Thursday, March 27, 2008

Schedules

Some women have a binder, some keep their schedule in their computer, some in a recipe box. Some women use a notebook and create a new schedule everyday or every week, calling it a "to do list". Some women do not require a schedule at all. To those women I give applause. I graciously accept their ability to do what is required with minimal or no forethought. I think most of these women do not have children at home, a homeschooling day to plan, prepare, or execute, a husband who has very high standards, or the busyness I face everyday. I say most, because there are some, a rare few, who can and do, do it well. I am not one of them.


When my boys were young, I used a flipper file described in "The Messie's Manual" As long as I followed it, it worked for me. Laundry has always been an issue for me. I hate to do it and it occasionally piles up on me. Not as often as it use to, but I do remember a time when I would buy bags of socks for my boys because they were out. Hmmmm. Once I counted and my oldest son had 52 pairs of white socks. I am very real here. I do not pretend to be a great organizer. It is not a natural thing for me. That said, I am also not a fool, nor am I ADHD. I do not have a learning disability, and I can think rationally (no offense...I have 3 children who have at least 3 of the conditions I just mentioned...no, one of them is not a fool). I am not an idiot who needs to have it written on a daily schedule to take a shower and get dressed. OK, so it is written down. It is not written down because I might forget....it is written down as a commitment to myself. The other day, we took a day off. That is something we do once in a while. I did not get dressed until 2 pm. I never fully woke up and NOTHING got done that day. The motivation to quilt, sew, play a board game, read a book, was just not there. That is ok once in a while, but because I have this morning routine written down and in a page protector in my binder, it is a commitment I have made to myself. How often do I look at this page in my binder? Never. I should look at it more often as it is a pretty page and it was well planned out. I know I need to run my dishwasher at night in order to maintain my routine. In the past, it would not get run, not because I needed to be "told", but because it was not a routine. The end result would be a dishwasher full of dirty dishes in the morning and breakfast dishes sitting in the sink until well after lunch because the dishwasher needed to run it's cycle, cool off, and be emptied. Now, you rare folks out there who do not need a schedule are thinking, "Yeesh!!! Use your common sense." Well, my commonsense, though well in tact, is usually busy thinking about the other things that need it's attention at that particular moment.

So once my boys got older and things were pretty much in empty nest phase around here, I did not use my flipper file. The need was not there. Then, along came Charlotte and Zach. I am now (then) 40 years old and in a whole new mindset. My time is my own and I have lots of it....for about a minute! Things quickly spun out of control. The house was always a wreck. Laundry piled everywhere, dinners thrown together a half hour before we were to eat, no order, and 2 "special" kids who had more energy than any 2 I had ever seen before in my life. When Charlotte was 5, my days were so chaotic with behaviors, that I felt insane most days. No order to anything and I blamed her. She had spun my life out of control. After Zach came along, I decided a schedule was needed. It was not the strict schedule I have now, but I saw an instant change in Charlotte's behavior. She thrived on a schedule. Zach too.

Why this post? There has been several opinions in blogland lately about scheduling and how there really is no need for it. Use your commonsense. I actually had a family member say in front of me to other family members, "You have to be an idiot to need a piece of paper tell you when to vacuum. You do it when it needs it!" Does having my schedule make me an idiot? I don't think so. I actually think it makes me very wise. I know my limitations and work to make my life easier. I know my daily schedule by heart now. I rarely look at these either.... My detailed cleaning lists are still new and I do look at these often. Here is a confession....with spring break the last few days, I have slacked in the laundry area again. This morning Sweetheart asked, "Where are my socks?" I said, "Oh, I am sorry, they are in the basket on top of the washer. Are you out of socks?" He replied, "Yeah...what's it been like 10 days since you did the laundry???" Now, he was just joking, and said that with a wink, because he knows it is a downfall for me. He has a very dry sense of humor. No matter, he knows after that little joke that all of his socks will be in his drawer when he gets home. What would he say if they weren't?? Nothing. He would just dig more out of the basket of clean ones on the washer, just like he did this morning. This is not how it is meant to be on a daily basis. Once in a while I fail the schedule, but it is there when I jump back on. I am not it's slave...it is my tool. A tool I use to keep my life and the lives of my family running smoothly. Eliminating chaos and confusion.
In reading a blog post by my friend Copperswife this morning, she wrote,

"I know many women don't have a need for keeping such extensive records and schedules at their fingertips. Perhaps they do not, or no longer, homeschool. Perhaps they are empty-nesters and/or retired. Perhaps they are even single women. However, I know that in order for me to keep on top of things in my very busy home, I must have routines and schedules, all of my thoughts recorded, and all of my notes and records in one place." (used with permission)

Isn't she gracious??? I am not so tactful! I just don't want to apologize for needing a schedule to keep my home running smoothly. Not to my extended family, nor to anyone in blogland. Another one of the sections I have in my binder is an "Inspiration" section. Here I have "A Wife's 10 Commandments" printed. They are great advice for a Godly wife to follow. There are 2 in particular that speak to me personally concerning keeping a written schedule. They are...

#4 "You shall work heartily as directed by the Lord and your husband, not by your own ideas of what should be done. You shall not be so busy working that you neglect to get alone time with God everyday. During this quiet time, you shall pray diligently for your husband. Be willing to put aside work in order to "play" when your husband asks you to."

#10 "You shall not covet another woman's husband, children, friends, house, looks, wardrobe, possessions, talents, gifts, ministry, or any other thing that is hers; but you shall be content with all God has given you."

Now this is not quoted scripture...it is advice from another woman (I have no idea to "credit" here.). Here these speak to me in a couple of ways. First, #4 tells me that my way is not the way I should be doing things. I need to seek what God and my husband say about the standard and care required for my home. Yours will be different than mine. I have a friend who's husband really does not care if the bathroom gets a regular cleaning or if the kitchen floor has crumbs. My husband does. Are you screaming inside, "Then let him do it!!!"? I have yelled that myself...and so he does. That feels worse to me than doing it myself! Now #10...I will not covet another woman's ability to keep her house running smoothly without a schedule. I will not look at her as better than me, nor will I think less of a woman who needs a schedule twice as rigorous as mine is. I will not covet her ability to delegate duties to her family, when I feel compelled to do them myself. I will however, learn from other women and be willing to look at myself with eyes wide open and recognize when something is not working for me. I will not covet my friend's husband...his contentment of the home being "lived in" verses my own husband's desire for a very tidy, clean, orderly home. I will recognize my shortcomings without comparing myself to women who are naturally organized.

There! I said it! Think me a fool, or an idiot, or whatever else you want. I do ask that you keep any hateful e-mails to yourself. Let's be gracious in our opinions of each other.
Now I must go switch my laundry around before I need to run to Walmart for new socks!!!

13 comments:

Karolee said...

I have to say I think those blogs which say schedules are unnecessary are written by the idiots. I homeschool, have many outside of the home activities, run a house, enjoy life, and all sorts busy things taking up my time. I do not have a schedule outside of my calendar which I have appointments written in and a weekly menu - - but I would NEVER say that my system should be for everyone. In fact, I'm sure things would be cleaner and a bit more organized around here if I did have a schedule like yours.

Bren said...

There are actually a few women out there who can do it. Don't ask me how, but I don't want to feel like a fool because I can not. Your calendar is actually a very common form of schedule keeping.

Copper's Wife said...

Let's here it for the gals who know what they need to look well to the ways of their own households!!! Yee Haw!

Angie said...

Wow Bren...
The one where you talk about "don't covet thy neighbor's husband" ... was great for me. I never thought of it that way (I'm usually not dirty minded, but on this I am). Sadly, I've used this MANY times on my husband ... I'm going to bury it and remember that thought. Thank you.

Mountain Mama said...

I know so many women turn their noses up at schedules. I was one of them (about 9 yrs ago). And I wasted my days. I am now a firm believer in schedules. Good for me and good for the children. They know what is expected of them and there are no surprises. They are cheerful when it is time to do the next thing on the schedule. I also have charts around the house ~ chore charts, clean room sticker charts, bi-weekly meal planners etc. God gave us 24 hours in each day. We need to manage those hours wisely!!
So, Bren, thanks for sharing about your schedules.
ashley
ps I am feeling much better. My first trimester, is always rough b/c I get so tired. I started taking iron and wow what a difference. I can conquer the world! Thanks for asking.

miniaturequilter said...

Bren, I read your blog for 2 reason- first, because i love how oraganized and clean your house is- and thats an inspiration (I strive for but don't quite meet)and how positive you still sound while dealing with a son with seizures. everyone has their opinions on what clean is for them, hateful mail is awful, if they don't like what your saying they just need not read your blog!

Patty said...

I am not an idiot : ) Wrote about not being tied to a schedule and don't run my house with a schedule. My children are grown now but visit often with their families. I have farm chores, and a huge garden too. I did have chores listed for my children when they were young and tried a schedule for myself but found it made me a bit stressed if something took me away for the day, like a sick friend or sewing day. Amish and Mennonite women don't have schedules, you just do what is to be done. Its a different life style, not so many outside activities. That may make a difference. I homeschooled for 17 years and ran a very well organized home. Never had to clean for company, had meals ready each evening when my husband came home. Always ready on the spur of the moment for company of up to 20 people (two visiting families would be that number easy). I suspect its more of how you were raised as to how you operate your home.

Bren said...

No Patty, you are not an idiot. You are one of those rare women who can do it well. It is evident by your writings and it comes very natural to you. I applaud your natural ability to do a job and do it well without a written schedule, as I am sure you taught your girls. I do not have that skill, but also can join you in the fact that I am not an idiot. (((hugs))) to you and I am rejoicing in the wonderful news of your granddaughter. Again, through a trial your light shines brighter!

Patty said...

Bren, you are certainly no idiot. So far from it that it makes me smile just to imagine someone could think that. I am simply in favor of doing a lot less running here and there and keeping it simple as possible so we don't get all stressed out trying to be perfect all the time.

Mamabeanof4 said...

Great post today!!!
Once again-YOU CRACK ME UP!!!!!!!!!

drucillastitches said...

Thanks again for sharing your schedule here on your blog! I truly appreciate it. I totally need daily reminders!! Your house always looks gorgeous!

Pam said...

A very interesting post to read Bren. I don't think you should ever apologize for who you are. What ever works for you and your family is what is important and of no concern to anyone else. Continue to take pride in what you do and how you do it - you shouldn't need to explain yourself to anyone.

Rose Marie said...

I've learnt well from you and your posts on cleaning ..... no apologies needed. Once I'm back home, I'll be going through my closets and cupboards and doing a general sort and clean-up. My home has been neglected over the past few months while I've been looking after my Mom.