People usually say “I don’t know how you do it, I can hardly handle my two!”
I always have the same response “When I had two children I was miserable!” My life was spiraling out of control. My son just a few weeks old cried all the time with health issues. I remember sitting on my couch talking to my friend and I said “I think I need about 5 adults to handle this mess , one to do the mountain of dishes , one to do the 15 batches of laundry, one to play with my oldest daughter, a full time nurse for my sick son , all while I go take a nap.” I really felt helpless. Brandon was working super long hours he would leave before we would wake up , and didn’t get back till almost 7. I was suffering from postpartum depression. I was overweight. I had just moved to a new town with no friends there. My family lived 2 hours from us and Brandon’s lived 1 hour. I was a mess! My house was a mess!
I was 😩 miserable, miserable. I suffered and got through this period with clinched teeth and things slowly got better. But we weren’t thriving, we were just surviving life, then we had another baby and another on the way.
Then my mom ordered a book for me , called a mother’s rule of Life. This probably had the biggest impact on my life that I can remember. The author had 6 children, struggled financially , very isolated because of location and one vehicle and she was going crazy ?!?
She explained that before she was married she wanted to become a nun and lived in a nunnery for a few months. She felt called to use some of the religious life principles into her daily life. I decided to use the book as my life coach! If she said to make a chart I made a chart , if she said she cooked at 2:30, then I would cook at 2:30. I did everything she suggested and life did look better and better. Then the next year I read it again. Then the next year we did the book as a book club within a moms group. I saw so much fruit from this journey.
A Mother’s Rule of Life
Later I learned cleaning routines from Flylady.
Fly Lady Cleaning Site
Even later I learned homeschooling routines from homeschooling books.
Teaching from Rest
Most recently, I have been learning Benedictine Monastery prayer and work routines.
Benedictine Rule for Beginners
All these routines added quality to my life. They helped me to stop multitasking. Multitasking means that you are halfway doing 2 or more things at once.
Our God is an orderly God.
The planets, the seasons, the time of day, everything has order and rhythm. We would do well to model our maker. Also we are called to be the domestic church. I don’t know about you , but if I walked into Mass and the pews were filled with trash and spilled drinks I would wonder about upper management!
These everyday duties need our attention. We don’t just ignore them, or dread them … we must not fool ourselves, these need time and work.
This year I have become good friends with my neighbor, Rachel. She is a great person to see the fruits of a routine. She cooks almost everyday, her house is clean and beautifully decorated with calm and clean decorations. She is a teacher and has two small children and is a photographer! Sounds like too much… there is more ! She is kind to her husband, she is very prayerful person , she works so hard at being a great mom and to top it all off she’s beautiful!!! She of course has her struggles like everyone else but her day to day life is pretty balanced!
How can this be?
Well my inclination is to find out what she is doing differently than me and how can I imitate those things in my daily routine.
So I asked her what are the top 3 things you do in the morning and the top 3 things you do at night.
I will let you know her answers as I remember them but I want to add that she has a routine. These are the same 3 things she does everyday. Same 3 things she strives to do everyday. That’s a routine, a reasonable task , done at similar parts of the day , everyday. It’s not magic, she is putting in the work at a steady pace and the fruits of her labor are evident.
I have implemented most of her things into my own routines. And I have seen some amazing improvements in my home.
She says prayers in bed before getting up.
#1 she gets dressed before she leaves her room in the morning ( I try to do this, not makeup just clothes)
#2 she makes her Bed – there could be books written about this
#3 she cooks supper in the morning?!?!?!?!?!?
I really really try to do #3
#3 cooking supper in the morning is the single most effective thing I think I have ever done. Hands down , when I do it everything else falls into place.
I used to do quite a bit of cleaning in the morning but now I hold off on cleaning and cook in its place. Somehow the cleaning happens later.
I used to wait until about 4pm to cook?
Dumb. But I’ve done that for almost 9 years. That is the most stressful time of the day. All the kids are grouchy, tired and hungry. This is usually a great time to be outside to get some fresh air. I’m rushed. Terrible circumstances to be cooking in.
If I could describe a perfect day it would look kinda like this:
Coffee and prayers
Then Morning routine for 1 hour:
⁃ get completely dressed to shoes
⁃ Cook supper
⁃ Dress babies
kids in bed
8-10 Brandon and I hang out
I bring this up because my book on Benedictine Life talks about the seasons of the day. That the day has its own rhythms. One suggestion was not to do distracting or quick jobs in the morning when you are at your prime attentive state. He suggests not checking emails first thing in the morning because this can send you in all types of directions. He also says not to put something that requires high attention after lunch. That would be improperly using the seasons.
So my struggle with cooking at 4pm was partially because it was the wrong “season” for the job at hand.
I will say that my house has never been cleaner in my life. My family is always commenting on how tidy it looks. Now we know since I’m 8 months pregnant, I’m not scrubbing the floors at 10pm . No way. I’m just sticking to my routines and when the “timer” goes off I move on.
God wants steady workers , He doesn’t want us to run run run run and then burnout.
He wants us steadily working our way through our responsibilities.
Similar to our prayer life. He doesn’t want us to hear His words get all pumped up for a while then let our faith life slip. He wants us to consistently come to Him in prayer. A steady worker.
I would bet that if you have some of these areas under control , maybe housework or cooking, or laundry that you have a routine that you follow. You don’t just leave it to the wind.
Give this a try. Take tom morning to improve your morning routine:
Say your morning prayers (10mins) , Prep for supper, and see how the rest of your day flows. Not just that morning, but how about the afternoon, that night… did it improve your day?
So when it comes to are you a routine person or not? The answer can be “I do strive toward order and peace instead of disorder and chaos. “ Then sit back and Enjoy the fruits of order. When all is as it should be.