Tag Archives: home management

Life Lately: Routines Edition

16 Oct

I’ve never been much of an intentional-routine type person. And even when I’ve tried to implement more intentional schedules or routines, they usually fall by the wayside within a week or two because #life and because it just doesn’t come naturally to me or my hubby. We are very spontaneous, game-time-decision kind of people.

But having four kids has forced us to get better about routines. For the past 4-6 months, we have doing a few things that have made a big difference in our home life. We developed these routines over time, based on what we were actually kind of already doing (it has never worked for me to decide on a routine and then try to implement it).

  • The kids do chores after dinner. Emma loads the dishwasher and wipes down the kitchen table, and Annabelle cleans up whatever area of the house or yard is the messiest (usually it’s the upstairs living room). Corbin picks up all the shoes left out and puts them by the front door.
  • The kids each have a calendar where they keep track of checkmarks for following through on their morning and evening routines, and they earn rewards for certain amounts. But we also expect them to do their chores regardless, so if they don’t do their chores, they not only don’t earn a checkmark, they lose one as well. It has helped keep them motivated.
  • Either Travis or I do the hand-wash dishes and set up the coffee maker for the morning after Emma has loaded the dishwasher. Having coffee ready right away in the morning is so amazing! We set it when we’re in the kitchen cleaning up after dinner so that we don’t forget about it.
  • I unload the dishwasher and dish rack every morning while the kids (especially Neola) eats breakfast (otherwise she just wants to play with the clean dishes).
  • I do at least one load of laundry every day. I used to wait until each person’s hamper was full to do their laundry so that I’d have a full load of just their clothes to wash. I kept everyone’s laundry separate because I found it a pain to fold a load of laundry that had a little of everyone’s stuff in it. But then my kids went through a period of time where they all four had their clothes upstairs, and the dirty clothes were getting put in whichever laundry basket was the most convenient, so I was just naturally washing everyone’s laundry together. Once I figured out my system of sorting clean, dry clothes into a separate laundry basket for each person, thus making the folding process much more streamlined, I decided to just always wash everyone’s clothes together. So now I just do the laundry as it gets dirty. Everyone’s dirty laundry from the previous day pretty much makes a full load, and I usually run a load of towels or sheets each day too. I do still get a little behind frequently, but I love loading the washer at night — makes it so easy to start right away in the morning. I fold the kids’ clothes when their laundry baskets get full — usually about once a week (I put Travis’ and my clothes away a little more often). I really like this laundry system for now!
  • Since the fall of 2021, we have had a housecleaner come twice a month for two hours to clean our bathrooms, kitchen floor, and some other odds and ends. It has been a lifesaver! Some day I will go back to cleaning my own house, but that day is not today. However, there are still plenty of other things that need cleaning that our housecleaner doesn’t get to. As often as I can, I try to clean one of those things each day for at least five minutes — even just cleaning one thing here and there makes a difference.
  • I try my hardest to plan out lunches and dinners for the week on either Sunday night or Monday morning. Then I either put in a pickup order for Monday on the way home from the girls’ gymnastics class, or I take Corbin and Neola grocery shopping during gymnastics (their class is an hour long in a small community so it actually works out about perfectly). I used to only plan out dinners (and sometimes not even that…) but having a plan for lunch is so helpful. I don’t have to rack my brain every single day, or end up making the same thing all the time, or decide on something only to discover we don’t have a key ingredient, or buy a different vegetable in the store and forget about it until it has gone bad. I want to start planning breakfasts eventually too, but mornings are rough for me right now (#sleepdeprivation), so that will have to wait. The kids all have their own favorite thing for breakfast too (Corbin — toast, Annabelle — yogurt, Emma — English muffin or oatmeal), so I’m not even sure they’d be amenable to me making one specific thing for breakfast.
  • Corbin just started going to preschool three days a week this fall. On those days, Travis and Neola take him to school (it starts at 8 AM), and I get 45-60 minutes of school in with the girls. Travis has also been taking Neola on a walk during/after lunch so I get another chunk of time to do school with the older girls then. I’m still figuring out which subjects are best to do when, but overall, the routine is working well. Doing school with Neola around is tough — because she’s in a cast/brace for hip dysplasia, she is much needier than normal. I am hoping that things get much easier when she’s done with her treatment!

I think that’s all the routines I can think of. Two areas of life that Travis and I have not been able to figure out a good, consistent routine or system for are Bible study and working out. Probably the biggest challenge with that is Neola’s nighttime sleeping habits. She wakes up 4-6 times a night, so I am beyond sleep deprived. After bedtime is tricky (though not impossible) because usually I am completely dialed, and I am often nursing or holding Neola in the morning before she completely wakes up, so mornings are tricky too. But the long and short of it is that I just don’t want it badly enough.

Just this past week, I did have, and tried out, the idea of me working out for 20-30 minutes right away in the morning when Travis leaves to take Corbin to school (M, W, F). Then I don’t have to wake the girls up to do school either (because they’d be up by the timer I’m done). Travis can work out on Tuesday and Thursday (and sometime on the weekend) when I am out of the house with the kids at Homeschool Group or BSF.

I also am planning to either get up early to do my BSF study or do it on my phone during Neola’s naps. I did it in the app last week, but then the app or internet wasn’t working during BSF so I couldn’t access any of my answers, and it looked like I hadn’t done my lesson. 😬

Anyway, that’s our daily routine with four kids right now!