Tuesday, January 05, 2010

New year, new schedule

It is close to naptime. The boys are happily playing outside while I write this. Cookies, made with lots of helping hands, are in the oven. We've had snuggle time on the couch and read a pile of books. Dinner is made and eggs are boiled (to become tomorrow's lunch). The kitchen is nearly clean and the entire house has been vacuumed. Laundry has been folded and the boys helped put it away. Imaginative playtime abounded. I'm half-way through my list of "must be done today" desk work items, and plan to finish during nap time.

Why is it that new routines work so incredibly well for the first couple of days?

Yes, I'm being a bit facetious, but it is a real question. I re-work my routine approximately every six months. For a few days, or maybe a week, it seems perfect. And then it slowly begins to fall apart. Why? I suspect that a fairly large part of that is my own lack of discipline. Today, as nice as it has been, has required a lot of discipline. No, Em, don't sit down. No, Em, you may not waste your time on the computer. No, Em, you must wait until nap time to read your book. And that is hard, and sometimes it seems to just get harder as the days go by.

But I think that if I can make myself stick with it, eventually it will get easier. Virtue by habituation?

For anyone interested (and for my own curiosity two months from now): here is the schedule we're following:

6am Wake up/shower/read/cup of tea
7am Boys get up/breakfast/dressed
Morning chores (with boys)
8:40am Read books to boys
9am Workout
9:45am Quiet time/Siah nap/desk work
10:30am Preschool with J and T (reading, math, baking, or animal discovery)
Baby Einstein for Siah when he wakes up
11:15am Kids outside/weekly chores/make lunch
Errands if necessary, or outside playtime/chores
2pm Naptime (J quiet time)
3pm Chapter book with J
3:30pm Dinner prep/desk work/whatever hasn't happened yet/J legos or starfall
4:30pm Kid movie when T wakes up
5:30pm Dinner


Jessica said...

Hmm, a couple of thoughts (as I'm also revamping my schedule for the new year) . . .

Yeah, some of it's discipline.

But your question about why schedules work so well the first few days is interesting.

1) I think we tend to start new schedules at times when we're well-rested (e.g., after the Christmas holidays) and so we have more energy at the beginning.
2) I think as the new schedule gets old, we realize that some parts of it don't work that well, and so we are less motivated to keep up the schedule as a whole (even though most of it might work well).
3) The situation is always changing. ESPECIALLY when the situation involves kids. What works well the first month might not work so well the second month, because your children are at a new developmental stage by the second month, and new methods are needed.

And yeah, then there's the discipline thing.

Also, I bet that you keep more from your schedules than you realize. Try comparing your day now to a day with your oldest when he was a newborn, when you first stayed home with him. You're probably doing what? five times more work?

I like the idea of starting a new schedule aiming high, but knowing that some of it just isn't going to stick. But if even half of it does work, and is a keeper, then I'm further along than I was before.

Oh, yeah, and discipline! ;)

V. thought-provoking post, Em.

Oh, and on discipline: pray for grace. Self-control is a gift of the Holy Spirit, not a self-manufactured commodity. I think. (Working on that one.)

Love you!

Amber said...

You know I also think of the discipline issue as a problem with diligence. I think this word seems a little more on target and framing it in that fashion seems a little more useful for me. I feel like it is easier to keep reminding myself to be diligent in my work rather than saying, "argh, why can't I be more disciplined!" But that's just my own internal dialogue, yours perhaps is quite different!

And apologies if this is worked in but not enumerated, but what about prayer in your routine - both on your own and with the boys?

And a further thought - do you do a morning offering? I'm sure there must be an Anglican form out there somewhere. I've found it a short but powerful prayer. If you're not familiar with it, it is basically saying to God that you're doing everything - your "prayers, works, joys and sufferings" - for Him and in union with Him. If I find myself being crabby or slothful or whatever I try to remind myself of this and think - "is this really what I mean to give to God today?"

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

Prayer does happen, I just didn't write it down. :) I pray better while doing *something*...so my morning prayer time is in the shower. Silly, maybe, but it works for me. I like the idea of a more formal morning offering, though, so I'll have to look into that. Thanks!

Amber said...

You're welcome! I used to have a fantastic prayer time before we moved up here - I would go out almost every morning and walk for about a half an hour. It was such a wonderful time to spend in prayer and was great for me, especially at that point in my life. I still miss it sometimes, but I've figured out other ways to incorporate prayer throughout my day.