I am focusing on cultivating more joy in my life this year. Slowing down long enough to be thankful for all that God gives. Choosing gratitude and intentionally being content, truly content, throughout my days. My goals and focus this year all have to do with choosing JOY!
But the thing is, it’s really hard to focus on Joy, when you’re living in chaos! And our days have been chaos for the last 6-12 months. Having a set of twins, 2 sibling’s weddings, Thanksgiving, my husband’s birthday, Christmas, my older twins 3rd birthday, and my birthday all within six months is the perfect recipe for a chaotic Fall.
It’s been a wonderful, full, and busy six months. And in so many ways, the last six months have been great. But somewhere along the way, our schedules and routines went completely out the window. Bedtimes have been nuts, my meal planning has completely disappeared, my grocery budget blew up, and the house cleaning has been…erratic!
(By the way, a fun lunchbox book is on sale right now for $8.99! Packed full of great ideas if, like me, you need to be more intentional with family lunch time!)
So slowly, very slowly, I’m getting back into routine. I know that I have to give myself grace. Having 1 newborn, let alone twin newborns, is a chaotic time. Schedules and routines get off. We survive and figure out a new way to live while adding another kid or two into the mix. As my friend and a wonderful mentor in my life, Marci from Thankful Homemaker, shares:
“I know it doesn’t seem like it now moms as you are in the midst of busyness and chaos but the days are fleeting. Your babies will not be babies for long and children do grow up so quickly. You never hear anyone regretting not working more or cleaning their house more but you do hear, ‘I wish I would of spent more time delighting in my children’. Play with them, get down on the floor and spend time in their world, look them in the eye when you are talking to them, hug them, love them, they are never too old to be tucked in and prayed over. Laugh, teach, take walks, hold hands let them know how blessed and thankful you are for the special gift they are to you from The Lord.”
There has to be a balance. I don’t want to spend my days scrubbing toilets and making sure that my house is spotless in the neglect of my kids and my husband. They need to be my priority.
And yet – I also have a responsibility to keep my home. I can glorify God from within my home by how I run and manage things. There has to be a balance – between keeping my home and keeping my family.
Am I rambling yet? My point is – some of us have to work at putting our family first and some of us have to work at managing our home a bit better. I’ve had a wonderful six months focusing almost exclusively on my family and my newborn twins. And now, it’s time to work a little bit on getting my schedules and routines back on track for the good of my family! Not in order to have a perfectly clean home, but so that I can bless my family.
So here’s what I’m doing (and using) to get things back on track:
Getting Back on Track…
…with your schedules & routines!
“Spending our time is a little like spending money. Both will evaporate quickly if we do not have a plan. If we can learn to budget our time as cautiously as thrifty people budget money, we can experience the joy of living on a ‘fixed income’ of 24 hours a day. Perhaps we need to consider how we spend our time, because once it is gone it can’t be retrieved and recycled.” ~ Sue Hooley from Homemaker’s Depot
Schedule Time for God – FIRST
Doesn’t it seem like the first thing to go when you get busy is your bible reading, devotion, prayer, and time with God? Stress creeps in, dishes pile up, clean laundry gets strewn across the living room, and your Bible is forgotten on the table, unopened for another day.
But scheduling in time to be with God as a busy mother and homemaker is so important. On my daily to do list, I actually write in Bible reading and daily devotional time.
I’m in the middle of a make over your mornings challenge right now and I’ve been working really hard to make this Bible reading time happen before my kids get up. It’s really hard – but so worth it! (Do you want to join us for our challenge? It’s not too late to join in for encouragement and accountability!)
My podcast episode this week is all about developing the habit of daily Bible reading. That’s a good place to start if you are wanting to work on it.
Know Your Limits
I’m a very optimistic person and this also applies to my time management as a homemaker…I am too optimistic about what I can realistically get done in one week, one month, or for one project. I like to add in more things than I could ever hope to get done and then I’m left feeling disappointed when I don’t meet my goals. This leaves me not wanting to even try again later.
Being more realistic with my limits (how much energy I actually have) and not adding too many things to my to do list, really help me to get the important things done and prioritize what really needs to be done with the limited time I have.
If you are needing some help in the area of home organization, I highly recommend this handy guide written by 32 authors! Are you yearning for a mentor to help you get more organized? Well, here are 32 to help!!
Part of making over my mornings is setting and establishing new goals so I can better manage my days. In our new schedule, Jason and I have three goals for the morning:
- Our Daily Bible Reading
- Praying through a Psalm every day – The inspiration for this came from Praying the Bible
- Having a daily meeting with Jason over coffee
After we get a better morning routine down, which then helps us to start our days off right, we will move on to other goals.
As we look to the new year, it’s so easy as homemakers to get wrapped up in all of our new goals and plans for the year. I get motivated that this is finally the year I will clean out our junk closet(s). I will finally put together that monthly deep cleaning schedule or become more consistent on meal planning and sticking to a stricter grocery budget.
“Written goals give purpose. Otherwise it is so easy to go through one day after the next and barely get the daily duties accomplished. A daily planner helps us to come up with a plan of attack. Habitually using pencil and paper can free the brain from small details which can help us become more productive.” ~ Sue Hooley from Homemaker’s Depot
In the beginning of the year it’s easy to try and change everything in your life as once…and we all know how that goes. Two weeks later and all of your “resolutions” have gone by the way side. Instead, start off slow. Be realistic. And plan out goals for things that truly matter.
Scheduling This All Together
“There are three particular areas that help us in time budgeting. A monthly calendar gives a feel for what is ahead. Weekly/daily planning keep us in step with what must be done. A running tasks list helps us stay focused.” ~ Sue Hooley from Homemaker’s Depot
The only way that I stay sane as a homemaker, is by using a daily planner. There are times that I get out of the habit of using one, and my organization truly suffers.
I think there’s something about having foggy-mommy-brain that I literally need to write everything down – for I will forget it!!
But not all planners are the same and many don’t contain what I need to organize my life. I used to just go to Target and buy the first planner I saw. I didn’t know that planners contain different features and I didn’t know what I needed. Here’s what I’ve learned is essential for my planning:
A Monthly Calendar
I need to be able to have a quick glance at each month. When March begins, I need to remember that back in January I scheduled a check-up for my babies. Our home group Bible study meets every other week and the times that I meet my friends at the park changes from week or week and month to month.
While it’s nice to be able to have the “big picture” laid out on my monthly calender, most days I need to be more specific on my daily and weekly planning pages. This includes bible study notes, weekly cleaning schedules, my blog work, and more. It’s how I organize my week and know that I need to prioritize.
Honestly, this is the best thing I do that helps me stay organized as a homemaker. I have weekly to do lists with goals of my things that all need to get done before Sunday of each week. And then I have my daily to do lists with things such as bible reading, exercise, and my daily tasks for the day. (Like I said, mommy-brain is a very real thing!)
These lists fit right into my daily planner and I can quickly reference my monthly and weekly calender’s to make sure I am doing what I need that day and week. I have everything contained in one notebook that I can carry throughout the house with me and throw in my purse when I need it!
“Written schedules are not laws that can’t be changed, but rather they are to serve as a guide to help you plan what is reasonable. Freely modifying your schedule is not a sign of weakness; instead it is a sign of strength. This approach will help you make wise choices that are good for you, your husband and children.” ~ Sue Hooley from Homemaker’s Depot
As you can see from my photos, the planner I’ve been using is the Homemaker’s Friend Daily Planner! I’ve been really happy with this planner because:
- It fits easily into my purse or diaper bag to bring with me
- It contains all the sections I need
- It’s only $13.99 (compared to $50-70 for other planners!! OUCH!!)
- Spiral bound makes it lay flat on the table (That’s very important. Trust me!)
- There’s an included spot for your weekly meal plan. Brilliant!
Sue (the creator behind the Homemaker’s Friend Daily Planner) is generously giving all my Young Wife’s Guide readers an exclusive deal on this planner! Through January 31st you can get $3.00 off your new planner by using coupon code: ywg300. That makes the planner just $10.99!! What an awesome deal
PLUS: Orders over $49 get free shipping! I highly recommend the following resources from Homemaker’s Depot:
- Keeper’s Books Pennywise (GREAT for questions on finances)
- LunchBox Collections: Over 150 recipes!
- Keeper’s Books Organization
- Homemade Mixes (I don’t own this one but I want it!!)
- And of course: the 2016 Homemaker’s Friend Daily Planner
A good planner is a must have tool for me in my homemaking. I’m curious, do you use a planner? Have you found the perfect planner yet? (I’ve been on a journey looking for a good planner solution for years) Share in the comments what planner you use!!