We talked a couple days ago what we’re doing to make our homeschool year more… well… educational this year, but I totally left something out.
We did a couple weeks of a daily checklist for the kids. Get up. Have breakfast. Clean rooms. Do school. Free time. (It’s clearly a super exciting list.)
It worked great. When I have a list to keep me on track, I can tick on through the day and get all the things done.
But there was something vital I missed.
I spent so much of each day chugging through their list that I neglected all the other whole categories of things that need to happen in a functioning and happy house.
I realized after about two weeks that I felt terrible and the house had gone pretty much to pot.
The solution to this was another checklist. (Duh!) I’m not as obsessed with checklists as I sound, but they’ve proven useful, so I made one for me. It had all the little routine items that I used to do (back before Lilly was born) to keep things running smoothly. (Well, as smoothly as a house full of tiny humans can run.)
I reinstated things like a daily load of laundry and cleaning the kitchen each night. I came up with a rough draft of a weekly rotation of chores. (Do the bathrooms on Monday. Change sheets on Thursday… That sort of thing. Again, very exciting.)
This isn’t really a list of new things to do, just an ordering of the things I already have to complete. I find that assigning them space helps me get all the things done with more focus and less stress. Also, if a thing doesn’t get done when it’s supposed to, that’s okay. It’ll come back around.
Just as importantly, “self care” got its own legit check box. Every day.
And, because I frequently fudge on stuff like that (“‘Self-care’… okey dokey. I went to the bathroom by myself, that counts, right? CHECK.”), I also have a list of options to choose from. Read for 15 minutes. Find five minutes of silence. Write. Create. Learn something. Move.
(The girls’ corresponding box reads “free time,” but what it means is “Netflix.”)
I remember reading Lisa Byrne’s words, “Self care isn’t ‘me first,’ it’s ‘me too.'” I don’t prioritize self care above my family or even above mundane housework, but it at least gets a place. Refining this idea further is my friend Jenn, who brilliantly divided self-care into a few distinct (and necessary) categories.
The way my home runs does not at all resemble clockwork, but it’s no longer chaos and I’m a lot less stressed out in general, which means we’re all a bit calmer. I’m even starting to notice how much I enjoy teaching (and learning with) my kids.
How about you? Are there things that you need to add back into your day to bring back some order or vitality?