I'm not a Schedule Mom. Not by any stretch. But here's the thing: I don't do well with loose boundaries. I can be laid-back and flexible to a fault, and I am prone to being extremely undisciplined with my time.
This can be a good thing - I have no trouble at all with sitting and being and enjoying the moment. But without some good boundaries to structure the day, it's really difficult for me to accomplish what I want to do and what I need to do.
I also have this gift - my oldest daughter who thrives on structure and schedule. (I don't know if it's worth noting that in was during her first months of life that I tried so hard to be a Babywise mom. We failed miserably (thankfully) with sleep training, but I always did stick with a feeding schedule with her. Nature or nurture? Who knows.) The kid loves a schedule. And I mean capital L-O-V-E-S it.
So as a labor of love to her, and to make sure that we really, really pursue meaningful creation this summer, on the first day after school was out, we sat down together and made a schedule for the summer, then we posted the schedule in our main hallway.
Truth be told, it functions much more like a routine. It's a happy-medium for the two of us. (AJ, my ever-flexible child, just goes with the flow.) (ThankyouGod) I'm going to share our base schedule with you, the schedule we follow on those fantastic days when we don't leave the house for errands or activities and just enjoy our time at home together. Those days are the exception - most days, we are out of the house, at least in the mornings. So most days, we have to shuffle things around a bit but this provides our guidance for the day.
5 AM: Kyle and I wake up.
This is a new thing for us and I absolutely love it. When I shared with Kyle how I felt so frustrated that I didn't have time in the day to do my work (writing, creating, etc.), he suggested I start getting up early with him. He likes to get up, do some Bible study and prayer, and workout in our little home gym room before he leaves for the office at 7:30.
If you've never had a former football coach serve as your wake-up call, let me tell you what: ACCOUNTABILITY.
I wake up, pour my first cup of coffee, skim my Instagram feed while the caffeine brings me to consciousness, and then I do my morning readings and prayers from Common Prayer.
5:30 AM - Mama Work
I start a load of laundry and sit down at my desk (in the laundry room! how convenient!) and get to work. Most mornings, this means I try to catch up on email and work on writing. Also? More coffee.
7:00 - 8:30 AM - Girls get up, eat breakfast, get dressed, I finish morning load of laundry
Oh, that this held true. We are long-time practitioners of Early Bedtime, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. The trade-off, of course, is that they wake-up early. Even when they stay up way past bedtime, my girls are just early risers. This morning, for example, Dacey woke up at 6. I asked why she was up so early and she chirped, "My body just told me I had enough sleep!" Well. Can't argue with that, I guess.
Anyway, it only took a few days for both girls to really get that until 7:00, it's my work time. Mostly, they watch TV or do free art time if they get up earlier than 7.
8:30 - 9:30 AM Outdoor time
I want to make sure we have plenty of outdoor time this summer, and morning just makes the most sense. This is generally unstructured time, but we do things like blow bubbles, build fairy houses, play hide-and-seek, just whatever sounds fun. It's nice to eat breakfast outside,too. Sometimes I am actively doing what they are doing, sometimes I read or make To Do List for the day. It just depends.
9:30 - 10:30 AM Morning Project
This is one of the intentional creating moments in the day. We might be baking or painting or making or any number of things. Sometimes we have a little learning time and then do a project related to what we have just learned. This has been a highlight of our day.
10:30 AM Snack time
Good break point to stop and refuel.
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Free time
The girls can have screen time, free art time, play, or whatever. I don't answer my phone or texts for the most part when I'm engaged with the girls, so I sometimes need to get back to people during this time or I might check email or even sneak on Pinterest.
This is also our built-in cushion time in case we are running behind schedule.
12:00 - 12:30 PM Lunch
We don't do big lunches. Maybe because we just had a morning snack? Anyway, something fast and easy for lunch and the girls help me with lunch dishes.
12:30 PM Reading time
Dacey is a fairly independent reader and is obsessed with earning stickers for her summer reading program chart (don't start. I'm also not a huge fan of gimmicky incentives for reading, but we do enjoy the library's children's program. It's through my own gritted teeth we are doing the reading program), so she can sit down and read on her own during this time. Sometimes she reads out loud to Aliza Joy which I love because then I can sneak in a little mama reading time.
Other times, I just read aloud to both.
1:00 - 2:00 PM Home blessing
During this time, I clean one room of the house (I have my own little schedule for that) and work on a bigger house project - cleaning out the playroom, for example, or cleaning out the desk. These are things that can't be finished in a thirty minute time block. In theory, the girls are supposed to help during this time. Sometimes they do, sometimes they play. Whatever. As long as I can get a little housework done, it's fine.
2:00 - 3:30 PM Afternoon project
Again, just depends on what we are in the mood to do. This is a big block of time, and most days we end up turning on Pandora and having a little dance party time which is a great way to work out big energy when it's too hot to go outside.
3:30 - 5:00 PM Free time
The girls can go outside, have screen time, play, whatever. I catch up on email, have a little downtime for myself, and start dinner prep.
5:00 - 6:00 PM Dinner and dishes
6:30 PM Bath/shower time
7:00 PM Evening reading and bedtime
We are fairly flexible on how long we read together. It really depends on the day. On evenings when we have church or another activity, we might not even be home until after 7, which means we have less time for reading.
Sometimes the girls are in bed and asleep by 7:30, other nights it's closer to 8 or even past 8. It just depends. We generally hold to our early bedtime practice because:
8:00 - 10:00 PM Kyle and Megan Time
Mostly we watch a movie or a series on Netflix. We're good at shoulder-to-shoulder time, and we guard this time together pretty fiercely.
Because of those early morning wake-up times, we really do pretty much fall out around 10 PM.
* * * * *
So, that's us this summer. The funny thing is that my very-schedule oriented child doesn't seem too perturbed when we get off schedule because she knows that when the day gets reshuffled, we can look to the schedule to get back on track. It's good for me, too, because I am prone to "well, the schedule is totally off - no sense in trying to be productive now!" Having a routine for the day gives me hope that we can always get something done with the day - even if that something is sitting on the back porch and blowing bubbles.
This is the first time we've tried a structured summer, and I'm curious as to how it works.
Tell me about your summer plans. Are you more unscheduled and go-with-the-flow during the summer? Do you like some structure and routine to guide the day? I can't wait to hear about what works for you!