I had a lot of ideas of how I wanted this summer to be as the school year was winding down. I also knew that it would be a summer of transition due to the fact that we had just bought a house. In the first couple of weeks of summer, I could see which ideas of mine would work, which would not and got a basic idea of what our weeks would look like.
Don’t get me wrong, I was really excited to have all three of my kids home with me, but also, the thought of many, many long hot days ahead of me was a bit overwhelming. Because here in Texas, once July hits, basically the only thing one can do outside is swim. And even packing up and going in the car somewhere is sometimes unappealing due to the fact that going out in the heat is a requirement.
So one of the first things I did was make up a summer schedule. It is not incredibly detailed but it sets out blocks of time for specific activities each day. That way, if we don’t have predetermined activities already, we can loosely follow schedule and feel like a productive day was had by all (mostly). When I first introduced this, my child who attaches most to routines insisted we follow the schedule exactly. But eventually, she relaxed a bit and now there is not a big commotion if we don’t fit in something during the day.
To make our schedule, I wrote down the activities I wanted to happen each day and fit them in. We’re not perfect at this. Some days we follow the schedule exactly, some days we are out of the house all day so the schedule doesn’t really apply, and some days we just throw the schedule out the window and hang out in our pajamas all day. And we are swimming probably at least four out of five days during the week these days. But just knowing the schedule is there gives me piece of mind. It took me about fifteen minutes to make this schedule. Sometimes, it is better for me to finish a project, then worry about making it cute (though I love me some cute things).
My next post is going to be all about our quiet time. This part of the day is critical for me. As a mostly introverted person, this time is so needed for me to recharge and check a couple things off my own to do list so that I feel refreshed and reenergized to focus on my kiddos for the rest of the day. So stay tuned!
Well, it has been a long time! Much longer than I planned, but sometimes you just have to prioritize and many other things took a higher priority. We bought a house, moved and have been unpacking and organizing. We’ve been working on getting our home and “new” life organized. I started teaching online in the early morning hours about six months ago and it took several months to feel like it was a “natural” part of my day. But I am there now and it feels great!
I’ve been so grateful that these transitions happened over the summer. It has been so nice to not really have any other obligations except for getting my home, family and life in order. Me being the perfectionist I am though, sometimes it is overwhelming when I can’t have everything I want it right away. It gives me some anxiety if I start thinking of things as one whole, but I often feel like if everything isn’t working, then nothing is working.
With this fresh start of a new home and, let’s be honest, the realization that all of my decorating and organizing projects and visions will not occur in one weekend, I’ve taken a new approach. I’m working on making “spaces” in my everyday life. I try to compartmentalize my day, my projects, my goals, so that everything is more manageable, not one huge project starting me in the face. Here are a few ways I’m working on that:
- Finishing smaller projects more quickly than large ones. It is satisfying to walk into a room and have even one small spot that feels “finished” instead of a whole house of “unfinished”. This little “space” of finished gives me patience in the other “unfinished” spaces. This one in our master bedroom just makes me smile and it gives me encouragement to keep working on the neverending project list.
- Creating a daily schedule. I was excited for summer, but I’ll be honest, three months of long, hot days seemed a little…stressful when I first started to think about them. So I wrote out a simple summer schedule that has made these summer days go by relatively smoothly and enjoyably. The schedule is especially helpful for the days we have nothing planned and the “space” seems overwhelming. Smaller spaces of designated time help our days so much. Now, if they could just reopen our pool that they just closed for ten days, that would be great.
- Quiet time. This has been a game changer for me. Everyday we have two hours of quiet time. My baby naps and my older two play together. I tried to have them play separately for an hour and then together for an hour, but that was not happening. So now, they play together for the full two hours. It’s not always quiet but it gives me the time during the “space” and time I need desperately each day to recharge and collect my thoughts.
I hope to write more about each of these “spaces” in my life and others over the coming weeks. It has really changed my mindset and made my days feel lighter, more free and less overwhelming when there always seems to be something to do.
I woke up this morning feeling rejuvenated and motivated. It’s a Monday and not only that, the Monday of a new month. Both of these events usually have me feeling ready for a fresh start. I definitely feel the blues on Sunday night about the weekend ending, but come Monday morning, I’m ready to go. If I’m not, I have a few ways to get myself going.
- Go to the gym: Nothing gets me awake and ready to start a new week like some good exercise. Mondays are the easiest day for me to motivate myself to get to the gym. When I wake up, I get dressed in my gym clothes before I make breakfast, pack lunches or do the school dropoff. That way, once my biggest is at school we can head straight to the gym. It clears my mind, shakes off the fog from inevitably staying up too late on Sunday trying to extend the weekend and starts the week feeling good.
- Schedule something: Believe it or not, my favorite day to schedule appointments is Monday. Like the gym, it gives me a reason to get up and get going. And taking care of appointments just feels productive, am I right? I also use this trick on the Monday after being out of town to get myself back to reality. Also, sometimes I’m impatient. When I was pregnant, I used to always try to schedule my appointments on Mondays, because, who wants to wait until Thursday or Friday?
- Plan the rest of the week: Usually between the gym and the aforementioned scheduling, that takes up most of our morning, then it’s home for lunch and naps. During naptime on Mondays, I usually plan the rest of our week. Playdates, other appointments, activities, meals. I have a few calendars I use. I use one calendar to schedule my work, writing and other larger commitments. Then I use a weekly planner to schedule smaller to-dos, reminders, etc. Finally, my phone calendar holds most of our appointments with several reminders for each one. It sounds like a lot of work and possibly repetitive, but the only calendar I carry around is my phone. The others I reference at home.
It’s A New Month!
Like Mondays, the beginning of a new month is also one of my favorite times. And we have just entered October, which means we have commenced the six-month period in which candy is somehow always present in our house. Between Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s and Easter, the struggle is real. But I try to do a couple things at the beginning of each month to set myself up for success:
- Plan: I try to go through the various calendars, guides, websites I know of to schedule the fun activities going on around town. With the holidays coming up, the months are already filling up with possibilities. Planning ahead lets me space out activities and make sure we don’t miss any that we are hoping to do.
- Recommit: Sometimes by the end of the month I have let some things slide. At the beginning of a new month I can recommit to more consistent exercise, more homecooked meals, better planning and organization of housework, or whatever else I may want to improve. This month I am recommitting to be better about keeping up on documenting and organizing family photos and videos.
I’m not always perfect at these things, but I do know that if I do them, I feel more organized and productive. And I know could always use a little more of that…