In my mind, I have always associated peace with order. Chaos and peace are at opposite ends of the emotional spectrum, wouldn’t you say? And, having four kids aged 7 and younger, it can get pretty chaotic around here.
So, being the control-freak, errrr, I mean,…Type-A personality that I am, I am constantly on the lookout for ways to create order in my home. And therefore, creating a little peace, too. Whether it’s finding ways to not have to remind my kids 50 times to brush their teeth in the morning, or ways to make sure the house is clean before dinner, I am always, making little plans and tweaking our systems here and there. Basically, I’m trying to fix the root causes of my stressors instead of constantly putting Band-Aids on their symptoms.
So when a dear friend of mine e-mailed and asked me last week how I structure my day, I was weirdly excited. It’s like asking a mad scientist to explain her crazy ideas to you…she might go wild with a passionate response. I took a few minutes to contain myself, and then I sent her the response below. The reason I wanted to share it with you all today is because of the positive response I have received from this friend of mine. Not only has she found it helpful for her and her family, but she has shared it with other friends and neighbors that have found it useful as well. If you are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by your hectic days, and are looking for some ways to restore order and calm, I’m hoping some tidbit here might be helpful for you, too. This list is devised with a young family in mind, but can be adapted for anyone at any stage in life. I think the key is finding what makes you feel happy and peaceful and productive, and then being consistent with it.
Anyways, take a look and let me know what you think!
From: Kimberly Tait
Ok, let’s talk routines, baby! 🙂
I love, love, love getting up early. I think it just sets the tone for having a great day. My mornings are totally sacred to me. Personally, I think that quiet time before the kids get up is what has kept me sane for the past 7 years (well, a little sane, anyways).
On my best days, I wake up at 5:30 and workout before I shower. When that doesn’t happen, if I wake up closer to 6, I just squeeze in about 10-15 minutes of yoga before my shower. Either way, I try to do something active right when I wake up. It helps me feel really alive and ready to take on the day. Then, I shower and get ready by 7. This is really important to me, for some reason. I don’t think it’s vanity so much as it is just wanting to feel clean. I hate feeling dirty. It makes me feel awful, and I’ve actually noticed that I snap at my kids way more when I feel gross and unkempt. Is that weird? So, I take that time from 6 to 7 or so, and that is MY time.
Once I am showered and the bed is made, then I take the time for my personal prayers. I love that this is kind of the last thing I do during my little quiet “me time” in the mornings. It gets me in the right frame of mind right before I go wake up the kids and the chaos begins. 🙂
So then at 7, I wake up the kids. Takes them about 30 minutes to brush their teeth, get dressed, make their beds, etc. Then at 7:30, we are on to breakfast. No one is allowed to eat breakfast unless they are ready for the day. Like ready, ready. Shoes on and everything. That way we can focus on eating and enjoying that time. Then, after breakfast is cleaned up and lunches are packed it’s family prayer and we leave for school at 8.
When I come home from dropping the girls off at school, that’s when I have my own breakfast. I let Dallin watch one episode of Sesame Street every morning while I eat my breakfast in peace (is that awful?). That’s when I read my scriptures and then check my e-mail. Usually, by the time I’m done, I have time to clean up the kitchen, get one load of dishes started, and get a load of laundry started…praise be that Sesame Street is one full hour. 🙂 My rule is: one load of dishes and one load of laundry every single morning. Then, voila…. it’s 9:30 am, I’m showered and ready for the day, my kitchen is clean, and my laundry is going, and I am free to take on the world (or, you know…. go to Target).
So, that’s my morning. It’s a fail-safe plan for me. (**I also should note here that I unload the dishes and fold the laundry in the afternoon while the boys are taking their naps. Dishwasher is always clear and ready to be loaded before dinner).
As for nights… First off, the kids clean up all the toys before dinner. I give them 15 minutes on the clock, and anything left out goes in my donation bin. No excuses. Ever. The house is totally picked up before we ever sit down to eat. Period. I’m a real stickler on that. Some nights they do great, and some nights they hate me for it, but they know there is no escaping it.
We usually eat dinner at around 6. After dinner, one kid helps me clean up the kitchen (we take turns by week) while the other gets started in the shower. Once the kitchen is clean, I go upstairs to help the kiddos finish showering and bathing. By 7 everyone is clean and smushy-faced and lotioned up and ready to be snuggled with while we read books. Family scriptures, prayer, one-on-one special time, then bed.
Then, voila…it’s 8:30 and my kids are in bed, my house is (somewhat) tidy, my kitchen is clean, and I’m ready to take on the world (or, you know…read a book. Or vegetate on the couch. Or go to bed by 9…lol).
I try not to clean after the kids go to bed (and really, since the kitchen is clean and the toys are picked up, I don’t usually feel like I have to). I just have my one deep-cleaning day on Monday, and then the rest of the week is just maintenance.
I hope this answers your question. And I hope you haven’t fallen asleep reading this. And I hope you understand that there are days when I get sidetracked with other obligations and the routine goes out the window. But, whenever I stick to this routine, it always, always works for me. Hope that some or all of it works for you, too!
Love you, friend…