My big focus in March was establishing a weekly rhythm for our family. For over a year now we’ve had Nature Friday and pizza night making the last day of the week our favorite. My goal was to make every day as awesome as Friday. Although not every day is us hanging out together outside for hours (although with the warming weather we will be doing a lot of that too!), having a structure we can all depend on has made each day a lot smoother and good to look forward to.
Instead of trying to cram all the things I want to do into a day I’ve started looking at my week as a whole in my planning. I prefer to front load our week with household responsibilities so that we can ALL (meaning me too) relax and enjoy the end of the week. Here’s a rundown of what is working in this particular season of life. It will change – it always does – but for now we are all loving it.
Loving it means I have to be disciplined to stick to it. Loving it means the necessary things happen in a week so we are all taken care of. Loving it means that the kids know what to expect. Loving it means I have less decisions to make. Loving it means we all feel a bit more nurtured. Loving it does not mean that I always feel motivated to do the laundry and make food. But after a month of forcing myself to just stick to the plan, I’m seeing huge pay offs. Without further ado:
Monday – Laundry/Cleaning Day. I like to do it all in one day and be done (or mostly done) with it. The kids and I wash and dry clothes all morning and fold and put away in the afternoons. Usually we are doing lots of reading in the morning and play outside as soon as we get at least some of the laundry folded. Some weeks the laundry all gets done before bed. Other weeks I offer myself some grace and put it away on Tuesday (but this is never ideal because then doesn’t actually happen for days). We also try to do general cleaning after all being home during the weekend.
Tuesday – Baking Day. We’ve had a bit of a rough patch in the food department. With processing my Grandma’s death AND having a new baby at the same time (read: sleep deprived) following a year of awful morning sicking eating kind of slipped off my radar screen. I personally haven’t had a great appetite so I never thought to stop and feed myself or the kids except for breakfast and dinner. That doesn’t bode well for anyone and we had lots of cranky tired days.
Baking day has solved many of these issues. Now we spend the morning making a large batch of granola or muffins (they each last about two weeks so we rotate what we make), crackers, hummus, granola balls, and bread (we make bread throughout the week too). These staples have been getting us through snack times and lunch which has been awesome. We’ve also switched green smoothies from breakfast to afternoon snack which has been wildly helpful in simplifying our mornings (we eat oatmeal). I also dangle granola balls as our celebratory treat for cleaning up after dinner – win win!
The kids are super involved with making food. The first few weeks I ended each session super stressed and angry. We have a tiny kitchen so the kitchen sink is right next to our two feet of counter space. There would inevitably be water playing turned flood and frustrations about who stood on which chair. Eventually I figured out the kids could work at the table which increased our work area AND removed the water element.
Wednesday – Preschool Co-op and Dad Time/Me time. We have our preschool co-op on Wednesday mornings. On the week that I teach I have my three kids plus two more. Two weeks of the month Emily heads over to our neighbor’s houses for school and the last week of the month we do a whole families field trip. It has been a perfect set up for this year.
In the afternoons (around 3:30) Andrew has been spending time with the kids so I can be on my own for an hour or two. We’ve tried so many variations of what this looks like. Andrew coming home, us picking him up, dropping the kids off on campus to ride the bus home with him, etc. Although it takes planning every week to pull it off it has been so healthy for our family. The kids love spending time with just Andrew and it means a lot for him to carve out some time outside of his work and church responsibilities for them. I use that time to plan, hike, run five errands in a row, work on a project, go to the library, talk to my mom, or cook dinner by myself.
Thursday – Grocery Shopping. Thanks to Aldi’s huge carts the three kids and I can pull off grocery shopping with Laura in her carseat (I/she’s almost ready for the baby carrier). About once a month we need to load up on random things at walmart. Andrew or I will usually go another time either at night or with two kids on the weekend/early morning. We also go to costco once a month when we go to the temple in Indy to stock up on bulk items. We usually spend most of thursday either outside or working on projects.
Friday – Nature Friday/Pizza Night and Vacuuming. We’ve talked about this a lot. Hiking at the celery bog with picnic lunch in the morning. Watch a movie and eat pizza in the evening. In between we clean the house (the requirement for screen time) and vacuum so we have a clean house going into the weekend.
Saturday – Temple/Adventure/Project/Housework. We typically rotate through that list throughout the month. We have been making it a priority to spend the late afternoon and evening prepping for Sunday so that we truly appreciate the Sabbath Day.
Sunday – Sabbath. Right now our church meets at 9am. Andrew has meetings before church so I get the kids ready to go as soon as everyone is awake (or I wake them). I teach almost every week so I try and get my lesson and the diaper bag packed the night before. After church at least one of us adults takes a nap (whoever is in greater need usually conks out for two hours – a real luxury). Andrew usually makes something new or a fancy variation on breakfast for dinner with the kids.
And that’s the week. It has taken a lot of time to grow this weekly rhythm to fit our current needs. I’m feeling really grateful that we took the time and focus to get things established. It’s been a huge part of feeling nurtured and nurturing.