Monday, August 18, 2008

?M: In Which She Shares How She Does Another Kind of Budget

Jenn asked me to share our typical routine. I figured you wouldn't mind if I took this Money Monday and used it to share how I budget my...time. Which really, if you think about it, does save you money in the long run... And anyway, this is what I felt like posting, so there.

Here it is.
Yep, I print out a new week every Sunday. I've had some sort of a routine since Grace was quite small, and it evolves over time, adding new things, rearranging itself along with our life plans and such. But, there's always been some kind of skeleton for our life's stuff to hang on. Whenever I think of something that needs to be done, I pencil it in on one of these pockets of time in my day, and spread them out around the week.

Some people think having a schedule means we're rigid and I would miss opportunities to enjoy things for sake of following routine, but, I wholeheartedly, completely, emphatically disagree with them. In this way of life there is freedom! You'll see.

Here's the schedule I just tweaked a bit to adjust to our new fall swing of things. It's nearly identical to what we've done all summer, with an extra a.m. school time thrown in, and lesson plans are much more "planned". (We do school in the summer, because really, what else would we be doing those times of day? And it's the girls' favorite time of day (equal to what goes on at 11:30 am...) so they wouldn't want to miss it. It's just much more relaxed and more fly by the seat.
5:30 Wake Up, Quiet Time, Blogging

8:00 Kids Up, Devotions, Breakfast, Dishes, Dinner Prep, Start Laundry (If it's Laundry Day, which is, Monday)

9:00 Everyone Dressed (Hopefully, I'm already dressed by now!)

9:30 Session 1 of School Time, which is now a reading/language lesson

10:00 House Hour (Hudson takes his morning nap now, and the girls either have free time or they take a bath). I use this one hour of the day to fit in whatever tasks I want to do around the house. I pencil in suggestions for what I want to get done on the days of my weekly calendar. I might vacuum, or dust and clean the glass, or pay bills, whatever. I only plan on doing one or two of these types of things a day, and only what can be done in this one hour. The rest of my day is given to other things. This way there's always a time to get that stuff done, and it doesn't haunt me all week, hanging over my head. I set small goals that can be met in an hour a day, and don't let this kind of stuff burden me the rest of the time.

11:00 Session 2 of School Time, Math

11:30 Sweet Sweet Sesame Street. We don't watch TV much at our house, the girls get one hour a day, Sesame Street. They love it. I love it, because they love it...and they watch with rapt attention. Otherwise, we almost never watch TV unless it's a movie we plan to all watch together, and Jim and I watch our favorites online (Monk and The Office) along with Netflix movies in our room after the kids are in bed.

I can use Sesame Street time to catch up on anything random, or check email, or fold some's just a catch up time, really. Somehow, it always gets filled...

12:30 Lunch

1:00 Session 3 of School Time, which alternates on different days of the week, between Music, Science, Art and Friday is our free day to either catch up on missed things or do whatever we pick. We do this for 30 minutes, then we read until nap time.

2:00 Naps. The older girls have library books and can either read or sleep (usually they do a little of both), but need to be quiet, and Lily and Hudson just sleep. I read, catch up on emails, etc. I try to stay away from the computer at nap time though, because sitting at it too much makes me feel plain dumber.

4:00 Snacks and Free Play

5:00 Table Time for the girls- an activity at the table, and I start Dinner. Everyone's a little owly by now.

6:00 Dinner and Daddy gets home.

8:00 Bedtime. Jim takes this entirely on himself, which is great- because the girls love spending time just with Daddy and I get a break. I'm only in charge of "the baby", which is now Hudson, and when he gets bigger, he'll join Jim's flock and I'll have nothing to do but have me time at 8. Oh, me, what will I do? They potty and brush and read the Bible and pray and then snuggle in their beds while Daddy reads a chapter from a classic book- right now it's Anne of Green Gables. Honestly, listening to your husband read Anne of Green Gables to his little girls...that's sexy, people!

Oh, and Wednesday is our Out and About Day- We go to Story Time, and Target and run errands and fit in other fun things, too. And Fridays, being free, usually we end up at the park or something, and Friday Nights are always Family Night, which we all love. And, our weekends are pretty laid back.

Honestly, this isn't stifling peeps. See how much time I have for "life" to happen? Nothing's in stone, so we can be flexible and firm at the same time. I believe it's best for every stay at home mom to have some sort of course for steering the house and family through the day, and it's different for every family, but, it's good to have one, whatever yours is. This is my career, so I want to take it seriously, but it's also a job with a unique perk, that we can be free to drop everything and head to the park on a nice day, or have a surprise ice cream party instead of regular lunch. Our kids always know what to expect, and that gives them security and freedom to have fun. Also, keeping them from too much idle time keeps fighting to a minimum, but we do have plenty of time to enjoy the freedom of just being a kid, exploring and imagining.
Because we have a plan, we are free. When I decide there's something I'd like to do more with my kids, like more reading, or outside time, whatever, I can fit it in and move our day around to make sure it happens. When you don't plan for things, they rarely happen.
Life is full of tasks and kisses and adventures. Living this way helps us embrace them all, makes sure I get it done so I'm not overwhelmed or unproductive, and keeps me relatively caught up on the necessary things, so when a really great thing pops up, we can grab it without being afraid of the whole house falling down.
And by the way, there's no rule that says you can't play hide and seek while the vacuum's on.


Shelley Kubitz Mahannah said...

Anne of Green Gables - my favorite book - I'm so glad your girls get to hear the magic at a young age! They'll be hooked on that Anne Girl for life. :)

Beth Cotell said...

Wow! What an organized schedule! I need to put this into practice...perhaps I could get a few more things done each day.

Thanks for sharing!

Lisa said...

I am a schedule junkie - but you've got me on being organized! I need to do something like that with our daytime schedule. I love how you said, "This is my career and I take it seriously"'ll never do anything more important in your whole life!

BTW - Ever read "Professionalizing Motherhood"? My Bible study read it last year, and I think you'd really like it!

Mandy said...

Oh yes! Schedules are the best! I need to work on mine for this fall. School starts in 2 1/2 weeks here!

mspsae said... question is what does Hudson do during school time and Sesame Street time?

Way to be organized though! Impressive.

Muthering Heights said...

I would be so lost without my schedule too!

amanda said...

as a fellow schedule junkie - i love this!!

Anonymous said...

You're such an inspiration in so many ways! Go Megan!

Sarah in the Middle said...

I love schedules! I also am notorious for creating fantastic, well-thought out schedules and then not sticking with them. (It goes along with how good I am at organizing a space and then not maintaining it.) Thanks for the encouragment to keep working on it!

Kiki said...

I've been wanting to get more scheudled but kind of feel at a loss of where to begin, so thanks, this helps.

I don't know if I could do with only one out and about day though.

It's on my list of things to do!

Sarah in the Middle said...

Hi Megan - could you share some of your ideas for "Table Time"?
I work from home 4-5 hrs. a day, so my daughter has to have quite a bit more "independant" play time then most kids. She does well with it, but I want to try to minimize the amount of TV in there. It's hard to do sometimes! Juli's 3 - got any suggestions?

Megan said...

I love to embrace my calling as a wife, mother, and keeper of the Koch domain, but...

to be honest...

My desire to be nothing like my mother probably does motivate me...a little bit! :)


Unknown said...

You are right that you have to plan things or it never gets done. Good job!

Although scheduled unproductivity is always a good idea in my book!

Ris said...

Awesome! I love how organized you are. I bet it really helps keep things under control. Esp since you are homeschooling! I personally am not a scheduler. Well, I take that back. I have to keep Lexi on a schedule or havoc ensues. And I have a mental schedule for Dax for naps and mealtimes, but we are a fly by the seat of our pants kinda family for most everything else. Usually even stay in our pajamas unless we are going outside! :O Planning to homeschool Dax for preschool this year though- prob just an hour a day, so will need to schedule that so he and I can have alone time.

kelly said...

This looks quite similar to our schedule...except I'm absolutely positive you probably stick with it 100% better than I!

You are a very motivated girl ;-)

Jenn Boerger said...

Thanks for sharing, Megan! As always, a wonderful post.