Saturday, February 8, 2014

Friday Q & A -- on keeping up with the important things

...on a Saturday because I couldn't get my act together yesterday...

Shawni, whenever you have a chance you have to give us a glimpse of your "typical" day...I know nothing is typical but an ordinary school day. I know you have said you don't get everything done but I'd love to see how you get so much done ;) My four are at school all day and although I have two one year olds for daycare kiddos I just can't seem to get everything accomplished...let alone exercise, etc. etc. and figuring out dinner time/homework time/piano practice/sporting events and activities/showers and baths is a HUGE challenge. Would love some tips ;) 

Oh man, a "typical day" around here lately just seems to be running full speed with my heart pumping wildly and being a day late and a dollar short for every. single. thing.

I almost cried the other day when I realized I was 40 minutes late to meet my sister-in-laws for my own birthday lunch they had scheduled.  I had the wrong time in my mind for some crazy reason.

And I did cry a little sitting in the bleachers for the five minutes I could spend watching Grace cheer on the 7th grade basketball team after circling trying to find a parking spot for ten minutes I didn't have.  I sat there and watched her glowing smile through a teary fog while begging Max on the phone to please take Claire to gymnastics so I could race to get Lucy to swimming lessons that she has missed four times already, only to remember that he had his ACT prep class at the same time.  I was just so mad at myself I hadn't prepared better, or gotten better sleep so I could at least deal with my mind-losing more gracefully.

Yeah, we've had lots of those kinds of days lately.

I don't think any mom can get it all done.  Remember my "disclaimer" post again back HERE, and all these "Real Life" posts listed in this link HERE.  

But I think the key is to get the most important things done.  And to do that they just have to be part of the schedule.  

Reading scriptures together as a family and having family prayer are really important to me and Dave.  So that's part of the unchanging schedule every week day. 

Getting exercise is really important to me.  So I have a scheduled class Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings to get that in.  (That has changed over the years...when I had toddlers and babies I did P90x at home in the cold, dark hours of the morning...I just always had a scheduled time for it because it was important to me.)

We prioritize Family Home Evening.  So we make sure we hold it on Sundays where life isn't quite so crazy, and then if we don't get to the activity we want to do on Monday night at least we have had our "family business" and gathered together as a family formally just to be together in the "eye of the storm" :)

Having some alone-time with Dave is really important to me.  So our date night is on the schedule once a week to remind us to stop in our tracks and just be together.

Getting spiritually fed is important to me, so that's easy, we go to church each week...all scheduled in.

Our money system is worked right into the schedule so that it really happens (more about that back HERE), which is awesome because that makes things like getting kids to do jobs and practice (all very important to me) just part of the schedule.  No questions asked.  Done deal.

I've recently worked in and finally been more successful at having more regular "interviews" with my kids.  

Guess why?

You got it:  because it is part of the schedule.

And that makes me happy.

As long as I'm getting to those few most important things, I'm trying not to kick myself so much if the other stuff falls by the wayside.  

Now, the key here is to figure out WHAT is really important because we could have every single second of the day planned out and scheduled because EVERYTHING is important, right??  

I've learned over the years some stuff has to go.  We can't do it all, no matter how hard we try.  AND I try to remember my favorite quote from my dear mother:  "Life is Long."  (Click HERE for more on that.)

There is a season for everything.  Reading books is SO important to me.  That's why I've scheduled in going to book club every month to push me.  But guess what?  In this season of house building I've had to let that go for a while.  That doesn't mean I'll never get back into it, just that I know I can't balance that plate right now.  I'm dying to work on my photography skills more and take a few more classes, but the time is not right right now.  There are 749 new projects and hobbies that are "important" in their own way, but I need to close them off for this season.  Keep them on the horizon for sure, but I'm trying to cam my heart and realize life is long and I'll get to them some day.  

Even this blog has taken a little bit of a back seat lately during my "house-building season."  I'm keeping up the record part, not so much the "thought" part...which is hard for me because I LOVE to write (thank you for sticking with me for this season, dear blog readers, I love you.)

But I know this busy season will end sooner than later and I will have my brain back to write and create in other ways again.  

Life is a balancing act.  We can't keep so many plates spinning at one time, we need to CHOOSE THE BEST PART (more thoughts on that back HERE).  And that is hard work I tell you!  

Because in my opinion, husbands, families and faith need to come first.

Which reminds me of one of my favorite quotes a wise mother told me lately:


"I can't do perfect, but I can do righteous!"

Somehow that hit me in just the right place at just the right time.  I think we all scramble around so much to get it all done, and if we can only remember that getting everything done in a day is not necessarily what God wants.  

He just wants us to do what we do with love.  

Here is our daily schedule as of right now to go along with the "2014 Snapshot" I'm trying to get to to go along with the ones I have written in the past (2013 is HERE, 2012 is HERE, 2011 is HERE and 2010 is HERE).

6:15-6:30 -- (6:15 if I went to bed by 11:30 the night before, 6:30 if I stayed up past midnight :)
6:30 -- wake up whichever bleary-eyed kids aren't already awake 
6:40 -- scriptures (Dave and the kids take turns reading verses around the kitchen island while I make breakfast)
6:50 -- breakfast

In my dream world we talk about and quiz kids on whatever quote or scripture we are memorizing for the week which is pasted on the fridge behind them {see HERE and HERE}, and talk and discuss a few current events...the current events idea happened for like three weeks in a row and fizzled out, dang it!

7:05 -- Dave makes sandwiches for lunches and the kids gather all their stuff.  

7:10 -- Max and Elle leave.  Most of the time Elle has a blanket wrapped around her and has bare feet (she doesn't want to waste time with something as mundane as putting shoes on before she leaves :)
I often feel compelled to follow them out to the car to hold onto them just a little longer

7:15 -- clean up breakfast, Grace and Claire both practice for 15 of their required 30 daily minutes to split it up.  This works because I have threatened them and followed through with my threat that that 15 minutes will happen even if it means they'll have to be late for school...they kind of freak out about that so it works.

baths/showers
homework quizzing
find lost shoes
nag them to get their job done
crying because someone forgot about such-and-such homework

7:50 -- Grace leaves.  Ha!  That's always the plan but she's usually scrambling around trying to find something or other and asking me about whether I can take her to lunch or not :)  She runs out the door in a hustle because she does NOT want to get ninth hour (the school's punishment for being late at her school).

8:00 -- Claire's friend shows up on her bike, usually Claire still has dishes to do and her friend will do stuff like help Lucy get her shoes on while she's waiting and I'm going through backpacks.  Then those two take off on their bikes to get the next friend.

8:15 -- IF Lu is ready...(and that's a big IF) she does some flashcards and Dave brings her to the bus.  But lately we just drive her to school because we can't get our act together (it's super close).

Then I just run around trying to check things off my list so that at some point in the next five years we'll be able to move into the new house.  Ha!  I often wonder what in heavens name I used to do all day before we started building a house!  I guess life ebbs and flows into different seasons but this season of ours sure seems to have "house" at the top of it a lot.

After school every scatters to their extracurricular stuff and I do my best to keep up.  More on that when I get to my "snapshot."

Bottom line for this novel of a post: schedule in the important things, and be ok to let some things slide.
And pray your guts out to find the balance it takes to do that.

Because someone much more wise is in charge.  And He knows how to help us get to what's most important if we'll just remember to ask.

18 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your day and your honesty is appreciated. We all are trying and I think that is the key.

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  3. Sorry for the above delete. It somehow posted my comment twice so I deleted one of them :).

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  4. I would love to know what your family eats for breakfasts on school days. It sounds like your mornings are as busy as ours and I am struggling to find quick nutritious breakfasts:)

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  5. When dod max and elle get ready? it didn't seem like there was any time. Also what do grace and claire do for 15 minutes? clean up breakfast? but you said practice but you didn't day practice what ha

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  6. Lewyville, we almost always have hot breakfasts...for some reason we started that years ago and it just works to prepare while we're reading scriptures. They aren't necessarily healthy...pancakes, waffles and scrambled eggs mostly. Sometimes we get fancy with breakfast burritos and ocean pancakes, but mostly just the basics. I'll have to post our basic pancake and waffle recipes some day, but I'd love any suggestions on that!

    Lillian, Max and Elle have to be ready by the time we read scriptures so they get up as early as they need to to be ready by 6:40.

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  7. Oh, and Grace and Claire practice the piano for 15 of their 30 required daily minutes.

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  8. You can do things in any order you want of course. I just wonder why folks who have a hard time getting things done in the morning make lunches in the morning instead of the night before. You just stick the lunchbags in the fridge over night. Any perishables would already be in the fridge all night anyway.

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  9. it surely is difficult to follow a schedule every day, things change all the time but I agree we need to prioritise our family/couple time! I can't imagine what it'll be when we have children around! I might crazy haha

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  10. I'd love to hear a little bit more about your kid "interviews" and how you schedule them. Daily? Weekly? And do you just let them guide the conversation? :)

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  11. you are awesome shawn. I love you. reading this make my head swirl. Can I really do this in a few years?

    Maybe I'll come to your house in April to take lessons.

    Love you.

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  12. I loved this post. I am in a totally different situation. (High pressure job in NYC that makes me completely nuts almost every day combined with planning two weddings - both mine, a Catholic ceremony & reception and a Hindu ceremony & reception for ONE weekend in September). But, it resonates so much. Slow down, and prioritize what is important to you. It is that simple isn't it?

    Also, I cried last week when I took the wrong subway to the wrong destination for one of my girlfriend' birthday dinners. Glad I am not the only one!

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  13. I haven't been on your blog (or any other than my own) for a very long time, but I pulled it up tonight and had to laugh at your building a new house comment. We built from scratch our dream home last year and it really is insane.
    I remember looking forward towards the end to how much brain space I would have available once I didn't have to worry about "trims, mantles, carpet, paint, light switch placement etc, etc" every waking moment.
    Then we moved in the new house and new ward and right away I got called as Primary President of a huge primary. Ha, Ha!
    It seems when there is a tiny bit of brain space available.....something comes along very quickly to fill it up:)
    At least each of my decisions now aren't thousands of dollars. Takes off some of the stress:)

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  14. How do you think your mornings would be different if you had early morning seminary? It seemed like our morning routine was similar to yours when we lived in Utah…now we live in Maryland and I have one in high school and one in middle. The older one has to leave at 5:55, the younger one doesn't even wake up till 6:30. I feel like we're lacking some togetherness in our family. I need some suggestions o how to fill that void.

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