To Adult or Not to Adult…
Some people have mood swings, I have “Adulting” swings. Sometimes I’m good at it but, many times I fail…miserably. Our 6 yr old daughter is a full-fledged human being now. One who watches everything we do and is now modeling my bad habits. So, on my latest upswing in adulting, I’m going to get my sh!t together with a well laid out plan. OK, a better laid out plan than anything before this one. I’m going to show you how to Adult like a Pro & Create a Great Family Routine.
An honest assessment and rearrangement of my lackluster adulting skills was the first step. I combed through several websites/books (parenting, psychology, self-help, Maya Angelou) and The Beatles’ albums to get a different perspective on how “normal”, seemingly “put together” people are doing this stuff. I picked and I pecked and I crafted an arrangement that works for me, my husband and our little person. First I started with my biggest stumbling blocks; Me, Myself and I.
In all honesty, I hate being responsible, sharing, following the rules or anything that isn’t me-centered. I hate small talk, breaking my routines and remembering anything that is more than 7 hours into the future or past. Having a neurological hurdle such as Multiple Sclerosis is no help. But, as a wife, parent, introvert and bunny wrangler with a full-time job, having my crap together can only help, right?
I’m never going to be on the cover of “10 Best CEOs of Their Household”. But, I can at least show our daughter that it’s not really OK to get dressed out of the dryer…every day. Being the perpetual list maker, I started with these steps.
Parts of a Great Family Routine
- First, create a DAILY MOM ROUTINE – Burnout and Frazzle do not look good on me. So, successfully keeping up with, well, Life, meant that having my own personal routine helped me avoid the power struggles in my MS brain. My own daily “to-do list” kept me out of my head. So that I could gracefully move through the chaotic sequence of events that was MY DAY.
- Second, create a WEEKDAY FAMILY ROUTINE – This clearly defines the roles for everyone. Keeping up with chores, errands and quality family time minus a mental breakdown makes creating a well thought out weekday routine crucial.
- Third, create a WEEKEND FAMILY ROUTINE – Our weekends are often unstructured and savage without the systematic Tic-Toc of work and school to tame the hours. Having a battle plan ahead of time makes Friday nights even better.
- Fourth, create a MOM’s DAY OFF ROUTINE – I got my 40 hr work week rearranged so that I had 2 consecutive days off during the week. One day was an “all me day.” where I recouped, regrouped and got my sh!t together. The other was split between chores, errands and re-connection time with my husband before he went to work and I picked up our daughter from After Care.
How to Create a Great Family Routine
Everyone knows that having a routine helps. But, how do you go about creating one you might ask? Well, let’s start here. Creating a new routine from scratch can be daunting, I know. But, if you already have even a half-baked routine in place use that as a framework. This technique will work for each of the routines. Start with your Daily Mom Routine first. It’s easier, to begin with, the only person you really have complete control over. Do a quick inventory of what You already do on the Daily and write it all down.
Checklist, checklist, checklist…
- Make a checklist of all the things that you ALREADY DO.
- Make a checklist of the things that you WANT to get done daily. What does your ideal day look like?
- Make a checklist of the things that you MUST get done for your day to be a success.
- Consider your time limits. For your workdays, how much time, to the minute, do you have to get things done from the moment you leave work until the moment you fall asleep. Don’t forget to subtract your commute time. For the days when you are not working (weekdays off, weekends off) how much time from the time you awake to the time you go to bed. This is minus, of course, any scheduled obligations (Ballet, Karate, Soccer, Yoga, Therapy).
Time to get the stickers…
- Break your chores into categories of 10/15/20/30/60 minutes segments. I wrote mine on post-it strips. Each segment had its own color. If something takes 2 hours then use two 60 min strips.
- Be realistic about your own and your family’s needs. Consider your goals, problem areas and triggers (kid meltdowns) and make a Sample Daily Routine Checklist. Don’t forget to schedule in self-care tasks, nurturing parent-kid interactions and time to reconnect with your partner.
- Once you have prioritized and used all of your stickers filling all of the available time slots, take a cleansing breath. It’s now time to share the final routine with your family by using calendars, boards, planners or schedulers (paper or digital).
- Finito! Have that glass of wine, you’ve earned it!
Oh Yeah, let’s also take a look at that alternate universe. If you are living by the seat of your pants and everything you do is As Needed or you’re just reacting to the latest catastrophe, you should just start with the 2nd bullet. Then, have 2 glasses of wine when you’re done!
At the end of the day…
The feeling of being overwhelmed is real. The responsibility of being a parent and spouse are way real. My top goal for 2020 was to find a system that worked for ME and circumvented my Multiple Sclerosis Brain Fog & Fatigue. A plan that allows me to be a better mom on the homefront. Because Work-Life I’ve got covered, mostly. There are already routines and several thick binders on the What, What-Not’s, Do’s and Don’ts already in place over there. It’s the moments after work where I was struggling.
But, by carefully crafting a realistic and effective routine your family life will run smoother with less stress. A great routine will create habits that match your family’s goals and aspirations while eradicating bad habits. For the kids, the consistent expectations and clearly defined roles teach productive and long-lasting habits. Life changes constantly, so reevaluate your schedule regularly. And so that everyone is continually aware and reminded of their roles, post it in a high traffic area.
Nothing but good can come of an organized, predictable routine that provides a good rhythm to the day from start to finish. Who isn’t looking for a productive day with less stress, minus the anger, guilt, frustration, and end of day melt-downs? Remember, what works for some families may not work for you and visa-versa. But, it’s important to create a plan and tweak it until it does. Adult Like A Pro & Create A Great Family Routine.
What are some of your thoughts and experiences with family routines? Share in the comment section below.