Friday, February 27, 2009

The Control Journal: Routines

Do stay-at-home moms have guilt? You bet we do. Just as mothers who work outside of the home have a myriad of reasons to carry a load of guilt around, those of us who have chosen to stay at home and raise our children can pack the guilt on as well.

In my opinion, one of the biggest drains on the emotional well being of a stay-at-home mom is feeling guilty that we are not spending enough time taking care of our responsibilities there. First there are our children whom are the reason we are home. We might be home educating them. There very likely could be work-at-home jobs going on in the background. We generally have the responsibility of maintaining the organization and cleanliness of the home. Someone needs to be shopping and preparing meals,handle errands and doctors appointments, and make sure the dog is walked or even that the livestock is fed. There are our kids extra-curricular activities, church activities, perhaps caring for our parents affairs, and oh yes our husbands. The list just goes on.

So what's one to do? Once again I turn credit over to Marla Ciley, the FlyLady, for opening up my eyes to the perfectionism that tries to creep into our lives and tell us that we're not doing it 'right'. Sometimes that just leads to procrastination which will make the cycle vicious. We want our time at home to be be the perfect mother, wife, homemaker. But life is life and every day can bring its own twist. The best laid plans can fall apart before we know it. I've been all over the gamet from scheduling every last minute of everyone's time to the nth second to a totally laissez-faire attitude. Neither do much for easing the guilt that you aren't doing enough.

At FlyLady's urging, I put together a list of those things that I feel are absolutes to accomplish every day. Marla calls them routines and keeps them grouped together by morning, noon, etc. in her control journal. I took this a step further and broke those activities down into four groups: household chores, home educating, my part-time work at home, and time for me. On a grand 24-hour scale, I put all of my necessary tasks under each heading and assigned each one a probable length of time to complete. For all of the feelings that the kids weren't getting enough time with mom or that household work was getting slighted, I found out that each of those four areas were getting just about equal treatment. I just hadn't been able to 'see' it on paper and had let it get the best of me.

If you're prone to feeling that certain aspects of your stay-at-home mom life aren't where they should, then I challenge you to take the time to pencil things out. See if you've got a reasonable balance between your unique responsibilities. If your routines need tweaked, then take a stab at correcting that. My four-column list is now in my control journal. I listed each item chronologically according to its timing under each heading and refer to it daily. Slipped inside a sheet protector, I can track where I am with a dry erase marker and see where I am at any point in the day. We are all unique and everyone's list will look different, but I can assure you that this will make a difference in your approach to your responsibilities at home.

I've done a little more fine tuning as to how I move from one list item to the next, but since I've rambled on quite enough here, I'll leave that for a future post. Until then, get out pencil and paper and list those essential things that you'd like to see accomplished in your and your family's lives each day, categorize them, give them a rough amount of time to complete, string them into chronological order, and see that you really can strike a balance.

Related Posts:

What's with the FlyLady?
Control Journal: Fifteen Minutes of Focus
Control Journal: Baby Steps

1 comments - click here to leave your comments:

Renae said...

This weekend I planned to reevaluate my routine. I never thought of breaking my duties into columns though. I think that will help me a lot.

Thanks for sharing, and I look forward to hearing more.

I used to be so good at schedules and such, but I've gotten a bit overwhelmed as more responsibilities squeeze into my hours. I've found myself more aimless when I have the most to do.

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