Some have called me Super Woman. But truthfully, I’m not. And I never feel like Super Woman no matter how hard I aspire to be her.
With two tinies zooming around the house and unpacking everything I’ve picked up or following me at my heels and grasping at my pant legs, life is pretty crazy.
I don’t do crazy. I do routine and control.
Raising children counters both of the above. Children defy adult ideas of routine and control. And the only routine they like is theirs. Dare you break the routine of Daddy making tea to sit and drink on the stairs then a meltdown will ensue. Dare you give her leftovers for lunch instead of peanut butter on bread, a fuss will be made. But try and create a routine…
That said, I have found that if there is some structure to my day, especially during lockdown, has made a huge difference to me. I manage to get to some housework each day; I get supper on the table before 5:30 pm and the kitchen is clean and dishes are washed before I retire to my room each night. I try to plan something structured to do with my toddler each day. And I manage to get in a quiet time 99% of the time.
I thought I would share my daily schedule with you and hopefully, it will help you to manage more in the day.
My aim each day is to get up at 5 am. It doesn’t always work that way, but I am generally up before half past. This is the time I read my Bible. I’ll have a cup of tea and sit down to read for about half an hour to 45 mins.
My girls wake up during this time but they are not allowed out of their rooms until 6 am. The baby gurgles to herself in her cot. If she’s niggly, I might put some books in with her. The toddler will come out and ask for books. If it’s before 5:30 am, she has to go back to bed and lie down. At 5:30 am, I give my two-year-old some books and, generally, she is content to read on her bed because this has been something we’ve done since she was little and in a cot herself.
I go out for a walk. This is my time to pray. I find it easier to pray without any distractions! I have no housework glaring at me. I get some fresh air and some quiet time on my own before the day begins. This walk is not long. I put on a timer for 7-10 minutes. When the timer goes off, I turn around halfway up the road and walk back home. It’s better than not getting any exercise at all and it’s good to breathe in crisp, morning air.
I get the girls dressed before I go down to get breakfast started. We sometimes all have different things. I do not like porridge. I avoid it if I can. So I make myself an egg on toast. We try to have pretty inexpensive breakfasts. I make the girls oats at the moment. They used to eat porridge but after having it for months on end, they both got over it. My husband is gluten-intolerant. He can’t have oats or toast. So he has porridge. This means it takes about 15 minutes to sort out breakfast. My girls potter around upstairs while my husband gets dressed. They are capable of entertaining themselves. Sometimes fights break out but he’s there to handle things. I whistle from the bottom of the stairs and everyone comes down and we eat together. It works well.
I make the most of this time! The girls are happy and cheerful. They are awake and tummies are full. Fights for the day have not accumulated. So this is the time I do some housework. I clean in zones. I will speak more about this next week. But this really helps because I don’t face a mammoth task! I take housework in bite-size chunks. It takes me about 30-40 minutes to do the housework for the day. Then, before 8/8:30 am, I can check it off my list for the day! I can’t tell you how great that feeling is! It makes me motivated for the day!
Around 8 am, we brush teeth, do hair and sometimes have an extra nappy change. Then comes one of my most anticipated times in the day. Independent play (see my post on Independent Play) and nap time. While the toddler plays by herself for 50 minutes and the baby naps, I have just under an hour to do something I want to do uninterrupted. I use this time to be productive as my brain functions at a higher level now than the rest of the day. I usually settle down with a cup of tea and try to write blog posts. But I have to sit down quickly because, before I know it, time is up!
The baby is awake and the toddler has finished her play time. At this point, we tidy the toddler’s room because after 50 minutes by herself, there has been a toy explosion! After that, we sometimes try to have some structured “learning time”. We try (most days it doesn’t work out) to spend some time on a particular skill or concept – new colour/shape/theme for the week. We then go downstairs and have a snack and water or tea. Then, it’s time to play outside. I go between outside and inside. We are blessed in that we have a big garden, jungle gym, sandpit and trampoline! There is lots to entertain them. And, we have friends living on the property which means a buddy to play with! During this time, I hang up washing and watch the kids. Sometimes I waste time doing nothing I can account for too!
I get lunch ready. We have the same thing every day! Peanut butter on bread, toast or a sandwich. I let them eat by themselves and I eat between the kitchen and the dining room (I can see them from the kitchen). During this time, I try to get started on supper, clean up a bit or wash some dishes. On a Thursday, I dust and wipe surfaces downstairs (my husband will vacuum and mop later). The afternoon is a complete write-off. The kids are grisly if I don’t pay attention to them and become whiny shadows following me around. I have tried to make dinner in the afternoon but my patience wears thin and so does theirs!
Rest time for everyone! Yay! This is a mandatory part of the day regardless of whether anyone sleeps. The girls have to be in their room until 2 pm. The toddler can only come out earlier if she’s had a sleep. The baby comes out if she’s really distressed (seldom happens) or if she wakes up before 2 pm (often happens). I use this time to have another cup of hot tea and generally waste time on social media. Ridiculous because I could be doing something a little more beneficial such as read a book or blog some more or sleep. Sometimes I do those things. I need to make more of a habit and be a little more careful with my down time!
Everyone is up and the baby will often want a feed. We generally have some more tea and then do very little for the next two hours. We play outside or potter around upstairs. I sometimes attempt to fold washing but when I sit on the floor, I often become a human jungle gym.
I start to put a more concerted effort into making supper. At the moment, my husband knocks off for the day around this time so he will relieve me so I can make dinner in peace. (He was in a meeting the other day and I suddenly remembered why this time of the day was called “the witching hour” or “arsenic hour”!)
I try to have dinner on the table for ratty, hungry, tired children by this stage. If I don’t, we’ll hear about it! I remember when I used to see a family of four eat at this time and it mystified me that one could eat so early. I only started thinking about dinner at this stage! We eat as a family. Honestly, meal times stress me out. Especially dinner. I don’t like mess and the baby will always feed herself at supper time. (My husband has taken to sitting next to her so I don’t have to be on the frontline of spaghetti bolognaise in hair and on the floor!) It’s like pulling teeth to get the toddler to eat! She picks like a bird and, although she eats pretty much whatever we put in front of her, she could be done after a taste of supper! Not my favourite time!
We then give the girls a much needed bath and clean off any greasy mince, hair caked in peanut butter from lunch and a nappy full on sandpit sand. They play together for a bit and then we each bath a child or one washes the kiddies and the other changes the baby. In between all of this, I pick out clothes for the girls to wear the next day and set them out. We then brush teeth. After that, it’s story time, Bible story and milk for the baby with me. The toddler does a quick clean up if there are still toys on the floor in her room with Daddy. He then reads a story of her choice and a Bible story to her. By this time, the baby is down and I join the other two. We say goodnight to the toddler and Daddy (favourite person at the moment) sings to her.
I make my way downstairs with little enthusiasm to clean the kitchen and dining room. I wipe down the high chair and the toddler’s place mat. I then get going on the dishes from the day. My husband soon joins me and wipes down the counters. We’ve started a new tradition since lockdown and I love it! Because I wash dishes faster than he does, he’ll pull out a book that we’re reading together (we’re currently reading a marriage book and a book on teen sexting simultaneously!). It’s been so lovely to have him downstairs with me and it doesn’t feel tedious to wash dishes (probably one of my worst chores) while I listen to him read aloud. (And yes, this is what we’re reading at the moment for his organisation that fights porn. Check it out here – Break Free)
Yes, I waste more time on my phone – posting or scrolling through Instagram and messaging people. Then we bath and settle down to have some chill time before bed. We are trying to be a little more purposeful each night rather than messing around until bedtime finding that we’ve done nothing other than sit on our phones. So we are going to try working online on Mondays (me on my blog and he on Break Free – his organisation fighting pornography), Tuesdays – time together to discuss things, Wednesdays – own projects, Thursdays – housework, Fridays – movie night with our toddler, Saturdays – date night, Sundays – read together. (And that is my food-baby tummy not a preggie tummy!)
Bedtime! At least that’s the theory! Sometimes we get caught up in the world of YouTube. Other times, I’ve fallen asleep with the light on. But regardless, we go to bed at the same time. Only when we’re working on something does one go to bed before the other – it’s seldom.
So there you have it! That’s our day! Hope this helped you in some way! Let me know!
Photo Credit: Bich TranTags: bath, bath time, bed, Bible, blog, break free, breakfast, brush teeth, children, chill, chores, clean, cleaning, clothes, daily, daily routine, day, dinner, dishes, eat, get dressed, housework, independent play, inside, kids, kitchen, learn, learning, lunch, nap, nap time, outside, plan, planner, play, quiet time, read, read aloud, rest, rest time, routine, schedule, sleep, snack, story story time, structure, supper, tidy, tidy up, wake up, washing