Last Wednesday, I posted a simple weekly schedule that helped me when I did not work outside the home. It doesn't resemble ANYTHING like what I live with today. With just one (low-maintenance) child left at home, life looks a whole lot different than it did even two years ago. While the heavy duty years of diapering and homework-helping are behind me, our family business has required more of me than I would like, and I now pretty much have to fly by the seat of my pants.
My schedule changes from day to day. I might be up on ladders on a job-site one day, and then in day-long business meetings the next. Sometimes I drive all over the Dallas/Ft.Worth area, and sometimes I am home in my sweats in front of the computer. I've tried to organize my days, but a truthfully, a systematic weekly schedule doesn't work for me right now.
Since statistics show that most women work full or part-time, this week's sample schedule might be more helpful. It is really very simple, and maybe it will work for you. Make a blank 7-Day table, like my example below.
1. Start by plugging in your work schedule. If you are a nurse or work odd shifts, you might have two or three sample schedules that you could make, depending on your week.
2. Write in standing commitments: church, sports, date night (ha!).
3. Swallow hard, but press on.
4. This is where it gets interesting. Think: how many loads of laundry does it take to keep your family operational? 5? 10? Chances are you will need to split up that job thoughout the week, or enlist help from the able bodies who are slumped in front of the video games. It can be ugly, but you are taking control.
5. Ask yourself: how clean does my house need to be, really? Do I need 6 hours on Saturday to clean, or can it be done a little at a time each evening?
6. Grocery shopping for my family takes me a minimum of 2 hours, start to finish. It has to go somewhere. Some moms hit Walmart at 10 pm and I admire that. Ya'll are made a tougher stuff than me. Pick a time and try to stick to it, if possible, so you aren't going every night.
7. Will Saturday work as your clean/shop/sports and entertainment day? Or do you need Sunday afternoons to get some of that done?
8. Notice I have "Min. Maint." typed in each day. Girls, hear me now and believe me later, this is the single best thing a working or "non-working" woman can do. You need to get your kids to pitch in for 5 minutes each day to pick up the messes everyone has had a hand in creating. Let your family know how much you appreciate their help, even the grumpy help.
9. I've left this sample schedule fairly blank on purpose. I just want you to get the idea, without over-complicating it. I think when you start putting your family activities and responsibilities on paper, you'll be amazed by all you are already doing! Give yourself a pat on the back.
10. Eliminate, eliminate. You don't need to be Room Mom, even though you are really good at it. You don't need to be on the Search Committee at church, an Awana leader AND have your kids in Future Problem Solvers. Ay, ay, ay! Learn to discuss activities and see how they will affect your family BEFORE you commit. Seriously put everything on the table, and start making some choices. Most of us choose to be busier than we have to be, and our families suffer for it.
Final thought, from one Type T (tired) Mom to another. There are many days that I feel defeated. Maybe I've tried to do more than humanly possible, or I've forgotten some important thing. Sometimes there is just a feeling that something is missing. To combat that, I ask myself: What does this child need most right now? What does my man need most right now? What small thing can I do that will make a difference in this day?
Often it is the extra five minutes spent staring into the darkness, listening to a child talk about his day before closing his eyes, that makes that pile of undone things seem less important. OK, so the troops might have to dig for undies tomorrow, but if you got to talk, got to listen, got to see those precious faces light up when you remembered to be silly with them, then you know you're going in the right direction. And that's what it's really all about.
For more Works For Me Wednesday Tips, see Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.