Good gracious am I ever looking forward to next week. This self-care series has been hard. Good, good stuff that I’ve worked on changing in my life… but hard stuff. I’ve been caring myself by becoming more self-disciplined so that I can have the peace in my life and my house that I crave. It’s a lot of work, but I firmly believe that I will be glad I tackled these things.
Today I am sharing with you the new Ricci Family Routine that I have created. Before we dive in, I will say that this is all very new to our family still. We are totally still in the implementation stage… but Chris and I have discussed it extensively and made several tweaks and revisions until we were both completely happy with it. I am sure that there will be more tweaks as we go along and see how it works on a long-term basis, but for now we’re happy with it.
(Side note: I’m somewhat dubious about whether or not anyone will actually be interesting in reading this post, but hey, let’s go for it anyway.)
By the way, this is week 4 in our 5-week community blogging series on Embracing Self-Care – check out the end of this post for links to previous instalments in the series.
(And yes, making a family routine is an act of self-care for me, believe it or not. Read this post if you’re confused!)
We have a mix of personalities in our family – I am an INFP, Chris is an ESFJ. Our kids aren’t old enough to be tested yet, but it is more than clear to Chris and I that they are vastly different personalities from each other, and from one or both of us parents. We have a fabulous mish-mash.
The most important feature?
Despite our almost-opposite personalities (me being the idealist free-spirited type, and him being the more rigid, orderly type), we do share one love in common: spontaneity.
We both absolutely adore the ability to say yes to adventures (big and little), totally spontaneously. A few summers ago when we had a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old, I was sitting at home one Monday morning and saw that our friends were leaving on a camping trip that afternoon at a provincial park several hours away. I commented with an “Sounds awesome! I’m so jealous!” type of sentiment, and she commented back saying that she wished we could come too.
With the exhilarating glint of spontaneity and crazy in my eyes, I called Chris and proposed that we pack up all of our camping gear and our toddler and baby (and all that that encompasses), and head out for 3 days of tenting in the woods… leaving that afternoon. We flew into action, and 4 hours later we pulled out of the driveway toward an amazing tenting adventure that was the trip of the summer.
That’s obviously on the larger end of the scale in terms of examples, but it does apply in the small things, too, like having the freedom to just blow off the regular schedule for the day in favour of a trip to the beach or zoo, or the flexibility to change our minds and be spontaneous as the desire should so arise, when it comes to the next thing on the to-do list.
Accordingly, the number one need in a daily schedule – for our family – is flexibility. We are committing to implementing this faithfully, but holding to it with an open hand and leaving plenty of wiggle room (especially the kitchen-dancing-booty-shaking kind).
So then why use a schedule?
So, if I’m such a free spirited type of person, you might be wondering why I even want to adhere to a schedule at all. I most certainly am a creative at heart. I thrive on living my life in part with my head in the clouds, within my own little world of complicated and idealistic thoughts. It’s who I was created to be. But… this about sums it up for me:
This is exactly it. I am finding my creative work is hindered and my stress levels rise when my surroundings are in chaos or disorder. And so although self-discipline is a challenge for me, I am giving it my best effort.
With all of that preamble out of the way, here is our routine:
(this is all in one continuous spreadsheet, but I’ve broken it into 3 screenshots so that I could add some commentary in between)
Early time: this means that the person on duty is responsible for taking care of any early-risers who rise before the crack of dawn (an inevitability in our house, really). Also responsible for starting breakfast downstairs, changing the first diaper, etc.
Homeschool: Isaac is just 5.5 years old right now, and we are not rushing into formal lessons just yet. We’ll be doing 30 minutes per day of a few specific things that are recommended for his age according to the homeschooling philosophy we are following (which I am still planning to write about soon, in case you were wondering!)
Morning chores: a new initiative that we hope will ensure the cleaning gets done more than it *ahem* currently does. I will blog about the Job Jar at some point if it winds up working well for us.
Snack: you might notice that this is the first thing of the day that has a specific time attached. This is really a HUGE key to how I am being intentional in taking into account my own personality when figuring out how to live my life. I am totally not a time-oriented, by-the-clock sort of person AT ALL – I like to flow from one activity to the next with freedom, but I want a guide in place to help me know where to go next so that I don’t get totally off-track. Not attaching specific times to each slot is my way of giving myself the freedom I need to move through my day with grace, instead of constantly obsessing over the time on the clock.
You want to know why we attached a time to Morning Snack, specifically? We are wanting to really get our bodies in a routine for eating times, and hope that this will help curb some of the *constant* “I’M HUNGRY” pleas that we regularly get. (And I mean, like seriously – constant – to the point where I’m starting to wonder if there’s not something else going on. I’m hoping that a better diet like I talked about here and a more regular schedule for eating will both help.)
Extra-Curricular: Music lessons are finishing in June and we are undecided as of now whether we will be registering the kids again for fall. We have a few more weeks to decide before they give our spot away. Either way, this slot will be focused on art and handicrafts in some capacity.
Media Zone: another thing I should blog about in a little while! We are implementing a system whereby the kids each get a set number of “Media Tickets” at the beginning of each week, and they can “spend” them during this time. We have been too lax with screen time, and need to reign it in.
Quiet Time: something that I know many families do once their little ones give up napping, but it has never worked for us in the past. I’ve let it go because the kids have enjoyed playing together, but I’m really finding lately that they play together better when they’ve had some time apart. We will ease in to this starting with 30 minutes and slowly increasing.
10-Minute Tidy: this is another time-specific item on the schedule that we want to make happen fairly strictly. Everyone participates – the kids are getting to be experts at “clearing the floors” – which get insanely messy on a regular basis around here. Toys, couch cushions, bits of paper, hats and mitts, shoes, clothing items, food that has fallen (or been thrown, *ahem* toddler), books, crayons and craft supplies… all of it ends up on the floor faster than you can turn around and get out the broom. The kids love running around with a toy bin or backpack, gathering things up, and returning them to their places. Motivation? Snack time is next!
Family Candlelit Dinner: I wrote specifics about that here: 3 Ways to Rescue the Family Dinner Hour from Chaos
Evening Tea: Like in the post I just linked above… but we are adding “Prayer and Confession” as we seek to find new ways to incorporate a culture of spirituality into our family rhythm. Another thing to blog about down the road!
I do think that most of this last part is pretty obvious, but raise your hand if you have a question 🙂
So, there you have it.
Our family schedule/routine/rhythm, or whichever descriptor makes you happy. I was totally geeked out making this pretty and organized spreadsheet – the thrill was delightful. Now comes the SUPER hard part of sticking with it!
Do you have a written daily routine? What’s it like?
This post is week 4 in our Embracing Self-Care series. You can read the other weeks in the series here:
1. Embracing Self-Care (Introduction)
2. Knowing Yourself in Order to Know What You Need (and Why I Hate This Topic)
3. 3 Steps We’re Taking Toward Better Health (and the Roadblocks in My Way)
Next week is our last week in the series, and we’ll be talking about taking time for R&R – how to fit in the occasional pampering, treating, and relaxing! I can’t wait!
Have you written about routines and schedules? Or maybe you wrote about other topics that have to do with creating peace in our homes – decluttering, beauty in our home decor, etc. Link ’em up! This is your chance to share your awesome stuff with the community! I can’t wait to see what you’ve got. (And feel free to link up more than one post per week, new or old!)
Top image credit via Flickr CC