as making your home comfortable for your family and yourself. Housework is just one of the many things we all do in our day, think of it as fluffing your nest and making your home the one place in the world where you feel comfortable and enjoy being. Be mindful of your tasks, take breaks and we proud of what you've achieved, even if you didn't finish all you set out to do. Think also of the alternative - if you did no housework, would you enjoy living in the environment that would create. Would you like to live in a dirty house, where you had no idea where anything was? You do housework for your family and yourself to help you all live to your full potential. If you can work out a general routine that suits you, adding the special jobs as they need doing each day, you'll probably find that the organisation of it will make it easier to get through.
My tip, the thing that works for me, is to have a loose routine that is almost always the same, but every morning I make a list for myself of what I'll do that day. Yesterday my list was this:
- clean laundry
- spray seasol on aquaponics plants
- start aquaponics article
- start aprons
These things were done along with my regular chores. I find that now I have time to do as I wish, making a list each day allows me to think about my day before it starts properly, I can schedule chores according to my energy level that day and I can slot in things not done on the previous day or other bits and pieces that come up.
Be mindful of what you're doing, do one thing at a time and listen to the sounds of your home. This will help you concentrate on your tasks. If you have young children at home, you will be teaching them simply by carrying out your daily tasks, be a good role model and show the positive side of homemaking. And remember, everyone's routine will be different, things don't have to be perfect, they just have to work for you and your family.
This is what I did yesterday:
4am - woke up, showered, clean teeth.
4.20 - 7am - tended blog, answer emails.
7am - feed dogs, cat and fish, one load of washing, made breakfast for Hanno and I, ate breakfast and watched the news.
7.30am - make bread and wash up.
8am - make bed and lightly clean the bathroom.
8.15 - 9.00 - hang out washing, check garden, water plants, spray plants with Seasol, tie up tomatoes, pick and eat blueberries and talk to fish.
9am computer - writing and blog, bake bread.
10am morning tea with Hanno on front verandah.
10.30 - clean laundry.
11.00 start writing aquaponics article for magazine.
1.00 start work on my swap aprons and check blog throughout the afternoon.
3.00 sweep front verandah and organise pot plants, cup of tea.
4.00 garden and pick food for dinner.
5.00 make dinner - tuna cakes, potato salad, bean salad and corn on the cob.
6.00 eat dinner, clean kitchen, talk to dogs.
7.00 bed, read for an hour or two and go to sleep.
From Myra in Pittsburg
I get up aroung 7:15am
Feed my animal companions
Catch the bus/trolly to town for work
Work as a legal secretary from 8:30 to 5:00
Catch the bus/trolly home
Either prepare and eat dinner or eat if my son has it prepared
Catch up on blog/net reading
Do what needs to be done that day such as pay bills, laundry etc.
Go to bed and read about an hour
Go to sleep
From Sandra in the USA
get up with the alarm clock around 6a or so
start coffee read newspaper
do a little housework - laundry, dishes, whatever
check out eyebrows
get dressed pick up around the house a little get packed lunch out of fridge drive to work while listening to NPR
look at the river as I walk across the bridge from the parking garage
speak to all my co workers
check my email throughout the day while doing my job as a nurse manager
punch out at the end of the workday
drive home start dinner unload dishwasher
take out trash and compost material
seat dinner with hubby
straighten up kitchen pack lunch for next day
check email, read blogs
write in blog
knit get ready for bed
read in bed a while
check clock sleep - maybe getting up once to go to bathroom
wake up and have another beautiful day
From Mary in Amarillo Texas
5:00 I wake up and have my quiet time and Bible study
6:00 shower and get dressed
6:45 make breakfast
7:00 my youngest three darlings wake up ready to eat (our 3 older children are grown and gone)
7:30 get children dressed, beds made, and bedrooms straightened
8:00 I clean the kitchen and we pick up, dust, clean bathrooms, etc.9:00 homeschool begins for our 2 kindergarteners
10:00 homeschool ends, the children are free to play while I read the newspaper and check emails
11:00 2-3 mornings a week we run any necessary errands
12:30 rest time and reading
1:30 - 3:30 Sewing time for me, outdoor play time for children
3:30 afternoon chores - sweeping patios, feeding the dog, fish, etc..
4:30 I begin preparing our evening meal
5:30 we eat a wonderful family meal together
6:00 game time, book time, riding bikes, etc.
7:00 bath time
8:00 bed time for the little ones
8:30 - 10:00 check emails, read, sew, etc.
From Polly in Oz
5.00 – Get up and make K’s lunch and our breakfast, wash the dishes and tidy the kitchen
6.00 – Internet to read ALS and blogs for an hour – I also boot up the computer every now and then during the day to check emails and forums.
7.00 – Wash and dress, quick clean of the bathroom and toilet, sort washing and do a load if there is a full load, make bed and tidy bedroom
8.00 – Empty collected water from kitchen sink, bathroom basin and shower onto pot plants or garden. Wash dogs’ bowls and play with the dogs for a short time. Hang washing on the line
9.00 – Sweep the floors and wash floor in kitchen area, talk to my sister on the telephone because she has a week off work and time to spare. She also has a phone plan that allows for a long conversation at a cheap price so we make the most of it while both having an early morning tea.
10.00 – Check the vegetable garden. Pick most of the lemons on my little Meyer lemon tree. Make up three jars of preserved lemons and freeze the juice from the rest of the lemons11.30 – Do some knitting
12.00 – Have some lunch and read for a while
1.00 – Get the bread maker started on the dough for a loaf. Make a kidney bean spread and a batch of biscuits for lunches
2.00 – Pay some bills on the computer, read emails and a couple of forums
3.00 – Do the ironing and some mending
4.30 – Have a cup of coffee and knit. Talk to my DIL on the telephone
5.30 – Feed the dogs. Pick some artichokes then prepare and cook them ready for pizza tomorrow night.
6-00 – Prepare ingredients for dinner while I watch some TV – interrupted by my sister again – she’s a great talker J
7-00 – Cook dinner while watching the news
7.30 – Eat dinner as soon as K is home, then do the dishes and clean the kitchen
8.30 – Get ready for bed, read for a little while, asleep by 9.00pm
From Niki in Ottawa Canada
Wake up 6:30 ishcoffee
cooking and baking for the day
kitchen clean up
house cleaning, different areas on different days on good days a little walk
by now it is mid to late afternoon
I usually read, or do some handwork
any last minute supper prep
supper with family
clean kitchen with family
TV books movies games computer time something like that for the evening
bed by 10 - 10:30
From Jessica Chapman in the USA
6am- Get up/Get dressed
6.30- Make coffee/and lunches/and breakfast
6.40- Get baby up, dressed and breakfast
6.45- Leave House
6.45-7.15- Drive to work
7.15-8.30- Office Hours In Classroom/Planning Time
8.30-9.30- First Class Period- Teach 6th Grade
9.30-10.30- Second Class Period- Teach 7th Grade
10.30-11.30- Third Class Period- Teach 8th Grade, First Rotation
11.30-12.00-Teach Fifth Period Reading Class, Round one.
12.30-1.00-Teach Fifth Period Reading Class, Round two.
1.00-2.00-Sixth Class Period- Teach 8th Grade, Second Rotation
2.00-3.00- Meetings, Administrative work, Work in classroom.
3.00-3.30-Drive to son's daycare, pick him up
3.30-4.00-Errands, Drive home
4.00-4.15-Afternoon Snack and Tea
4.15-5.00-Hang out with Camden :)
6.30-6.45 - Clean up from dinner, Give baby a bath (husband and I switch off one for the other).
6.45-7.00-Story time, Dancing time with baby
7.00-Baby goes to bed
7.00-8.00- Computer time, my bath time.
8.00-10.00- My "me" time-- TV, Crafts, Whatever I want to do!
There are many more to follow. I'll post them after breakfast, I can smell toast cooking. : )