The Schedule for My Sanity
I am not a mother who spends 24/7 playing with her children.
I cannot raise my children in a dirty home.
There. I said it.
I used to think I needed to play with my children every time they asked, “Will you play with me?” (okay…most of the time, I do. I can’t resist the sweet voice and slowly fading-chubby cheeks of my almost 3 year old).
But, I realized. I can’t. I MUST have a clean home. If my home is cluttered and unkempt, I feel like a lazy mom and wife.
So, I decided to schedule a chore for each day. If not just to help myself keep track of what has actually been accomplished that week, but to teach my boys that work must be finished before play. I find myself saying this to my oldest quite frequently, “Mommies sometimes need to work before playing.”
Here it is. It took me forever to make on Photoshop – I only know enough to do something like this – ha! But, I made it. and it makes my chores seem more attractive.
Monday is always a “make up day” in this house. Sundays are SO tough – there are usually no naps on Sundays and we seem to go-go-go from church, to family gatherings, until my boys are so whiny and sleepy, that bedtime comes at 6:30 (which is why we are hardly EVER at Sunday night services…). Then, the hubs and I settle in for a romantic evening of homework and speaking to one another in broken sentences over our laptops….
So, Monday is a day for laundry and bathrooms. Two of the most convenient chores to where my boys play. I used to find myself doing laundry EVERYDAY. But, I settled on Monday, so I do it on Mondays, no other day (with the exception of stinky baby clothes). The bathrooms do not take very long now that I have a schedule for cleaning. I also keep a can of disinfecting wipes in every bathroom, so it’s simple to wipe down the sink and the potty each day (or every 20 minutes because a little boy insists on putting his hands ALL over the potty seat)
Tuesday is for bedrooms. Also for putting away the laundry. I had to schedule a day to do this because I’m terrible about putting away clothes once they are clean. We tended to live out of laundry baskets or say, “I’ve lost this skirt! I have no idea where it is!” when it was buried at the bottom of the 3rd laundry basket in our bedroom….(talk about a romance killer…laundry staring us in the face…ugh). I declutter the boys’ bedrooms a little each evening before bed, but the thorough cleaning and sorting of clothes (switching out sizes/seasons) happens on Tuesdays. This gives us time to play upstairs near the bedrooms and provides a change of pace from our usual playspace downstairs.
Wednesdays are for errands, shopping, or visiting. My dear mother has agreed to watch my boys one day a week so I can devote one day to graduate school work and grocery shopping sans a toddler and an infant (I’m not skilled at the two grocery cart system…). This is usually on Wednesdays. Before school started, this day was used as the day we go out and spend a day shopping or visiting. Is this always on Wednesdays? No. Some weeks the free day falls on another day, so I just switch the chores.
I know my routine, and I know I NEEDED a day to go out. So, I scheduled one.
Thursday is for the kitchen and family room. We live in a small townhome, so we don’t have too many rooms to clean. The kitchen, family room, and dining room are all connected on the bottom floor, so the dining room is included in this day as well. This is the most difficult day because this is the area where the boys play. But, usually by Thursday, my oldest is tired, so he will “rest” on the couch while I clean. (more on this wonderful development of “rests” later)
I like cleaning these rooms on Thursdays because they are still clean over the weekend when we are more likely to have people stop by.
Friday is for floors. Do I vacuum other days of the week? Yes, if necessary. But Fridays are my intense floor cleaning day. Some weeks I’ll scrub them on the day my mom watches my boys, but for the most part, I stick to the schedule. My baby goes to sleep while I vacuum and my toddler follows me around asking to help or “helping” with his vacuum or some object he’s turned into a vacuum with his imagination. 🙂
Notice that the weekends are free. I don’t do housework on weekends. If we have visitors drop by, I will straighten up. But most weeks, weekends mean family. We relax, watch TV and play in our PJs too late into the day. We take our boys out for something fun. And Sundays…well, we’re too rushed (always) getting ready for church and juggling the rest of the day to even think about cleaning! 🙂
Once every 2 weeks, I tackle a big project: painting a door, cleaning out a closet, switching seasonal clothing, switching out the rotation of toys…etc. You get the idea. By putting this on the schedule, I give myself a chance to ACTUALLY get something done rather than telling myself, “I need to remember to do this.”
If we have out of town visitors, a thorough scrub down of the house doesn’t take as long if I’ve kept up this schedule. It also helps keep our family on a schedule. And if I’ve learned anything from having a toddler and an infant, a schedule is a MUST!