Putting God in the Middle

STEP 2 IN THE BUSINESS PLAN:

I’m a person who needs routine. Craves it. I like being told when I’m going to be eating lunch. When I get off work. When I’m expected back in. When to have such-and-such on so-and-so’s desk. Love it.

But I’m terrible at creating my own schedule. My own routines. I’m getting better. Again, it’s a process. Rena “It’s-a-process” Sites. That’s me.

I think one of the reasons I had such an overwhelming black cloud feeling about staying home was because I had no idea what of we would possibly do all day. My entire life up to that point had been planned for me. And I absolutely didn’t mind. Freedom? No thank you. So, I’ve gradually had to learn…wait for it…Self Discipline. Ugh. And…Organization. Ewww.

I’ve also learned (the ugly cry hard way) to stop trying to create the Perfect Schedule. Oh, yes, the Perfect Schedule. Where every minute of the day is beautifully recorded on color-coded spreadsheets. The Perfect Schedule is totally unattainable because days vary, children grow and change. And really, when I spend all day racing to mark things off an impossible list, I’m not thinking too much about God’s Will for my day.

So here’s what I do differently: I create a Loose Schedule and Chunk Routines.

That probably sounds like a lot of jibberish so let me just give a real example. Here’s our morning loosely:

8:00  Kids wake up; do Morning Routine; Breakfast Routine

9:00 Independent Play Time in room; I do some set chores

10:00 done with Independent Play Time; Mid-morning Routine

11:00 Snack; Play Outside

Here’s the important part: Within this flexible schedule I’ve got some routines built in. And within those routines, I intentionally put interaction with God right smack in the middle of whatever we are doing. And I post the routine where everyone can see it. I do it more for myself. I desperately need a posted reminder that it’s time to praise, pray to or learn about my Creator. An added benefit is that I get to do all of that with my kids in an organized, predictable manner. We are developing the habit of spending time with God.

Here’s an example:

The thirty minutes between the time the kids woke up and came downstairs to breakfast was often the worst part of my day. Chaotic. Upset. Little demands. Fights about going to the potty. Fights about getting out of jammies and into real clothes. What a grumpy way to start the day. So this was the first time chunk to get an overhaul.

What it looks like now:

1. Wake up.

2. Go potty.

3. Get dressed.

4. Brush your teeth.

5. Listen to praise music and play.

There it is in black and white. Posted on the kids’ bedroom door. We read it nearly every morning. And there are rarely any more fights about potties and jammies because all the expectations of what we will be doing before we go down has already been laid out. Easy.

And the best part  is praising the Lord together. Carson soaks in the music while quietly playing trains. Livie sways with her sippy cup. And I sing. And sing. And sing. What a beautiful way to start the day.

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