Monday, October 22, 2018

Building a Routine

I can't tell if I'm in a new slump in a series of slumps, or if I've never gotten out of the first one. Maybe this is my version of a midlife crisis on the cusp of turning 40 - I've become an irresponsible teenager again who reads books and watches TV and lets clutter pile up around her.

Actually, that's probably not fair. I like being organized and I tried to be pretty organized with most things for most of my life. This untidy thing is fairly recent. I swear, I really DON'T like feeling like I live in chaos.

Anyway, I do have this plan where I take a few days and I completely catch up and then I set up a good routine and I maintain that routine. I get that clean slate, and then maintaining it becomes easy, just like all the magazine articles and homekeeping blogs say. I just need to get to base zero first, and I can totally DO that if I focus. Of course, in that plan in my mind, I am basically alone in the house for those few days with no husband or children around, so I think that may be a complete pipe dream. Homeschooling two kids with a husband working from a home office is not conducive to this plan at all.

BUT, I've started a few things that have let me know that I actually am pretty good at maintaining a routine once I get started.

This year I was determined to be more organized in our homeschool. Last year I had my moments where I was awesome and moments where I was a mess, and I hate to admit that the mess took over more time than I'd like. So this year, I took some time over the summer to completely plan and outline the year. Not just buying the curriculum - I am really skilled at buying things - but going through each and every book and breaking it down into weekly chunks, then daily. Now, I know exactly what we're doing, and everything is already broken down. All I need to do is follow my weekly plan, and make notes on what we did. If we fall behind, catching up isn't too hard, because I can see what needs to be adjusted without a lot of effort. And we're twelve weeks in, and it's actually working. We're exactly (well, close, and close enough where I feel OK about it) to doing what we should be doing at week 12, and week 12 fell when I expected it to. We had one week that we took "off'" to do catch up work, but even that was planned. The end of November slump didn't knock us down.

And since I got the new car, I've become determined NOT to let it slip into a state of messy or dirty. I'm harping on the girls (and myself if we're being totally honest again) to keep it clutter free, but more than that, I'm committing to completely cleaning the interior once a week. Vacuum, wipes, get the door jambs, get anywhere that crumbs or dirt can fall. Admittedly it's getting harder when the weather is colder - it's not fun to shiver at the car wash - but I can't argue with the results. Even with little warning, I'm not embarrassed to have anyone in our car. The car is clean most of the time, and it's staying clean. I'm very proud of the maintenance - it's a huge change from the old car, where I'd sort of given up.

Both of these situations prove to me that I CAN maintain once I have that clean slate. A new car, a summer to get organized. So maybe, somehow, kicking everyone out for three days would actually be a GREAT investment for me!
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