Friday, May 30, 2008

Daily Schedule: Summing It Up

You all now know more about how our days run around here than you probably ever even wanted to know!

Here are some closing thoughts as I wrap up this week:

* Our basic schedule frame is:
Wake/Breakfast/Dressed for Day
Movie/Snack mid-morning
Naps/Quiet Time
Daddy Home
Clean Up/Bed

That leaves lots of space to fill in - but this is the stuff that rarely changes day by day.

* One thing that really helps us is to alternate a chore and a child-involving activity. For example, you'll notice I empty the dishwasher every morning. One morning after this chore, we take baths, then I vacuum, then we go for a walk. See how it alternates? This helps my girls so much - I've tried it other ways and this is by far the best in our home. Yes, I try to involve them in the chores too - but that can't be our sole source of fun around here!

* Planning ahead is key for me. I am nearly always working ahead on something. Rachel has a birthday in two months and I have a list of ideas already written down, some supplies already purchased and a good game plan in mind. This is the only way I can do the things I do. It doesn't work for my personality and it wouldn't work for the kind of things I'm trying to pull off. Even writing out a potential list for the next day is a huge lifesaver and guide to me. I don't have to be a slave to it - but use it as a guide.

* Dinner hour: One of you commented about how crazy it is at your house during the dinner prep hour. We have two scenarios in our home depending on the time of year. One helps this and the other makes it just like what you are describing. Right now, David's schedule allows him to get home mid-afternoon - he goes in to work really early! So, dinner hour is much calmer and smoother just by having another adult in the house! But, during baseball season - when he is coaching and doesn't get home until 5:30 - oh. my. It is crazy. I don't really have an answer - planning ahead helped me in this area too, but it did not solve it. If you've found something that works or at least helps, please leave a comment and help the rest of us out!

* Running errands: Another of you wondered about taking all three out to do errands. I do take all three with me when that is what works best in our schedule. I want them to learn how to behave while running errands and even have some fun getting out of the house. Taking a snack that is saved for the store has helped me on numerous outings! And, I have used the cart as a discipline tool - behave and you get to walk around, but if it gets out of hand or I have to warn repeatedly - in the cart for the rest of the trip. Yes, this means I have to have two carts with all three and my groceries. But, pushing one cart and pulling one cart is easier and less stressful than running after littles and wondering what might get broken or ruined in the process.

Since Samuel was born, I will try to run at least some of my errands while David is home. Obviously it is much simpler and I can get lots done in a shorter time when it is just me. Share your ideas on this too, please!

Thanks for all of your comments and questions this week! Hope you all have a great weekend!


asnipofgoodness said...

Thanks for sharing Monica, your doing a great job!!!

Stacy @ The Next-to-Nothing House said...

Monica, I wish your blog had been around when I had my first baby
(1994). I really struggled with a got worse when my daughter arrived in 1997. By the grace of God we made it through those early years.

You are doing a wonderful job and should be so proud of yourself. Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us.

Christi said...

Monica, you are such an inspiration! You've given me lots to think about, and work on.


GeonHui's Bakery said...

Great observations.

I love the idea of alternating a child involving activity with a chore.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Anonymous said...

Monica, I've been reading your blog off and on for several months now, and I just love it! I find myself wanting to be just like you!

As far as dinner prep goes, my kids are older, but one thing I have found that helps is to get as much done in advance as possible. Marinate the chicken, cut up the veggies, start the sauce, etc. Early in the morning is one time to do it, or in the afternoon while the kids are engaged in something else. This way you can just pop the entree in the oven, boil the pasta, cover the veggies with water and boil, etc during "the witching hour."

Of course, I could be looking at this with rose-colored glasses, seeing that my own kiddos are 7 and 5, and I don't have to deal with diaper changes, tantrums, and breastfeeding during dinner prep... maybe I'm forgetting what it was like!

Either way, you have a wonderful and inspiring blog, and I enjoy it very much!

Jada said...

I've enjoyed reading about your Daily Schedule. And I am in awe!! And tired. LOL If I were a mom, I would need some sort of schedule as well. You sure do get a lot accomplished each day, even if it's not exactly what you envisioned. Accomplishments, no matter how big or small, do count! I know I feel good when I cross things off my To Do list on my dry-erase board on my fridge.

I don't know how my Mom did everything she did with 4 kids in 6 years. She's my hero. =)



Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this series of posts, it has come at the perfect time for me. A daily routine is something I have been struggling with for a while with my almost three year old but am trying to get under control because #2 will be here in July!
Thanks again,

Amy said...

I love alternating the chores with fun stuff- very smart. I find you to be quite the inspiration to me (as I am sitting in my pajamas at four in the afternoon). This series was wonderful- have a great weekend, my friend!!

Anonymous said...

It's too bad blogs weren't around when my kiddos were little. They are now 20 and 21. I would have found you to be an inspiration and encouragement during those crazy, busy, fun filled days.

I just wanted to pass on one of my tricks for running errands, or sitting in waiting rooms. I used to have a medium makeup bag with two small coloring books, two 8-count packages of crayons, and two small spiral bound notebooks. This bag of fun was reserved for those trips only, which made it more special to little ones, keeping them busy and content.

Tracey said...

I have a technical question for you...about the little
EMAIL ME wigget....can I borrow it...and how do you get your email address attached to it?

Jamie - Family Focused Fun said...

Monica - Thank you for the thought about balancing chores vs. kid activity and alternating the two. I think that will be helpful for me!

The Liberty Belle said...

Thank you for sharing! I feel motivated!

*carrie* said...


Thank you for sharing so openly--you offer much encouragement and inspiration.

Love you!

Anonymous said...

Monica, Thanks for posting your schedule- it seems like you definitely have your hands full these days. As a new mom it is great for me to see how much you can handle and it insipres me to do more (planning that is). I do have a question, though. I've seen a lot of entries in your schedule for Emily and Rachel time, but the only Samuel entries seem to be "nurse". When my daughter was his age it seemed like I was spending a ton of time entertaining her and engaging with some form of "get to know the world" activities. Where do you fit this in for Samuel... or does he just find entertainment with two other little beings to watch?


3boysmama said...

One thing that works for me at dinner time is that I save special activites for that time. Like coloring or painting with water or maze books. You could also save movie time for that time as well.

Errands are difficult with a baby, especially mine who won't nap in the car seat! I like going to Fred Meyer which has free 1 hour child car for the 2 older ones. I strap the baby on and he sleeps away while I shop. Fred Meyer is like super wal mart so it has groceries plus everything else.

Monica Wilkinson said...

Emily in VA: about Samuel - he is really a very content baby! I do not find that he needs much entertainment right now other than watching all the little people running around in our home right now. I move him usually from room to room with me so he can see me and what I am doing (unless sleeping). So, he spends most of his time in the bouncy chair or on the play mat. I do hold him and play with him after nursing - love that!